SCOTT BAKULA: LORD OF ILLUSIONS
Lost Souls: Could you tell me how you first heard of the role of Harry D'amour?
Scott Bakula: It actually just came through the regular channels. My agent got a script in the mail and sent it over to me to read. My partner read it and I read it and we both liked it a lot. So, we went in to meet Clive because they said that Clive was real interested in me doing the role.
L.S.: What ultimately made you decide to take the part?
L.S.: Just meeting Clive?
S.B.: Just meeting him and the meeting and hearing the things he had to say about the movie and what he was trying to do with it and what he wanted to make. How his vision of it, and just being in the room with him, I really liked him a lot. I felt that it was going to be a good creative kind of work experience to be involved with. It was just good chemistry going on right from the very beginning.
L.S.: When we saw Clive down in Atlanta in March, he was telling stories about how he exaggerated to you, telling you that there were no blood and guts in the movie to take the part. Is that true?
S.B.: Yeah, he said, "oh we're not going to do that," and "yeah we won't do that." So throughout the shooting I would say, "oh and this is the stuff that's not going to be in the picture right, this part here?" We were getting ready to blow some bodies' head up or something like that and I'd say, "but that's not going to be in the picture right because this isn't going to be that kind of picture?" Clive laughed and kinda smiles about it. "Oh no, the MPAA will never let that through, don't worry about that. That will just be in my version," he'd say.
L.S.: The director's version.
S.B.: Yeah, the Director's Cut!
L.S.: Are you familiar with any of Clive's other works?
S.B.: Yes, I've read some of his stuff and I have seen Hellraiser, which he wrote and directed. Yeah I am familiar with it. The other thing that made me very interested in working with him was when I saw Hellraiser. I thought that was an incredibly well done piece, especially because it was his first time directing. I thought the writing of it, the characters were good, and yeah it was very scary. Nevertheless, it all worked and it all kind of came from, in terms of an actor's point of view, a real place called the characters.
L.S.: Are you aware of the "Lost Souls" story?
L.S.: Well, it's the name of our club and also the birthplace of Harry D'Amour. We are reprinting it in our first issue.
S.B.: Could you send a copy to my agent? That would be great, I'd love to read that.
L.S.: Sure. Did you bring any personal traits or ideals from yourself to the part?
S.B.: You always bring parts or yourself to the part certainly. There was a certain framework, as to how Clive wrote the characters and that he continued to write, that I liked and wanted to stay with. I got to work a little bit from the framework that he has established, but he gave me a lot of freedom to experiment and find my own rhythm and find what was going to work for me. There was a nice kind of marriage between the Harry D'Amour that he'd written and then myself and the character that I brought to it. I think anyway, and I hope that people like it.
L.S.: The fact that there's sort of a legend built around Harry, considering that he's the first recurring character that he had created, did that scare you at all, or were you not aware of that...?
S.B.: No, I knew that Clive had been writing him for ten years, he told me that right away. Yeah there's a certain amount of worry that you've got to live up to a certain kind of expectancy that people have already formulated in their minds about who he is, what he looks like, how he acts, and things like that. Actually, it didn't bother me that much. Certainly it wasn't like doing the Bridges of Madison County where everyone was worried about how that was going to be compared to the book. Yeah, I did think about it, and I know Clive gave a lot of thought to it. He said to me in the first meeting, "I think you'd be a great Harry." I really trusted him with that, because he certainly knows Harry better than anybody.
L.S.: He is really a dynamic character.
S.B.: I think the fact that he really believed that I was the right character, and that was the best endorsement. I wasn't coming to him and convincing him that I've got to play Harry D'Amour because I've always wanted to. He came to me and said I think you would be great and I responded to the material.
L.S.: Clive did say that he envisioned you as Harry, and he will always see you as Harry, just as all the fans will after the movie.
S.B.: Let's hope so.
L.S.: After the movie, do you any beliefs in the supernatural or magic?
S.B.: No more than I always have. I believe that there are many things out there in the world and we don't know that much really about anything. Almost anything and everything is possible, and where everyone decided to draw the line between reality and magic or mysticism or good and evil, everybody has there own interpretation of those things. I think there's too much going on, here on the planet and in the universe that we don't know about, that we can say would never happen and yet we continue to make discoveries all the time.
L.S.: Was it a comfortable transition for you to make a "horror" movie?
S.B.: I never approached it as a horror movie, so I never made a transition. To me it was a thriller, it was a film noir piece, it was an action piece. There were moments that were horrorific in nature, but it wasn't like I was doing a slasher movie or something like that. I wasn't playing that kind of character or anything. I just approached it as I approach all my work. I look for the truth and the honesty in the character and what the situations were. And again that's why I wanted to do it. He wrote that kind of work, the scenes and the action. I think when you see it, you'll see that the actors are all supported by great character development and great script. That's why I feel that this works really well because there's substance, really tremendous substance to it.
L.S.: I know the Quantum Leap fans take you very seriously; they are almost like the Star Trek fans. Are you worried at all that they will be disappointed or dejected by the movie?
S.B.: No, I don't think so. I've already talked to people that had to leave because they were too scared and they couldn't stay for it. Like anything you do, you can't please everyone. This a departure, in a way it's a departure in terms of it's a very intense couple of hours in a movie theater. It doesn't have the lightness and the gentleness that Quantum did, but in the end the character is battling the forces of evil and the people that are following Sam Beckett certainly will appreciate that and understand that Sam would try to do these things also. In many ways the characters are similar, he's someone who is looking out for people. He's battling a darker villain than Sam sometimes battled. The movie is not for everybody. It's very scary and very intense.
L.S.: Can you comment on Nix, your evil adversary?
S.B.: Not more than to say that Daniel was just spectacular. Really, really wonderful in an understated way. He was almost gentle in his evilness, and that made it that much scarier to me. He was filled with, in this character's twisted place, this divine truth that he knew what he was doing was correct. It's a wonderful portrayal and very, very frightening.
L.S.: It has to be comforting to know that Lord 2 is already in the works?
S.B.: Yeah, they are hoping that this movie goes and I know that they have talked to Clive about the next story. This movie has to do well and that's what all of our goals are right now.
L.S.: All the indicators point that way right now, considering that MGM/UA seems to be trying to find its best release date so it will do well.
S.B.: We are all hoping that all those things, you never really know how it's going to work out, but they all do.
L.S.: Is there anywhere you would like to see the series go from here?
S.B.: I wouldn't even begin to presume the mind of Clive. His vision and interpretation and look at everything is so much more out there than I could even begin to step into that. I think he is very capable of making the next step.
L.S.: The MPAA and censorship have been a kind of thorn in the side of Clive considering the dark fantastical side that he portrays on the screen?
S.B.: All artists are entitled to their own vision, and Clive has always been consistent throughout his career. If it were an artist that comes along and exploits the gore and takes advantage of it for the pure sake of having it there, yes. But, this is what Clive wants to do, what he loves to do, and what he has always done. He hasn't changed, and he doesn't add things just for the effect.