Lee Pace has just finished his first facebook Q&A, done on Halt and Catch Fire official page. But before we go through that, I have some great news to share – Lee can now be found on facebook! Click here to follow his page.
Here are the questions Lee answered tonight.
Q: Favorite 80’s music?
A: im a big music fan and the music from the early 80s is so diverse and cool….The Clash. New Order. Micheal Jackson. who else? what are your favorites?
Q: Of all characters you’ve portrayed, which one is your favorite and which one is the most like yourself?
A: Ill always have a soft spot for the piemaker.
Q: Hi Lee. What made you interested in doing this series? And also, any word on more Daisies?
A: Joe was a riddle i wanted to solve. i accepted him to be an effective person, he’s a Winner… and i wanted to know more about ‘that guy’. i guess one of the conclusions i’ve come to after filming season one, is that ‘that guy’ is just a myth.
Q: Hi Lee! I really want to know, which movie(s) has motivated you to become an actor?
A: hanks for the question! When I was 16 or 17, all I did was watch movies. Old Deer Hunter, the incredible movies from the early 80s. The Godfather. At the time, incredible people were making movies and showcasing incredible performances. Robert De Niro. Just incredible actors making movies one after the other. The Graduate. Tootsie. Marathon Man.
Q: Hi Lee! When you play Joe do you ever lace traits from other characters you have played in the past? Also who is you’re favorite character you have played so far? Thank you for taking the time to read!
A: It’s not intentional but I wouldn’t be surprised if other characters come through. It’s hard to pick a favorite, too. But I love Ned and I loved Roy Walker from The Fall.
Q: What are your influences/inspiration for Joe Macmillan – either direct or indirect? Thank you!
A: Ivan Boesky. Michael Milken. The infamous corporate raiders of the early 80’s… innovators like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs… those were men that i found very interesting while researching, and Joe might aspire to be… Joe is an unformed person in many ways. Hes like a baby. Babies take up a lot of space. when they laugh, you feel joy; when they cry, you feel worry. they are loud; they get what they need… i guess you could say the same thing about a bear.
Q: Could you send me Mackenzie’s number?
A: Good question
Q: Mac or PC
Q: Hi, Lee! How does it feel going back to 1983?
A: Fun. Why not? It’s an exciting time.
Q: Will more of Joe’s secrets and personality come out in the next few episodes?
A: To Joe, it’s less about secrets and more that he needs to know himself. He needs to go down that path so he knows himself better. How is anyone else going to know him if he doesn’t know himself?
Q: How confident is Joe, REALLY. Is his machismo a put on to stir action in others, or is that who he really is?
A: I think in a lot of ways Joe’s confidence is all he’s got.
Q: Any similarities with Joes character from real Lee? Or are you different and how?
A: I don’t share a lot of the values that Joe MacMillan has, but I do admire his balls. I admire how courageous he is.
Q: What was your favourite scene in H&CF?
A: I love the reverse engineering sequence in the pilot episode. I think you can see Joe’s enthusiasm and his infectious excitement and personality. That’s really key to who he is.
Q: Lee, do you have much input in shaping Joe’s personality? Is it a challenge to portray a character who is so driven he is capable of anything?
A: It’s fun to play the character. But his ambition is as much to his detriment as to his benefit. What’s the point of getting what you want if you don’t know what you want?
Q: Do you have any interest in computers?
A: Im a curious person. its been interesting to learn a lot about a subject i know very little about. coding. the mechanics of a mother board. its interesting stuff.
Q: Hey Lee – Yesterday, Heiyin Y. asked “What is the hardest part playing this character?”
A: learning the lines. and saying them in the right order.
Seriously, thanks for the question. I’m intrigued by joe as well. and i guess there are a lot of answers. hes not an easy man to understand, and im still learning.
his unprincipled ambition. his wild aspiration….
joe is an unhinged man. He lives a fantasy of his own creation. He is tenacious and will not rest until the world matches the possibility that he can visualize… thats not a sane, or respectful way to live.
I love Joe. I defend him, even when he does despicable things.
Joe knows who he WANTS to be… but he doesnt know who he IS. Who am I, really? Its an important question for a man to face… and its time joe started to ask it.
Q: Here’s a question from Jessica K.: “Hi Lee! How are you? I hope you’re doing well. You’ve embodied so many different characters (quite well, may I add) throughout your career as an actor. Do you have a set process for preparing yourself for the characters you play, or does it differ with each persona? Thanks, and have a lovely day.”
A: hey. thanks for the question. the process is always different. always different inspirations. different cast of characters.
Q: Ok! Our last last question was left by Anthony H. yesterday: “What was the most challenging aspect of doing this particular show? I love the show!”
A: forgetting what i know. letting go of everything we have gained in the past 30 years… this is a time before computers became ubiquitous tools in our lives…. there is an innocence to the show.
He added, “great questions tonight. thanks for your interest. appreciate you watching the show.”
The first episode of Halt and Catch Fire premiers on TV in 2 days and Lee’s been very busy doing press. In this interview with TVLINE he chats about the relationship Joe and Cameron have in the show, Steve Jobs and one of his biggest projects up to date, Pushing Daisies. Yes, you’re not the only one missing it.
