Death From Supernatural speaks! Our conversation with Julian Richings!
Tonight we talk with one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, DEATH! The amazing actor Julian Richings!
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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas
Theme music by Good Co Music:
Julian Richings Interview
[00:00:00] Kenric: guys. Thanks for coming back. And today on the show, it’s super exciting because he’s been on supernatural. He’s been on the 2015 wildly successful Robert Eggers, the witch. He was well, he was, he is a huge doctor who fan and you’ve been nominated multiple times for a Dora award out of Toronto.
Julian richings. Thank you so much for coming on.
Julian Richings: My pleasure. Hi everybody.
Kenric: How is your day going? How was your week, your year?
Julian Richings: That’s good. Thanks. I mean, this is a strange time and I don’t know whether this part is going to go out at, you know, hopefully things will have eased off a little bit, but the whole COVID-19 issue of makes life a little surreal for me and for everybody that’s listening. I’m sure. and I don’t cope with it very well.
I mean, I I’m, I I’m an actor. And so my canvas is people, you know, I, I can’t [00:01:00] sit in my room and create, I can’t, I’m on my laptop. I can’t bang out a script and I can’t paint a, an amazing piece of art on the canvas. I, my thing is kind of being with people and collaborating and, and, and so I find it. Tricky.
And, I guess I get fueled by being around people in, in, like in parks, I mean, bars, I mean, marketplace and stuff. So, so it, it really does feel strange. Although I gotta say that, you know, I’m fortunate, I’m privileged. I live in a nice neighborhood with a garden and, you know, so it’s a strange kind of interaction, but it’s, it’s weird.
Kenric: Yeah, it is kind of weird. I’m, I’m lucky as myself, because I live in a, in a, in a nice area. My sister’s across the street, my CO’s Johnny and he’s married to my niece. They’re not even. A quarter mile down the road and he’s got his five kids and I got my kid here and we can all hang out together. And [00:02:00] it’s, we’re lucky, you know, that we are able to do that and be quarantining with each other and not have, could you still have that interaction a little bit, but I’m the same way.
I’m an extrovert. I love the chat. I love to see people. I like to be around people and it’s definitely difficult to be stuck at home working all the time.
Julian Richings: Yeah, it is. and yet for some people, the work keeps coming. Like my, my wife, works online and she’s doing all kinds of zoom meetings and it’s not relenting for her, but for me, it’s kind of the big, Oh my God, is this what retirement’s like? Is this, you know, like, Well, yeah, and I keep waiting. There’s the action thing of, you know, in the old days it was waiting for the phone to call and, now it’s kind of, you know, waiting online for a text or something from your agent.
And, you know, there’s just nothing out there. So it’s very strange. And, is it surreal and, and there’s a kind of a dislocation, which makes it almost [00:03:00] awkward to watch some of these Netflix and Amazon shows. I mean, w w there’s an embarrassment of riches out there, but there is something where I feel disconnected to, to the industry, you know, and I kind of, it feels like a past that I used to know or something
Kenric: Are you, are you still located in Toronto or did you, did you
Julian Richings: I am. Yeah. That’s where I’m, I’m talking to you from tonight. it’s a great city. It’s very much a film theater T V center. and I’ve been here I guess, 35 years.
Kenric: my favorite band of all time is from there. Rush,
Julian Richings: who is it?
Julian Richings: Rush rush. Yeah, well, yeah, we’ve had, some great bands come out of here actually, and more recently broken social scene and metric.
And, you know, it’s interesting. My daughter, who’s now in her late twenties, you know, introduces me to whole new cycles of artists and, of course we’ve got Drake as well, like from Toronto as well. So, so yeah.
Kenric: rapper in the world right now.
[00:04:00] Julian Richings: Yeah. So we got a lot of stuff happening here and I’m very comfortable. I find for me, I’m British, born and raised.
And I came on tour with a theater company and I, I just found myself ending up in Toronto because. It kind of, it has to be excitement of American culture and the, the British as well is, is in there as well. And there’s a kind of an incredible diversity of the arts and people’s cultures and,
Kenric: I was in Toronto in the mid winter and 2014. I was like, Oh my Lord. This is,
Julian Richings: Yeah, I was emphasizing the positive, the negative. That really is that’s hard. The only thing worse could be the prayer is in winter, but I don’t know, you get used to it. And there’s a kind of a stark beauty about it,
Kenric: What United States city is, is comparable to Toronto. Cause like we I’m in Seattle and [00:05:00] Vancouver is very, it feels like it feels like a Seattle type town, but it’s also very LA in the fact that they do so much shooting there and so much, you know, shows and movies there.
Julian Richings: Right. I would say Chicago
Kenric: Oh, nice.
Julian Richings: also, because it’s all on a Lake. And so in the summer, Chicago is very humid and hot because of the Lake and as is Toronto. And yet in the winter it gets cold, you know? and they both have similar kind of vibrant cities and, you know, Toronto feels like it’s, The little brother of New York.
I won’t say that Chicago feels it’s the little brother, but it is the second city, you know, it’s Chicago has very much its own identity, but, yeah, I, so I would say it’s, it reminds me of Chicago a little bit. and, and it’s,
Kenric: I can see
Julian Richings: the way that it’s evolved. Yeah, yeah.
Kenric: Yeah. So you trained at the university of Exeter and then you guys came over here and did some touring in North America. Like you just said, you fell in love and you [00:06:00] stayed. What was touring North America, like back in the eighties, what was, what did you know, what were you guys doing?
