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Monday, January 18, 2016

Michael C. Hall Talks David Bowie's Death, His Role on Stage, and Why Death Stalks Him



via theguardian: As the lead in David Bowie’s musical Lazarus, Michael C. Hall felt the singer’s death like an ‘internal fist clench’. The former Dexter star talks about inhabiting the role Bowie first played in The Man Who Fell to Earth – and his own struggle with cancer.

When David Bowie and Michael C Hall met for the first time, the rock star looked at the actor, held him in his gaze for a moment and then asked: “What is it with you?”

Hall didn’t ask him to elaborate; he knew Bowie meant “death”. You can’t shake how strange a constant it has been in the 44-year-old’s life and work. Consider his great TV roles. First, there was HBO’s wonderful Six Feet Under, in which Hall made his name as the tightly wound David Fisher, a mortician in the family’s funeral parlour. Then, his stardom exploded with the Showtime series Dexter, in which he played a droll forensics expert who moonlights as a serial killer of serial killers. And now, Hall is the star of a show bound up, inside and out, with death, immortality and the afterlife. In Lazarus – the David Bowie musical that sold out long before it opened and well before the Starman himself died – Hall plays Thomas Newton, a man who can’t die.

So when he woke up last Monday and learned, via “25 or 30 texts”, that Bowie had passed away, Hall felt a familiar “internal fist clench”.

Handsome and anonymous in a West Village cafe, he balls his right hand and then spreads his fingers wide as he tries to explain: “Some sort of old survival mechanism kicks in. I think it’s about holding on, it’s about mirroring what I see to not be victimised by trauma.” And then these words come out in a quiet rush: “To not be a pitiful, fatherless son.”

When Hall was 11, that fulcrum age of not really child but not quite teenager, he lost his dad to cancer. It is young to experience death, but Hall’s life was coloured by it from the start: his older sister died from congenital heart disease before he was born.

It is easy, in other words, to get pretty heavy – pretty fast – with him.

“It’s all right,” he laughs, “it’s inevitable ...” and he makes a laissez-faire wave. Because, luckily for him, Hall also has a great capacity for silliness. You can see levity in everything he does – in the eyes of that affable murderer Dexter, or in the movement of the leaping but gravity-bound Newton on stage at the New York Theater Workshop.

Before Lazarus, Hall was splattered with glitter on Broadway in the title role of the gender-bending Hedwig and the Angry Inch. “Which served,” he jokes, “as a very elaborate glam audition.” He already had the job before he met Bowie, but when it came time to sing, “I felt the butterflies start turning to bats. And Bowie said,” – Hall affects a voice of self-mocking kingliness – “‘Now sing my songs for me.’”

Bowie took pains to put people at ease. He was so generous, and palpably kind
In other words: “He was sort of naming the absurdity of the moment, which I really appreciated. I think he took pains to put people at ease. He was so generous, and palpably kind.”

Head over to The Guardian to read the full interview.


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