TVLINE | This is your first regular TV series since Pushing Daisies, which was a decidedly different show. What has this experience been like for you?
The piece maker could not be more different than the pie maker in a thousand, thousand ways. Everything about it is different — different network, different creators, different love story, different skill set. [Laughs] I hear Joe criticized as kind of an a–hole. But he doesn’t kill people.
TVLINE | I find it interesting that you said love story because in the pilot, it doesn’t seem like the most romantic connection between Joe and Cameron. How does that relationship develop?
I don’t want to say too much. I probably shouldn’t have even said love story. But she’s irresistible to him, absolutelyirresistible. Meeting her in that classroom is the reason he wants to make that computer. He wants to make the tool — and put it into her hands — that will change the world, because she needs it. If I can take this technology out of corporate America and put it into that girl’s hands, we live in a different time. That’s what Joe means [when he says], “It’s not about the thing. It’s the thing that gets us to the thing.” It’s culture that interests him.
TVLINE | This is a fictional show, but you’re talking about an object that is very real and a period in history that’s very real. How much do real events play into the first season, like the rise of Apple?
Joe’s aware of Steve Jobs. He knows that he’s working on something very cool on the West coast, and he wants to beat him. Joe believes in himself, believes that he has something to offer, this technology. … Sixty companies were trying to develop computers [at the time] with much more resources than Cardiff Electric. But Joe knows that it doesn’t matter. IBM’s resources, the leagues of white dudes in suits and corporate money and corporate interests – who cares? Who cares about any of that stuff? All we have to do is make the most awesome machine that we could make. And if we succeeded at that, people will want it. Then we’re in. And then we can build the next thing and the next thing and the next thing. Then we’re bringing about the millennium. That’s innovation. That’s the whole spirit that drives Joe MacMillan. And when you know that you’ve got millions of people hungry for this technology that’s going to change their lives, why would I care if Gordon’s feelings are hurt? Why would I care if [Cardiff Electric boss] Bosworth is a little ticked off that I had taken over his company? [Laughs] There’s a bigger purpose. Now, some might say that’s sociopathic, but it all depends on whether or not Joe wins. If he wins, if he succeeds in what he set out to do, then he’s a risk-taker. He’s a pioneer. He’s someone who overcomes obstacles. If he fails, he’s an a–hole.
TVLINE | This might be a question for the producers, but is it just a coincidence that the word “Mac” is in his last name?
Yeah. Question for the producers. I didn’t choose the name. I love it. When I would write emails to them, I would refer to him as the Joe Mac. [Cameron is] Cam Dos.
TVLINE | There’s sort of a slick Don Draper salesman quality to him.
It’s a mask. When I say in the pilot episode, “I’m done doing business like that,” he means it. But that way of doing business is effective. So if I have to wear those shoes to get in the door and then start running this thing the way I want to run it, I’d better wear that mask for a while. But you tell me if you think he’s like Don Draper after Episode 3.
TVLINE | He’s a much darker character than Ned the pie maker. Was that really appealing to you to shed that image?
Like I said, he doesn’t kill people. It’s a different character. I’m so fortunate to have a diverse list of characters put in front of me. Gosh, whenever I’d get one of them, too, I’d think, “Oh, he’s going to be nothing like me.” The very first movie I did was called Soldier’s Girl. The transformation was so great in it that I thought, “I’m never going to recognize myself in that.” But I watch it and I do see myself. I see myself fall in love. I see so much more of myself than I ever expected to see. With Ned, who knows if it’s that the character imprints on you or if it draws things out of you that you didn’t know were there. But yes, I absolutely feel like Ned is me. And after doing a season of this show, I feel like, in a way, I have never been more revealed in a character. I never would have guessed that from reading the pilot. I never would have thought that this man would be so close to who I am, and it really, really turned out to be that. There were times that I thought those writers were in my head and I was like, “Guys, what’s going on? Are you reading my sleepless nights?” [Laughs]
TVLINE | People really connected with Pushing Daisies. They still love it. What do you think it is about the enduring appeal of that show?
I don’t know. I remember doing [press] forPushing Daisies, launching the show, and trying to explain what it was about. “Ned can touch dead people back to life, and if they lived for longer than a minute, then someone else would die. And if I touched them for a second time, then they would die. And I touch my child sweetheart back to life, then I can never touch her again.” It’s a such a only-out-of-the-mind-of-Bryan-Fuller kind of show. It’s one of those magical, odd things. I don’t know what it is. But I do know that I fell in love with Anna Friel, absolutely fell in love with her. I saw her in New York recently because she’s doing a new show this season [NBC’s Odyssey]. We had such high hopes for [Pushing Daisies]. We’re proud of it, made something special. And it means so much to me that people, even if they didn’t discover it at the time, are starting to discover it now because we worked hard on it.
Lee talked to HitFix his Halt and Catch Fire character Joe MacMillian and his other recent work.
