Hall Sees Life From 'The Dead Zone'
"I can't believe it," star
Based on the novel of the same name by
Hall stars as
Again this season, the show draws on a plot thread inspired by the book, with Johnny on an ongoing crusade to bring down politician Greg Stillson (Sean Patrick Flanery). According to Johnny's visions, Stillson will bring a nuclear holocaust to
If fans need to catch up, the fourth-season DVD box set came out on June 13 from Lions Gate Television, Inc.
While online viewers track Johnny's adventures, the 38-year-old Hall -- who came to fame as a teen in the '80s in such
"I check out my hairdos from over the seasons," he says. "I was approaching the mullet."
USA has until August to decide whether to renew "Zone" for a sixth season. Hall says, "I don't know [if we'll be back]. All I can say is, I know we've done well. The numbers went up last year. They were good.
"One thing I can take pride in, from a business standpoint, is, along with 'Monk,' other cable shows, we affected a change in the industry in terms of counterprogramming. The networks can no longer sleep.
"I'm proud of us for so many reasons. It stretched me as an actor. I know I became a better person, with the additional responsibilities, just taking that, really carrying that."
He's also sanguine about the success of such psychic-come-lately network dramas as
"Everything's been done," he says. "All these other shows, like
Hall has also had to deal with two losses in the last year, both connected to his professional life. Last November, Michael Piller died after a battle with cancer.
At that time, Hall was finishing principal photography on his upcoming film "Aftermath" in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., hometown of writer and director Thomas Farone. In addition to his leading role as a construction boss who finds himself embroiled in murder, Hall was a producer on the film, as was his stepfather, Thomas Chestaro.
"I put the film together," Hall says. "I packaged it, got all those actors. I brought my stepfather on board."
Also starring are
Penn's passing, following so closely the loss of Piller, brought Hall to a revelation.
"Obviously I thought about Michael and his sickness," he says, "but when Chris died, it brought their lives into focus for me. One thing I thought was interesting, that I noticed inside myself, was that, here's two guys who really gambled on me.
"Michael really believed in me probably more than anyone except John Hughes. He's at that level of my career in terms of impact. And Chris, it's the same thing. He was a great guy. He was a lot of fun. Once we did his deal, he committed to making this movie.
"He came up, and he gave a great performance. It really is like his 'Hustler.' He comes off as this Gleason-type guy, just larger than life."
Hall also transformed himself a bit for "Aftermath," currently aiming for a 2007 release. "It's all blue-collar," he says. "I dyed my hair brown. I worked out a lot."
Hall is happy to come back if "The Dead Zone" is renewed, saying, "I'm grateful. I really am. Either way, I'm at peace with the future. If it continues, it's audience-contingent, and that's the good news."
A co-producer on "The Dead Zone," Hall also has other projects in the works, and not just as an actor or producer.
"Directing, too," he says. "I have a couple of scripts that I've written in the last year. I've gone through numerous drafts on both of them. The first one I want to do is a
Hall also relished the opportunity to move from Vancouver to upstate
"That's the joy for me," he says, "you just go somewhere. You're in a house or a hotel room. It feeds the whole explorative thing.
"In Saratoga, we came in the fall, so the leaves were coming down. After being in Vancouver for five years, it felt nice to be in a new place in my own state. I loved it."