The Lennie James Interview

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INTERCEPT: TWoP Blows Lennie James's Cover
K: In the torture scene, a couple of us became obsessed with the line, "Hold his knees." Now, his ankles were already taped and we're thinking, "What is he going to do to his knees?" LJ: Yeah, not to get gruesome, but it's a thing that he says later to Jake -- and it was partly that there was the whole thing about torture and everybody's dealing with the waterboarding -- but it's something Hawkins says to Jake when they go outside. That it's the fear of torture that gets the job done, it's not necessarily the torture itself -- because once you've received the pain, you've gone past the fear of the pain. And therefore, once you've gone past the fear of the pain, you kind of go, "You did that to my leg and I'm still here, so unless you keep ranking it up..." On some levels, once you've inflicted the pain you're on a losing streak. So it can't really be about what Hawkins was going to do, it's more about building up the fear for Ned (who plays the police officer), the fear of what he could do. Now, if I then say to Jake or to anybody, "Hold his knees," the person who is being tortured is going, "Oh, my god -- what's he going to do now? Why does he need to hold my knees?" That's exactly what I want that guy to be thinking. It's the reason why I go and I look in his, uh -- K: In the drawers for all the stuff. LJ: Right, in the drawers and closet, and I'm picking stuff out. And in the original scene when we were filming it, I was pulling out all kinds of things and sort of testing them. K: Yeah, that was great because you pulled out the grater and then there's the Drano, and that's when I realized that it's the anticipation, it's the unknown. So I joked that Hawkins could pull out a peppermill and the guy would be saying, "Oh my god, what the hell is he going to do with the peppermill?" LJ: Yeah, this guy needs to know that, a) I have done this before; b) I'm good at it; and c) that I intend to carry it out. Those are the things he needs to know. K: Now, you and Jake are the bad-asses of the show; do you and Skeet -- or does anyone else on the set -- have any inside jokes about how you guys are sort of like the Dynamic Duo? Do you get ribbed about that? LJ: [laughs] Yeah, sometimes they start singing the theme song to Batman or Superman when we come on, or they kind of play us off as I, Spy, and that kind of stuff. Or they joke about a spin-off show about Hawkins and Jake -- we get quite a lot of that. But also, we enjoy -- once we play out the scene -- we do the kind of joking of blowing the smoke off the end of our pistols and walking with our legs wide apart, we do all that stuff.

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