HitFix: Now, I guess my first question is one of sorta logistics. Where were you able to fit all of this in with “Guardians,” with “Hobbit,” you’ve just been rather busy for the past year…
Lee Pace: Man, I can’t even tell you how. I mean it’s been this past year living out of a suitcase. We shot the pilot in April, went from Atlanta to London, did the first tests for Ronan, the kind of costume and make up and all that stuff. Went from there to New Zealand, shot my pick-ups for the “Hobbit.” Went from there back to London, did that whole crazy, f***ing movie. I mean the craziest thing I think I’ve ever been a part of was that movie. And then basically went from that right into this. Wait. No! No, no, I went from that into Stephen Frears’ movie about Lance Armstrong. Why I thought I needed another movie in there, I don’t know. And then I just finished this about a month ago so I’m like home and finally get a chance to have a life.
HitFix: How much of it is sort of a compulsion to work? How much of it is projects that you just couldn’t turn down, et cetera?
Lee Pace: One hundred percent both. I mean I’m a big believer of when jobs are coming, grind it out. Do it! Because they don’t always come for actors, you depend on getting cast. I mean, God, just this incredibly cool stuff kind of fell into my lap. This has been just an incredible experience and “Guardians of the Galaxy” was just… I mean… did you see the trailer?
HitFix: I did!
Lee Pace: It’s pretty wicked isn’t it?
HitFix: Have you gone around and sort of looked at the people who have been screen grabbing Ronan and just sort of like, “Okay here’s our first look and let’s pick it to pieces!”
Lee Pace: Oh no. I haven’t. I try not to do that because I don’t want to…
HitFix: People are intrigued because I mean it’s only like two frames and some people have taken those frames and they’re like, “Okay can you see this? Can you see that??”
Lee Pace: Yeah, yeah. I’m really excited about this character. I mean he’s nuts. I mean I’ve never played anything like it and I’ve had such a good, it’s one of those things where you don’t know how to approach something like this. This is not Joe MacMillan. You can’t think, “Well, you know, this is my relationship with my father…” It’s not that. There’s none of that, you now, kind of “This is how I would go about dealing with these problems.” It’s a complete kind of act of imagination. But in the hands of James Gunn, I’m such a fan of his movies. So it’s very much a creation of his and I found my self being like, “Alright, let’s do it. You tell me what you’re into here.
HitFix: Is that an immediate feeling that you have where you can sort of turn yourself over to a director or do you have to sort of see other things and go, “Okay, I know you know what you doing?”
Lee Pace: I mean you sit down with him for 10 minutes and you know he knows what he’s doing. I mean he’s just making the movie that he wants to see. I mean that’s a filmmaker. And it’s just a privilege to work with someone like that. You know, Peter Jackson is the same way. He’s going to make the movie that he wants to see. And to be a small part in one of those is so cool. Because they have thousands of people work on these movies, thousands and there’s so many different layers. So my performance is just a small, small part of that puzzle. Creative and fun, working on these massive movies has just been so much more fun than I’ve ever dreamed it could be.
HitFix: Well, just in terms of sort of imagination and foreigness and in terms of out there in outlandishness… You know… “Hexadecimal code” and whatever the heck these motherboard things are doing, is that a language you speak?
Lee Pace: No, but it’s hardly a language Joe speaks either. Joe doesn’t know a lot. He knows, he understands the basics of this, but he doesn’t understand the cutting edge technology that he needs Gordon to create. It’s Gordon’s business, he just needs to push Gordon to do it, to make it. What Joe has in mind is an awesome computer, the computer that no one else has the balls to build. He doesn’t even know quite what that is. He knows it needs to be cheaper, it needs to be faster and it needs to be smaller. That’s what he knows. And that’s going to be tough to do. And he knows it’s going to be tough to do and he knows it is going to be even tougher to get people to buy it.
AMC said goodbye to Breaking Bad last year, and they’re already prepping next year’s Mad Men swan song. With the loss of the two series that put them on the map for award-winning original programming, it’s time for a new series and a new star to shake things up on the network. Enter Halt and Catch Fire and its leading man Lee Pace, who’s not letting the media pressure get to him.
“I’m a huge fan of Mad Men,” Pace told Yahoo TV as we sat down with him to talk about his new ’80s-set drama about the dawn of personal computers. “I think that Jon Hamm and Matthew Weiner… it’s such an achievement that they made that show. It’s a very special fictional creation. But it’s nothing like this. Nothing.”
And while Pace gave props to his personal TV favorites like Breaking Bad and Netflix’s House of Cards, he didn’t take this new gig just to follow anti-hero suit: “Joe’s a character that I’ve never seen before on television,” he said, referring to Joe MacMillan, his renegade former IBM exec character who sets out to beat the computer pioneers at their own game. MacMillan decides to reverse-engineer the IBM PC with help from his ragtag team, engineer Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy) and prodigy Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis).
“I think he despises everything they stand for and the IBM corporate culture… you hear these crazy stories, which are true, of people in black or blue suits, modest coat and tie, white shirt, certain kind of haircut. It was the picture of corporate. I think he sees that and says, ‘That’s f—ed. It can be better than that, it can be more than that, and it needs to be. It has to be.’ That’s why he picked people like Gordon and Cameron to go on this journey with him because he’s not interested in doing it that way.