And, and I guess when I read that somebody who was a drama major and then does touring, does that mean you guys have like one type of play that you’re, you know, a play that you’ve rehearsed and you’re new, you’re presenting this or is there like a caveat of scenes that you’re doing? Does that make sense?
Julian Richings: I went to a, kind of an alternative theater school. it was the, university department that studied, Gutowski, well, not so much stems Leschi, but our tow, theater artists that were not part of the main Western stream. And, in order to kind of reach our market, this shows, so I was in toward Whiteley and hit very specific yeah.
Narrow demographics. And so we told Europe and it was very images, stick, theater. I mean, we talked about with an adaptation of James Joyce’s Ulysses, so you can imagine that it was [00:07:00] very out there. It was very avant garde and strange, I think. It was described in a local paper. When we arrived as a skinhead version of Ulysses, it was kind of a skin.
It was punk skinhead, and avant garde all rolled into one. It was a glorious man. And, it, it was kinda, it was kinda this fabulous thing that toward festivals and was very appropriate. To go to bigger urban centers and reach a sort of a very specific market. so I was for me, a kid from England where my grandparents were born within a block of me, both sets of grandparents, you know, very specific outlook where you could tell if somebody was from the other side of the city, cause their accent was a little bit different than yours.
You know, it was very tight. I guess. A lot of people would say a romantic kind of upbringing, but I found it quite cloying in many ways. So that when. I arrived in North [00:08:00] America. I couldn’t believe the size, the shape of streets. The fact that there were four or five lane streets in a city, you could see the sky.
and just the vastness of the consonant. You know, it was extraordinary to me and the whole idea that it’s a mobile population to people move. And in England, you could, in those days, you could have expected to stay in one city or one place probably. most of your life may be moved in once or twice.
It’s kind of the norm in North America that you move and you’re from somewhere else, unless you’re, an indigenous person or, you know, you, you really have arrived from somewhere. So I just find that so exciting. and just different. So it, it really, it, it fuels me and, I, I loved it at the same time I met my wife, so,
Kenric: nice. Yeah.
Julian Richings: yeah.
Yeah. So that had a big influence too.
[00:09:00] Kenric: In this. And you’re like, Oh, well, I got to stay. Now. You were played Bucky hate and Bruce McDonald’s mockumentary a hardcore logo.
Julian Richings: That’s right. I, yeah, that’s, that’s one of my favorite films that I I’ve been in. I, the music scene was a big deal for me as a kid growing up less sort of traditional theater, like I said, I grew up at more of an alternative society. Well, more of an alternative way of thinking about art, I guess. and so, rock and roll punk.
The sex pistols. Yeah. Those bands were pivotal in, in, yeah. Yeah. So, I, when I met Bruce who was a real sort of outlaw rock and roll filmmaker in Toronto, I, you know, we, we hit it off immediately. And then I found out that he was doing this movie about the reunion of a punk band. And, anyway, I ended up being in the [00:10:00] movie and played this character.
Who’s kind of, sort of a, an biggie pop, thicker, you know, like godfather punk kind of guy. And, it’s yeah, it was great for me. It’s, it’s always thrilling to work with actors who have other talents too, like, and then this case, it was guys that could really play music and really sing, you know, so that was great.
Kenric: Yeah. It’s kind of like someone was a mockumentary. I always think of spinal tap. Right. I think what a lot of people do. And when you were recording a hardcore logo, did you take any inspiration from them?
Julian Richings: Yeah, well, Bruce actually right from the get go said, this is, spinal taps, nasty little brother.
Kenric: Oh, I love it.
Julian Richings: So, so he, he
Kenric: to compare a spinal tap because you never know, you know what I mean?
Julian Richings: Yeah, well, he recognized it as an influence, but he wanted to go real gritty. And, he didn’t want the audience to [00:11:00] think that it was a spoof. And in fact, it was entered into the Berlin film festival that year as a documentary.
And it. Went in. And nobody realized that it actually was a creative bit of art. so it really had an authenticity about it. A huge Dylan who plays Joe GIC, the lead singer of the band really is a rock and roll front man and had spent many years on the road. So it really, it hasn’t an alternate to stick to it.
It was great.
Kenric: I read somewhere. I always went when I know you guys, when someone’s coming on, I always try to do as much reading and try to listen to interviews as I can. And sometimes it’s hard, you know what I mean? But I read somewhere that there has been times that if you find a role super interesting, that you will give your time, you have been known to give your time and we’ll just leave it like that.
And how, how do you know what types of roles really kind of [00:12:00] move you? Is it more of the character development or is it something like maybe you haven’t done before?
Julian Richings: Both I think, and also I’m at the point now in my career where I’m one of the old guys and, it’s very flattering. If there’s a younger filmmaker who says, Hey, I’ve seen you in this and that. And I like your work. Could you play this? Part, I always saw you as that guy and for me to be a guy, just a small part of an emerging artist world.
and to feel that my work has somehow influenced them in some way and that I can be of use as a presence in their movie, I find that tremendously fulfilling. so, so I, I try to work with, younger, emerging. artists, I see it as very important. I also recognize that, you know, we’re in an industry that it’s necessarily smaller, in terms of the technology.
People can make a movie [00:13:00] with a cell phone now. And, but what makes a good movie, is heart and soul and skill. And, and I, I. Try and encourage professionalism, over just pure instinct. Like I, I, I think raw instinct is a fantastic thing, but you know, I always try and take somebody a little farther along the road towards getting up.
