Getting his start mostly on television, with Gilmore Girls and Supernatural, Jared Padalecki has made a smooth transition to the big screen, with films such as House of Wax and now Friday the 13th. The charming actor sat down with Buzzine to talk about facing the legendary serial killer Jason, and getting a little beat up in the process...
Izumi Hasegawa: So tell us about it.
Jared Padalecki: About it? There’s a lot of it, man. Do you want to hear about the movie?
JP: Did you all get a chance to see it?
IH: Yes, last night.
JP: So I’m the only one in the room who hasn’t seen it. You all tell me about it! Is it good? Does it live up to expectations?
IH: It does, and it’s going to solidify your genre-base, from your show…
JP: That’s right. It seems like I’ve done a lot of stuff in the genre, which is nice. It’s a fun genre to work on.
IH: Are you attracted to the genre a lot? Did you grow up watching Friday the 13th?
JP: I actually did. I’ve always loved the genre and I always loved the Friday the 13th. I just saw the original, and probably a few years back I saw the second one. I’ve seen Freddy vs. Jason and stuff like that. But the genre is always fun for me. I grew up watching Twilight Zone with my daddy and getting scared…and The Exorcist and stuff like that. But that’s not even necessarily why I’ve been drawn to it. It sort of just worked out that way. I’m a fan of the genre, but also I don’t have a lot of time off, and so it’s like, what is filming right now? What can I go and try out for? And then you find out Friday the 13th is being made, and you’re like, “Okay, I want to meet on it. I want to be a part of that. Who can you introduce me to that I can go see that and try and be a part of it?” So it was nice that it worked out.
IH: You were receiving the horror genre script because you were working on Supernatural and, actually, Jensen (Ackles) got the role in My Bloody Valentine and you were in House of Wax and this movie. You guys are kind of receiving this kind of script?
JP: I think so. I know that starting season one of Supernatural, some horror-genre scripts started coming our way — smaller ones mostly. Just like, “Hey, you’re a part of the genre. It would be a big draw if people could come see you do this,” and stuff like that…but some big ones. But for me, it’s piece by piece. It’s not really genre so much as what do I think of the script. ‘Cause it wasn’t like I was necessarily searching for another horror…it just happened to come up and I was a fan of the original, and I was a fan of Platinum Dunes, I loved The Texas Chainsaw that they remade, I loved the Amityville, The Hitcher…I was really excited about the way they were remaking these movies — real and raw and scary and sexy and fun. So I was really excited about being a part of that, but it’s not necessarily just the genre.
IH: Did you see My Bloody Valentine in 3D? And is there sort of a competition between you and Jensen Ackles?
JP: Not really, ’cause it’s almost like he and I both know… Listen, My Bloody Valentine and Friday The 13th aren’t about Jared and Jensen — they’re about the miner and Jason. But actually, when My Bloody Valentine came out, we were up in Vancouver. His girlfriend was up visiting, and for the first time in a long, long time, he and I actually both had the day off in production, even though it was a Friday, and so he and his girl were waiting to go to dinner and go shopping, and I was like, “No, no, we’re seeing your movie.” [Laughs] And so he kind of begrudgingly accepted. He was like, “I’ve seen it at the screening, I saw it at the premiere…” I was like, “I haven’t seen it, and I want to go see it.” So I essentially grabbed him and Daneel and Kerr Smith, who was also in the movie. He was the cop, obviously. He was in town shooting a pilot, and so we called him up, and we all went and saw the movie and snuck in after it started, put the goggles on, and left right before it ended, went out and had a good dinner and laughed about it and stuff like that. But we were joking [laughs] after we got out of the movie that the guys in the row behind us must have been like, “These goggles are amazing [laughs], ’cause here come Jensen and Kerr walking in and sitting down.” But it was nice, it was a lot of fun. And it did really well and it’s really funny. We live together in Vancouver. We live in a house. We’re just actually good buddies. It’s not like, “Hey, you play brothers on screen. As soon as they call ‘Cut,’ you’re, like, fighting each other.” It’s like, he’s a Texas boy, and our girlfriends get along famously. Like, “Fine, go enjoy. We’re going to be watching the Super Bowl and grilling steaks; you go talk about girl stuff.” It’s fun. It’s like having a brother, it really is. So I’m really excited for him when stuff happens; he’s really excited for me, and ultimately, the better each of us does, really the better it helps both of us. The better his movie does, the more it helps me. The better my movie does, the more it helps him. And so it’s really nice to have a buddy who’s really after you to do your best.
IH: How did you juggle the schedule? You said that this movie just exactly kind of fit. You have a TV show schedule. So when did you shoot this? How did you juggle?
