WB PRESS RELEASE
HENRY ROLLINS GIVES A GLIMPSE INTO KILOWOG’S TRAINING DAYS IN GREEN
LANTERN: EMERALD KNIGHTS
Singer/Actor/Spoken-Word Artist provides back story for Beloved Drill
Sergeant in All-New DC Universe Animated Original Movie Coming June 7
to Blu-Ray™, DVD
Henry Rollins is so many things to so many people.
One moment, he’s the uber-tattooed punk rock front man for Black Flag
or The Rollins Band; the next, he’s stealing the spotlight as one of
the memorable cast of Sons of Anarchy; and while that’s airing, he’s
ranting live for hours to sold out crowds as one of the most popular
spoken-word artists of our day, easily translating that mad-as-hell
attitude and undying curiosity into his thought-provoking KCRW talk
show. His quarter century of globe-trotting has recently added
National Geographic to his resume, the latter day Renaissance man now
filming documentaries for the renowned publication.
Intelligent? Beyond your dreams. Intense? Absolutely. Restless?
Without a doubt. But does Henry Rollins ever pause long enough to be
playful? Animation fans know it all too well.
When he isn’t perusing the Sudan, performing in Prague or recording
for public radio, Rollins takes to another of his true passions:
voiceovers for animated projects.
Rollins’ latest animated incarnation is in the guise of Kilowog for
the next DC Universe Animated Original Movie, Green Lantern: Emerald
Knights. Produced by Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment and Warner
Bros. Animation, Green Lantern: Emerald Knights will be distributed by
Warner Home Video on Blu-Ray™, DVD, On Demand and for Download June 7,
Rollins voices one of the most beloved characters in the entire
universe of Green Lanterns – Kilowog, the hardcore drill
sergeant-style trainer of Green Lantern recruits. Written by Peter J.
Tomasi (based on “New Blood” by Tomasi & Chris Samnee) and directed by
Lauren Montgomery, the “Kilowog” segment of the film depicts the gruff
character’s initial days as a young recruit under the abusive tutelage
of Deegan, an equally gruff character who shows Kilowog the true
“tough love” principles of training. As the segment play out, Kilowog
must assume an integral leadership role within the ranks.
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights is far from Rollins’ first venture down
the animated path. For Warner Bros. alone, Rollins has recorded over
the years for Batman Beyond, Teen Titans and Batman: The Brave and the
Bold. And then there’s his more recent forays into voiceovers for
series like Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and the primetime series
Green Lantern: Emerald Knights weaves six legendary stories of the
Green Lantern Corps’ rich mythology around preparations for an attack
by an ancient enemy. As the battle approaches, Hal Jordan mentors new
recruit Arisia in the history of the Green Lantern Corps, telling
tales of Avra (the first Green Lantern) and several of Hal’s comrades
– including Kilowog, Abin Sur, Laira and Mogo. In the end, Arisia must
rise to the occasion to help Hal, Sinestro and the entire Green
Lantern Corps save the universe from the destructive forces of Krona.
Rollins is joined in the voicecast of the intergalactic animated film
by Nathan Fillion (Castle), Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men), Jason Isaacs
(the Harry Potter films), Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy), Kelly Hu (The
Vampire Diaries), Wade Williams (Prison Break), professional wrestling
legend Rowdy Roddy Piper and Radio Hall of Fame commentator/talk show
host Michael Jackson.
No stranger to the spoken word, Rollins spent some significant time
after his initial recording session chatting about his character, his
love of great literature, Too Much Coffee Man, his need to travel the
Earth, and much, much more. Read on …
How did you approach the character of Kilowog for this story?
For me, Kilowog is a man who's pure of heart. He's a warrior. He's a
soldier. And he loves his rookies. Deegan is the guy who broke him in
– in boot camp – and kind of brought him into command position. So
Kilowog came up through the ranks by being brave and by being a
take-charge leader. In the Kilowog segment, you see that he had a
grasp of the leadership idea from the get-go. He's with other recruits
and he immediately takes the leadership position. So I think he's a
good guy, but he always knew he was gonna be running things.
