Set Visit: Interview with star Jared Padalecki from Friday the 13th
Jared Padalecki has been around for a couple years now, finally breaking through and scoring his first leading role in FRIDAY THE 13TH. Some may know him from his starring roles in GILMORE GIRLS and the popular genre show SUPERNATURAL. He's also got a couple genre movie credits to his name in HOUSE OF WAX and CRY_WOLF, so as you can see he's definitely a fan of the genre. We caught up with the young actor while on the set of FRIDAY THE 13TH. The time was around 3 AM and Padalecki had just approached us munching on a bag of Doritos Cool Ranch chips. Regardless of it being early morning and having worked all night, Padalecki was upbeat and ready to sit down with us and answer some questions. Little did he know that as soon as the interview was over he'd be wrapped for the night, lucky him!
It's always this time of night where there's nothing to eat so you just go straight to the craft service table. Bunch of peanuts and Skittles and now some Cool Ranch chips. Terrible, terrible. And then you say why did I do that? Oh yeah it was 3 o clock in the morning and I couldn't think straight.
Tell us about your character and what youíre doing in the movie.
I play Clay Miller. Basically my involvement in the movie is I start out and we don't know much about me. We just know that I'm looking for my sister who's gone missing. So I go out to Camp Crystal Lake not knowing the legends and not knowing what's out there and what happens on Friday the 13th. And that's when I run into another group of young guys and gals who are out there for a camping trip and then horror ensues. I'm sure you can all imagine where we go from there, right?
How familiar were you with the earlier films?
I seen the first one and I seen FREDDY VS JASON. I'd seen one of the other ones, I assume the second one, where he had the burlap sack still. Because the first one he obviously wasn't the villain and then FREDDY VS JASON I had seen, I had some buddies that were in that and I went and watched it. But mostly I was familiar, I knew the story. Everybody knows Jason Voorhees whether you've seen one or ten or zero. From then obviously Friday the 13th and the whole legend behind that, there's not a Friday the 13th that goes by... It's funny. I got home from work last night at like... I don't want to exaggerate, I want to say it was like 5.. no 6:30 am ok. The hotel leaves your stereo on like classic music. The guy who was in-between songs was like 'Well here on blah blah blah we have a long day of beautiful classical music in case you want to stay in and not go risk those Friday the 13th roads and that Friday the 13th traffic and blah blah blah.' And literally as I walked into the door and I was like 'weird man' and I just turned the radio off and went to sleep. But I knew the legend, Friday the 13th. And I knew Jason.
Was this something you pursued or was it something that was pitched to you? What was your first reaction when you read the script?
I had seen AMITYVILLE that Platinum Dunes had redone and I had seen the original TEXAS CHAINSAW that Platinum Dunes and Marcus had done, or the remake, the original remake. And I had seen THE HITCHER, Sophia Bush is a friend of mine. I loved, I enjoyed them all but I loved the TEXAS CHAINSAW remake and I watched it actually when I did HOUSE OF WAX. The director sat us down and as a cast we watched the movie. He's like this is a recent horror remake that's done really well that I think is really good and so I want you guys to watch it. We watched it and we were like... man that's good. It's interesting, it tells a story visually. It's hard to remake a classic and give homage to the original but still make it new and interesting for younger audiences and different audiences. So I found out about this script from my manager, it was during the strike and I was about to go do some international press for SUPERNATURAL, that's a show that I'm doing on CW. I was literally about to fly out... four or five days later or something and I hear hey, the strike wasn't over yet and they're like listen, there's this movie FRIDAY THE 13TH the remake, I was like 'Oh this movie, I know what that is.' The director is in town and Brad Fuller, one of the producers is in town and they want to meet with you. I was like 'Well can I see the script?' They were like 'Okay we're emailing it to you right now, print it up, they want to have dinner with you tonight.' And I was like 'Alright.'†
So I read the script and I really enjoyed it. It was a first draft; it was a draft they'd written before the writers had gone on strike. So there were certain things that night, at dinner, I was like 'Listen.. I would want to maybe do this...' And they were like 'Listen, a lot of changes are going to be made. They can't be made right now because the writers are on strike but we're going to clean this up, we're going to clean that up.' The outline was there. It was very exciting, a lot of the kills were really cool and I really wanted to be a part of it. So I was really grateful that they wanted me to be a part of it too. I think I was the first one attached to the movie, don't quote me on that but as soon as I met the director and one of the producers and they were like 'Listen, this is going to be a collaborative effort and everybodyís input matters. Obviously we're the captains of the ship but we respect the actors.' And I was like count me in if I could get off my show and the dates work out and they ended up working out. The strike ended obviously so I went back to the show but they cleared me. I ended up finishing SUPERNATURAL on April 28th in Vancouver 5 in the morning, basically me getting on a flight to Austin, getting here like 12:30 am on the 30th and going to work 10 hours later to shoot my first day. So it's kind of a hectic story but here we are, a day from it being over and it still seems hectic but we got it done.