JP: Yeah, my TV show schedule sucks. [Laughs] Literally, we start like July 1st. Usually I’ll be in LA, like, June 26th. I’ll plan to leave up to Vancouver, drive up there with my dogs, and so I’ll have a dinner June 25th. Last year, I took my buddies to Mortons. I was like, “Listen, I’m going to buy us some steak,” and I’d sit down with them, my closest friends, and I’m like, “All right, guys. See you in April.” [Laughs] It happens like that, and then it’s like text messages and kind of odd phone calls, but I don’t get to see anybody. So this movie — literally, they started shooting, I think, April 15th, and I shot Supernatural till April 28th. Luckily, they really wanted me for the movie and I really wanted to be a part of the movie, and so they worked it out to where they shot all the stuff that I wasn’t in in those first two weeks. I filmed Supernatural April 28th until probably like 2:00 in the morning, got on a flight, and eight hours later, flew to Austin and worked in Austin that night. So, yeah, it was like, I didn’t even 24 hours off between Vancouver, Supernatural, and Austin — Friday the 13th. I shot that till June 16th, and then I had two weeks off. My brother had a baby and I spent some time…I was already in Texas, so I was in Dallas. I spent some time with my friends and family, and then Supernatural started July 2nd.
IH: Are you godfather to the baby?
JP: I’m not. I think they used her dad to be godfather, which is good because I want to be the uncle. I don’t think they want their kid growing up in Hollywood. [Laughs] I wouldn’t either.
IH: Jeff Morgan raved you up. I just talked to him for Watchman, and he thought you and Jensen were really great, and he said they’re not the a-holes…
JP: [Laughs] Ah! That you think they are…
IH: Yeah, anything to say about him?
JP: I love Jeff Morgan. I actually talked to him the other day. There’s a tragedy going on in the Supernatural family…
IH: Somebody left?
JP: Yeah. And so he called just to check up on me, talk about everything, see how everything was going, make sure I’m all right…we chatted for a little bit, and I have the utmost respect for that guy. First of all, I love him. He’s a great dude, he’s funny, he’s talented, he’s nice to be around, he’s real supportive and likes to have a good time, and I’m just really proud of him. He’s been working his ass off for a long time and he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. But I wish I saw more of him. I wish he’d come to Supernatural as soon as the show ends, or if he can come and make it back up, we’ll have a lot more opportunity to hang out. But I’ve seen my brother twice a year, so the people I care about I don’t really get a whole lot of opportunities to see. You kind of have to force-feed visits and stuff like that. But I’m really proud of Jeff. He deserves everything that he gets.
IH: How is it working in your old hometown?
JP: It was amazing to work in Austin. I’m from San Antonio, which is an hour south, on I-35, and Dallas –where my brother and sister live, our sister-in-law, and niece now — is like two and a half hours north, and I’ve always loved Austin. Austin is one of my favorite cities. There’s a great music scene, great food, great people… It’s a big college town, so everybody wants to learn and wants to experience and wants to talk and chat and be fun. I was actually enrolled at UT Austin when I got The Gilmore Girls, and so I had to drop out of school. I’ve always loved Austin. My cousin went there, my best friend went there, and so I’d go visit them. My best friend lives there now, and my sister was graduating. My sister actually graduated college on May 17th, and so the first three weeks she was there, still going to school, ready for school, ready for graduation, and then after she graduated, she was still there. So I got to spend a lot of time with my sister. I was staying downtown at the hotel, and she lived like two miles away, so I was like, “Hey Megan, I’ve got some time off. Let’s get a bite to eat. Let’s go to Lake Travis and go skiing, and let’s go have some drinks, and blah, blah, blah…” which is really nice. It was amazing. Any opportunity I get to film in Austin, I’ll jump on it.
IH: And shooting, as you mentioned, genre shows, you’re now becoming the generation Y David Duchovny. Are you ready for that?
JP: All right! [Laughs] That’s funny. I’ll take it, man. He’s a talented guy, he’s a smart guy. We were just talking about him the other day, actually, because a lot of our crew on Supernatural was the crew on X-Files, and so they we’re chatting about him and his good business sense, and apparently he’s really good at holding conversations. I’ve met him. I met him actually in The Skylight Lounge in Sutton Place. Nice guy — he seems very sweet, and yeah, I’ll take it. As long as I keep working, fine with me.
IH: And as far as the Jason thing goes, was it weird to be doing a big horror movie?
