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Danny Glover stars as Captain Ahab in Syfy's `Age of the Dragons.` (photo by Natalie Cass/Syfy)
Danny Glover stars as Captain Ahab in Syfy's "Age of the Dragons." (photo by Natalie Cass/Syfy)
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Danny Glover stars in Syfy original 'Age of the Dragons'

by jmaloni
Fri, Jul 29th 2011 11:25 pm

Acclaimed actor leads new Saturday night feature

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni

"I'm too old for this. ..."

It seemed as if Danny Glover's memorable line from the "Lethal Weapon" movies had finally become true. Guest starring on "Leverage" two weeks ago, Glover played "Old Charlie," a hospitalized World War II vet. It seemed as if the actor behind the perennially retiring Sgt. Roger Murtaugh had finally given up the action-adventure genre.

Then we saw the commercial for Syfy's "Age of the Dragons."

Glover's character, Ahab, is running, jumping, shooting a spear gun and chasing down the "Great White Dragon" in a re-imagining of Melville's classic "Moby Dick."

The roles - "Old Charlie" and "Ahab" - couldn't be more different. It would appear that Glover hasn't given up on the genre that made him a household name, after all.

I suppose it shouldn't surprise audiences that the man who starred in "Lethal Weapon," "The Color Purple" and "Saw" (talk about different) continues to show he's one of Hollywood's more versatile actors.

When asked what the key is to his chameleon-like acting ability, Glover said, "Well I don't know, maybe I don't take myself seriously - could be part of it."

The actor says the key is striving to work within the framework of each story.

"I think when I see the play mapped out on the board and the director and writer - Athol Fugard - Athol Fugard said that the one thing that he appreciated about me was that I gave whatever I had to give to the moment itself, to the truth of the story; that's what I gave, you know, all of that.

"And that simply means that the story exists in itself and the story is bound by the character's relationship, emotions, et cetera like that; his relationship with himself and his relationship outside of that."

"What I try to do is find ... the story - the story's art focuses on that, essentially, through the characters and who they are, who they think they are, who they are in real life and the relationship between each other; so that made the story and certainly redeems itself. So the idea is that I fit into what that is."

Though Glover is an admired actor and a box office draw, "I don't try to be bigger than the story," he says. "I don't try to dominate the story; I don't try to use myself in some sort of way in which it now circumvents what the story is about. I try to be right within the story itself, whether it's Sgt. Murtaugh or whether it's Mister in 'The Color Purple' or whatever it says. Or whether it's 'Leverage' or whether it's been the Captain in 'Age of the Dragons.'

"Those are the kind of things that I think when I think about prying myself to think about who I am as an actor. Those are the kind of things that focus on me, whether I've been able to work, whether my face is the kind of face that is manageable in many situations, many characters, or whatever it is."

Glover laughs, and says, "there's some part of it that - and I think that comes out - and Sammy Davis Jr. said, 'You remind me of the guy who lives next door to me,' which killed me. I don't know whether it's a compliment or a compliment to my versatility ... or my ordinariness."

All kidding aside, though, Glover's diverse roles show he's anything but ordinary - or boring - and willing to explore new emotions with each character. Despite his age, the actor continues to chase new roles and new experiences.

Glover took on the role of Ahab because, "I read the script, and an actor likes to work, and an actor likes to feel that he's capable of needing the test of many challenges and everything else. So I said, 'What about this?' (Ahab is) kind of deformed - and that's the word I was looking for - deformed, mad; was not only deformed physically, but deformed emotionally, and some of those characters within stories themself are really dynamic to me."

"Age of the Dragons" airs Saturday, July 30, at 9 p.m. EST on Syfy.

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