“I want there to be something inspiring about him. It’s not about the money. It’s never about the money. Money’s not interesting. Ideas are interesting, culture is interesting, and that’s what he’s hoping to be part of.
“He’s just risked everything to make this happen. This is the big moment of his life, this is the make-or-break, he’s got it all on the line. He’s taking this huge, huge risk, and he knows it will be transformative — he just doesn’t know how. He has an idea for how he’d like it to be transformative, but life is life, and Joe is not one of the guys on TV that always succeeds. There are those guys on TV that’ve got the gun, they know 12 languages, they always get the girl. Joe’s not that guy. Joe is a hustler.”
And Pace is at a similar point in his career, returning to TV after a five-year hiatus, taking a chance on a third television series, while his film and theater career are stronger than ever. He’s also treading into uncharted waters, creatively, considering his two previous shows, Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, were both created by the same man, Bryan Fuller.
The article came with a beautiful promotional high-quality shot, which has already been added to our gallery.
Halt and Catch Fire premieres Sunday, June 1 at 10 p.m. on AMC.
In his latest interview, Lee Pace talks to IMDB about technology and his upcoming show Half and Catch Fire. Read below what he has to tell.
IMDbTV: One of my first thoughts upon watching the premiere was that I can foresee people looking at this and saying, “It’s ‘80s Don Draper” – that is, at first blush. But moving deeper into the episode, one can see that your character has a much harder edge. What would you say to someone who might be tempted to compare Joe MacMillan to Don Draper?
Lee Pace: I would say, stick around until episode three, and then answer the question for yourself. I’m such a huge fan of that show [“Mad Men”]. It’s a true, true achievement of fiction. But with this, the subject matter is different and the man is fundamentally different. Yes, it’s a man in a suit in an office who is competent at what he does, and doesn’t necessarily get along with everyone that he’s working with. There are certain similarities.
And I felt the same way when I read [the script] the first time, when I read the pilot. But the more I investigated this guy, and the more I looked for influences not only in the tech world, but within that time, it’s very different. I was looking at not only some of the young hustlers who then became tech titans but, you know… some of those corporate raiders who defined the culture of the ‘80s. Get more. Make more money. Have more sex. Go harder. Go tougher. That’s kind of the path I started down with Joe McMillan.
IMDbTV: You were quite young during this era. … What was your earliest memory of interacting this kind of technology ?
Pace: …I remember video games…Video games play a really interesting part in the role of technology – not only because people our age were playing those video games, but it became such an integrated part of who we grew up, and how we thought. Then video games graduated to [computers] being in school.
…We’re a part of that generation of people that grew up as computers grew up, basically. In a way, those machines have been designed to make our lives happen. Whether it be learning, or playing, or connecting with one another. Our generation, in particular, has a very interesting insight into the world of personal technology, which is specifically what Joe is interested in. Somehow getting this technology into the hands of civilians, for lack of a better word. Out of business.
You have to understand, in the late ‘70s, computers were the size of refrigerators and they served massive companies where people would do their business at terminals that fed into these computers. This is a turning point, where the computers got smaller and smart innovators like Steve Jobs and many, many others…everyone was trying to figure out a personal computer.
That’s what Joe is interested in. Joe is trying to connect the dots between the video games, between Atari and the fact that people want these machines in their homes. Back at IBM, everyone is buying these things. Every year, millions more people are buying them.
In the pilot when I say the line, “The computer’s not the thing, it’s the thing that gets us to the thing”, what Joe is excited about is the change in the culture.
IMDbTV: It’s an interesting series both in terms of its content and, for lack of a better term, stylistically. It’s taking this era that’s seen as very sexy and at the forefront of what will become our modern technological age, and yet, all of these things that we take for granted now are seen at their very beginning, and actually very clunky looking. But Joe, he looks like he could live in the current era and not necessarily be a step behind.
Pace: Well, it’s not that distant a history, really. It’s in our lifetime. Joe McMillan is the same age my father was in 1983, which is the age I am right now. That’s an interesting opportunity, personally, for me to get to play. But here we are in a time when, because of innovators like Joe and his contemporaries, innovation has become one of the most exciting things that we live with. The people who create these technologies – Steve Jobs in particular, because he’s one of the most successful at it and the most exciting ideas came from that man – are rock stars. This little time, I actually found it to be a very unexplored dark zone in our recent history. I didn’t really know much about this turning point in our history, and it’s such a significant change.
IMDbTV: What was the most interesting thing that you learned about the corporate politics going on behind the scenes of this boom, when there was still room for other companies besides IBM and Apple to make their mark?
Pace: Oh God, it’s such a huge subject. But when I mentioned those corporate raiders, that’s something that is in Joe’s blood, that idea that you have to be the winner. That there’s only one winner, and it’s gotta be you. Because if it’s not you, it’s going to be someone else. And nobody really cares how you got there. If you are uncompromising, if you win, then people look back on your actions and judge you as a risk-taker, bold and ahead of your time. If you lose, you’re just an a–hole.
