Actor Stephen Lang Joins Danbury Radio Show Ahead of Avatar 2 Release
Actor Stephen Lang has appeared in some of the most successful films of all-time.
Lang played the Colonel in Avatar, Ike in Tombstone and Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals. Ahead of the release of Avatar 2: "The Way of Water", he's out promoting the film, and took a few minutes to join the Ethan, Lou & Large Dave Show on I-95. We asked Lang about his work on Avatar 2 and his storied film background.
Does this feel different, promoting Avatar 2 versus the first one? Especially with all the reviews which are amazing?
"You know, the first time out, to be honest, we didn't know we had a hit at all. We knew we were doing something we considered special, for sure. But, there was no way to project it would have the kind of universal embrace that it had. So that was thrilling but of course, it does create some expectations along the way. So, we are out here promoting it very heavily but the reception has just been terrific, right down the line. For the last couple of weeks we've been going around the world so I've been in Germany, England, Korea, Japan and now in Los Angeles and people are responding very positively to it, so that is really cool and gratifying."
It's been a long time since the last one. Did you get your body back in shape? As the Colonel, you were jacked up in the first one. Did you have to go back into the gym for this?
"Well I did, I never really left the gym, that is just kind of part of my life, I suppose. But what I didn't have to do and in fact it would have been kind of counterproductive for me to get quite as big as I was in the first film. Because you know, that was the mission from Jim Cameron was he wanted me as big and kind of brutal as possible. But now that I return, and it's not, it's no secret that I return in Na'vi form and so, it's a much lighter form. It's much more agile character. The former Quartich, he kind of thought and moved at right angles in a way, in a kind of precise and military way. But now he's adapted to the environment in a much better and more useful way. So I'm not carrying all the weight and muscle that I did but I am flexible."
With the advent of C.G.I. in this process, is it a lot different than your stage performance?
"At a very fundamental level, acting remains acting. You're engaging with whoever it is you are doing a scene with, you're engaging with the environment, in a way that is honest and authentic. And it doesn't matter whether you're doing performance capture in front of a green screen, or on a live-action set. That really is the mission, to be truthful, to be simple and honest and tell the story, to advocate on behalf of your character. Now, having said that, certainly performance capture does have some special demands and presents some challenges. But you know, you incorporate them into the work and very, very quickly performance capture becomes a way of life that you understand. There is very little green screen in this film, in Avatar. There is a difference which is kind of a long discussion between green screen and performance capture. And there is, of course a lot of C.G.I., a huge amount because it's all, in fact it's a computer generated environment."
How do you spend your time, when you're waiting to start your next scene?
"I'm a napper, quite simply. It depends on the gig, I suppose. I remember on the first Avatar between scenes I was always lifting weights, doing curls or something like that, just to maintain. But, at this point 10-13 years down the line, if I'm not needed, I tend to go sit in the chair, close my eyes or play some backgammon on the computer or something like that. You know, downtime is kind of the time to turn the pot down to a low simmer. And then, when I get called to the set, you turn the flame up again."
There is more, and you can listen to Part 2 of our interview with Stephan Lang below. In it, we ask Stephen if he thinks James Cameron is the best Director in the business, we learn about his time in Roxbury, CT with Dustin Hoffman and learn about the role that let Stephen down.
You can listen to the entire I-95 Morning Show interview below.
Check out the Ethan, Lou & Large Dave Podcast on Apple and Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. It's the same show we do on the radio but with limited commercials and no music. Or, listen live by streaming the show on the I-95 Rock Mobile app, or tune into I-95 (95.1FM).