Stephen Lang played the villainous Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron’s mega-blockbuster Avatar (2009). In Terra Nova, which airs on Star World, he plays the dark Commander Nathaniel Taylor.
It’s no surprise then that the actor doesn’t exactly have beaming fans come up to shake his hand on the streets. “People do come in a bit intimidated,” he admits, adding, “But they’re often surprised that I’m not a bigger a**hole than I am.”
He admits that the rough demeanour that defines his two most famous characters till date stem from his insecurities as a young actor. “When I was young, because I was terrified, I probably put on a tough veneer, and there's still a trace of that. But in the context of Terra Nova, it's not a bad thing, because I'm the commander, and if people are a bit scared, it’s good.”
Ask why he’s pigeon-holing himself into an angry military stereotype, and he says, “I was intrigued by the ambition and scope of the TV project, and I like the pedigree. Interestingly, the reason you would want me to do it is because of Avatar, and the reason you would not want me is also Avatar. Obviously, there's a similarity in their (Quaritch and Taylor) backgrounds. But you’ll see Taylor’s distinct personality, as opposed to him being related to the commander in Avatar.”
He adds with a grin, “Besides, I'm 59 years old, and if I'm being typecast as a charismatic, macho silver fox, I can live with that.”