I'm assuming your going right back to work after this?
Yeah (laughs). I'm doing international press in Australia next week so I leave from Dallas on Wednesday to go to Australia for a few days and then we're supposed to start shooting the first week of July. No rest for the wicked right? I had like a three month break during the strike so I can't bitch and moan too much, but yeah straight from SUPERNATURAL to FRIDAY back to SUPERNATRUAL.
How long do you shoot SUPERNATURAL?
You have two weeks off for Christmas; you get a four day weekend for Thanksgiving and Presidents Day and stuff like that. From July 2nd I think we're supposed to wrap the first week April.
What's your favorite kill in this movie?
My favorite kill is the kill of the police officer who comes to sort of check up on us. We hear knocking and we know Jason's outside and we know someoneís killing off these people in this group of friends that I've hooked up with. We hear a knock on the door and at first we're a little panicky but we're like why would this guy knock? So we go to check out the door and it's a police officer, so I start to let him in and as I let him in Danielle Panabaker's character Jenna sees Jason basically drop down from the roof and shove a fireplace poker through the police's eye, through the door, it ends up right in front of me and then we take off. That's really the moment in the movie where everything has sort of come to a head, and then just explodes. It's like man, everything is so fast paced, and everythingís so hectic. The audience is really going to be on the edge of their seat from that moment on. Not like they wouldnít before. That's when the break line breaks and it's full speed ahead for the rest of the movie.
What's been your favorite part of this whole shoot?
Um.. you know what... it's been some hectic hours. It's a horror movie and its FRIDAY THE 13TH so we're shooting a lot of exterior nights, but the comrodery between the cast has been a real joy. I've worked on stuff before where the cast didn't.... it's not like we didn't get along, but we didn't get along this well. So meeting a bunch of new people.. And Derek!... is awesome! He's such a kind, generous man, and very very hard working. And it's been fun to get to know him and Danielle and Travis Van Winkle and Amanda Righetti. The cast is, I can say... I've been doing this a while and I can say, without a doubt, I'm going to keep in touch with people that I met on this movie. And that's nice to be able to say because usually it's just like hey its Summer camp see you later but you don't call them. Here I can't wait to go and hang out with them again whenever I'm in the same city and not shooting.
They tell us that as much of the violence is in this movie there's also sex. Do we get to see you topless?
(laughs) Not yet! If there are reshoots who knows they might try and yank off my shirt.
I'm being equal because we were wondering about the female cast.
And it's only fair to ask.
It's absolutely fair to ask. That was also something that I brought up with the writers and producers and the director because I'm wearing like a form fitting shirt and I was like 'Listen guys... I'm already on the CW, which is kind of like the pretty boy network. The last thing I want to do is do this movie with a lot of fans and just be like 'Hey, here's me taking my shirt off.' And like be kind of douchebaggy. I was like honestly, I wanted Clay to just be a normal guy. I didn't want him to be like 'Hey, here I am. I'm a sex symbol. Watch me fight Jason. I'm cool. I'm a ninja. Blah blah.' I just wanted to be a guy trying to find his sister. Not about how he looked, whether he worked out or whatever. So I steered clear of the topless scenes.
When you are putting together this character, do you spend a lot of time thinking about a back-story? Is that an important part of your process or do you feel like it's important to the film?
It is. It's important to my process and itís important to the film. I always start the process of building a character by just reading the script over and over and over again to where youíre kind of trying to hook into his motivations and instincts and what's driving him. Which is also why it's little things, little lines here and there. Youíre like hey listen, earlier in the movie I say this and now I'm saying that, it kind of contradicts, can I change it up a little bit? And they're like yeah of course we didn't even think about that. Or this is from this version and that's from that version. The back storyís important and usually you get the chance to talk to other characters, other actors and actresses in the movie about like hey, let's think about how we know each other, how we met each other. But really the only character in this movie that I know is my sister, so all the people that I spend most of the movie with I meet them during the course of the movie. So it was nice to have that freedom to introduce my own character. Who knows if it comes across and who knows if I even get into it, but just so I know. And also the scripts usually will you know... Up rides Clay Miller. 23. Athletic. Blah blah blah blah blah. It kind of gives you a little outline and then little expositional things. I'm talking to Jenna, Danielle Panabaker's character about my sister and I's relationship and how it's been since my mother's death and blah blah blah. You get hints from the script and then youíre sort of free to do your own thing.