Joe knows that, and he comes ready to fight in every way. He’s ready to fight IBM, he’s ready to fight Gordon. He’s ready to push Gordon to make this machine what it needs to be. Because there’s only going to be one machine that makes it into the history books, and that’s the machine that Joe wants to make. This is before the Macintosh came out.
IMDbTV: Is Joe going to be the kind of guy who people are going to, in some ways, aspire to be? You know how influential television characters can be, for better or for worse.
Pace: I’ve learned a lot about Joe. I’ve learned a lot about myself, playing Joe. Some of the research I did was looking at leadership theory… And I think Joe, in his blood, has got some very good skills at being a leader and some very questionable skills. But the fact is, he is effective. He is going to reach his goals. He is going to complete the mission he set out to complete at any cost. That is the basic component of Joe. He’s that machine… He will remove obstacles, get around them and change the rules to make sure that the mission is complete. Because he believes in it. He believes in the mission more than he believes in anyone’s feelings. He’s not going to validate someone’s hurt feelings when he’s got a million people who need a computer that’s faster, cheaper and smaller.
…Some part of me responds to me by thinking, “Wow, that guy’s a winner. That guy’s a real leader.” And some part of me responds to him and thinks, “That guy is a sociopath.”
IMDbTV: Yes, there’s an element of Joe that is almost devilishly seductive, especially in his interactions with Gordon. He inspires him to do what he does best and to become the person that he wants to be. But you know that he’s only doing it as a means to an end, and he’s going to ditch him as soon as he can. That must be interesting to play.
Pace: It is. It’s simple. I always think about this computer that they’re endeavoring to make is Joe. He is … designed to add value to your life, just like a computer. He is designed to do the things that you need done to make you more money, to get it done quickly, to operate on all systems. Fully compatible. But there are bugs in that machine, and the program is still new and flawed. It’s in that zone that I believe we found the really interesting story of Joe.
IMDbTV: Let’s step back for a bit, even outside of the series, to talk about what’s been going on with you. You’ve had a really interesting couple of years, bouncing back and forth between some incredibly high profile movies. There was a time when all of the movies that you were in at that moment, that were released and in theaters, was in Top Five [of highest grossing movies at the domestic box office of the day].
Pace: Oh yeah! That was, not last November but the November before that . I remember my mother taking a picture of IMDb’s Box Office [listing] and saying, “Lee, this is unbelievable!” I had Lincoln, The Hobbit [ An Unexpected Journey] and Twilight. Totally a moment when I was like, “Oh my god…I’m going to remember this.”
Pace: I mean…I’ve also done theater. I’ve done a play, like, about every other year. The more I do this, the less difference I see between them all. It all becomes interesting in different ways, but it’s still always playing a character. All the characters are different, obviously. Joe is very different than the elven king, who is different than Ronan the Accuser. I mean, that’s really the fundamental difference.
The difference between TV and everything else is, and I find this fascinating, you’re still making it while everyone is watching it. Like, when you’re doing a play, you’ve got the performance, you’ve got control of the performance, and you’re in the same room with your audience. There’s the immediate kind of communication happening.
AMC’s new drama Halt and Catch Fire premieres Sunday, June 1 at 10pm.
My apologizes for this short and unexpected hiatus. I’m working on fully updating the site.
As previously reported, new AMC drama about the dawn of the personal computer industry was screened at the South by Southwest Film Festival a week ago. Crave Online interviewed Lee Pace and Mackenzie Davis about the upcoming show (set to premiere June 1, 2014).
CraveOnline: What are your roles in “Halt and Catch Fire” as they pertain to the PC industry?
Lee Pace: I’ll start about Joe MacMillan. Joe is someone who comes from IBM. There was this phrase that our advisor told me about, The Wild Ducks. The Wild Ducks are the ones who left IBM and tried to start something else. There were a lot of them. So that’s what Joe is. He’s someone who’s leaving the corporate structure because this technology is such an exciting, fun wave.
He’s looking down the road and seeing the potential of this technology. In the pilot I have a line that sticks out. “Computers aren’t the thing. They’re the thing that gets us to the thing.” I just need to get people to build the computer that I want that I’m going to bring to the world. That’s why I get together with Gordon Clark and Cameron, so they can build my computer. So we’re making a computer. It’s really simple.
We’re just trying to make an awesome computer because in the world of tech, you’re either the most awesome or you’re out of business. Either you’ve got something that people want to spend your dollars on because everyone’s trying to fight for the same dollars.
So how do you get to be the guy who gets them? The show is very much about how now these phones in our pockets are such ubiquitous parts of our lives, and they’re great. They give us so much freedom and do the things that we need them to do but someone made that happen, lots of people working very hard together and fighting and collaborating to turn the mainframes into these.
Mackenzie Davis: I think Cameron represents a sort of intuitive next wave into the computer industry moving away from computers just being functional machines and starting to have a little bit more personality and anticipate the needs of the user.
I think a lot of her journey in the first season is about trying to apply herself and her ideology into this sort of nondescript box and trying to get it to interact with the world the way she knows it has the potential.
We think of computers as very technical. Do people realize how much drama there is in the industry that produces them?
Mackenzie Davis: They will now. It’s like any industry I would think.
