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Interview: Harold Perrineau Talks Seeking Justice

Posted by Karen Benardello On June - 17 - 2012 0 Comment

When a tragic event happens to a person or someone close to them, one of the first thoughts in many people’s minds is to seek vigilante revenge on those who have wronged them. While most people fight back these spontaneous urges, there are some who will do whatever it takes to get payback, even if they have to resort to illegal means themselves. This is certainly the case in director Roger Donaldson’s action-thriller ‘Seeking Justice,’ which will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and DVD combo pack and Digital Download on Tuesday. One of the film’s stars, Harold Perrineau, who has experience in the action genre, agrees that seeking justice is one of the first thoughts on many people’s minds after going through a terrible accident, and openly discusses why he thinks so.

‘Seeking Justice’ follows happily married New Orleans high school English teacher Will Gerard (played by Nicolas Cage), whose wife, Laura (portrayed by January Jones), is brutally attacked one night after leaving rehearsal for the orchestra she works for. While waiting at the hospital to hear more about her condition, Will is approached by Simon (played by Guy Pearce), who makes him an intriguing offer. Simon, who is a leader of a secret organization, will have someone kill Laura’s attackers, if exchange for a favor from Will in the near future.

Grief-stricken, Will agrees to become part of the dangerous underground vigilante operation. While trying to protect Laura from the truth, he soon realizes that his quest for justice is leading to deadly consequences he never could have imagined.

Perrineau recently took the time to generously speak with us over the phone about the what it was like filming ‘Seeking Justice.’ Among other things, the actor discussed what attracted him to his role of Jimmy, who is friends with Will and Laura; what it was like working with Cage and Donaldson and why he enjoys working in the action genre so much.

ShockYa (SY): You played Jimmy in the action thriller ‘Seeking Justice,’ which is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray, DVD and digital download on Tuesday. What was it about the character and the script that convinced you to take on the role?

Harold Perrineau (HP): Originally (I thought), and I still think, the script is really interesting. I’m a big fan of movies, and (particularly) movies you can go in and enjoy as an experience. That’s what I first got when I first read the script. I just kept asking questions, like who’s that person? Why are they there? Is that something I would do?

After I finished the script, I was like, wow, that was a step I didn’t expect. So I wanted to be part of that, and I wanted to be Jimmy. While he’s not the main character, he’s a really interesting figure in this film. So I wanted to be part of it. It was Nicolas Cage and (director) Roger Donaldson, and I wanted to be part of that team. Luckily, I was able to do it.

SY: Speaking of Nicolas Cage, Jimmy is friends, and works, with his character, Will Gerard, in the film. What was your working relationship with Nicolas like on the set?

HP: It was really good, it was really interesting. From the first time he opens his mouth, you go, right, this is Nicolas Cage. All the memories of all the movies he’s done come rushing back. Even though you know it going in, when you’re standing there, you’re going, this is a voice that’s familiar to me.

It’s almost like family in an interesting way, it’s so familiar. So it was really fun and interesting. He’s an actor who just doesn’t stop working.

So me loving the craft of acting, I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to stay up with him, and get up there and play back and forth. That was a really good experience for me. He’s really focused in, which made me focused in, and I thought it was a really playing experience. It was really fun.

SY: Did you pick up any acting tips from Nicolas while you were on the set?

HP: You know, the one thing that I did pick up from him was that he’s an actor who trusts himself. Sometimes I have a tendency to question, which I don’t mind. But sometimes I over-question, and Nic’s one of those actors who really trusts himself.

That’s one of the things I learned; sometimes you have to trust that your instincts are correct. Maybe other people don’t think that these instincts are correct, but they’re correct and true for you, and I found them to be really correct and helpful for me. You can say in your craft, yeah, I trust me, and I trust this is the right way to go. I watched Nic do that over and over again.

SY: Like you mentioned earlier, Roger Donaldson, who directed ‘Seeking Justice,’ is also known for helming such action crime thrillers as ‘The Recruit’ and ‘The Bank Job.’ What was it like working with him on this film, given his experience in the action genre?

HP: He does have a lot of experience, not only in the action drama, but also in the suspense thriller genre. He’s a guy who has a sure hand when it comes to directing those films. You feel really comfortable and safe with him, and know that he’s going to make a great film. He’s very, very, very precise, so that was a really good thing to be part of.

Sometimes it was hard to be part of though, you found yourself doing things over and over again. I’m not really sure why, but you feel really secure in the fact that when he was looking for something, he wouldn’t go on unless he had it. That was really reassuring, even if a bit tiring. (laughs)

SY: ‘Seeking Justice’ follows a grief-stricken Will as he joins a secret organization in order to obtain revenge for the attack on his wife, Laura. Do you think that people stricken with grief are more prone to seek their own vigilante revenge?

HP: I think those are the first thoughts when something happens to you or someone you love, and it’s usually probably more vicious when it’s someone you love. I know it’s one of the first thoughts for me, taking justice into my own hands. We see in the news when that can go the wrong way, like with the Trayvon Martin case. In this film, we see it go the wrong way, not that I’m trying to equate the tragedy of Trayvon Martin with this film.

In response to this question, luckily most people seek to go about it the legal way, which is why we pay taxes. The system is flawed, but for a big part of society, it really works. But there are people who think they can do it better.

I would not be honest if I said if it were me, I’d be on that same side as well. I’m not trying to promote vigilantism, but sometimes there are really tough choices. That’s the smart thing about this film, you start asking yourself little questions, like, would I do that, which I think is entertaining and a little educational. It’s a little more entertaining, (with the question of) would that be me? That’s what I found myself asking when I was watching, and read, the film.

SY: You’ve appeared in several drama thrillers besides ‘Seeking Justice,’ including ‘Transit’ and ‘The Killing Jar.’ What is it about the genre that you enjoy so much?

HP: Again, this goes back to my really enjoying films, and being part of films that you can go in and grab some popcorn and go on this ride. I personally like that a lot. I like to be entertained in that way, and to have fun. One of the reasons why I wanted to be an actor was to be part of that. I hope to go and watch my own movies, and go, that was great! Or, I hope to have questions about it. That’s kind of what I like to do.

I also like films that make me ask questions about other people. They actually help me in my life not be so judgmental. You get to see why people make choices under very personal circumstances. That’s the kind of things that intrigue me on a daily basis, why people do what they do. So that’s why I like doing those kinds of films. They’re really interesting to me.

SY: Besides films, you have also appeared on several television shows, including ‘Lost’ and ‘The Unusuals.’ Do you have a preference of one medium over the other, or do you just enjoy acting overall?

HP: I really, really enjoy acting overall. I get my personal biggest rushes when I’m doing theater, because that experience I was just talking about, sitting and watching something, I get to be part of it in theater. The audience and I all suspend our disbelief for these two hours together, and it’s really fun.

Between television and movies, right now, it doesn’t really matter going back either way. People are telling really interesting stories all over. One of the proudest moments for me is the very first season of ‘Lost.’ It is some of the most interesting television I’ve seen in a long time, and I’m really proud to have been part of that, as well as a lot of the movies that I’ve been part of. It’s been really fun and intriguing. I don’t necessarily have a preference either way, I just like to get to act, and act in interesting things, when I can.

Written by: Karen Benardello

Harold Perrineau Seeking Justice Interview: Harold Perrineau Talks Seeking Justice

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