You’ve seen British-born Canadian Actor, Jonathan Lloyd Walker on the television series, The X-Files, V, and Smallville as well as on the big screen in “Red” starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, and John Malkovich, “Traitor” opposite Guy Pearce and Don Cheadle, “Transparency” with Lou Diamond Phillips, and “Shooter,” opposite Oscar Mark Wahlberg and Danny Glover.
Today, Jonathan stars in the Universal feature film The Thing , a prequel to the iconic 1982 John Carpenter film of the same title. He recently took some time out to talk to Hollywood the Write Way about The Thing, his screenwriting ventures, and more. Check it out:
So tell us about what attracted you to The Thing.
I was a huge fan of the Carpenter movie. It impacted me quite profoundly. It stayed with me a long time after I left the theater. So when I heard that there was a prequel to the film being made, I was very excited about the possibility of being involved. I immediately contacted my agent to find out about it.
As a screenwriter and producer yourself, what would you say that you learned from this screenplay, as well as the producers on set?
As a screenwriter, it is always rather interesting reading other people’s work… particularly when it is a take on a world that you already have a relationship with or connection to. So it was more abut absorbing this particular take on this world. As far as the producers go, I think that the film everyone set out to do originally was not the film that we ended up making, for various factors. So that was an interesting process to watch the producers work through what they wanted to do and what ultimately they ended up doing. It’s kind of like watching someone on a tight rope.
What is your favorite aspect of the sci fi and horror genres?
I’ve always loved science fiction and I think what’s so fascinating about it, why it endures, and why there’s such a following for it is that you’re able to tackle a lot of present day issues without tackling them directly. It allows the audience to sometimes talk about taboo subjects or push boundaries that you may not have been able to have done otherwise. Often, the best ones do not necessarily have high content that’s driving it but it’s about what’s underneath, the common human struggle that we can all relate to. That’s really at the end of the day what I love.
As far as challenges go in a different way, you also had a lot of action with guns on Red for example. What has been your favorite challenge over the years that acting has brought to your table?
I am always looking to try to do interesting characters. Often times when you have to take on work that is based on real characters, it’s often the hardest job of all. You’re trying to inhabit somebody that people know very well or have a strong sense of. A number of years back I ended up playing Mark Twain. I did an exhaustive amount of research into him and tried to get as much source material so that I could really get down his mannerisms, dialect, and those sorts of things. That was an enormous challenge so I think that was one of the most rewarding.
How has traveling influenced your writing?
I think that in order to have a rounded, global view, you have to experience different cultures, mindsets… you have to open yourself up to all sorts of things. We had a trip a couple of years to China all the way in mainland where there were very few Westerners. Just to experience that – it’s a different way of life, a very different approach to just the state of being. People think differently, they process things differently. So that is very good as a writer because you spend so much time trying to get into your characters’ heads, so the more cultures you immerse yourself in, the better.
And as someone who is very passionate about politics and social issues, is there anything that you want to shed light on right now that people should be more aware of today?
What I am concerned about at the moment and hope that everybody will take the time to investigate is… we need to see some changes in the way that we all collectively think about finance, the stock market, and the banking industry. I do believe that it is a bit of a shock that the entire economy around the world was basically crippled a few years ago by a calamity very much cause by the banking community and yet nobody from those institutions have been brought up on charges or punishment for bringing the economy to its knees. I think it is important for people to question that and find out what we need to do to change it.
On his upcoming writing and acting projects:
I am currently working on a television series called “Out of Time.” It is a science fiction project about a bunch of fugitives from the year 2077 who manage to escape to present day and come in contact with one solitary police officer whose job it is to try to bring them all to justice and return them back to their time before they ruin the timeline. We are in the writing room for that right now. That will be set up in the United States in a couple of months and should be airing on television in both Canada and the United States the end of next Spring/beginning of Summer.
I am in negotiations for a couple of different projects and there’s also a possibility that I will end up acting in “Out of Time” but that all depends on my availability since I’m in the writer’s room. My schedule with writing is making it a bit challenging for me to commit to other projects so in order to focus on the writing, I have back-burned my acting projects.
The Thing is in theaters now.