Supernatural Interview: Julian Richings – (aka Death on Supernatural)

Supernatural Interview: Julian Richings 

The following Interview was carried out by Lucy (@SpnUK) for the Supernatural Wiki on 17th July 2013.

Julian Richings
“Can’t lose with an intro like that! Fabulous use of a haunting song; spooky and fun. It really set the tone for the character”

– , Julian Richings – (Death) on his amazing opening scene.


 

UK Conventions / Fans

Julian Richings on stage at Asylum 10 (image property of Kelly Fiestas)

Lucy: You have recently attended another Supernatural Conventions in the UK. What is your opinion of the UK Supernatural fans? Some of the guests commented that we are the loudest fans they have ever encountered, would you agree?

Julian: UK Supernatural fans are used to being in crowds and are not shy in expressing themselves. During the recent Asylum opening ceremonies they were really revved up and ready to go. It felt like a local football derby, full of anticipation, passion and insider knowledge. But the fabulous buzz of Supernatural Conventions everywhere- worldwide- comes down to the sheer fun of fans coming together and re-uniting with long lost friends they haven’t seen for a while. It really is a barnstorming family gathering.

Lucy: Do British fans react differently to you than USA or other fans? Do you have any funny stories about meeting UK fans, either Supernatural fans or others?

Julian: I get the same energy and excitement from fans no matter where they live, no matter if I’m walking down the street or a guest at Conventions. The reaction is always warm and generous. Maybe it’s me that’s a little different in the UK, not the fans, because I’m always overwhelmed by the warm welcome plus the feeling that I’m ‘coming home’. In Toronto one time I was on the subway when a group of office workers got on, one young woman looked up at me and screamed,” Oh my God! It’s DEATH!”. Everyone stared at her, she blushed, giggled , and jumped off before the doors closed, leaving her startled friends on the subway train. I felt so bad for her, I would have followed her off and said hello, but in hindsight I figured it would have totally freaked her out.

Lucy: What do you think of the way the SPNFamily have received you? Also the fan base’s treatment of guest actors in general?

Julian: It sounds a bit phony, but I can’t say enough about the warmth and enthusiasm of the people I meet. The show really taps into a fan base that CARES.


Working/Living abroad

Lucy: What’s it like being a British actor working in USA/Canada? Did the cast/crew make any stereotypical British judgments of you? For example that you only drink Tea or that you are best friends with the Royal family?

Julian: I’ve been in North America living and working for over 30 years so I’m totally at home here. It’s not deliberate, but I realize I modulate my ‘Britishness’ according to the situation. My wife kids are full-on Canadians, and so I’m surrounded by a different way of talking and seeing the world. My daughter always knows when I’ve been talking to my relatives ‘back ‘ome’ because my accent ratchets up several notches. Most of the time my accent doesn’t really stand out.

Julian Richings promotional image

Lucy: What about any prejudice for being British while filming abroad?

Julian: Not really. Sometimes I find North Americans assume the British are incredibly well educated and smart. I’m happy to bask in the glory of that particular prejudice, and try not to give myself away.

Lucy: How does it differ working on a US/Canadian based series, as opposed to a UK one?

Julian: I can’t really say as the last 20 years have been spent mainly doing series and films in North America, although I work with a lot of British actors. I think one of the main differences is the influence of live theatre on the way British actors approach their craft.

Lucy: In your opinion how does the UK entertainment industry differ to that in Canada? Do you prefer one over the other?

Julian: No I don’t have a preference. But I do recognize that the industry is younger here in Canada. This means there is less of a tradition, but sometimes that can be a positive thing, with youth comes risk, experimentation and the desire to find a cultural identity. I like being part of an evolving cultural voice.

Lucy: Did it take you long to learn the US/Canadian slang (Trunk, Diaper, Pants etc. …). Do you still get caught out by it at all?

Julian: Not anymore. It’s not so much slang as pronunciation that catches me out. It took me forever to realize someone being referred to who I thought was “Don” (male) was actually “Dawn” (female).

Lucy: Is there a big difference between US and UK humour? Do you find the British more sarcastic/cynical in our comedy than Americans/Canadians?

Julian: Yes there’s a difference, but it’s not exactly sarcasm. British humour that appeals to me comes from an irreverent bawdy tradition from court jester to Punch and Judy to provocative tv shows. There’s also a delight with language, class and the manipulation of language.

I think stand-up and variety shows are more at the root of American humour, and race, rather than class, fuels much material

Exeter Cathedral, one of Julian’s Favorite places in the UK

Lucy: Do you have any British food or drink that you miss? Or do you get it shipped out to you?

Julian: Scotch eggs! Pork pies! (But I’ve managed to find McVities Digestives.)

Lucy: Where is your favourite place in the UK?

Julian: Many; St. Giles Fair in Oxford. Exeter Cathedral. Robin Hoods Bay. Cricket pitches and football grounds. Lympstone. Blackpool. The list goes on…


Supernatural Cast

Lucy: Can any of the supernatural cast imitate a convincing British accent? If yes who?

Julian: At Asylum 10 Richard and Rob did a hilarious intro. Practicing their English. ‘Cor Blimey! It was brilliant!


Playing Death

Julian Richings as Death, with Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, in the unforgettable pizza scene.

Lucy: Death’s first scene in Supernatural is many of the fans favorite character entrance scenes, what are your thoughts on it and do you have any favorite scenes from the show?

Julian: Can’t lose with an intro like that! Fabulous use of a haunting song; spooky and fun. It really set the tone for the character.

The pizza scene was unforgettable for two reasons; it was fun meeting Jensen, and I’ve never eaten so much pizza in my life. It was a long scene with many takes; I don’t think I ate for a week after that.

Lucy: Would you like to work back on Supernatural if they decide to bring ‘Death’ back into it in Season 9?

Julian: Absolutely. And just between you and me…I’m not saying…but look out… <= possible spoiler, highlight to read.


Pickle Chips

Lucy: Finally, I have to ask, do you actually like pickle chips?

Julian: You bet ! And I’m open to interesting suggestions.


Acknowledgements

A huge thank you to Julian Richings for his generosity in answering the questions via e-mail for the fans. Also many thanks to Pam Winter for your help in arranging the interview.

Thanks to all the fans that submitted questions for the Interview via the Supernatural in the UK Facebook Page

  • E-mail Interview by Lucy (@SpnUK), Supernatural Wiki – ‘Supernatural in the UK’ page creator
  • E-mail Interview conducted Fri, 12th Jul 2013; posted 17th July 2013
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