Lee Pace: They will now. It’s an extraordinary thing, a computer, really. It’s electrons moving down those passages and somehow that equals information. As much as this show is a show about computers, because the people in the show care about computers so passionately, love computers, love computational thinking, love the programming of it, love the potential of it, it’s really a show about these people. They’re going into the wild west. That’s what they’re doing with this endeavor.
There’s a great innocence to the show that I really love. There’s an innocence to innovation in a way because you just don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know what’s going to happen to these people. They have high hopes to build this impossible machine but they don’t know if they’re going to succeed, and it takes an insane person to enter into that proposition. That’s Lewis and Clark trying to break into the west.
Mackenzie Davis: They’re unbelievable idealists. They’re going into this project thinking that they’re unleashing something purely beautiful into the world. It’s a very, in their minds, noble pursuit.
It’s going to take the public a lot longer to see the beauty of it, so is there a conflict between these creators and the public?
Mackenzie Davis: Yeah, I think that’s some of the struggle as a creator of a technology that’s really hard to access as a layman, is to try and create something that you’re so passionate about and are so moved by and have such an emotional connection with and try to infuse your personal experience of that machine into the machine so that it can then be transferred to your audience.
Just like “Mad Men” is about advertising but not entirely, and “Breaking Bad” was about drugs but so much more, is technology a launching point for “Halt and Catch Fire?”
Lee Pace: This season is about computers. We’re about making this one computer but it’s about innovation, which is one of the issues of our time. The computer is important to him but there’s a personal drive to be a significant man in this world. He’s looking towards the millennium, 2000, and the possibility of that future as his life’s work, bringing that about.
There were a bunch of guys at the time who were hustling to get into this incredible industry and the ones who succeeded are now very, very wealthy and have influenced our culture in a profound way. Joe wants to be among them. Joe sees the potential of the technology, and forging ahead with that is insane.
What we do with this company, this maneuver I pull with IBM, is insane.
Because it’s fictional, is there more license with that or limitation within the real history?
Lee Pace: The scripts that are coming in are pretty hot. I don’t feel that the writers feel [limited].”
Mackenzie Davis: I feel like the pilot episode is the tamest episode of the season. It’s just so sweet. We are monsters after this. Not really.
Do you get any cool props to play with on “Halt and Catch Fire?”
Mackenzie Davis: Yeah, the computers are amazing. It’s like a playground. That set’s amazing.
Do they work?
Mackenzie Davis: No. Some things do.
Lee Pace: No, because I tried to turn on the Osborne that they brought in and it didn’t work. Actually, I have this picture of my mother in ’83 sitting behind an Adam Osborne that my father bought and she thought it was a big waste of money and a fad. There she is, sitting in front of this. It was luggable basically, a portable computer, but it weighed 28 pounds. It had a big boob tube in the middle of it, two disk drives.
The one they brought on set, the quality of it is so poor. My mom’s got the programming book open next to it because that was when if you wanted your computer to do anything, you had to program it yourself. There was some software that you could buy but most of the time you’d have to input the code yourself. Yeah, there’s fun stuff around. I love it.
Mackenzie Davis: I feel like you’re always touching the individual things. You can interact with a lot of stuff.
Lee Pace: A cool car.
What kind of car does Joe MacMillan drive?
Lee Pace: Porsche 911.
What are the personality conflicts within the team?
Mackenzie Davis: I think at least for Cameron, she is somebody who does not take kindly to being told what to do but she’s working for a very old school corporation so obviously drama is going to come out of an anarchist existing in a corporate world.
She needs the corporate world because she has a great vision for something she wants to create and doesn’t have the funds or the material to do it by herself. She also does not tow the company line. She’s not taken under Joe’s wing as he’d like her to be.
Lee Pace: Really?
Mackenzie Davis: Yeah.
Lee Pace: It’s nothing but conflict. It’s actually nothing but conflict. What they’re so good about is that conflict pits us against each other. This endeavor is so shaky from the beginning. I’m pinning my hopes and dreams on Gordon Clark, this alcoholic who presented a losing computer two years ago, to make this happen. I plucked her out of the back row of a classroom because there’s something about her that I can’t make this computer without. I don’t know what it is but my instinct tells me that you’re what I need. I need courage to make this thing happen.
Were the early ‘80s a heyday for the anarchist movement?
Mackenzie Davis: It was a huge time for punks and the anarchist thing comes about from bucking social norms and the late ‘70s bleeding into the ‘80s. There was a huge punk scene in Dallas and Texas that was very distinct from the punk scene in New York, the punk scene in California in the ‘80s.
So yes and no. I think there’s always a very vocal, if unseen, anarchist movement. It just depends where you look and this show does look to that.
Lee Pace: I think Joe’s got a little bit of that too.
Mackenzie Davis: We want to write our own rules.
Lee Pace: He’s coming in to burn the house down. Innovation is about destroying what was not working, and that’s IBM, those rich white guys in suits who call the shots, is part of what Joe wants to dismantle. That’s why he’s chosen the Silicon Prairie. It’s isolated, there’s a lot of money out here in Texas.
