Currently filming the fourth season of The CW’s successful thriller Supernatural, the 26-year-old San Antonio, Texas native spoke to MediaBlvd Magazine about going head-to-head with Jason Voorhes.
By Christina Radish
Jared Padalecki at the premiere of “Friday the 13th” held at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Calif. on February 9, 2009.
In New Line Cinema’s chilling re-imagining of the classic horror film Friday the 13th, Clay Miller (Jared Padalecki) heads up to the eerie woods of legendary Crystal Lake, in search of his missing sister, Whitney (Amanda Righetti). Against the advice of police and cautions from the locals, Clay pursues what few leads he has, with the help of Jenna (Danielle Panabaker), a young woman he meets among a group of college kids, having an all-thrills weekend. But, they are all about to find much more than they bargained for, as they’ve entered the domain of one of the most terrifying killers in American film history — Jason Voorhes (Derek Mears).
Currently filming the fourth season of The CW’s successful thriller Supernatural, in which he stars as Sam Winchester, the reluctant hero who joins his brother (Jensen Ackles) to save the world from unseen forces, Jared Padalecki decided to spend his last hiatus filming the creepy flick. The 26-year-old San Antonio, Texas native spoke to MediaBlvd Magazine about going head-to-head with such an iconic horror figure.
MediaBlvd Magazine> The original film series wasn’t big on character and acting. Did you have any doubts about doing this, before you got the script? Were you surprised that there was so much to do in this one?
Jared Padalecki> Before I got the script, honestly, my thought was, “Man, I really like Friday the 13th .” And, I’d seen the Texas Chainsaw Massacre that they had done and loved it. We actually watched it before we started shooting House of Wax, and Joel Silver said, “This is what we’re doing. We’re trying to remake a classic, and make it new, fun, modern, sexy and scary.” We watched it and all of us were like, “That was a really good movie! That was a really well shot, really scary, really real movie, and the characters were fun.” You felt for them and you could identify with them. They actually had hearts, which is nice because I love cheesy horror for the sake of horror, death for the sake of death. As an actor, it’s fun to go, “Hey, kill me. Fine. That’s cool. Make it fun, but give me something to do. Give me something to make it real for myself, so I’m not just running around going, ‘Oh, when is it my turn to die?’” So, it was exciting to read the script, and then to sit down with Brad Fuller and Andrew Form and hear, “We’re going to try and plug into the reality and make it real.” It’s so funny because you’re filming a movie about a guy who’s immortal, and he’s going to go kill everybody in the woods, but we’d sit down and be like, “This doesn’t feel real.” Sometimes we’d pause for 30 minutes, and we’d sit down and fix it, so that it seemed more real. That was nice to be a part of.
MediaBlvd> When Derek is such a nice guy, does it make it hard to look at him in the mask as Jason and really be scared?
Jared> Derek is incredible. If he had been mask-less, and just played a bid dude who was going to kill you, but without the stigma of Jason or the physicality, then I would have been like, “Oh, Derek, you’re not going to hurt me! You could kill me, but you’re too nice.” I could probably kick him in the shin and he’d be like, “Man, leave me alone!” But, he’s tremendous. I get to cheat and have lines and use my facial expressions, and he just expresses so much with his movement. He’s so capable that it was really easy to get there. You’re looking at Jason and you’re like, “Ha-ha, I grew up watching you. Let’s fight!” It was really comforting to work with him because we had a couple of fight scenes, like the one in the barn. I had mud in my eye and I couldn’t wipe my eyes, so for most of the takes, I couldn’t really see anything. I’d slip and he’d just pause, holding me, and put me back up on my feet. I’m 220 pounds and he was just like, “I’ve got you!” He’s really a cool guy.
MediaBlvd> In this film, you don’t have to just contend with Jason. You also have to contend with douchebag Trent (Travis Van Winkle). Did you guys improv at all?
Jared > A little bit, yes. Maybe it’s my fault for being jaded by Hollywood, but I saw a picture of Travis, and I saw his resume — I hadn’t really seen a lot of his work — and I was like, “Oh, he’s going to be a douche. He plays a douche, so he’s going to be a turd.” And then, I met him and he was the coolest, most down-to-earth guy. He was talking about how he still gets his hair cut at Super Cuts, but his agent got mad at him about it. He was like, “Quit getting your hair cut at Super Cuts!,” and Travis said, “Why, man? It’s five bucks!” We’d go work out and he was just a totally rad guy. I was like, “Great, he has three names. He’s going to be turd!” But then, he was really cool, so it was nice to get along. We had fun.
MediaBlvd> Being from San Antonio, were you familiar with any of the Texas locations that you worked in? Did you act as a tour guide at all?
Jared> Austin is my favorite city. I was still doing Supernatural for the first two weeks of principle photography on Friday the 13th, so they had been the rest of the cast had been there awhile first. But, some of my best friends live in Austin. A really close friend of mine, Logan, has a boat and we would go wake-boarding. My sister was graduating college there. I was actually enrolled at UT Austin. Austin was always my favorite city. My brother and his wife had a kid. It was great. The location was perfect for me. If I didn’t work that summer, I probably would have been in Austin, hanging out with my friends. It was cool. What an amazing opportunity. Austin is awesome, if you haven’t had a chance to see it.
