Interview John Savage Taken from TV Zone #143

John Savage reveals his less-than angelic side on Dark Angel, and tells us why kids should respect their elders

Generation Gap

In 'And Jesus Brought a Casserole', Lydecker played a double-crossing game with Madame X (Nana Visitor)

Also: Alyson Hannigan on Buffy


What's the problem with today's younger generation? They think they know more than their elders do about what's best for them. This is especially true of the genetically-enhanced brunette bombshell Max of Dark Angel. Several years ago, she and 11 of her 'siblings' escaped from Manticore, a secret genetics lab in Gillette, Wyoming. They were part of a government experiment designed to create an advanced infantry soldier. Since that time, Manticore's commander, Colonel Donald Michael Lydecker, has been hunting for them. His mission is to either reclaim his "children" so that they may serve alongside him - or kill them.

What does Lydecker really think of Max (Jessica Alba)?"This show's focus is really on these young adults that are on the run and struggling to make a life for themselves in a world brought to its knees by nuclear terrorists," explains actor John Savage, who plays Lydecker. "Every so often this fellow named Lydecker makes an appearance. I don't want to say he thinks he's king of the world, but he is in a position of tremendous responsibility. Perhaps he knows more than these young people do about their situation and what the future holds for them. In Lydecker's mind, Max [Jessica Alba] may not have that long to live because of her unique makeup. Like others of her kind, she is experiencing the side-effects of the genetic experimentation she underwent.

"My character's goal is try to try to save Max and the others for himself and his government, or what's left of it. Many of the young people at Manticore grew up to become soldiers to serve with Lydecker. They do what they're ordered to do on behalf of national and, possibly, global security. They're the most effective on-ground team in the country. It's no secret that there's been quite a bit of corruption from the grass roots local police all the way up to the military. Lydecker and those he works for are trying to hold on to the last remnants of what was left of our nation after it was attacked. He hopes these run-away kids will come to understand this and see it's their duty to help him. For now, though, both sides are in conflict and that's a big part of what makes playing Lydecker interesting as well as fun for me."

Of all the Dark Angel cast, Savage has the most credits to his name and years of acting experience under his belt. He was born John Youngs on 25th August 1949 in Old Bethpage, Long Island, New York and, according to Savage, he never wanted to be anything but an actor. "I've always enjoyed listening to stories and telling them," he says. "I love to read books, too. I can't get enough of them. Most of all, though, I love to dream. Too much of that is not a good thing," chuckles the actor, "but I've never gotten too carried away. At least not yet."

Getting Started

Savage made his professional stage début when he was 14 in an off-Broadway production of The Drunkard. Later, the actor spent two years studying his craft on a scholarship to New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He laughs out loud when recalling his first time working in front of the camera. "I was terrified. It was for a live tv show in New York. I get a sick feeling in my stomach even thinking about it now. However, I survived, so I guess that's the important thing."

The actor moved to California in 1973 where he appeared in his very first feature film, Steelyard Blues. He worked steadily throughout the Seventies and Eighties in such movies as The Deer Hunter, Hair and The Onion Field as well as various tv projects. "I've had some terrific opportunities in my career," notes Savage. "Some of my more challenging roles have been ones where I can't feel the story in my heart. I hope that makes sense. When that happens it frightens me, you know? At the same time I enjoy that 'demand', if you will, and just try to do my best and measure up to the script and the people I'm working with..."

Steven Eramo


More from John Savage on Dark Angel in TV Zone #143


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