Lance Reddick, is the man who can do anything. He’s been in a range of acting positions from comedic roles like the hilarious yet tyrannical Christian DeVille from Comedy Central’s Corporate to dramatic roles as commanding officer Irvin Irving on the crime television series, Bosch. His smooth distinctive voice has made many appearances in video games, animated shows, and of course his classical music. In this interview Lance gives us insight as to what it’s like to be an artist involved with acting and music. Despite his setbacks, Lance is a man dedicated to his craft and a wonderful talented human being.
Cliché: What has your experience been like working on Bosch and Corporate?
Lance Reddick: It’s been great on both accounts. Obviously they are different experiences because the genre, style and characters are so different. But it’s been great to go from playing Irving, who is so understated, and Christian, who is such a maniac.
How do you handle the switches from working on a drama to a comedy?
Well, in some ways it’s more about the character and the tone of the show than the genre per say. It’s all about finding the truth of who the person is physically, psychologically and rhythmically. Part of what makes Christian so funny is he takes himself so seriously, and he’s fearless in his extreme point of view. In his mind, he is never wrong. Being wrong is for other people.
What have been some of your favorite experiences in your career? Who’s been your favorite character to play?
My favorite experiences have always been working with great people when everybody is committed to doing the best work possible, supporting everyone else to do their best work, as opposed to egos addicted to being the center of attention. Highlights for me have been The Wire, Bosch, John Wick, American Horror Story, and Corporate.
As far as my favorite character to play, I don’t have one. I’ve loved too many of them – although I must say Papa Legba in American Horror Story was so completely different from anything I’ve ever done that it was fantastic, and getting to work with Angela Bassett, Jessica Lange, and Kathy Bates (one of my idols) feels like a once in a lifetime kind of experience – almost surreal.
Before getting into acting you studied music, and you released an album back in 2007. Do you still try to focus on music in your life?
Off and on. It has been on my mind a lot lately. I was trying to make more time to write and compose after we wrapped season four of BOSCH, but my acting plate has been so full this year, it’s been very difficult to make the time. But it’s still a major part of who I feel I am, and it’s an outlet for my creativity that acting will never satisfy.
How did you get involved with voice acting? What’s that experience like compared to acting on screen?
Well, I think that voice acting for me really started with doing commercials, and then moved into video games and then story form animation. For me the biggest difference between voice acting and on screen acting is how much more input you expect and need from the director to guide your performance in voice acting, particularly in video games.
What is the most important thing you’ve taken away from your career so far?
If by that question you mean what have I learned about life or myself, I would have to say that consistent hard work pays off. But, it’s has to be the right kind of hard work, and it has to be on two levels at once – artistic and business. The business part was the hardest thing for me to wrap my head around, and took a very long time, because I just didn’t want to think about it. I just wanted to create and let other people worry about that other stuff. But realizing that the buck stops with me if I don’t want to be a victim of other people’s actions and choices means a constant battle with yourself about the standards for both the quality of the work you do and the quality of the work you are able to have to do, which often means holding other people accountable to their commitments to you as well. For artists, that’s really hard because we want to be liked and we want to focus 100% on our art.
What has been one of the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest challenge hands down has been race. Spending so much time waiting around for the “black” or “ethnic” roles, so there were just rarely leads to even audition for. And then as the 90’s and early 2000’s progressed watching rappers and stand up comedians being pushed ahead of the line in front of trained actors of color, it was really disgusting and disheartening. And then of course the next trend was to promote train theatre actors from England, instead of those here, claiming it’s because they are better trained after spending so much time not giving a damn how well trained American actors of color were…well… Anyway, that’s my experience.
Is there anything left that you haven’t done in your career that you still want to try?
Plenty. Don’t get me wrong, I have been really fortunate, and almost can’t believe how great my career is right at this moment.
But since you ask, my bucket list left to achieve would be to star on Broadway, to be the lead of my own television series, to win an Oscar, and to do a movie with Meryl Streep.
(Oh, and to cure cancer and be the first man on Mars… 😉 )
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Lance Reddick Gives us his Experience as an Artist: Featured Image Credit: Storm Santos, Groomer: Blondie for Exclusive Artists Using MAC Cosmetics