MediaBlvd> Were you on set, watching anybody else’s death scene?
Jared> Yes. We filmed on location, so if I was not in a location, then I would not have seen what happened in that location. But, if I was in the woods, and someone happened to die in the woods that day, I’d be there. It’s really cool to watch on screen and just really exhausting to watch in life. It’s like a sex scene. You’re like, “Okay, we can see your breast, so lean to the right a little. Okay, now move your neck.” It’s just so calculated that it’s almost like, “Okay, if you stab like this, then we’re not going to see the light shining off the blade, so make sure you stab like that.” It really takes a lot. It’s not just like, “All right, go in and stab.” It’s a very painstaking process to kill somebody on screen, especially for a horror movie, where it’s about the deaths.
MediaBlvd> Was that you on the bike?
Jared> That was me on the bike.
MediaBlvd> Do you ride a lot of motorcycles?
Jared> I don’t, actually. I’ve been on dirt bikes, and I’ve ridden motorcycles, every now and then, but when I found out I was going to be riding in the movie, I called a stunt guy that’s a buddy of mine. He has four motorcycles, and I said, “Hey, man, I’m riding a motorcycle in the movie. Want to show me some stuff?” And so, he literally brought a bike down and left it in Vancouver for me. We’d get an hour or two, in between set-ups on Supernatural, and a few of the guys on set also ride, so they gave me advice. One of our camera guys, Jose, gave me a book on advanced motorcycle techniques. They went through the basics, and I had a lot of help. I’m sure they only used the takes where I looked cool because sometimes I was like, “Ahh-ahh! Cut, cut!”
MediaBlvd> How fun was it, shooting this during the break from your series?
Jared> It was a lot of fun! Ultimately, whether you’re doing a romance, a classic piece, a comedy, a drama, a horror, or a TV show, you get to do your work. But, it was fun for me to do a movie. I enjoyed the process of working on a movie, where you know your character and you know your arc, and it’s not like, “Oh, I’m going to make this decision about my character,” and then the next episode you find out that that didn’t work. Plus, you get to take your time and, instead of shooting eight pages a day, you shoot three, so you get to really explore different options and do different things and really embrace it. It’s not like, “Okay, the clock’s ticking. We’re behind at lunch.” It’s like, “Hey, let’s get what needs to be done, and let’s do it right.”
MediaBlvd> Is there a big season finale cliffhanger coming for Supernatural?
Jared> As soon as we get the note on whether or not we’re picked up for Season 5, they’ll decide what they’re doing. But, right now, we’re in that limbo of, “We really like the show. We don’t know if it’s coming back, but make it really good for the final five episodes.” What’s really good? Should we kill everybody? Should everybody live? Should we introduce somebody new?
MediaBlvd> Doesn’t doing a cliffhanger give you more leverage because they can’t just leave it hanging?
Jared> Kind of. But, one of the blessings of the show, for those who haven’t seen it, is that our creator, Eric Kripke, really hates the normal TV process. My character has died. Jensen has been to Hell. He’ll answer questions. He doesn’t want it to be a 30-season show. We’re not making Bonanza, where they could just go for 50 years and still be good. He’s like, “Listen, let’s tell a good story. I don’t care about if I’m supposed to have a cliffhanger or not. If we’re cancelled, you’re all going to die. Let’s put some finality to this.” I think we’ll probably find out in the next month if we’ll be coming back, and then we’ll shoot until April.
MediaBlvd> You’ve had some really interesting things going on with your character this season. Is there anything you can say about what might be coming up with him, in the episodes that you’ve already filmed?
Jared> Obviously, it’s been clear to me that Sam is going to go darker, but to what end, I’m not sure. He’s doing things right now that are not okay with anybody.
MediaBlvd> Is that fun for you?
Jared> Real fun, and that’s what I really like.
MediaBlvd> You and Jensen Ackles have dueling slasher movies now. How did that happen?
Jared> I don’t know. When we found out that we were coming out on February 13th, and his movie is called My Bloody Valentine, we were like, “Oh man, I hope we don’t go up against each other,” because we’re buddies. It’s not like it could really affect anything, but I didn’t even want the stigma. But, luckily, his already came out and did tremendously. Now, it’s my turn, hopefully.
MediaBlvd> Have you seen his film?
Jared> We actually went and saw it, on opening night. Bizarrely it was one of the rare times of the year where we each had the day off, and Jensen’s girlfriend was in town, and Kerr Smith, who’s in the movie, also was in town. We actually snuck into a theater, put the little glasses on, and later we were like, “You know what? I bet you the people were like, ‘These glasses are amazing!,’” when they saw us in the theater. It was a lot of fun.
MediaBlvd> What scares you, in real life?
Jared> Bears are scary. They can climb trees. They can bite. They can scratch. I’m scared of bears. They are godless killing machines.