Back in issue 170 of SFX we printed a selection of questions that you wanted to ask Jared Padalecki, aka Sam Winchester in Supernatural. Did you miss out on the feature? Or did you ask a question and want to know if we asked it on your behalf? Here's the full version of our interview!
What would you like to see happen to Sam in season three? Would you like him to turn more evil? Are you happy with the direction he’s taking?
"Knowing nothing about what's coming – and this isn't a hint at all – I'd love to see Sam turn more badass. I guess 'evil' would be the word. I had such a fun time doing 'Born Under A Bad Sign', where I was possessed by a demon. It was such a welcome change after being the weak Sam who always gets saved by Dean. So I’d like to see him toughen up a little bit."
I notice you take your two dogs to work with you. What are their names, and how well-behaved are they?
"Harley and Sadie. They're both rescue dogs – Sadie's a four and a half year old German Shepherd-dingo mix and Harley's a three and a half year old Japanese mastiff mix. They're rescues, so you don't know exactly what they are. But they're pretty well-behaved, everyone on set loves them and it's great to come back to my trailer, especially during a crazy day, just to come back and sit down on my couch and have my dogs' heads in my lap, and play with them and pet 'em... you know. Right when you walk in the trailer they're just so excited to see you. I'll take 'em out and play ball with them at lunch, stuff like that. And people will take them out, people love them, so they're very well-received."
The majority of your characters have been good guys, what's it like to have a character who seems to be going over to the dark side and maybe becoming evil?
"It's great, and going back to the first question, I'm really excited to do it. I guess, partly because of the roles I got, and partly cos of the way I look or whatever, I sorta look like an All-American Guy, so I sorta play the All-American Guy, the nice guy, the friendly guy, the boyfriend. So it's really fun to explore the villainous side of a character. I'm having a great time doing it, and it's also fun as a fan of the show to watch Sam delve into what it is about him that makes him different."
Out of all the urban legends that you've done on the show, which is your favorite? and also which urban legend would you like to see done on the show, if it hasn't been done yet?
"My favourite urban legend was the Crossroad Blues urban legend – Robert Johnston, sell your soul to the devil, ten years later... y'know, and meet immediate success in one arena of your life and then eternal damnation ten years down the road. It's almost a question that every actor goes through, probably every person at some point in time; of kinda selling out, or 'what am I willing to give up to get what I want?'. You could talk about it for hours and hours with anybody, about 'what are you willing to give up?', 'what do you truly want and what are you willing to give up for it?', and 'would you give this?', and 'no I wouldn't', 'but would you really?', you never know. So I love that urban legend."
You had Linda Blair (from The Exorcist) in an episode of series 2. Are there any other horror/SF icons you'd love to get on the show?
I'd love to see some more either sci-fi or horror legends on the show, like Bruce Campbell or Leonard Nimoy, or someone from the genre that I love. They're who I first think about when I think about who I would like on the show. Obviously there are so many actors and actresses that I'm a fan of, but specifically for the better of the show, I’d love to have more of the genre actors on the show. We've had a few people from Buffy and Angel and a couple that've done X-Files, obviously, shooting in Vancouver. So I'd love to have some more people that are known in the genre."
Seeing that you're from San Antonio (I am too), do ever think of maybe shooting an episode of Supernatural down here, cos this town does have its share of urban legends. If you had a chance would you come back?
"I would! I would love to. I remember before Supernatural – I was in high school, actually – there's a train track in south San Antonio, that they say if you stop on when the train's coming, that it gets pushed off. So I'd love to go back and see it, and y'know, obviously people will tell you stories – put baby powder on your bumper and you’ll see little hand prints and stuff like that. So I'd love to go back. I mean, any excuse to go back home, obviously, but I'd love to go back and explore some of the local ones down in San Antonio."
Unfortunately in life all good things must come to an end. What are your aspirations once Supernatural comes to an end?
"My aspirations are to keep working, keep active. I'd really like to... I mean, I guess it's the classic, give it a shot on the big screen, go more for films. TV's been very exciting but it's very, very exhausting, and it's just such a long run – it's a nine month shoot, day in, day out, and you don’t know what's coming. It's almost like, if you're doing a movie, you know it's 120 pages, and you know exactly what you're doing, and you know that there's that fight scene at the end of the movie where you’re going to have to be in wicked shape, and you're going to have to be able to do your own stunts when they need you to, and choreographing a fight scene will probably take two weeks to film, which can be exhausting, but you can prepare for that mentally. Then there's that scene in the middle of the movie where you break down to your girlfriend and tell her how you're scared your mom's disappointed in you or whatever, but you can prepare for that. I miss the preparation that films allow you, because in TV, I get a script and I'm filming it the next day. So, I get a script and I find out I'm crying to my father – sometimes I film that on Friday, I find out about it the Thursday before, or the Wednesday before. And you're going, 'aw, man...' I can do it, but it's going to be not as good as if I had more time to prepare with it, and I won't be able to work as hard as I would like to work. So, hopefully I'll go to film."
