Sam Hennings stars alongside Jason Lee in the TNT series “Memphis Beat” which will start airing its second season in June. Sam took time out of his busy schedule to talk with us at Movie Mikes about the upcoming season of “Memphis Beat” as well as his recent appearance as Samuel Colt on the television series “Supernatural”.
Adam Lawton: Can you tell us how you first got involved with “Memphis Beat”?
Sam Hennings: Clark Johnson who directed the pilots for shows such as “The Wire” and “The Shield” contacted me after he received a copy of the pilot script for “Memphis Beat”. He was so impressed with the script that he called me directly and asked me to be a part of the pilot. The original title for the project was called “Delta Blues” and as time went on it change into what it is now. I read through the script and thought it was a terrific piece. I then found out Jason Lee was involved as well as Alfre Woodard. We shot the pilot in December of 2009 and it was picked up by TNT in the early part of 2010. Season one premiered in June of 2010 and got some really good ratings which resulted in TNT picking the show up for a second season which we are currently in the process of shooting.
AL: Can you tell us anything about the upcoming season?
SH: We have new writers this season which has brought some fresh energy to the project. We have also widened the musical palette as well. Season 1 was predominately focused on Jason Lee’s character and his love of Elvis. Season 2 will still have that element but it has been expanded to include some other musical genres. The writers have also decided to delve into more of the individual personalities of each character and we get to learn their ups and downs as well as some other details which make them who they are. The premier for season 2 is set for Tuesday, June 14th at 9 pm EST.
AL: What is it like working with Jason Lee?
SH: Jason is just terrific. I have been blessed by the TV gods! The entire cast and crew is great. We don’t have one bad egg. Jason and I came together on the pilot and on screen our characters are best friends and that has led into us being friends off camera as well. With us being friends working 12 and 16 hour days is just a blast because we get along so well.
AL: Has he tried to take you skateboarding yet?
SH: (Laughs) Yes as a matter of fact to which I quickly declined. We did buy bicycles however. New Orleans where we shoot is such a great city to bike around. Jason and I were out riding one Sunday with Giovanni Ribisi who was on the show last season. Jason can ride a bike like he’s walking and can do all these tricks and such. I thought that he makes it look so easy I asked him how to do a wheelie. He kind of explained how to do one I did a little baby wheelie and thought it was kind of cool. Jason then tells me to pull harder and I will go higher. I pulled it and did almost a complete 360 and landed on my ass! Giovanni and Jason got a real kick out of that.
AL: Can you tell us about your role on “Supernatural”?
SH: I have a friend who has directed a number of those shows and he called me one day to ask if I would play the character of Samuel Colt in an upcoming episode he was directing. I asked him if it was a western and he started to tell me that the main characters travel back in time to meet my character. I love playing western type characters so he sent me the material and I flew to Vancouver where we shot the episode and it was a real kick in the ass! I really enjoyed the project. The people involved with that show are really in tune and the cast is very nice and professional. To be honest with you I had no idea that the episode was going to get the response it did. I wasn’t really aware of the cult following the show had. Before I even made it back to Los Angeles I was receiving emails and stuff about me being on the show. The audience is really excited about the possibility of Samuel Colt returning be it in the year 2011 or being visited again in the 1860’s. We will have to see what the producers are going to do.
AL: Out of all the great projects you have been involved in is there one that stands out as a favorite?
SH: I have been asked that a few times over my career and I feel that I really have been blessed throughout my career. I kind of feel as though each project I do is like a kid. You can have four or five of them that are so different from each other but they are each so special and you love them equally however in different ways. Each project has its own special place in my make up both as a person and as an actor. I think it would be hypocritical or dishonest of me if I picked one project as a favorite. Every project I have been a part of has been special. I can tell you while I am sitting here working on “Memphis Beat” that there have been a lot of projects that have equaled it but none of them out do the high I have gotten from working with this group on “Memphis Beat”. The enthusiasm across the board has been great. I have been getting emails from people non-stop telling me how great it is to see someone in my age bracket be a part of a show like “Memphis Beat”.
AL: Other than season 2 of “Memphis Beat” do you have any other upcoming projects?
SH: Right now I am committed to “Memphis Beat” as far as a series concerns. I have had talks with a few people who are looking to start some projects however nothing has been set in stone just yet.