But you did movie cause, we, we, we ha it’s a tough world for an artist right now. There’s, there’s a ton of content out there and, there’s a lot of great ideas. and there’s a lot of platforms, but we’re drowning in a lot of content. So there are people out there that I could work with, unhappy often, but you know, again, going back to your point about a work.
I won’t necessarily work for free, but I’ll try and be as adaptive to their needs as [00:14:00] possible. because you know, I, again, I recognize that there has to be a degree of professionalism and, you know, if I’m going to be involved, then I represent kind of a body of work that also recognizes other people’s work.
And, I think as artists, we have to help each other, but we also have to insist on the kind of professionalization of everything. And by that I don’t mean kind of getting above and beyond ourselves and escalating budgets and special trailers and things like that. I actually made quite the opposite. I mean, just the professionalized work ethic.
Kenric: right, right. So you’re gonna start at eight. We’re starting at eight.
Julian Richings: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And we’re not going to go out drinking tonight, even though we, we had a great day shoot. We got to get up tomorrow morning at 4:30 AM. So let’s do it guys.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s the hard thing, especially for younger guys that to get into the younger people, to get into that mindset of, yeah, we did this amazing thing, but we need [00:15:00] to buckle down right now and let’s get to the next part. So we can really, really shine.
Julian Richings: Yeah. Yeah. And, th the whole organism of a film is, is a sapping thing, you know, like they. Two and three on no sleep is okay, but come five and six and you’re working 18 hours, 19 hours, and then driving people home and, you know, after a shoot on location, it gets to be actually dangerous. So, so that’s all, you know.
but I I’m always delighted. And I guess another way to answer your question too, is that I like working with interesting projects because. I myself, I’ve had a really rich, an interesting career, but I’ve always played very specific types of character. And if anybody will come along and kind of go, well, you know what, we’re going to make you the romantic lead in this show, which is something that, you know, or something that one wouldn’t expect.
And I’m often [00:16:00] pretty happy to, to have my own abilities challenged or my own presumptions challenge too,
Kenric: there, there was a little bit of movement there to try to get you to be the next doctor who there back in the day, right?
Julian Richings: There was, yeah, there was quite a bit of particularly the, the supernatural fandom, which is really influential and it crosses over a little bit with, with the doctor who found dates and, They, there were a lot of people that they were actually little trailers that were constructed by people featuring me as an imagined doctor, whom, which I thought was really
Kenric: Isn’t that crazy? How cool it things people do like that when they bring, they get those clips, they put it into their video production and then they, they come out with these things. You’re like, I can’t believe they made this.
Julian Richings: It’s humbling. And, you know, in the last, I guess, five years or so, I’ve actually met a lot of friends through supernatural conventions, which is a whole new [00:17:00] format that I never dreamt of as a kid at drums school in England, you know, like you’d never thought there would be such a thing, but conventions now are this incredible form where.
You actually get to interact with a fan base and, they, they actually have an influence on the way a show O and M are a big part of the, the branding of a show. sometimes that’s good and sometimes it’s not a good thing because it just becomes. Exploited commercially, but in a situation like supernatural, it’s an incredibly, educated and passionate fan base that just care about the show.
Kenric: Yeah. That’s yeah, it’s supernatural friends are incredible and actually
Julian Richings: Yeah.
Kenric: get Jeff is a giant supernatural fan. I think he’s watched all of the episodes up until, I guess they kind of get a reprieve right from the COVID-19. So we’re kind of getting a half of a season later [00:18:00] down the road, so that’s
Julian Richings: It’s weird because everybody knows it’s coming to an end and yet yeah, there’s this strange hiatus now. So, so yeah, it’s kind of dangling on the precipice.
Jeff or John: Yeah, the joke right now in supernatural fandom, like a lot of the pages like the, pandemic happened, just so supernatural would never end just making sure that we could always just never have his final episode. And it does seem like a supernatural is one of those shows that really could have gone on for years longer, too.
It seems like.
Julian Richings: It does, but to their credit, they are saying, that’s it, there’s a finite amount of time. And, you know, we can only keep it fresh and vital for so long. And it’s hard on a lot of fans, but I think, you know, Bravo. Yeah, it’s a good idea. And a more power to, to everybody involved. it’s the joke I keep getting is everybody says you’re coming back.
Aren’t you, it’s going to be you. You’re going to bring it in to the whole damn series. And I keep saying, I [00:19:00] don’t know. I know. Leave me out of the picture. I don’t know.
Jeff or John: I think everyone preferred your version of death of death. I know, in the later seasons where I’m was a character named Billy played death, but I think everyone who’s in supernatural fandom views you as one of not only the best version of death, but one of the best guest characters in all supernatural.
When, when, when you showed up.
Julian Richings: Well, you can’t go wrong with an intro like that. Right. They, they, the montage in the song. and, you know, it was just one of those amazing moments where everything came together and it was beautifully constructed and it set up this character. So fantastically, that I think it, it was a high point at that particular place in the arc of the show story.
And so, yeah, I mean, I am everybody’s death. Number one. But I got to tell you that I thought it was a very brave [00:20:00] decision by the writers and producers to get rid of me as death and introduce believe, because I think, you know, what a progressive move that is to say here’s a successful character, but we’re going to take the shape of the storytelling and we’re going to change it.
We’ve got this. Old craggy guy and suddenly death has changed shape and become a very elegant black woman. And, I think great, you know, that to me is a kind of a, an interesting move. And I think it’s true to the nature of death supernatural and that it’s, it’s, it’s a force rather than being confined to one specific character.
