It was quite an honor to chat with the gentleman who so elegantly portrayed Death on Supernatural. Actor Julian Richings stars in Anything for Jackson and Spare Parts. As usual he portrays completely different characters. He makes each character he portrays unique in some way. He talks about preparing to play Henry and The Emperor in these films. We also chatted about his unforgettable role as Death on Supernatural.
Hi Julian, I’m so excited to talk with you. You are so talented.
J.R.- Why, thank you.
How did you prepare for your role in Spare Parts?
J.R.- Spare Parts, it’s very much like being a part of an opera. It’s like a grand post-apocalyptic punk opera. It’s kind of a mood or a tone that is required. It felt very natural. Andrew set it up clearly, there was an incredible set. It wasn’t difficult to be there and be that guy who is in charge. The challenge was maintaining my authority and my calmness in the extreme cold. We were all very cold but we used it to our advantage.
What was it like for you working with Andrew Thomas Hunt, and this cast?
J.R.- We all hit it off well. I’ve known Andrew for a while so I had a good rapport with him right from the get-go. With me and the rest of the cast, it was one of those movies where I didn’t interact with the other characters. They were sort of separate and in that Gladiator type arena. We got along well, and it was an upbeat, energetic set. We had a lot of stuff to cover in a limited amount of time. It was very well organized and orchestrated by Andrew.
Anything For Jackson is such a great film. How did you prepare to play Henry?
J.R.- I talked to Sheila McCarthy who plays Audrey, my partner. We agreed it was very much about the couple, and how each one of them responded to the other. Eventually it becomes a triangle between the two of them and the character played by Konstantina Mantelos, who is their victim. In order for that to work, we realized we had to have a history, and we had to completely believe in each other. Both of us have been fortunate enough to have long-term relationships so, we both kind of channeled that. We took it seriously and we allowed for laughter and lightness to come through. It was a fun gig.
What was it like for you working with the director, Justin G. Dyck?
J.R.- He was very smart. We had a limited amount of time. COVID was slowly emerging while we were shooting. We knew that our time was limited. It was kind of a pressure to get it done but the great thing about Justin is that he’s used to that. He’s made a career of successful horror films that have been shot in a limited amount of time. He knows what to do. He knows how to focus on the things that matter and not get distracted. He knows how to organize his set to maximum function. He knows when to shoot, when to edit. He’s very clear. It was fun, and well organized. There was a sense that this movie was his baby. Justin and the writer, Keith Cooper had collaborated on for a long time. There was such a freshness about this film.
What’s next for you Julian? What other projects are you working on?
J.R.- I’m very fortunate that I’m still working during COVID. I can say that I shot something in Nova Scotia in the fall of 2020. It will be coming out soon. It’s based on a Stephen King novel. It’s very exciting.
What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching Anything For Jackson and Spare Parts? I also have to ask about Supernatural and what you would say to the fans. The Blu-Ray box-set came out on my mom’s birthday. I know we all loved you as Death so much. You always play so many incredible characters.
J.R.- I’m flattered you say that. You mention Supernatural, and there is an extraordinary fan base for Supernatural. I think of all the shows and all the roles that I’ve ever performed that one has introduced me to more people, and it’s surprised me more than any other role. When I got in to shooting the first episode I did on Supernatural, I had no idea what a cultural phenomenon it was. It’s still incredibly relevant. I’m always humbled and delighted that people still keep tabs on my career, those who are diehard Supernatural fans.
How do you kind of prepare as an actor. I was re-watching Hannibal and I realized that you were on Hannibal and I didn’t even recognize you. That goes to show the talent.
J.R.- I have an approach. I work physically and if I can, I try to inhabit whether it’s a creature like Three-Finger in Wrong Turn. Whatever the film is, I try to inhabit that character. Hopefully that creates a very different impression. I look like I look. I’m generally pretty distinctive and people will figure out it’s me. Hopefully the point is that I’m inhabiting that character.
I thank you so much. It was such an honor to talk to you. You are one of my favorite actors. Thank you, Julian.
J.R.- I’m grateful, thank you for talking. Thank you.
Julian’s IMDB page.