Would you ever consider doing work behind the camera such as directing or producing?
"I'd love to. I'd actually be most interested in the producing aspect. I mean, y'know, I've always thought it'd be fun to be a writer or director, but I like putting together a puzzle or fighting for something I believe in so... there are so many aspects to being a producer, but what excites me is maybe getting new projects picked up and put together, and finding out which actor would be best for this role, and the casting process, and finding a place where would be the perfect location to shoot this scene and, y'know, trying to get that set up. So it'd be fun to be a producer cos... I don't think my talent is in doing something the best, but I think I can find the best people for it. I think I'd be a good delegator."
Have you and Jensen ever thought of snagging the Impala some weekend and driving it around Vancouver?
(laughs) "We've thought about it! We've planned it and really discussed it, and we've been planning it a lot this year with the writers' strike, and y'know what? If the writers' strike goes forever, we're just gonna fly back up there on the sly, sneak in – we know where the keys are hidden – and just drive straight across the border. Every now and again, when we're shooting, if we're shooting in the Impala right before lunch, we’ll just be like, 'alright, we’re taking the Impala to lunch, we’ll see you after lunch!' and everyone will be like, 'no no no!' and we’ll just drive off. So we certainly do that now and again."
With this writers' strike going on, you must finally have some free time, have you gotten a chance to do anything fun with it?
"The writers' strike has fallen through holiday time so I've been spending a bunch of time with my family and friends, travelling a lot, I saw a few movies, I read a book... just enjoying my off-time. I've been taking some meetings and auditioning for new projects just in case the strike goes forever... well, not forever, you know what I mean. If it goes on a long time I'd like to be able to work before Supernatural comes back, if Supernatural comes back. But a lot of time in Texas with my family, a lot of time with my girlfriend, and now travelling. Here I am in London, and I plan on going to some other places in Europe before I head back to the states."
With all your free time, what are you watching?
"I watched Into the Wild, I thought it was great. I watched No Country for Old Men, that's one of my favourite movies. I haven't been watching a whole lot of TV, just because I haven't had the opportunity to sit down, really. I saw some of the movies for the SAG Awards, they sent us some movies to vote, cos if you’re a member of SAG they’ll send you some movies every now and again. So I've been trying to catch up on good movies that I've missed... I watched National Treasure, which is a kind of goofy, fun movie. Mostly I’ve been going to the movies."
Who has most inspired you in your career? Is it someone you are well-acquainted with, perhaps from your personal life, or is it an actor whom you admire?
"Who has inspired me most... as far as an actor goes, I'd say that Johnny Depp has inspired me the most. He's a chameleon. I just think he does such a great job at playing different roles that he really inspires you to want to work, and to want to work hard and to push yourself. And also the way he's avoided – which I haven’t necessarily done – the roles that you would imagine him being cast in. I mean, he's a good-looking guy, he could easily just do romantic comedies or play the romantic guy and make $20 million a movie, cash in and go back home. But he avoids it – he works hard and does weird characters, and he's a lot of fun to watch. (You know he lives in Bath? – SFX) Does he really? I didn't know that! Good for him – I like that he lives outside of Los Angeles, cos I'm not really into the LA scene and it's pleasant to know that he's not into it either."
I was stunned to see you go up in flames (literally) during "Bad Day at Black Rock". Was it exciting, exhilarating or just plain scary?
(laughs) "A little scary, cos it's a natural element and you never know if it can be controlled or not, and my prior experience with fire was in House of Wax, when the whole stage burnt down because it got out of control. So immediately that's what your mind flashes to. But then you just sorta go, 'alright, I'm not gonna get out of this one, I'd better just shut my mouth and do it'. But it was a lot of fun, and I enjoy doing my own stuntwork, and it was funny, so I enjoyed hamming it up."
Is there a question no one ever asked you and you would like to answer?
"Wow. That's a very interesting question. I'm sure there are several questions, but nothing necessarily that I want to tell. I've been doing this for a while and I've had so many interviews that I figure I've told people all about me. So I think I'd be more interested in not over-saturating myself and giving away too much – I've certainly been an open book as of yet in my career. Which I'm fine with, I'm just a normal person so I'd rather not avoid any questions – I usually answer whatever gets asked of me, so I can't think of anything specifically."
You’re the one who’s always asked the questions, but If you could ask your fans a question, what question would you ask them?
"I guess the first one I can think of is, do they want to see Sam go bad? Do they want to see Sam be the hero or the anti-hero?"
I thought your portrayal of Sam's death in "All Hell Breaks Loose" was very moving. How did you prepare for that scene, and was it difficult to film?