You mentioned fighting Jason earlier. Do people actually fight Jason a lot during this movie or are they mostly running from him?
Mostly running. That's another thing, just like taking my shirt off... or not taking my shirt off; I wanted to make sure it wasn't like... I'm a guy trying to find my sister and now I'm going to go mono e mono with Jason. Ultimately he's Jason Voorhees, I'm not going to be like alright, bob and weave, fade... you know leg kicks and choker holds and shit. It's basically, Jason's after us and we're fighting like cornered dogs trying to defend ourselves. There's no 'Let's get it on!' Here we are like dancing around the ring with each other, trying to find an opening in each other's guard. It's really... where the hell did this guy come from and how am I going to make sure he doesn't kill me. It's not so much like a fight scene, but there are some big time skirmishes and a lot of injuries. It's been fun to sort of fight... because I've been forced to fight, not like come on bastard, I'm going to get you. It's like well I guess I'm going to have to try and get out of this predicament.
Does the sense of comrodery with Derek and the rest of the cast, does it make it easier or does it maker it tougher for you to center yourself when you go back in and you have to be scared?
I guess for everybody it's different. For me it makes it a lot easier. I'm not method, like I don't not enjoy my work. If I'm playing somebody who's sleep deprived, I sleep 9 hours a night. (laughs) I don't want to get to work and be miserable because it keeps me... it messes with my focus. And likewise I don't want to worry about not getting along with somebody that I'm working with, like be fakey during the day just so that you could get on but itís nice to be friends with somebody. Because it's so weird and it's so... I'm bruised up and banged up and there's scenes where we're having fights and I cut my face open for real during the fight and it's like ughh. You don't want to go from that to 'And cut.' And then like you don't want to talk to anybody, you don't want to go 'oh dude I think I just cut my face' because you don't like the guy. It's nice to go 'Derek, I think I just messed myself up.' He'll be like 'What, you alright?' And you'll be like 'Yeah, I'm fine, I'm fine. Jeez I'm having a scotch when I get home' or something.†
It's nice to be able to vent a little bit, you can't burn the candle on both ends. It's nice in between takes to sit down and have lunch with everybody and joke around and kid around. Otherwise... you spend so much time with these people... I have a director named Kim Manners, he's one of our directors/producers on SUPERNATURAL. He's always like 'If I didn't enjoy working with you guys, I would quit because there's no point...' And this is his quote to me, I'm not married but he's like 'I spend more time with you guys than I do with my wife, with my kids, with my dog, with my best friend, with my family... if I didn't like you all, why would I want to spend so much time with you guys. Money? How much do you want? I'd rather enjoy my life and not have as much money. Just work to make money and not have a shitty time doing it.' So it's really nice in my opinion to get along with everybody.
Obviously your no stranger to this genre, with HOUSE OF WAX and SUPERNATURAL and stuff. Do you plan on doing more horror films after this? Are you going to stay to that track? You know the routine from being in HOUSE OF WAX. Were you surprised? Was it different from FRIDAY THE 13TH, like the physical routine and everything?
Absolutely. The first question, as far as staying in the genre. It's a genre that I'm a fan of, and I've always enjoyed scary movies and horror movies and scary shows. I grew up watching THE TWILIGHT ZONE with my old man and stuff like that. If the roleís right and the characterís right or I want to work with some directors or producers. Each job is so specific, I'm not sure I'm at the point in my career... like Clooney or Brad Pitt or something.. it's like bring me a comedy, I want to do a comedy. And then 20 comedies show up at your door and your like no, no no, I'll take this one. For me, I'm still in a process where I have to sort of fight for the roles I want. This was a role I wanted, so I fought for it. I guess it was coincidental that it happened to be in a genre that I was so familiar with and comfortable with and a fan of. As far as the process being different, it's been very different.†
Itís also.... HOUSE OF WAX was like a 90 day shoot in Australia and I wasn't the lead. I was like the fifth or sixth lead so it was very different for me because here we are, and we're shooting the same length of movie in less than half the time so it's so hectic. And I'm... we always joke about it... but I'm number one on the call sheet, I'm the lead in the movie. There's a lot of responsibility. I'm in most every day, most every scene. And if I'm not in, then they might need me so I have to be close by in case they go hey we need you, which has happened a few times and they're like 'I know you were supposed to have the day off but we kind of need to shoot this scene today' and I'm like 'Alright.. well let me... sober up and..' (laughs) Just kidding. You have to be on top of your game for however long. And also, I did HOUSE OF WAX before SUPERNATURAL so I've become much more comfortable with the genre and sort of acting with special effects. HOUSE OF WAX was my first time to be submerged in that world of prosthetics and special effects and here's a camera and there's a green piece of tape that your supposed to scream when you see it. So that was all new to me then and I was like 'Really? I'm not going to look like an idiot?' And now I'm used to it because I've done it 60 times for 60 episodes and then watched it and I'm like alright I don't look like an idiot, or if I do it's not because I'm staring at green tape.
