We recently asked you, A.V. Club readers, to provide some questions for Martin Henderson, the star of SundanceTV’s The Red Road, to answer. And answer questions he did; did yours make the cut? Find out in this Q&A, brought to you by SundanceTV. The show’s second season debuts tonight, April 2, 10/9c on SundanceTV.
Who was your biggest hero growing up?—John
Martin Henderson: My dad was my hero when I was a young boy. And then it’s a toss-up between Han Solo, the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team, and Marlon Brando.
Are there too many cop shows on TV? How is yours different?—Matt
Martin Henderson: If they’re all as good as The Red Road, then no. But if they’re just the run of the mill cop shows, then maybe it’s a bit overdone. The Red Road is not typical in that incorporates racial tensions and other social issues. Where typically the cops are generally the good guys, The Red Road blurs the lines intelligently and shows corruption from all sides of the law. It provides unpredictable drama where the audience is kept guessing about how these characters will each choose to act.
What are the three words you’d use to describe your character?—Tammy
Martin Henderson: In season two, Harold Jensen is conflicted and ambitious, yet loyal.
Do you think you could have been a real cop?—Bridget
Martin Henderson: Probably not. After I did research getting ready to play Harold and spending a lot of time with real cops, it became clear that I would not want my loved ones wondering if I was coming home at the end of every day. I have a huge amount of respect for what these men and women do for our communities. It’s unfortunate when a few bad eggs give cops a bad reputation.
So much of the show is about a lack of dialogue, rather than characters actually communicating with one another or revealing what they’re thinking. The Red Road might be the most oblique show on TV. How much of that is on the page when you get scripts, and how much of those silences are the actors and directors pushing scenes into uncomfortable places?—Alex
Martin Henderson: The writer of The Red Road, Aaron Guzikowski, deserves the credit. The fact that the dialogue is so understated is what makes this show so appealing, especially as an actor. Aaron trusts the actors and their characters will make the economy of dialogue speak volumes. He pays respect to the audience, trusting that they don’t need things spelled out in an overstated way, which appeals to their intelligence. The script maintains a level of reality to the drama instead of dumbing it down.
How do you prepare as an actor to lie convincingly to your scene partner and/or the camera?—Clint
Martin Henderson: There’s actually a mutual agreement between yourself and the other actors where you believe everything to the best of your ability. It’s a choice we make to allow ourselves to buy each other’s lies, which in essence makes it the truth.
Do you think that Torque has reached cult film status?—Dave
Martin Henderson: I am constantly surprised by the amount of people who refer to that movie when I travel across America. So who knows… maybe it’s starting to happen!
This season, your character seems to have had to deal with a plethora of issues going on in Walpole. Do you ever take the stress of problem solving from the show into your reality?—Colin
Martin Henderson: Certainly when you play a character who is in a constant state of stress, concern, and conflict, there’s a general heaviness that does convey into your life and into your psyche. During the shoot, when you’re not at work, you’re learning lines for the next shoot and that can be all-consuming. I work hard at shaking that off and moving forward.
Where do you see your character going beyond this season?—Jake
Martin Henderson: Well, that’s all up to Aaron. With his writing, you just never know where he’ll take these characters. If Harold’s ambition continues to go unfettered, it might be about how his conscience will drive him in an increasingly corrupt world, and one he truly discovers in season two.
What’s your dynamic with Jason Momoa off set? Are you friends?—Daniel
Martin Henderson: Absolutely. One of the most challenging aspects of the show is always showing animosity toward someone you like and respect so greatly.