Exclusive SXSW Interview: Henry Rollins on He Never Died and preparing to play a villain

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“I wrote pages and pages of notes,” Rollins laughs, “the director told me to chuck it all out.” We’re on the red carpet, and Henry Rollins is deep into explaining how he prepared for the role of Jack, a cannibalistic immortal that’s the antihero of Jason Krawczyk’s new film, He Never Died.

“I read the script day in and day out,” he explains, “over about six months.” He gestures between us: “see us, we’ll die – hopefully not soon – but we have that push to do things we want to do. Like, ‘oh I always wanted to go to Austin, I better buy that ticket!’ Whereas Jack is bored, he’s had thousands of years to sit around. He doesn’t want to bond with anyone. He’s depressed. You’re not going to push to do things if you have thousands of years to yawn.”

Rollins, the notorious former front man of heavy metal legends Black Flag, and also an accomplished writer, says he hates to see himself on screen, so he was only at the SXSW premiere because Krawczyk was in attendance – “I feel okay doing it around those guys,” he laughs. He mentions that this is his first major starring role, after having been a part of six films previously. Krawczyk wrote the part of Jack specifically with Rollins in mind.

Rollins called it exhausting, explaining that it was weird to have some time off in the middle of filming, having been mostly the focus of it for most of the production. “I was like, ‘oh you don’t need me?’, well off I go then!”

He Never Died premiered at SXSW on March 17th.

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