Jeff or John: now the, the,
Julian Richings: cool that somebody else can pick up the mantle or in this case, the side and carry it, you know?
Jeff or John: Now the actress who plays Billy, did she contact you at all? whenever she went to discuss the role with you or how, your insights into the character.
Julian Richings: it’s [00:21:00] interesting. Lisa, Lisa Barrett, she’s a really fine actress and she actually, I’m seeing her in Toronto in several shows. I’m not sure if he still lives in Toronto, but she certainly did a few years back. and I I’d see her and I knew her work and really liked that’s it, but, you know, no, she took it, ran with it and I think she did exactly the right thing.
I don’t think that there’s a sense of mentorship. I think as a sense of taking it in a completely different direction. And by the same token, I haven’t sort of. Gone. Hey, good job with lbs. You know, I approve right down to prove it’s like, Oh, it’s hurts. And, I, and I sort of keep a respectful distance and, and I don’t get into any conversations about what was better to me.
It’s it’s moved on like the whole story. Yes. The death theme has moved on within the show. so yeah, so I, I sorta keep clear of it in a way I keep my [00:22:00] diplomatic distance.
Jeff or John: That’s a, that’s an extremely noble thing. I don’t think a lot of, not every actor I think would have be dignified enough to step back and say, you know, you know, I really, I really should relinquish this role completely to you. I don’t think every actor would have, would have done that the way you
Julian Richings: But the cool thing is that I’m able to relinquish it, but still be me, you know? And so people have a very visceral memory of how I played it and that’s not gone then. And, you know, and, and I’m happy also as a character actor, I do a lot of stuff, so I’m very happy to have a bunch of other directions to move in as well.
so it’s always suited me to do that. And, yeah, so, no complaints.
Jeff or John: So when you first, got it. The role as death, I guess first, how did that come about? And, and, and I guess, secondly, what kind of insights did they give you on the character or do they give you any direction on how they wanted the character played? Or was that just instinct? Cause like I said, it was a phenomenal performance [00:23:00] considering you had, you know, a very short window of.
time on the show, it was just a really engagement, engaging performance.
Julian Richings: Well, thank you. what was interesting about it was that, I remember pretty myself on tape. I live in Toronto and the show shoots in Vancouver. So obviously you can’t go over there and audition it’s too far. So I remember. Request to put myself on tape for this character in a show called supernatural, which, to be honest, I haven’t heard often we, I think we were in season five at that point.
And I said to my agent, Oh, okay, well, sure. Is this a good show? And she said, Oh yeah, it’s pretty popular show. So put the, ask my daughter, if she had heard of it. Yes, she had so, okay. So I did a little bit of homework and it was for this new, that they were just the sides for, A character named pestilence and that was it.
Nothing else. So I did this audition, put myself on tape, sent it away, heard nothing, and I thought, okay, well, you know, [00:24:00] when some, you lose some you and you, you don’t invest too much when you’ve done a self-tape, you just let it go. And, and then I went to do eventually. Hardcore logo too. I’d been waiting for years to do a follow up for hardcore logo.
The rock and roll movie we were talking about earlier, went away, filmed that. And as I was filming it, I got a message from my agent saying, Oh, you’ve been cast in supernatural. And I went, Oh, cool. Pestilence. I remember I did that. Self-tape she said, no. Death, not personally. So, so I auditioned for this one character and obviously the, the producers have sort of matched everybody up and they’ve used one audition script.
And, from that one audition script, a master bunch of people to figure out who they could have as the four horsemen. So I fit into it as death. Obviously. And, so, so that was how I heard then. And it was kind of [00:25:00] weird because I put all my energy into this location shoot in, the prayer is for Harko logo too.
And I had to fly from Winnipeg to Vancouver, kind of overnight and. Hit the, the film set the next morning. So I was kind of discombobulated. So when I went in and I did that first episode, Taj with the, with the driving the car and, and the guy falling dead and stuff, I didn’t have it a lot to go on.
I was just going purely on it, instinct and what clues, the script, it gives me, you know, there wasn’t any sort of formal sit down now. We’re going to tell you about the show Julian, we’re going to do this, and he should be a little bit like the apps and none of that, it was just, they, they were very generous and may, just kind of let me go with it.
And I have to say that, Jensen who was in the long scene in the pizza parlor that followed the montage sequence [00:26:00] was terrific because as a leading guy, you know, I’m so used to, as a character actors come into a scene and you know, often you basically do what the leading guy wants you to do when you make the leading guy look good.
and a lot of people are very gracious with that. And, you can do a lot of good work within those confines, but, I gotta say the Jensen, he was exceptional in that he really wanted the scene to work and he wanted to be a really good dramatic scene. It wasn’t all about him because he was the hero.
And so we kind of just worked together and we, we, we took the. Clues from the script about the pizza and the idea that death really did like pizza. And it was kind of weird that this most powerful men in the universe had a hankering, junk food in England, you know, in English. I don’t know where that came from in Chicago. so, so we kind of went [00:27:00] with the strangeness of it and he, to his credit played that he was absolutely terrified of me and he kind of said it, but I was a force to be reckoned with, and I really have to credit, Jensen as much as anybody for creating the persona of death.
Jeff or John: Well, like I said, it was, it was just tremendous. And I, I think everyone’s, when the favorite part was the idea of the pizza right there, What were you really eating the, how many slices, a piece of the way, how many shots did you have to do with that?
