The Lennie James Interview

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INTERCEPT: TWoP Blows Lennie James's Cover
I have to be honest here: because I was so nervous to be talking to the man, the Voice, the bad-ass behind the Awesome Hawkins, I sort of freaked and forgot to turn on my recorder after he called me. Don't worry -- it was only for part of the first question, which was: "Before the Nuts campaign, were you aware that this sort of Save-Our-Show campaign existed?" Lenny James addressed this Jericho-specifically first. He said he knew that there were places on the 'net that were getting organized, but he never went to any of those sites. He didn't want to know either the good or the bad, because he needed to just focus on what he was doing on the show. However, he had no idea that so much save-our-show organization was happening and said that if anyone else says they did, they're not being completely truthful. Lennie James: ...but I wasn't, in any way, shape or form, aware that they were as dedicated as they turned out to be, and I think anyone who says they were isn't quite telling the truth, really, I think it took us all by surprise. Keckler: Really? This sort of save-our-show doesn't really exist in England at all, does it? LJ: No, but there hasn't really been that sort of dedicated save-our-show campaign over here. I mean, there's been attempts, I've now learned, whether it was Roswell or whether it was Star Trek or whether it was Cagney and Lacy or Family Guy, but they haven't really been -- you know, when the fans set out on their campaign, they no more had a sense that they were going to win than any of these other people. I mean, I think it took everyone by surprise, not least our fans, truth be told. But I think that's a measure of the amazing job they did, really, is that they were kind of flying blind but they still went for it, and I think it was a measure of their passion for the show. K: One thing that a lot of our Jericho posters seem to have in common is that we are completely obsessed with the show, but part of us is still wondering, "Why? What is it about this show that is so compelling?" Recently, I was at a grocery store -- I don't even know how this came up, I think I made a joke about growing beets in my bathtub -- and the checker said, "Do you watch that show, Jericho? I think it's the most important show on television!" So, what do you think it is about this show that has the power to compel and excite? LJ: If I'm absolutely honest, I think I'm as kind of cynical about TV as you are. Also -- this was my first show in the states -- so I was also in kind of blissful ignorance about the way television works here. One of the things everybody says to you when you first arrive is that it can be really good, you have to sign up for five years (that's a little bit scary) -- all of those kinds of things. But also that it can get to the point where you really do feel like -- regardless of whether your show is good or not good -- it is just about the fact that people are tuning in, and then it can get to the point where you really are just selling soap.

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