There are a lot of smart, smart businessmen and that’s what Joe’s trying to take advantage of and it’s isolated. It’s not a part of Palo Alto, it’s not a part of the east coast tech world. It’s its own microcosm and I think that’s what Joe is taking advantage of. He knows Steve Jobs is over on the west coast working on something very, very cool and I want to beat him. I think we can. All it takes is a good idea and good execution. That’s all we have to do. We have to connect the dots.
For one Guardians of the Galaxy question, is your Ronan the Accuser based on any specific era of the comic books?
Lee Pace: It’s a character that has changed so much through the years and a character that the readers of the comic books love and love to watch him change. That’s the quality of Ronan I think we’re [going to see]. It’s a very cool character.
Did you have to do any additional shooting for The Hobbit: There and Back Again?Lee Pace: Not yet. Summer’s not over. Not yet, not yet. We did quite a bit last year so we shot a lot of very, very cool stuff.
Based on the original plan, it would have been finished as a two-parter by now. Are you excited another whole movie is still coming?
Lee Pace: Yeah, it’s such a special movie that people connect to. It’s such a great thing to be a part of and I’m very excited once this final piece falls in place of seeing all of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings as one movie.
Does it connect up at the end?
Lee Pace: I’m not going to tell you that. [Laughs]
The Sag Harbor Express has a new interview with Lee Pace, where he mainly discusses The Hobbit trilogy films.
Q: Here you are again playing Thranduil. Is there a process involved in playing a character over so many years?
Lee Pace: It’s been a totally artistic experience, and I’ve had a lot of fun. I’ve been working on this movie for about three years now, so the “process” means a lot of different things. There’s the incredible source material that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about, about what Tolkien thought about the elves, and what his inspirations were. And I think of the elves that Peter Jackson created the first time around for Lord of the Rings–where we can take them in these Hobbit movies? Thranduil’s the first elf that Tolkien wrote. He’s a very tricky elf, you know. He is the most powerful being in Middle Earth, a legendary warrior. He’s not a friend, as the dwarves know. The best way I can say it is that he’s more like a very old tree, or a tiger, or a lizard, than a human. It’s fun to play a badass.
Danny Peary: It’s interesting that Tolkien made the elves, including Thranduil, immortal. You’re a vampire in Twilight and vampires start out as human beings who become immortal and deal with the new dilemma of living forever. But in this your character is immortal from the beginning. So how did you approach that?
LP: That’s a very interesting question. I’ve thought very much about that, and I think there’s a place to start answering the question. Like their king Thranduil, I see the elves as a force of nature. That’s what I think they are about. They are old Old World elves and their immortality is about transitioning to another place..
DP: If Thranduil weren’t immortal, would you play him differently?
LP: Immortality is a huge part of the elves, and I talk a lot about it in the movie. It changes the rules totally if you know that you’ll never die of natural causes. The elves love combat though and they can die in battle. Thranduil’s survived great battles in which most of the other great elves died. That is a huge cornerstone to the character, too. The dilemma that my character faces–as you see in the prologue of the first film–is whether to help the dwarves battle the dragon. He chooses not to. I think about that choice in the context of your question about immortality. Why should he risk the elves’ precious immortal lives for a lost cause? There’s a different set of values that comes with that immortality. Life is precious in a different way, not because it’s a transient thing. You’re not going to just pass through time with people but will endure and be like the stones and mountains.
Q: What can you tell us about the second film? Is there more action? Is your character more at the center of the story, as it appears in the trailers?
LP: In the second movie, the stakes get ratcheted up an incredible amount, which accelerates the action. The group must get to the mountain and there’s a lot of things standing in the way, including the elves. Thranduil does play a very different part in the second movie. Some dwarves come through his woods, but he’s not going to let them go and wake up a dragon. You don’t wake up a dragon unless you know how to kill it, and they don’t know how. His choice is not to use his force, but he could. Choosing not to do it, he’s taking the same risk as if he chose to do it, because he will still change the outcome of a conflict.
Q: This trilogy is based on one book. How deeply did you go into Tolkien’s writing to learn about your character?
LP: The book is great stuff. Tolkien was such an incredibly knowledgeable person, a real intellect. There were all these great sources he drew on to put his story together. You can’t beat it. It’s literature, it’s mythology, it’s cool. In many ways, it’s English story-telling, English language at its peak. For me, that material was not only a fascinating work but necessary. Decoding those riddles and symbols that he put in was very interesting work. You have to understand it, and be inspired in the same way he was inspired. So many things I read would occur to me later in the shooting, like that all of these kings live in underground caves. What is that about? How did Tolkien come to that? Was it reading Icelandic literature that inspired him, or was it some kind of expression of his imagination that he put these kings in underground fortresses in a very wild world? This is one of the most profound ideas in the story.
Q: Did you train to do any fighting?
LP: I trained to fight with swords. The fight scene was one of the most fun things I did on this movie. The stunt guys are so good, and I had the opportunity do quite a bit of the great stunt work, especially in the Battle of the Five Armies.
Q: What did you take away from playing your character?
LP: My sword skills? You always take a little bit from a character you’ve played. I don’t know what it will be with him. The research did to find him was taking long hikes in New Zealand and just going into the woods and thinking about woods. I’m a pretty gentle person.