Julian Richings: Oh, yes. Big mistake, big mistake. And I tell people about it all the time. Cause I’m not, I don’t do a lot of food scenes. I mean, look at the like, you know, and the very sort of Haggard, skinny looking guy. So people don’t equate me in food. So here I was sitting down doing this huge scene with Jensen eating pizza and stupid me.
So, Oh, well, I’ll punctuate it with lots of moments where I take a big bite of pizza and this was [00:28:00] only in the rehearsals and in the rehearsal, you know, and I really did like the pizza. That’s really good. And then I noticed that Jensen is not taking any bites whatsoever and I’m thinking, Oh, okay, well, he’s.
Playing like he’s a bit scared. That’s smart. And then afterwards he took me aside and he said, you might want to slow down on the eating and yes, indeed by like take 35. I was kind of like putting the pizza in my management, go, Oh my God. Yeah. Spit bucket, please. so, so, you know, the classic, green horn mistake of shoving way too much pizza in my mouth too early and getting locked in for that action for that, the rest of the scene.
But yeah, it was fun. And then, because that was so successful, the whole idea of this. Incredibly powerful guy, having a pet insurance for junk foods. Then they, I think the rightest went, this is, this works. [00:29:00] Let’s get into some hot dogs. Let’s, let’s get him some, more set like pickle chips, you know, and stuff like that.
So, so we devolved.
Jeff or John: Yeah, I thought that was kinda funny that the food became a running joke throughout debts appearances. I mean, every single one, he’s eating something. I think, well, this season steaks, he’s eating burgers, season seven, you’re eating the pickle chips and he just continues on that. train and I was wondering how much impact did you have on the later betrayals?
I mean, what were you part of? Like part of suggestions on the joke where that’s, when they brought to you and said, Hey, we’re just gonna
Julian Richings: No, no, I just, I think it’s just great writing. And I think that I just was game and my process as an actor is to really play the story, you know, and if the script has given me clues. To the character and to the way the scene needs to be played, then I’ll go for that and works. It was well-written television and it was a good idea and they develop the idea and it [00:30:00] became a running gag.
You know, it was like, I enjoyed it. And the writers enjoyed writing for my enjoyment of it. So it was good.
Jeff or John: Now were you surprised when they asked you back in season six? Did you know you’re going to give you any heads up that your character was coming back?
Julian Richings: No. I, you know, like, as I say, a lot of, character actors will, you know, you’ll go in and you do a show and you go, Oh, that was good. And then you do another one and go, wow, that sucked, you know? And you, you, you carry on and, you know, generally you win, you know, you, you, you feel pretty good about yourself.
So it’s always a bonus. When a show would say, Hey, we liked what you did. we’ve written something else, you know? So, so, I know I’m digressing. I forgotten where I was going with there. She w w what were you saying? You, you, I’m getting old, you know, there’s a line that death has been in the show, which is one of my lions would be says, I’m old Dean.
I’m very old and they’re, they’re tight. I think that where I genuinely think that I start [00:31:00] talking and I go, what am I talking about? What’s going on here? I need the script supervisor anyway. Wait, where was it? Oh, we were going on to the, The next season. That’s right. And, and the ADT took me aside and he said, Hey, this is your, your second supernatural show.
Isn’t it. And I went, yeah, yeah, it’s fun. They said, well, you know what? If you get onto another show, you’ll start doing conventions. And I at conventions, what do you mean? And I really had never heard of them. I had no idea what he meant, and it was really supernatural that pushed the whole envelope with conventions because Jared and Jensen were very open to being a buddy and meeting fans and making the conventions into an event.
And not just somewhere where, you know, autographs was signed and things were sold. It was more of a, so the celebration of the show. And so that was kind of how I [00:32:00] went, got in to the whole convention circuit was by having multiple episodes of supernatural.
Jeff or John: Now, and I think another cool thing that you did with your character and I’ll be wrong, but it seems like you did allow your character to evolve throughout the show. You kind of have the original. Daphne’s in the pizza store pizza shop. He’s definitely colder, a little more hostile. And as he appears more, he does seem to demonstrate an actual liking of the two boys.
And was that something you thought about? Was that the way you were, you were developing that way?
Julian Richings: Yeah. And again, there were no big discussions. I, again, I think it was much more in the writing, especially the one with Sam soul. There’s a real feeling that he’s, their uncle is a little bit disappointed with them, but he’s concerned for their welfare and that’s a real human touch. [00:33:00] And again, you know, just like the junk food, I think anything human that takes it away from being such an iconic character makes it much more interesting for an audience and people are able to identify with that.
So there’s people see my character more and more and more. They, they start to learn more about him and he clearly has an emotional arc as well. And that’s important. I always try and
Jeff or John: Oh, go
Julian Richings: for that. No, I was just saying, I try and look for that. You can, you can’t overdo it. You can’t sort of try to go for sentiment, but the, again, the writing was so skillful that it was kind of stern love.
You know, there was a stern respect between the two points and deaths.
Jeff or John: Well, like I said, it was broken. I think another scene that you were in was in season the first episode of season seven or second episode, season seven, when you first interact with a mutual Collin’s character, a Castillo, what was that [00:34:00] like? And what does he like to work with?
Julian Richings: He was great. And that was new for me because I’ve only worked with the two boys and, you know, dynamics are delicate. So they clearly are the two main characters in the show and suddenly there’s Misha. Who clearly is contributing a lot to the show too, and is becoming a very important character in the show.
