Stephen Lang is a veteran actor whose career started in theater before moving on to television and movies. He is perhaps best known for his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron’s Avatar, but you’ve seen him in a variety of shows, including AMC’s Into the Badlands and Terra Nova on Fox. He’s been in a bunch of movies, including Don’t Breathe, Tombstone, and most recently as Linden Braven in Braven, starring Jason Momoa. We asked him about his character on the show, working with Jason, and what he has coming up, including a sequel to Don’t Breathe.
How did you end up getting cast in Braven?
Got a call from Jason saying, “Hey, Old Man, you gotta come do this picture with me”.
I said, “OK”.
Tell us about Linden and his relationship with Joe in the movie. Does that change after the events of the cabin?
Linden and Joe love each other fiercely. Of course, Linden is a hard love guy. Never been demonstrative or sentimental, and not quick to give approval. However, he’s got a good heart and solid work ethic, and he knows that Joe does as well. He’s proud of Joe, but is more likely to give him a slap on the back than a hug. He has a soft spot for daughter in law and granddaughter, and that reflects well on him – they make him smile, and he likes to make his granddaughter laugh.
The initial conversation at the cabin certainly is sour, but I speculate that as the weekend wore on Linden’s anger would subside to a degree, and they would have a more rational conversation. But we will never know because fate intervenes.
Actually the events at the cabin bring things into a sharper focus than they have been for some time. Bad people are here. They want to hurt us. Not going to happen. We will hurt them. At that point Joe and Linden naturally fall into their roles as protectors. In a way not so different than going to work – they each know their job and they do it.
You previously starred with Jason in Conan. What was it like on set with Jason starring and producing this time?
Jason and I work well together. He is smart, creative, daring, and very funny. Just like me! Heh heh. I mean, we understand each other and enjoy the process of building a scene.
Any funny set stories with Jason?
Funny story and gnarly story are one and the same. I traveled to Newfoundland, and go to the set, the bar where the brawl happens. I don’t start work until the next day but Momoa is there and about to do part of the right. He sees me….”Hey, Old Man, welcome to Newfoundland!….Big bear hug…….ok, gotta shoot this fight. I watch at the monitor…..action……punch, punch, smash, crash………and Jason gets clipped on the temple or jaw, and hits the deck! Oh shit! This is literally within 2 minutes of me getting on set. And I’m thinking, uh oh, what have I gotta myself into? I think Jason was done for the night. Next day I’m shooting and I got the same stunt guy opposite me. I’m not sure just how experienced this particular stunt guy was…..good guy, not dissing him, but maybe a little green, and very worried because he had hurt Momoa the day before. I tell the guy…look, don’t worry, however if I feel so much as a breeze go past my nose….I’m gonna beat the living shit out of you. Then I winked at him, and said we are gonna be fine. Dude was a lot bigger and younger than me anyway, and no doubt could have beaten the hell out of me. The whole thing went fine.
How gnarly was it filming in Newfoundland?
The other gnarly thing was the cold. I was always cold in the cabin. I hate being cold!
Is there something surprising about Jason you want people to know?
Yeah, people should know that Jason is bald. That Samson thing is a wig.
You’re slated to play the villain in four Avatar movies. What will you bring differently to each movie?
Ain’t gonna say nothing about Avatar. We are working hard. Very physical. Very demanding. I’ll just say that over the course of the saga Quaritch continues to develop, experiencing the light and darkness of Pandora, and of his own soul. It’s a complex and challenging role, and I’m just giving it my best shot.
With Josh Brolin cast as Cable and Samuel Jackson cast as Nick Fury, are there any other comic book characters you’d like to play onscreen?
Hmmm, I dunno about comic book characters. How about Mr. Natural in Zap comix?
What projects do you have coming up next?
I got a flock of Avatar, I got Mortal Engines – from Christian Rivers and Peter Jackson, gonna be a gas I think. Coming out December this year. I play Shrike, wonderful and terrifying character. And we are supposed to do a sequel to Don’t Breathe. So, I stay busy. Maybe some stuff I don’t even know about is on the horizon.
How do you survive the zombie apocalypse?
Zombies bore me. I’m just not letting them in.
Marvel or DC?
Harvey. Loved Betty and Veronica.
Who’s more fierce, Joe Braven or Conan the Barbarian?
Conan tramples Joe into dust for all eternity.
Favorite actor/actress you’ve ever worked with?
Lucille Ball. Robert Duvall.
If not acting, what would you be doing right now?
We thank Stephen Lang for taking the time to chat with us here at Jason Momoa News and look forward to seeing him in Braven and his upcoming movies, including Mortal Engines later this year.
You can follow him on Twitter at @IAmStephenLang.