JP: It was. Ultimately, when you get to work, whether you’re shooting a horror movie or an action or a thriller or a comedy or a romance or a western, I think you have to get there, and then just make it real for your character. It’s kind of a blessing and a curse to the actor. Luckily for the actor, we get to just worry about our performance. But unluckily for the actor, you can’t really let the genre get in your head, because if you start playing that you’re in a horror movie, then it becomes a cheesy horror movie. If you’re going, “Ohhhhh!” [laughs] then you’re like, “Oh god” — the audience is going to laugh and get out of there. You just have to make it real. Clay just has to be a guy. I guess if you’re doing certain action movies…but even Superman is about Clark Kent more than Superman. It’s about a normal guy. It’s about a guy, who has everyday problems. And Batman — he’s a wealthy man, but it’s not about “look what I can do!” and “look how scared I am,” or look up to crazy situations, like what happens to people in these situations. And so it’s nice to just get there and forget. And now, looking back, you’re like, “Man, I got to do Friday The 13th.” It’s a huge movie; it’s a huge franchise — a lot of fans. People that I’m friends of, that I never even mentioned the movie to, would be like, “Dude, big fan, I can’t wait to see it. I’ll be there on Friday the 13th.” [Laughs] I’m like, “All right man, cool.” So that’s definitely exciting to hear. But when you’re filming it, you have to just try and not think about it.
IH: Now do you catch yourself trying not to do the Supernatural Sam character…?
IH: Tell us about that. That sounds really intriguing to me.
JP: It’s tough, and I hate to admit it, but there is a little bit of lag-time where you’re like…like Supernatural – I almost started as Dean, and then found Sam. Literally, I was Sam for nine months, and then less than 24 hours later, I was Clay. It’s tough, and I caught myself. So I could be like, “Let’s go again. I was sort of in a different world right there.” But it’s easy because it becomes your technique, and I am Sam more often than I am Jared, like 16-hour days, five days a week — do the math. I’m actually playing Sam Winchester more than I’m playing Jared Padalecki. So it’s like, got to reset, and I’m not method by any means, but it just becomes easy and you read lines and they kind of hit you as Sam Winchester. And you’re like, “Wait a second. That’s not Sam. What would Clay do? How would he react? He’s not a fighter.” That was another big thing, because I’m so used to doing stunt work, and I’m so used to fighting — I fight train and I work out and stuff like that, but that’s Sam. No one wanted to see Clay Miller go, “All right, let’s go” [laughs]. It’s like, “Oh c’mon, you’re fighting Jason. Shut up.” So that was a big part of it. As soon as we got the stunt time and were kind of blocking stuff out, I was like, “Well, I could throw a head-kick or something.” I was like, “Wait a second. Clay Miller doesn’t throw a head-kick. [Laughs] What are you talking about?” And so it was hard to remember that…but kind of fun.
IH: There’s an interesting twist, that the guy…
JP: Well, that’s why they got a girlie guy. I’m just kidding.
IH: But it does have a kind of interesting twist compared to a lot of what we see out there.
JP: Yeah, you’re right. I don’t know if that was by design or that was just the way the script worked out, but it worked out for me well, ’cause I get to go and save the day. And ultimately, you can’t say this, but your female does play a big part in saving the day, so to speak, for those who saw the movie. But it was fun to help tell the story. It was fun that the story was kind of seen through my eyes.
IH: How does Jason figure as a villain? ‘Cause you obviously fight a lot of big guys now. He sort of roughs you up a little bit…
JP: Yeah. He does, man…
IH: Like the scene with the school bus…
JP: Yeah, I actually really got roughed up that day. Where he kicks me through the thing, the candy glass was resting on a piece of plastic, so I couldn’t really see and I already had fake blood and gunk all over my face, and so when we did it, he didn’t actually touch me or anything — it was my fault ’cause I just head-banged him into the glass. “I think I might have got a little…” “No, no, no, it’s stage blood.” I was like, “Are you sure? ‘Cause it really feels like…” They’re like, “No, no, you look good.” All right. So I didn’t find out until later on — hours later, when we washed up — that I had a gash in my forehead that was still bleeding and stuff. Part of the fun, I guess. But I think Jason is an awesome villain. And also just Derek [Mears], I think, because some of the Jasons are not fighting me at all. It seems like, “Man, I could crawl away from him…” They’re just like, bahhhh, but Derek has been such a physical presence, man. I’m not a small guy, and just the way he moves and his flexibility, and he’s lightning fast, and so it was really exciting that that was the Jason that I got to play against. It wasn’t like I’m running from a guy who is just walking at me. It was like, this guy could catch me and kill me. If I climb a tree, he’ll probably jump up and do the tree. There’s no escaping. It felt like running from a wild animal, which is nice, because Jason is kind of like a wild animal. We see a bit of his human side, which is really nice about this movie, but the idea is he’s a wild animal. He’s more a lion than a bear. It’s not like, “Oh, if I catch you, I’ll kill you.” It’s like, “I will catch you, and I will kill you.” So that was nice to play against.
New Line Cinema's 'Friday the 13th' is released on February 13, 2009.