And I wondered how that was going to translate, as an onset dynamic, you know, and, and also as a storytelling device, suddenly you’ve got three people that are very interconnected and unimportant, but it worked really well. And, and again, Misha is. Kind of actor that found his own way to balance the chemistry of, of what was happening and, and, what direction to take the story arc.
It was fun. And I enjoyed working with him. I don’t see yard and Jensen so much at [00:35:00] conventions, but I’ve seen Misha quite a few times. And, You know, I’ve got to know him and like him very much. And, and the same with a lot of the boys in the band, particularly Robin Richard Speight and, you know, we’ve become quite fast friends.
Jeff or John: I mean, I think that’s really good that you, I mean, everyone really talk about supernatural. Always describes it as the family’s supernatural family. Does it, is it really like that? Or is it something that’s more of like an illusion.
Julian Richings: No, I, my experience is it really is a family and, Jared and Jensen are humble enough to know that. It’s made them it’s made their lives, their careers. And they’re very gracious with that. and they’re not protective of it or insecure about it, that they, they kind of try and embrace it and like the workplace and enjoyable place to be.
and so within that with, with them being easy, going but focused. It means that they [00:36:00] allow a kind of a, sort of an ensemble field with everybody else and they make good. Well, I say they, but they are the leads of this particular story, that they kind of encourage, A warmth and an improvisational kind of see attrical, vagabond group of people.
Like there’s a lot of very interesting character actors that we’ve multitalented singers and, and, musicians and people who, work well together in the groups. So when we have these conventions, we all compliment each other and we all work together. It’s almost like a touring theater show.
Jeff or John: That’s that’s so cool. when you got the call for season two, 10 when you’re at your last episode, what the show? what it, that must have been a sense of like good news, bad news. Good news. You’re back on. But you must have been when you read the script, when were, how were you bothered by, or was it, you know, just a gig and kinda just took, you know, just ran with it or were you really disappointed that they did end up [00:37:00] killing you in that episode?
Julian Richings: Well, I mixed the notions. I mean, I read the script and I went, wow, they’re killing me. But also, I mean, supernatural is the kind of universe where we all know that people return. So people get killed and then they come back again or, or, or you, you know, you, you go back into time and you revisit a story or a character.
So for me, it didn’t necessarily mean that in the end, as it transpires, it seems like it probably is. But. Yeah. I mean, mixed emotions. lots of people actually on set were going, Oh, it’s too bad that you’re getting killed. But as, as in all film sets, you know, you put that aside and you get on with the practicalities of doing the gag, like, okay, so how are we going to kill him?
Right. We’ve got to get a size going through his heart. So how are we going to do that? So you just get down and you do it, you know, and, and, that’s how we approached it. And we didn’t ask too many. Big questions. That the thing that [00:38:00] made me laugh was the line. You know, I think I’ve just killed that. I think that’s one of the great loans of all times.
Yeah. Yeah, no, we, we, we took it very lightly and just enjoyed ourselves.
Kenric: That’s good. I’m glad to hear that you had a good time on the show, firstly, for the amount that you
Julian Richings: Yeah, good times getting killed. I’ve been killed in many shots. I should put this in perspective and say that, you know, this is not an unusual thing for me to get kills. I think, I think I’ve. Maybe I’ve killed more people than more times than I’ve been killed. I don’t know, but you know, there’ve been occasions where there was one incident where I was in a show called, Heartland, which is a show set on a horse
Kenric: Yep. I know
Julian Richings: very popular. Yeah, very popular show. And my character. I had a, again, you know, character part, and it was quite popular and my character got invited back. The following season and a sister of mine was introduced into the [00:39:00] plot and it transpires that my character had the barn next to the heroine. And you know, I’m thinking, Oh, this is interesting.
This might develop into becoming a regular thing. And then I hear nothing. And then one Sunday evening, I’m sitting with my daughter and good. Oh, well, let’s, let’s put on the TV, I think lens on right now. W we’ll we’ll put the TV on and see how they’re doing, like, see, what’s going on. Then I swear, we’ve put the television on and we both look at the TV screen and there was an ambulance driving down, laneway, and it cuts to Amber Marshall, who is, who is the lead.
And she said, So, sorry about what happened to mr. Handley. She’s in tears, mr. Hanley is me and I’ve just died. she, she, it’s actually sad that I’ve died and my daughter and I look at each other and go, well, [00:40:00] I think I’ve just died. I don’t think I’m going to be in that show anymore. So, so, you know, I think this is far more strange ways than, than on supernatural.
Kenric: That’s hilarious. Stephen ML was on Heartland, Steven ML, the guy that plays
Julian Richings: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s quite a popular show.
Kenric: yeah. Is this still on.
Julian Richings: Yeah. And actually I’ve got to say, I, you know, I traditionally have this demographic where it takes, you know, people say, Oh, you’re in weird spooky science fiction, you can actual stuff. And so it’s kind of nice to be in a wholesome show from time to time.
There’s I can show you my mother-in-law or something, you know, and go, well, I’m actually in something here where nobody gets killed, but cetera, of
Kenric: Except for you. Hey, you were, you did doom patrol last year, which was a breakout hit for the DC app. And I think [00:41:00] you played
Julian Richings: was cool.
Kenric: Sturm bond, Fure Heinrich, Von Fuchs. They get that right
Julian Richings: I always, I went to the more polite Fuchs, but yeah.
Kenric: W were you surprised how much of a hit that, that ended up being coming? Because I love the DC universe app. This, we do a lot of comic book stuff, obviously, you know, we love it, but at the same time, it really crossed over, which was shocking to me that people who don’t even read comic books even knew that show existed.
