Date of publishing: 27th
Joe Morton most recently starred in the summer crowd-pleaser
Stealth with Jamie Foxx, Jessica
Biel and Sam Shepard. This only adds to the distinguished
list of actors Morton has worked alongside in both
features and telefilms, including Ben Affleck and
Uma Thurman in John Woo's Paycheck; Jon Voight in
the Showtime movie Jasper, Texas; Will Smith in Ali;
Kevin Costner in Dragonfly; and Gwyneth Paltrow in
Bounce. Morton was one of the narrators on the enormously
successful Ken Burns documentary Jazz and the eight-part
documentary Africa on PBS. Film fans perhaps best
know Morton as The Brother from Another Planet or
as the ill-fated scientist in Terminator 2:
Judgment Day. You can now see Joe Morton
in the SciFi Channel's original series "Eureka",
playing Henry Deacon.
Linda Craddock: What
was your first impression when you were approached
with script for “Eureka”?
Joe Morton: My first impression of
Eureka was intrigue. I loved the balance of comedy
Linda Craddock: “Henry
Deacon”, Jack-of-all-trades, solves all problems
in “Eureka”, how do you, as an actor,
prepare for this role with each episode?
Joe Morton: Henry was the core reason
I took the job. He's a complicated guy who maintains
a "behind every dark cloud there is a golden
lining" attitude. He's a genius who won't
work on weapons. He's a man who lost the only love
he ever knew and doesn't know why. So he's like a
shark when it comes to science. He has boundless energy.
He eats, sleeps and breathes it in science without
say Eureka is the highest-rated, most-watched series
of 2006. What impresses you most about the writing
on the show now that you have completed one season?
Joe Morton: The characters have a
great deal of integrity. The world we occupy is not
one filled with monsters or black holes in space but
monsters within our selves and black holes in the
fabric of who we are. And there is a tremendous amount
of joy despite the dangerous nature of our jobs.
Linda Craddock: You
are in the process of filming season 2 of “Eureka”.
There was some notion between “Purple Haze”
and “H.O.U.S.E. Rules”. “Henry”,
feeling that politics were the greater good in “Eureka”,
and not the scientific advancement, was contemplating
moving one. Will there be any indication of this scenario
in season 2?
Joe Morton: There are a great deal
of surprises in season 2. All of the characters have
arcs that "move them on" in somewhat unexpected
Linda Craddock: Can
we look forward to any writing contributions from
you in the coming season?
Joe Morton: I would love to be able
to say that I feel confident enough to contribute
an entire script, but I'm not. We all contribute,
however, a certain amount of script changes as the
episodes proceed. The writers and the cast have a
truly collaborative relationship.
Linda Craddock: Talk
a little about cast and crew chemistry.
Joe Morton: The crew, on any T.V.
or Film job is without question the backbone of any
day's work. They are on the set before we are and
there after we leave. Without a healthy relationship
between cast and crew the show would suffer. We love
our crew and I believe the feeling is mutual. There
is a lot of joking and light hearted banter. It makes
long days feel less daunting despite the exhaustion.
Linda Craddock: “Eureka”
is referred to as a “dramedy”. Give us
a sample of any funny anecdotes on the set.
Joe Morton: Eureka is referred to
as a dramedy because of the nature of the characters
and situations they find themselves in. Eureka, as
I said before, is dramatic while simultaneously comedic.
One of the running jokes, however, is the fact that
it's hard to be blocked around Ed Quinn because he's
so tall. He's always in someone else's light. Consequently,
we are always "Ed- clipsed" by him.
Linda Craddock: You
have an extremely diverse acting career. What would
be one of your most recent favorite moments in front
on a television/movie set?
Joe Morton: My favorite moments recently,
with the exception of Eureka, have not actually been
in front of a camera. I directed a play this past
winter called "History of the Word."
It was a semi-spoken word piece conceived, written
and produced specifically for high school students.
It is a non-romantic view of their lives. We didn't
try to teach them anything more than allowing them
to see themselves as young people who are trying to
figure out who they are and where/how they fit in,
in this incredibly complicated world. The other event
in which I was a participant was a film call "Badland,"
written and directed by Francesco Lucente. It's a
film about two American soldiers who have recently
returned from Iraq and are unable to move back into
the world. Their efforts fall into two categories
homicidal and suicidal. I was the suicidal one. I
think it will be making the festival circuit before
heading out into commercial theatres. Before either
of those two projects, I played Colin Powell in David
Hare's "Stuff Happens," about America's
and Britain's invasion of Iraq. It was one of the
most thrilling theatrical experiences of my career.
your very outstanding career path, is there any particular
project that stands out in your mind as very challenging?
Joe Morton: There are three projects
I would very much like to accomplish: filming the
life of Robert Johnson (America's foremost bluesman),
staging a "hip-hopera" based on Athol Fugard's
Tsotsi, and staging an adaptation Ralph Ellison's
"Invisible Man." The challenges would all
be projects I will be directing.
Linda Craddock: Any
plans to return to the stage in the not to distant
Joe Morton: There has been some talk
of Jeffery Wright and I doing Othello. I would play
the title role and he would play Iago.
Linda Craddock: Was
there any discussion with writers or producers about
wearing dreadlocks at the beginning of series?
Joe Morton: The dreadlocks sort of
evolved along with the character. They seemed to just
happen. Actually, my girlfriend wanted me to wear
my hair that way and I just let them get long. I'd
always wanted to wear dreads ever since "Brother
From Another Planet."
Linda Craddock: What
inspires you as an actor to narrate a series of documentary
you have been involved in?
Joe Morton: I think I like the idea
of doing voice overs for documentaries that I can
share with my kids as bits of information that they
can use for school or just general knowledge. It's
also a way for them to hear my voice, not so much
as a character in a movie or T.V. series, but as me
after I'm gone.
Linda Craddock: Do
you have a hobby outside of acting?
Joe Morton: I am a part time poet,
photographer, and bluesman.
Linda Craddock: For
a dramatic role, (one of many impressive performances),
you have a new project “Badland” about
a soldier returning home after a tour of duty in Iraq.
What inspired you to take this role? How do you decide
what roles you choose to accept?
Joe Morton: Badland was, again, one
of those experiences that stay with you. The character
was a man who was completely off balanced and unfocused.
I seldom, if ever, get a chance to play such a man.
Most of my characters are rooted firmly on the ground
and comfortable in their skin.
Linda Craddock: The
movie “Stealth” was a high tech drama
with an impressive collection of special effects.
You are no stranger to the special effects with regards
to your work. How much exposure do you have to that
aspect of a project?
Joe Morton: Special effects is usually
in the hands of SFX experts and happens long after
the cast is gone. I did watch Josh, Jamie and Jessica
"fly" around in their jets in front of a
green screen and that was amazing. I like the real
thing, though. Being aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln
was pretty spectacular. We watched real jets take
off and land, day and night on a ship that housed
5,000 people and was moving pretty dam fast. That's
something to see and feel!!
Linda Craddock: I
need to ask this: how familiar were you with the movie
“Terminator” prior to your role as Dr.
Miles Bennett Dyson” in T2?
Joe Morton: I don't think I saw "Terminator"
until after I got the part in T2.
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