Were there any challenges to finding the character for you?
I assumed what the character needed before we went in. I said, “Andrea
(Romano), this guy has a flat top, thick neck, but he’s a good guy and
if you get past all the yelling, you know he's got a good heart.” She
said, “You got it. That's, that's the guy.” So I kind of had him
dialed in and then we went forth.
It was really just finding his subtleties working with the great
direction of Andrea. The character, for me, wasn't all that hard to
find. He's not a complex guy. He takes his orders. He gives orders. He
knows right and wrong. He takes care of bad guys, and keeps people
alive. On that level, his life is pretty simple.
You’re so often a one-man show, or at least the leader of the band.
What’s it like to be directed by Andrea Romano?
I've been working with Andrea for well over a decade, and it is one of
the fun moments of my year when I get the call. Watching her work with
a whole group of people is like watching a combination of air traffic
controller, director and producer all at once. And she has as much
fun or more fun than all of us combined. Her level of energy is quite
remarkable. I've done every kind of voiceover with her – entire casts,
one on one, Batman Beyond, Teen Titans – and she always brings a
tremendous bolt of energy. It's infectious and it’s fun. It’s like she
always says, “Thanks for coming in and playing.” Andrea really allows
you to have fun with it and not take yourself too seriously, which
allows you to work really hard.
You're such an intense, intelligent, driven individual who actively
lobbies for so many worthy, worldwide causes. Do voiceovers for
animation fulfill some sort of need for play, or does it offer another
The reason why I come and do voiceover, for animation or documentary
or whatever, is because I'm really not suited for it. And so I have to
somehow pass myself off as someone who can actually pull this off. It
makes me work really hard, and I love the challenge. I've been in a
lot of films, and yet I’ve never taken an acting lesson. I've done a
lot of voiceovers for all kinds of things, and I've never taken any
lessons there. I've just shown up with a whole lot of enthusiasm, a
great fear of failure, and a desire to please the people who have
somehow trusted me to do the work.
I come from the minimum wage working world of the late '70s, early
'80s, so stuff like this, to me, is gravy. It is so not standing on my
feet, carrying something to the back of a truck. I know how to do all
of that. Many of us do. So, for me, it's just a really fun thing.
There's pressure certainly to perform – not the same pressure that I
take out on stage every night, when there's a lot of people who are
there to hear me or see me.
The voiceover thing, in order to be good at it, you have to have a
laugh at yourself. I mean, you're doing funny voices. We're larger
than life here. So you have to throw your seriousness away and be able
to laugh at yourself. You have to throw out your ego. The more I do
it, the more I realize that you have to approach it that way – and
then you get super involved in the moment. I think that's what the job
requires. You have to think “Oh, no, here comes the meteor storm.
We’ve got to go.” When I'm doing something like that, believe me, I'm
really in that moment. When you can throw away your self-importance
and have fun with it, that’s when you really deliver.”
What’s your motivation to perform in this odd world of entertainment?
Like many of us in the entertainment world, I think we are making up
for the lack of attention that we did not get as kids through the need
for attention and approval from an audience. I tell audiences now that
I'm only here for your attention and your approval. I need you way
more than you'll ever need me. And you'll be done with me way sooner
than I'll ever be done with you. It's a pity. And welcome to the show.
(he laughs) And it's so true.
Are you more comfortable performing in front of large groups or alone
in a studio with you and the microphone?
I love being in front of tons of people, and I really enjoy being
one-on-one with the microphone. I love both micromanaging the part,
and having the ability now to give the director exactly what he or she
wants, and then really being able to nail it. In the booth it’s fun
because they’re directing you, and you’re trying to hit those notes.
It’s like Andrea will say “Can you lighten it up just a little?
Remember, you're kind of sad, because on page 11 you had that thing
happen.” And then you can dial in with such extreme subtlety that she
can hear it and go, “That's what I needed. Thank you very much, we’re
moving on.” To be able to deliver that is really enjoyable.