Has there been a scene or sequence or specific thing that you've done that you consider to be the most challenging or the most fun? Or are those two things mutually exclusive?
They're not mutually exclusive. Sometimes they coincide. For me, the most challenging was my sort of ultimate confrontation with Jason. It being a horror movie, it's night, and it being a horror movie, it's raining, and it being a horror movie, we're in a barn... fighting... for our lives. So in between every take theyíre' spraying you down with water and throwing mud and dirt on you and you just feel banged up and bruised up. Derek is a joy... because there are a lot of parts.. I'm not a stunt man, so I don't do my own stunts and I try and do my own fight scenes as much as I can but Derek is a stunt man. So there's a part where I kind of... because I don't know what else to do, I sort of grab him and sort of run him back as best I can, like try and push him into the wall. A few times... I'm in like designer boots and tight jeans... you can't really move in it and my boots are all wet and it's muddy and it's starting to get sloshy. So my feet are like slipping out and I'm literally basically just leaning on Derek. I weigh 220 pounds and I'm holding onto Derek for dear life and he just... in character.. resets his feet, lifts me up and he's like 'Ok go ahead.' And he has the mask on so no one can see him say 'Ok go ahead' but I can hear him and I'm like thanks man and I'm back on my feet and doing it again.†
So that and you get bruised up and banged up. I still have some bruises on my lower back and my side, I'm not injured where I'll never walk again or something but just little paper cuts and your going where did that come from, come on. And the medics coming in because you get dirt and dust in your eyes and you canít touch your eyes because you have dirt and mud all over your fingertips and your just sitting there going can I have some water and it looks like youíre crying. So then all the crew guys make fun of you... its fine. It was a lot of fun but that was the most challenging. And the most fun was probably the sequence I was talking about with the police officer getting pokered because we had a few different sets and there's a cool shot... when you see the movie you'll see, with like half sets and the camera moving to the outside of the door kind of following the poker and then ending up right in front of me. When I was shooting that, I remember thinking to myself.... probably the worst thing an actor could think... but like man this is going to look cool! Youíre supposed to stay in the moment and do your thing and be true to the character but I couldn't help but start thinking like... this is going to rock. It's cool to shoot that and then know that it's going to look cool on camera and the audience is going to go it's cool how they do that. So that's probably the most challenging and the most fun, so far on this shoot.
Well is there anything you can tell us about the upcoming SUPERNATURAL season? Apparently Dean might be in Hell a little longer than people think. Can you elaborate on that at all?
I don't know a whole lot about specifics, but I do know that a few episodes are written and that they're going to give me the outlines for them very very soon. I do something weird... I do it during the shooting of SUPERNATURAL, but if we're shooting episode 1 and episode 2 comes out, I won't even read episode 2 until I'm done with 1 because I don't want to start thinking about it. It started because in Season 2 I had a sex scene and I read about it 2 episodes before so all I did was like oh man I have to wake up and go to the gym and your just thinking about what's going to happen 3 weeks from now instead of just worrying about what your shooting. I've been careful about A. with the demanding schedule with FRIDAY and B. while shooting this I don't want to get... it sounds cheesy, but I don't want to start getting into Sam Winchester while playing Clay Miller. But I've heard sort of whisperings of he's going to be in Hell and I might have to find out a way to go get him... which would be wicked cool. I hope they end up doing that and there are whisperings that Sammy's going to have to go a little bit more dark side than we've seen him, which I've been waiting for years to do, so I'm excited about that.
Excellent. That sounds very interesting. When will that they be planning on premiering that?
They're starting us the first week of July...
So it would be like a Fall kind of thing?
Yeah. I know they want to air us with SMALLVILLE, which probably starts shooting earlier because usually SMALLVILLE premiers and then we premiere a couple weeks later but they're bringing us back a couple weeks earlier so that we can premiere. Probably late August, early September is my hope.
Right on guys! Thank you.