"It was extremely difficult to film. Preparation – I just read through the script over and over and over again, and tried to... our director, Bob Singer – he’s one of our producers and one of our recurring directors – he and I have a very open relationship and I just asked him everything I could about it, like what angle was he shooting from, what lens was he using... I work best when I know the most. The more information I have, the better I can plug myself in, so to speak. So I just try to ask Eric Kripke a lot of questions, I try to ask Bob Singer a lot of questions, and then I try to forget everything and just do it. I think acting is so much about preparation that I think there's a point where, you prepare, you prepare, you prepare, and then you just drop everything and hope that somewhere, something sunk into your head. So I guess that's what I do with that."
Just wondered what things you might be looking forward to on your trip to see us in little ole' England this May for the Asylum Convention... do you have any 'touristy' things planned?
"Not specifically. I mean I hope to get out... we just went to Stonehenge yesterday, my girlfriend and I, cos we flew in and landed yesterday morning, and we knew that we couldn't go to sleep, cos if you go to sleep then it's all done and your body won't get adjusted properly. I'm still – you can probably tell – I'm still a little... my eyes refuse to open up right now! But maybe just to go to the surrounding lands. I've been to England a few times and I love the City, but it's so crowded, I'd love to sneak out. Maybe go to Bath! We went there... we went to Stonehenge and we were like, 'man, we should spend some more time in Bath!' I have a friend who's from there – she lives in the States right now – but I'd love to get out that way, and I'd love to check out the surrounding areas, go to Wales, maybe."
What do you think about your fans? Have you been to any web forums, fan sites and groups, or have you read any fan fiction?
"I love my fans, I really do. I can't say enough about them. I just did a convention in Austin, a Fangoria convention, and had some fans show up, and... it's so exciting and inspiring and motivating and flattering to meet people who are supportive of you but don’t have any reason to be supportive of you other than that they want to be. To me, people who just want you to succeed and want the show to succeed because they like your work, or they like you for whatever reason, or both, it's just really awesome, and it's really flattering, and it really rejuvenates you after a long, hard season. So, to my fans, if I could just say 'thank you, thank you, thank you', cos this is why I’m doing what I'm doing."
Are you on MySpace at all, because there are loads people saying that they are you, and I really want to know. Are you on MySpace or any chat sites?
"No. Going back to the internet, cos I didn't really answer that part of the last question, I don't check the internet, I don't read fan fiction, I truly don't. It all stems back to, one time when I was on Gilmore Girls, I was flipping through these... maybe like IMDb or something, some website, gilmoregirls.com or something... and I had just cut my hair or something, and I read something that was like 'oh, I like his hair a lot,' and the next person was like 'no, he looks like an ugly little girl', and I was like, 'that’s mean!'. I'm not really worried about what people say about me or think about me, but for some reason it kind of upset me. I was like, 'I don’t like that', and I just immediately cut it off. It’s like... I have a friend who, one time, he got drunk and was mean to his girlfriend, and has never drunk since. I found out that I didn't like it for me. I know that a lot of it, especially now, probably is positive and there's a lot of stuff supporting us, but I benefit better from thinking that there are a lot of people supporting me, than checking it out and seeing if people don't. It's weird, especially when people don't know you but they make a statement about who you are as a person or something, like 'he seems like an asshole' or something. Whatever they say, you're just kinda thinking, 'man, why would you say that?'. So I stay away from that, and I also don’t use MySpace. I don't have a whole lot of time to do that, cos usually I'm working, and if I'm not working then I'm playing with my dogs, or spending time with my girlfriend, or reading the script, or reading a book or something, so I don't get many chances to spend time on the internet. So those sites on MySpace or wherever they are, it's not me."
My question would be, can you list 10 songs in your iPod?
"Ten songs on my iPod... 'Little Wing' by Stevie Ray Vaughan – I know it's a Jimi Hendrix song, but I love his cover of it; 'State of Love and Trust' by Pearl Jam; 'Rearviewmirror' by Pearl Jam; 'February Stars' by Foo Fighters; 'Untitled #1' by Sigur Ros; 'Fake Plastic Trees' by Radiohead… how many is that? (That's six – SFX) That's six… but who's counting? Uhh… 'Taylor' by Jack Johnson; 'Voodoo Child' by Jimi Hendrix; uhh... I like this question! I really do! 'Round Here' by Counting Crows; and... 'Amsterdam' by Coldplay."
How hard was it to play Guitar Hero with a cast on?
(laughs) "Very hard! But that's how much I was willing to stick it through for Guitar Hero! That's a minor addiction of mine that's probably gotten in the way of my work. It was very hard. Luckily it was the pick hand and not the fret hand that I had to play with. But that was a lot of fun. And so afterwards, you can imagine how happy I was to start playing without it, it's like immediately getting stronger. It was like I was on Guitar Hero steroids when the cast came off – ‘I am better already!’. (Like runners who train with weighted shoes? – SFX) Exactly, like ankle weights. It was almost as if I took off my weighted shoes. That's a good analogy. But it's still so fun, I love that game, it's a great way to pass time. Jensen and I do that on set every now and again, if we just need to escape we'll try and master some song.