I, for one, don't believe in separation, because then it gets into God playing favorites and who's more special. We try to figure it out, and then it doesn't become very Christian to me. That's the problem I have with the show. It's very entertaining, but it's very hard for me to make the connection, because the whole concept is a separation of these special people with special abilities. God either is playing a game with them or there's something else going on. I don't know. That's just my take.
This is going back a few years, but religion played such a big role on your other big TV series, "Oz," where you played the prison warden. What was the significance of religion on the show? Was that just trying to portray how jail really is like with different religious groups? Or was it something else?
I had heard that Tom Fontana, who created that show, had studied to be a priest. I don't know if that's true or not, but I know that he certainly came from a very religious background.
The struggle that we all have with who are, and our relationship to God, our relationship to each other, is always the conflict-- good versus evil, who's guilty, who gets punished, who goes unpunished--those are all issues that we struggle with every day in life. We live in a world where things happen, and how do we judge that? The Bible says, "Judge not lest you be not judged."
Tom wrote [about] it from a more realistic level. I played a warden, and the struggle with him was who gets punished, who goes unpunished? How do I reconcile this? I'm angry, I want to take revenge. Is that the right thing to do?
Struggling with the right thing to do was really a part of my character on that show. And I think all the characters, who's really good, who's really bad, are human questions that we all work through.
The problem I have with "Heroes" is these are things that separates people, so it's not everyone that's going through that. I related to "Oz" a lot more and related to the characters. I thought they were honest characters.
I had read about a guy once, the first black warden of Leavenworth. His father was a minister and he called his work as the wardenhis ministry. And I thought that was interesting, his commitment to do this very difficult job.
When we find our place, when we find the occupation or whatever it is that we do, that is our ministry, and that's how we do Gods will and how we demonstrate truth through our work. But there's a struggle, especially when you're dealing with people where the lines aren't really clear. And in the case of "Oz," being a warden, all of those things came to play.
I just felt it was much more complex, and I certainly enjoyed working on that show a lot more. Tom Fontana was very clear about his vision of the show, whereas you get a show like "Heroes," they've had a number of changes in terms of producers. They're trying to find a show that works,that appeals, and they're willing to make whatever changes are necessary, whereas I know the creators of "Oz" would not make those changes. They really had a vision that they want to be true to. That doesn't happen a lot in TV.
Do you have a favorite Bible verse?
John 3:16 is kind of a reminder that God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son. That's always the first thing that comes to mind.
The Lord's Prayer is something I do every day, every night, every morning. Psalm 23 is something that whenever I'm stressed it relieves tension and calms me down.
What inspires you in your life and career?
My kids--I have four sons and they're all adults now. And my marriage, which is now 33 years [old]. And just people in general. I find that the more I begin to look around, I see so much good that people do that goes unnoticed. So many wonderful things. I'm just inspired by life in general. I see the difficulty and all of that. I see even my own sons, my family struggling with certain things. But then I see, on the other side, so much good, overwhelmingly so—just enormous kindness, people really going above and beyond for each other, but we don't notice it.