'I never imagined myself doing something like this': Lance Reddick on 'Book of Secrets'
Hosted by film and television star Lance Reddick, ‘Book of Secrets’ is a new series that asks the question: ‘What if there is a book that serves as a repository for America’s most closely guarded secrets?’
The USA’s story can be told in many ways. While much of the history of the country is well documented and widely available, there is another deeper history, one that has been shrouded in secrecy and hidden from public view; these are the stories that Sky HISTORY will reveal.
Sky HISTORY spoke to Lance along with series executive producer, David Comtois to find out more us more about the series.
Why did you want to get involved in the show?
Lance Reddick: The short answer is that I thought it was cool. Interestingly enough on social media, particularly Twitter, over the past few years, people will periodically say, Lance Reddick, should be the next host of the show. So, I would read that chuckle. I had forgotten but I mentioned this to my manager because I thought it was kind of funny and the next thing I know, we have an offer to do the show. I never imagined myself doing something like this.
I watched a couple of those episodes and in talking to the producers, I started to realise how historically based it was going to be and a really cool classy project that I'd like to try so I did.
Which is your favourite episode and why?
Lance Reddick: The couple ones that come to my mind are the episode about Martin Luther King [FBI Vs MLK] and the Nazis' obsession with finding religious artefacts [The Hunt for Hitler's Relics].
With the Martin Luther King episode, it wasn't so much that I found out something new in terms of the dynamic between the FBI and the civil rights movement, it's that I didn't realise the depth to which they tried to discredit and destroy the movement from an intelligence point of view and how deep the personal vendetta was between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King.
As far as the Nazi episode, I was just surprised at the extent to which their obsession with religious artefacts was religious but not in a Christian way. It was an obsession with the occult as a medium of power. I had no idea how much looting of works of art all over Europe. That blew my mind.
Did you find it shocking the lengths to which the FBI was trying to discredit Martin Luther King?
Lance Reddick: No, as an African American that's history that I've been aware of for a while. The details in it though that blew my mind? The other thing that I found interesting was that a lot of the documents that have remained classified, about the FBI's role in the civil rights movement, and in the discrediting of Martin Luther King, that that stuff is going to be released.
What do you hope viewers will get from the show?
David Comtois: I hope that they'll get a viewpoint of history that they haven't had before that will allow them to start questioning things and broaden their viewpoints. I think we all have to be open to new ideas and new ways to look at the world.
Lance Reddick: Primarily it's wanting people to have that experience you had when you learn something that you didn't know. That makes you question things, and want to find out more. I want people to get that out of the show. And be entertained.
David Comtois: It is an entertaining show and Lance is a great presence. He has this great stature and this very compelling air of mystery. He can project and interpret at the same time. But there's also a warmth and a relatability to him that I think is just terrific. That brings a lot to the show.
Your background is as an actor, Lance, was it a challenge taking on a more of a presenting role?
Lance Reddick: It was deceptively difficult. I shot all of my on-camera stuff in three days. Standing still and reading out loud for three days is kind of gruelling. I was very grateful for my theatre training because it's technically very challenging. After all, you have to stay present. Even the voiceover, it took me a few episodes to get into the groove of how to do it.
David Comtois: In the first voiceover session, because we were in the middle of a pandemic, he had to read the first couple episodes hunkered down in his closet, with his headphones, next to his overcoat and his wife's evening gown.
Lance, the series is called Book of Secrets, what's one thing our viewers may not know about you?
Lance Reddick: I'm a trained musician. I went to a conservatory growing up for college. I never thought I'd be an actor, I thought I was going to be a classical composer. Then I started doing this because I thought it would help me be a rock star. Then it took over my life and I went back to drama school.
The fact that I'm a comic book geek, I think people would know that but I'm not sure what else, apart from I did become obsessed with British Crime shows.
Which British cop shows do you like?
I just finished watching the two seasons of Prey and Line of Duty. I just watched The Victim with Kelly McDonald. It's set in Scotland and t's about a woman who's on trial for the attempted murder of a guy that she thinks murdered her son. I love Kelly McDonald she's great. She's a two-for-one because she was in Line of Duty. I flew through the first two seasons of The Bay. That’s it for my recent British crime drama watches.
Outside the USA what role are you most recognised for?
Lance Reddick: Not one thing. When I was in London, about nine years ago, the people working the hotel recognise me from The Wire.
A few years ago I was at an airport in Munich and these two kids came up to me and wanted a picture because they watched Bosch with their dad. Then when I was in South Africa shooting Resident Evil, I went on a safari. The Americans knew me from The Wire. The black South Africans knew me from John Wick 2, and the white South Africans had no idea who I was.
Book of Secrets with Lance Reddick premieres on Sky HISTORY on Tuesday 24th August at 9pm. Sky HISTORY is available on Sky 123, NOW, Virgin 270 and TalkTalk 327. All episodes will be available on catch up services.