Did you read comics as a kid?
I was not a comic book-guy growing up. My stepbrother had them. I
would look at them with not a great of interest. My first job was
throwing newspapers for the long-defunct Washington Star. I’d throw
80,000 tons of newspaper a year for about $4.60. So I’ve got maybe $12
to my name, but I was a kid, I didn't know what to do with it. And so
I went to the drugstore and I bought a couple of comics. I dragged
them home, and I looked at them. Quite honestly, it didn't do much for
me, and I've never gone back except for when someone sends me the odd
A few years ago, I did come across this character called “Too Much
Coffee Man.” And he used to worry about the world. He had a coffee cup
strapped to his head. I eventually made friends with Shannon Wheeler,
who draws the comic. He illustrated a book for me – putting some
illustrations at the beginning of each chapter. And Shannon used to
kindly send me these collections of “Too Much Coffee Man.” But that's
the only comic I would really pay attention to, because I like the
idea. “Too Much Coffee Man” has a lot to say. He's a great apocalyptic
philosopher for our very troubled times.
Comics don’t have an impact on you, but do you believe they have a
social relevance for society?
I think that it's important for young people who are maybe sensitive.
Maybe they're not gonna be the quarterback and they're not gonna get
the pretty cheerleader to go to the senior prom. But it's great for
them to have an escape. Because some people who are often aren't the
one who can throw the football the furthest, they have interesting
minds. And I think that comics help someone with an imagination have
fun and play around … I think anything that inspires young people to
have imagination – it’s what gives you things like, oh, the Internet
and renewable energy. And progress. So I think anything that is a seed
to imagination, that enhances imagination, I think is safe.
Growing up, I loved great literature. I lived for your Steinbecks and
your Hemmingways as a kid, and I read them all again as an adult and
got the better version of the story. My comic books were reading
things like the The Grapes Of Wrath, and stuff like that that my mom
turned me on to. So I understand anything that makes the imagination
go as being a good thing.
You spend more days of the year on the road than you spend at home,
and mostly in places few would consider a vacation spot. Why?
Because the world is interesting. I've been touring since I was 20,
living all over the world as often as possible. Being home is nice for
about 72 hours. Make the dinner I'd like to make, open up the things I
got on eBay and Amazon.com, eat at the favorite sushi place. And then
after about three or four days of that, I start feeling it's a grind,
and the world is waiting for me. It's life on pause. Meanwhile, time
is ticking by. And I figure at some point when I'm 80 or 90, there
will be time to sit around and go, “Oh, man, I'm tired.”
But as long as I have sap in my bones, the African continent is going
like, “Henry, you haven't come to Gambia yet. How come you haven't
gone to Chad yet?” Or Yemen is calling and saying, “It's a little
rough, but you should check it out.” That's why I go into the world as
often as possible. Thankfully, my work takes me far and wide. And then
I just invent stuff. I just come up with ideas. I know people in
different places. I do a lot of travel with the USO, so that gets me
to places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, etc.
I'm the first and only ever USO performer in Egypt. They've never sent
anyone into Egypt before. But I said, “Let me be the first.” And so I
went in across the Sinai. For me, this is all fantastic – to go to
these places, meet people, dig the culture, dig the music, dig the
food, get lost in souqs and bazaars and streets. And so far I have not
had to run for my life. A mortar attack in Baghdad wasn't the best
thing that ever happened to me.
But by and large, my travel has enriched my life. Coming from the
minimum wage working world of the last century, this is all great
opportunity. So I don’t “no” to the work, and I don't say “no” to my
Is there a super hero or villain role you truly covet?
No. I'm happy for anything that would come my way. And I'll be so
happy if someone said, “Here is three years work on this series and
you get to be that guy.” It’s all been so much fun. There's nothing
I'm wanting to do but more.
Still photo credit is "Courtesy of Gary Miereanu."