The Lennie James Interview

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INTERCEPT: TWoP Blows Lennie James's Cover
K: That's fantastic. LJ: But what's also happening is that you're also aware, because of the way it all plays out -- and again, this was new to me, so I was learning as it kind of goes along -- that there are rumors and whispers about how it looks like you're coming back, or how it looks like you're not coming back. I finished filming the season at the end of April, or something like that, and I went back to London while the rest of it played out. So, back in London, you start getting whispers from everybody -- you know, your agent or manager, or other castmembers, from their agents and managers -- about, "Oh, it's not looking good," or "It's looking good," and all that kind of stuff, and we finally got the decision on something like the seventeenth of May, the day for the upfronts, and that's the day when you know whether or not you're going to be back. So, on the seventeenth of May, I get the telephone call from my manager going, "What we thought was going to happen has happened, and you guys have been cancelled," so you're kind of prepared for the cancellation and, of course, I was disappointed and upset. I had conversations with cast members and friends, and I really was kind of gutted, you know? And of course you have feelings like, "I think this is a mistake. I think that they should have let it run more," because you know about the stories, and the way you were going to take it, and the job you were doing on the set, and the feelings you were getting from people. Now, what was utterly amazing about the job that our fans did was that they, too, were hearing the rumors and whispers about what was happening, so they were planning to mount the early stages of their campaign, even if it was just, "What are we going to do if Jericho is cancelled?" They were putting things in sight to talk about it weeks before we were canceled, so once we were canceled, they were off and running. And what was utterly staggering, the most phenomenal thing about the job that they had done, was that from cancellation to being picked up, it was three weeks. It was just three weeks of the most well-thought-out, well-organized, beautifully-executed, polite, and classy campaign that you could have possibly imagined. On one day, they would jam the fax machine of the top executive at CBS with faxes demanding the return of Jericho. The next day, they would send a bunch of flowers apologizing for jamming their fax, but at the end of the note saying, "We're sorry we jammed your fax, here's a bunch of flowers," they said, "but remember, the reason why we jammed the fax is because we want Jericho back." And it was just beautiful and classy and well-mannered and just gorgeously put together -- it was a campaign that I doubt Hawkins could have orchestrated, but it would be one that he would have been deeply proud of doing, had he had the chance.

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