Julian Richings: Right. Well, it was, yeah, and three, I never grew up with comic books cause I grew up in England. So, so the comic universe that I grew up with was entirely different. It had a whole different platform, different characters, different reasons for writing it. Wasn’t Saifai. So I I’m kind of ignorant and doing patrol was one of those where I say to my friend, you know, I’m in a show called drink control.
I’ve never heard it. Oh my God. [00:42:00] And it was the same when I was in Superman and I sort of quietly took somebody aside and like, well, I’m in this show. I’m playing. And I give the name of my, my character and they get, Oh my God, you don’t even know the name of your character. And you’re in super, so I feel a little guilty cause there’s a sort of a cultural removed, but you know, because of that, it’s, it’s all the more enjoyable
Kenric: I think it makes a huge difference though, in your portrayal because you don’t have anything. That’s given you a, you should be this way. You know what I mean? So you’re, you have a nice, fresh perspective. You’re reading the stuff and you’re like, Oh, here we go. Oh, that’s right. You were Lord M and man of steel.
Julian Richings: true. I mean, it gives me a clear sort of a go at it and, you know, and I mean, obviously I’m open to, you know, the producer writer, you know, whatever they, they’re going to say to me, but yeah. Yeah. I. And I think you’re right [00:43:00] in that sometimes you can smell an actor’s reverential take on a role where they think that they’re doing justice to the role, rather than actually just doing the role.
And, it’s a trap that we all fall into. I mean, I do the same thing.
Kenric: I like it when I have a fresh take on something, I don’t want somebody mimicking another actor or assuming that this is what the audience is going to like, I don’t, because then you’ll miss out on something really special because if you think they want to see this and then you don’t go with your gut, you might be missing out on something really special.
Julian Richings: You’re right. we have a lot of baggage, you know, we have a lot of cinematic experience and two television reference points. And if you’re doing a reference of a reference of a reference, there’s a good chance that it’s going to be. Pretty stale and people are not going to be captivated by it. It’s not going to be fresh and urgent, you know, but by the same token, you, you gotta be careful, [00:44:00] you know, novelty for novelty’s sake.
You, it goes back to one of them earlier. You got to look at the script and you got to, even if you’re not from here, maybe with the show, like, I really wasn’t that familiar with supernatural. But I, I was at least able to analyze the scripts and kind of, they go in going well, you know what? I think they’re looking for this primary color and I I’m going to give it them this primary color
Kenric: I love that
Julian Richings: where it goes from there.
Kenric: I love that analogy. That’s that’s are you still teaching? Still doing seminars on acting and everything?
Julian Richings: A little bit. yeah, I mean, obviously in our current COVID situation, that’s, that’s not happening, but, but yeah. I work at a performing arts school as, as an advisor, which I really enjoy. but that’s a very occasional thing. And I just like working with, cause I like the energy of, younger folk, you know?
and I don’t know. I think we also have a woman, idea about fame and [00:45:00] success and acting where, I think a lot of people think it’s about celebrity. I said, they think that being successful as being a celebrity. Whereas I would say that the successful is having a body of work that you’re proud of.
it’s not, you know, I mean, sometimes the celebrity comes with it, but you shouldn’t be looking for the celebrity because if you’re looking for the celebrity, it probably means that you’re going to be pretty hollow and you’re not going to last a long
Kenric: And w when you always be chasing that as well, you’re always chasing that celebrity, as opposed to just doing the best that you
Julian Richings: really. Yeah, it’s kind of hollow because you, you, you know, you get gratification maybe for one role, but then it, you know, then it just doesn’t keep going. So, so you just have to enjoy what you do and get fulfillment from that. So I always try to put a perspective on it for, Younger. So, especially in our [00:46:00] era of social media and kind of brand marketing and, you know, and celebrity, like we’re in a celebrity culture.
So for me, it’s, it’s important to be, like professionalism to say, yeah, I do my job and I do it well, or I love my job sometimes I don’t do it well, but most of the time I do. And, that’s what I do, you know?
Kenric: Yeah. I love the fact that you’re talking about loving your body of work, as opposed to looking for that fame and celebrity. I think a lot of people. fall into that trap. You know, if I become an actor, I can make all this money and I can do this. And it’s like, man, well, you should have a love of what you’re doing before anything.
Cause like we’re doing this and you know, we don’t. Charge anything we don’t ask for anything. And we do it because we just love talking with people. I love talking with people. I love meeting new people and I, I absolutely love movies and TV shows. I love how they’re made. I love [00:47:00] the fact that you can tell stories that you just can’t do in any other medium.
I think that’s why I love comic books and reading as a whole, because. It’s just so, it’s just a nice art form to really get behind. And I don’t know, it’s just something special about it. So I love talking to people that are in the industry. Not because I want to meet famous people. I just want to learn and hear the story of how you got to where you’re at and what you’re doing, because I find it also fascinating.
Julian Richings: Yeah, I agree. I think if you love what you do, you approach something with an honesty that allows you to fail and, yeah. You know, like, you know, there’s going to be times when it doesn’t go so well, it doesn’t work for whatever reason. And rather than kind of turning it on yourself and collapsing or pointing the finger at someone else and going well, they were an asshole.
Like that was their fault. You can you basically go, okay, so it didn’t work there. That’s [00:48:00] fine. I’m moving on, you know, and, you’re not possessive or protective. You you’re open all the time, so you go, yeah, well that didn’t work so well as that one, but, and then it allows a spirit of generosity. I cause cause.
