Russell Hornsby on Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector and That Long Title


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Russell Hornsby on Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector and That Long Title

Inspired by the best-selling book by Jeffery Deaver, the NBC drama series Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector follows former NYPD detective and forensic genius Lincoln Rhyme (Russell Hornsby), who is still on the hunt for the enigmatic and notorious serial killer, known as The Bone Collector, that set up a trap that left him paralyzed. Now, he’s teamed up with Amelia Sachs (Arielle Kebbel), a young officer whose instincts remind him of his own brilliant skills, and the two are in a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a psychopath that always seems to be one step ahead.

During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Russell Hornsby talked about why it was the right time for him to step into a lead role, what leadership is like on set, the series’ rather long title, what appealed to him about playing Lincoln Rhyme, the challenge of portraying someone with mobility restriction, how his Shakespeare training comes in handy with this role, the dynamic between Lincoln and Amelia, and keeping the cat-and-mouse game interesting for viewers.

Collider: You’ve built a long career, playing supporting roles and characters that are part of an ensemble, and while this TV series has an ensemble, your role is very much a leading role. How does that feel, especially on set? Does it feel like it’s about time, or does it feel like it’s the right time?

RUSSELL HORNSBY: I think it’s a mix of both, quite honestly. It’s about time, and it’s the right time. There’s a saying that says, “Things don’t just happen, things happen just.” I believe that 20-some odd years into a career has prepared me for this time, right now. When you talk about all of the work that I’ve done, up to this point, and how I started, coming from the theater and working with the likes of Andre Braugher and Gabriel Byrne, and all of these people, along the way, where you’re able to watch how other leads lead, it prepares you to be a leader. I honestly believe that being a number one is not just about the acting. It’s a about your leadership, and that you’re willing to take that mantle and lead as such.

At any point did you try to convince the powers that be of the show to shorten the name of the series?

HORNSBY: Initially, it started as just Lincoln, and they realized that it was exceedingly confusing. I honestly believe that it’s one of those things where, in success, people adapt. You have to get people used to something different. It has an incredibly long name. But now, what we’re looking to do is set up an anthology. That’s what I would venture to guess. As the show gets better and we show more episodes, it’ll catch on. Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Bone Collector is just what it is. Hopefully, next season will be Lincoln Rhyme: Hunt for the Burning Wire, or The Skin Collector, or The Steel Kiss, or whatever that may be. So, I’m excited about what the future holds.

When the opportunity to play this character and came your way, what most interested you and excited you about digging into him?

HORNSBY: Honestly, it was the challenge of creating something new for myself. I recognize, respect and honor what the movie did, but I also realize that, when you’re doing a television series, it’s definitely something different and more in depth. Also, it is 20 years later. I wanted to accept the challenge of adding new breath, new life, and new depth to Lincoln Rhyme. I consider myself an actor’s actor, so to speak, and I like to show the various dimensions and levels that I can play at, and this presented that challenge to do that.

Are there aspects of him that have uncovered themselves along the way, that you didn’t necessarily know in the beginning, but you’ve grown to appreciate about this version, as he’s developed?

HORNSBY: What was always there, I appreciated, but what I’m beginning to do is lean into that, a little bit more. What that is, is his confidence bordering on arrogance, and his curt retorts. Those elements are interesting to watch. If you play it right, it’s interesting, but it also creates conflict, and it gives the character somewhere to go and, possibly, somewhere to come back from. You want a character that’s possibly unlikeable, or that people have to warm up to because that gives audiences something to lean into. So, I’m leaning into those aspects of his personality more, as the show has developed.

Russell Hornsby on Lincoln Rhyme Hunt for the Bone Collector and That Long Title

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