Exclusive: Henry Rollins reflects on He Never Died & repurposed sequel
Henry Rollins has graced the big screen for nearly 30 years, but one of his most celebrated roles came five years ago in the darkly comedic indie horror He Never Died and after its strong reception, writer/director Jason Krawczyk and Rollins began working together on a sequel and a miniseries continuation. However, plans have changed and gone dormant in the time since and ComingSoon.net got the chance to chat with Rollins to discuss the cult hit and follow-up plans.
Ahead of its debut at South by Southwest in 2015, word came out that Krawczyk was shopping around the rights to the story in hopes of getting a miniseries adaptation of the film that would expand on Rollins’ character, while news came out after its release that the two were also working on a feature-length sequel, which Rollins revealed nearly came to life twice.
“I went out and pitched the miniseries and the sequel with the director and producer until my arm got sore,” Rollins recalled. “That was a few years ago, two times the film, Part 2, was about to shoot and at the last minute they said, ‘Someone pulled out, investment wise, and you can’t do it.’”
The 59-year-old actor and musician looked back and remembered having plane tickets booked to fly out to Toronto to begin shooting and after the second cancellation of the project, he recalls losing a bit of steam and enthusiasm for the project.
“I went, ‘Okay, I’ve committed the last part of a year to this and I’m going to go do it and now I’m not doing it and have no work because I said no to everything else,’” Rollins described. “It’s hard not to have your feathers a bit ruffled about that, because I like to eat and pay my bills.”
Despite the project’s apparent cancellation, last year saw the surprise release of She Never Died, a sister sequel which reworked Krawczyk’s script for a proper follow-up into a separate story with loose connections to the original film, which surprised even Rollins, who heaped praise upon the original script for Part 2.
“I don’t know how much the people I worked with had to do with it or if anyone from Part 1 show up in it, I know I didn’t,” Rollins noted. “So that’s all I know and I haven’t seen those people since we were promoting it at South by Southwest in 2015 or ’16. So Part 2, as far as the script, was so cool, it had fantastic violence, Jack was just [sighs], it was just a fantastic movie. So I really wanted to do it and it didn’t happen.”
Rollins looks back at when he was first offered the role in the film, describing the conversation he and Krawczyk had regarding the script and the writer/director’s ideal candidate for the role of Jack.
“Jason Krawczyk wrote the screenplay for me, I read it and said, ‘I can do that’ and he said, ‘I wrote it for you,'” Rollins recalled. “I said, ‘Ha ha, very funny,’ and he said, ‘No, I wrote it with you in mind.’ I was like, ‘Oh, so I’m a black-eyed killer?’ and he said, ‘No, I think you can do it.’ I loved it at first read and I met the director and producer a day later and I said, ‘Yes,’ and so we went out and we eventually shot it. It was fun to do it.”
Written and directed by Krawczyk, the film stars Rollins as Jack an immortal, cannibalistic loner who has withdrawn from society to protect both himself and others and is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs on his door and he can’t contain his violent past.
The film was a smash hit with critics and audiences upon its debut at South by Southwest in 2015 and Netflix release the following March, currently maintaining an 87 percent approval from critics on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes.