VIDEO EXCLUSIVE: Richard Jenkins On The Meaning Behind ‘The Humans’
Richard Jenkins discussed the meaning behind his new Showtime film of the acclaimed Broadway show The Humans in his new uInterview.
Jenkins plays Erik Blake, a father who has just come from Scranton, Pennsylvania, to New York City with his wife to have Thanksgiving dinner with his three children. The story presents a litany of family issues – the parents are unhappy that their daughters have left home and have abandoned their religion. The family members must deal with aging, illness and a changing economy.
“Well it’s not a Thanksgiving he’s looking forward to, I can tell you that,” Jenkins told uInterview founder Erik Meers. “He’s just a dad — you know — a guy who has tried to live his life well, and through his own mistakes, he’s screwed up. He’s at a time in his life where things should be getting better, but they’re not. He loves his family but he worries, you know, money is a big issue with his family, security, which he is responsible for screwing up, and he’s in a very dark place. I just think he’s confused — he doesn’t know what to do.”
The actor said that his agent wanted him to see the play before he played the role, but he feared he’d see the production and think, “I can’t do that, that’s too hard.”
“I mean it is a lot to learn, and at my age, it gets harder and harder. It’s very intricate dialogue and the younger me would’ve said, ‘What are you, nuts? What are you talking about?’ It was a lot of overlapping dialogue and really tough intricate stuff. We sat around at a table for about eight days and I didn’t know where I was in the house. But once I got on my feet in the set, it made sense to me — it all made sense.”
Jenkins’ character struggles with many internal fights. “He’s got a lot on his mind — he has to tell people things that he doesn’t want to tell them. He’s afraid of their response — will he lose his family, will they hate him for it — at the same time, he can’t help but think he knows everything. He wants his daughters to be safe; they went through a very close call in 9/11 and he worries about where they live, just like any dad would do. I think he fears that he’s going to lose his family.”
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