DP: Do you think of your character as a bad guy?
LP: Thranduil is not bad, he’s just badass. You can’t compare him to humans because he’s not human. He’s wild. If you encounter a bear in the woods and it mauls you, you can’t say it’s evil. It’s a wild thing. Do you know what I mean? He’s a king, a significant king, a formidable force in this world. He makes no secret of it–he’s not devious. He know he has rules and principles.
DP: Do you think Thranduil’s been misunderstood?
LP: Definitely. In Ralph Bakshi’s animated feature, he’s portrayed as a pretty nasty character. But I look at him a little deeper and don’t believe that he is bad. He’s just not a friend of the dwarves; he doesn’t like them. When I think about him, it makes sense–if they are going to accumulate that kind of wealth, a dragon is going to come. I think that’s his wisdom. He’s looking at these dwarves acquiring a huge pile of treasure, and he knows evil will come a result. Thranduil knows because he’s been around for 3,000 years.
DP: He has a son, Legolas, played by Orlando Bloom, who reappears in this film. What’s the father-son relationship?
LP: It’s a very interesting relationship that evolved as we shot this movie. It’s about immortality as well. Thranduil’s heartbroken because of things that have happened in the past that makes this relationship very complicated. It’s very hard. It’s a movie very much about fathers and sons–there’s that storyline throughout the movie.
Lee Pace told Total Film magazine he’s not sure he’ll ever play a human again. “It’s been quite an interesting year. I don’t know if I’ll ever play a human again! I was a vampire in Twilight, the King of the Elves in The Hobbit and now an alien warlord in Guardians Of The Galaxy,” he says. In the newest interview, which is published in February 2014 issue he discusses Ronan the Accuser, the villain he plays in Marvel’s franchise; comic books and his upcoming series Halt & Catch Fire. “I’m very excited about playing what is going to be a very complicated character over a lot of years; to keep digging deeper and trying to find out more about who he is,” Lee shared.
High-quality scans have already been added to our gallery.
Magazine Scans > Total Film (February 2014)
In summer, Lee talked to CLICK about his Guardians of the Galaxy character and social networks. They now posted the full interview with him. He gives a shoutout to his Tumblr fans (which are truly incredible!), talks Thranduil’s rings, The Fall and more.
CLICK: And a final one from the fans, one of them asked if you have a story behind all the rings that your character Thranduil wears?
LP: Oh yea there’s stories about those rings, they mean something to him. This character has been so much fun to play. I’m a huge fan of these books and my father gave me The Hobbit when I was a kid. I was born in a place called Chickasha, Oklahoma and near where my grandparents lived there was a cemetery and there’s a gravestone there that says ‘Bilbo Baggins.’ So not many people know that Bilbo Baggins was actually buried in Chickasha, Oklahoma! My dad was a big fan of the books and Lord of the Rings and he gave them to me as a kid. Never in a million years did I imagine would be here talking to you right now as a part of the movie or Orlando Bloom’s father.
CLICK: To go back a few years, the first thing I saw you in was The Fall which I thought was just an amazing film.
LP: Aw thanks.
CLICK: And I always imagined it must have been a tough film to make with the director Tarsem being so focussed on the look of it.
LP: You know the thing about working with Tarsem was he is a true artist. He’s a true artist and I respect what he’s working on. And it really taught me how to do my job, how to work with a director as talented as him because I saw that what I needed to do was to help him make his movie. To understand what he needs from me to tell his story. Because he’s working on something really big and cool. So hard, not at all, it was inspiring. It was such an incredible experience, everyone on set was a photographer and we travelled the world together. So it was the experience of a lifetime and Tarsem is a good friend and just a true artist. I’ve got tremendous respect for him.
CLICK: I read that Peter Jackson recognised you first in that film and kept you in mind?
LP: Yea I think they flagged me for that for a little while.
CLICK: Six years or so!
LP: Yea! And we’d met and we talked about it and they asked me to do it and said I would love to [laughs]!
CLICK: In the first movie your entire appearance is essentially one dismissive hair toss!
CLICK: Can you tell me a bit about what he gets up to this time?
LP: Yea he’s a very consequential character in The Hobbit. He has a much bigger presence in this movie. But the stuff in that first movie I’ve tried to keep it very detailed and I’m looking at those dwarves and that pile of treasure they’ve accumulated and I know that there’s something bad coming. Yea I know it’s a very funny moment, I’m in it for like 20 frames.
CLICK: One person online actually asked what the name of the elk you’re riding was.
LP: Actually there’s an actor playing the Elk you should ask. It’s a horse named Moose. Playing the elk.
CLICK: That’s very confusing!
CLICK: You’re obviously featuring in this second movie more, you’re all over the trailer. Is that strange, seeing yourself in such a massive promotion?
LP: Well I remember then Phillipa Boyens showed me the trailer in her kitchen when we were doing reshoots and she was saying they were going to release it in a couple weeks. And so we’re watching it and the voiceover kicks in and I’m like ‘God those lines sound familiar… Philippa that’s me!’ [laughs]