In the fourth-season opener of USA Network's The 4400 (airing Sunday at 9 pm/ET), Billy Campbell's enigmatic Jordan Collier deals with the lethal fallout of a drug he distributed to give people superpowers. Clearly, Campbell's come a long way from Once and Again's Rick.
TV Guide: If you were a 4400, what power would you want to have?
Billy Campbell: I'd like to be invisible. Then I could hang around the Oval Office. Enough said.
TV Guide: Do you see Jordan as a messiah figure?
Campbell: I don't see him as anything, really. I don't write him. I tend to try to not play him in any predictable way. I simply believe he wants to change the world.
TV Guide: How does he cope with all the deaths that handing out Promicin has caused?
Campbell: I think he probably thinks of it as a necessary sacrifice.
TV Guide: Is Jordan a heavy?
Campbell: The producers refuse to tell me whether he's good or bad. Everyone does what they think is good in some sense, even if it's only good for them. If he is a bad guy, he doesn't think of himself that way.
TV Guide: You missed much of Season 3 of The 4400 when you were sailing around the world like Magellan. What did you gain from that experience?
Campbell: I gained a few things, aside from ship abilities. I gained a higher degree of tolerance for other people. Maybe a little perspective. I've always wanted to sail in a tall ship. I started doing it about six years ago, and this is the latest iteration of that.
TV Guide: After Once and Again, you switched from leading man to playing creepy guys like Jordan. Was this a conscious attempt to broaden your range?
Campbell: Not really. I don't think I have that much control over my career. I just got lucky and got a bad-guy role, specifically in the movie Enough. And I had always wanted to play a bad guy. After that the parts kept cropping up. Just fortunate circumstance.
TV Guide: What was it like to get your butt handed to you by J.Lo?
Campbell: Well, it was amusing. I enjoyed making the film. I'm a big fan of [Enough director] Michael Apted.
TV Guide: Do you prefer good guys or heavies?
Campbell: It's always more fun to play a bad guy because there are more options for behavior. Good guys usually come down to somebody's husband, somebody's boyfriend, that kind of thing.
TV Guide: You were in Gettysburg and Gods and Generals. Are you a Civil War buff?
Campbell: I am. I used to do reenactments. I was with the [Confederate] Albemarle Rifles. For my 18th birthday my mother took me to a reenactment and I was impressed with the artillery crew. [They were] carrying on a dialogue about what they were going to do when the war was over. It just thrilled me.
TV Guide: Speaking of Once and Again, do you think Rick and Lily lived happily ever after?
Campbell: I don't think anyone lives happily ever after.
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