To be in our industry. You have to be vulnerable. You have to kind of make some offers in choices, is that, you know, could go one way or the other or people could go no that’s garbage or, or manipulate it. so, so it’s important to sort of maintain that. And for me that’s yeah. What goes back to working with younger artists and emerging artists is that.
Somehow for an older guy like me, it, it prevents me from being jaded and good. Trust me. You never do this. You should always do that.
Kenric: I catch myself Juliet all the time, trying to say things like that. And then I got to, I got to take a step back. Cause I mean, what am I doing?
Julian Richings: Yeah. I know. Isn’t it weird when you find [00:49:00] yourself saying all this stuff that, you know, you go, Oh my God, that I hated hearing that 30 years ago. And. Yeah, and we have to watch it. We, and I’m sort of realizing. Because since you get older, you don’t think you in your own head, you’re not older, but you, then you suddenly realize, Oh yeah, I am.
And, and I’m, I’m actually making big generalizations now, basically the last 30 years of work. And some people are listening to that and going, Oh yeah. Oh God, he’s been working for 30 years. He must know what he’s talking about. Well, not necessarily, you know,
Kenric: I got lucky.
Julian Richings: it. You have to kind of take it and use what you can use for yourself.
And, and I, and I, I I’m, you know, when I do my teaching, I sort of absorbed the energy of other people too. And I find that very energizing.
Kenric: so gonna, I’m gonna let you go here pretty soon, but I gotta ask you about the witch. I found that [00:50:00] movie to be when I got into it, I thought it was going to be a generic horror story. You know what I mean? And then you start watching it and it’s a slow burn. And then, and, and Robert Eagers is Eggers. How does, how does he pronounce his last name?
Julian Richings: yeah,
Kenric: Yeah. Robert Eggers direction was so methodical and so great. And when you’re watching and then, you know, and then on a Taylor joy, you can, you like, you’re watching it. You’re like, wow, she’s magnificent in this movie. She’s great. What was that movie like playing and just being a part. Cause it’s a, it’s a period piece horror that you never see that anymore.
Julian Richings: Yeah, it was, it was fascinating. I mean, I do a lot of independent film. This was an independent, but this was different, right? From the get go. I, I knew that that was a, an artistic vision in this and, and a thoroughness in, in what was being [00:51:00] done where. It, it was elevated immediately. Like Robert had researched things to the point where it was that location that he chose was the one that he had ended up with was the tree formation that would have been authentic in the period.
So he was even looking at the Bush growth, then the trees and, and the way that the dirt trail ran through the woods,
Julian Richings: way that our clothes,
Kenric: that whole
Julian Richings: he’s a former production designer and he, yeah. And so that was, there was, a sort of, almost like a sorority of intent, but it was required and it just sat there and you saw this kid was something.
Horrifically quietly authentic about this and it just. It just works on you. And I loved it. We [00:52:00] did a lot of village things. I played that for folks who haven’t seen it, I was, the head of the village and we did a bunch of village scenes and situations, but quite rightly. And this is Boone down because the story really is the family in the woods.
I mean, you know, it’s all about the creeping unease of, is there really a witch that are they possessed by themselves or somebody else or what’s going on? You know, it was masterfully done. I think. Oh, the other thing I saw was so cool, which was the soundtrack I’ve never, Seen a sort of a stark shit film like that
Julian Richings: painted with such dense sound.
It really was something that works on your subconscious.
Kenric: that farm itself, like you were saying, it’s just the scenery of the farm itself. Just set up the, I don’t know, [00:53:00] there, there were scenes where nothing was really happening, but the hairs on the back of my neck kept standing up and I was just like, Oh my God, this guy is brilliant.
Julian Richings: So that’s the scariest scope you’ve ever seen in your life?
Kenric: Yeah. It was just like, Oh my God. And then, Oh yeah, I don’t want to spoil the ending cause I’m not sure if Jeff has, has seen it yet. Cause he’s asking where it’s streaming. So I’m like, you need to, I think it’s on Netflix.
Julian Richings: My, my judgments kind of out on that, and we won’t go into details, but there, there is the final sequence where I’m in the camp where I don’t necessarily think it had to be there. there were sort of two camps. One camp says yes, very much so. And it enhances fulfillment. There’s another camp that says, you know, maybe we didn’t need it.
So, so anyway,
Kenric: that’s so interesting.
Julian Richings: own mind.
Kenric: Right? Make up your own mind. Julian. We’ve been on for about an hour.
Julian Richings: Oh my God.
Kenric: told you, I told you at the beginning, this is how it goes. [00:54:00] We like to have a lot of
Julian Richings: have to edit me down too much, but it’s been a joy.
Kenric: You were wonderful. You’re a wonderful human being. I love talking with you. it would be an honor to have you come back on again because, yeah, I, you were great.
Julian Richings: Well, I’d be delighted. So it’s been fun chatting and all the best to you. And I can’t wait til the, the world sort of gets on its regular access again
Kenric: I know me too.
Julian Richings: we’re on the road to recovery.
Kenric: too. Maybe you’ll be at a supernatural con and we can come and meet you in person.
Julian Richings: That’d be really cool.
Kenric: would be nice.
Perfect. Thank you. You so much, Julian. I
Julian Richings: Is that cool?
Kenric: That was great. That was great.
Jeff or John: Thank you so much.
Kenric: man. We’ll talk to you soon.
Julian Richings: Will do bye now.
Julian Richings: Bye bye.