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Conning With Richard, Matt and Chad: Toronto and Chicago

October 22, 2011

Matt Cohen in Toronto


Greetings from Chilly Chicago! So far enjoyed an interesting Q&A from Rick Worthy, who claims not to wear boxers OR briefs (….) and had a lovely lunch with Chad Lindberg. When we talked to Matt Cohen and Richard Speight in Toronto two weeks ago, they were both lamenting the fact that Chad wasn’t there to join them for karaoke. Well, the good news is — he will be joining them tonight. Crowd surfing, anyone??

More of our chat with Chad soon, but first up, a conversation with Richard Speight. Our very first con was right here in Chicago in 2007, so we’re feeling nostalgic. We met Richard at his first con right here the following year. Three years later, he’s still enjoying them as much as we are.

Richard: For a guest star these conventions are great. I did the show in Season Two, and conventions weren’t one of the things they talked about. It wasn’t like you auditioned and they said “If you get it, there’s a bunch of cons you can do!” You never expect that. I know a ton of actors and nobody I know has ever done a con.

Lucky for us, SPN is the exception 

Richard: I’m not a celebrity in the real world – only here with these people who love the show. In the rest of the world, I’m just an actor. So here I get questions and fans are excited, but it’s an isolated period of my life. So I expect it, and I enjoy it, and then I go home and go back to ‘No one gives a crap if I’m there.’ Like I was in LA last week and had drinks with Misha, Rob Benedict and Jason Manns, and my point is, Misha’s third rung here, but nobody cares in LA. It’s not Clooney and Pitt.

Lynn and Kathy: Wait, who? What were their roles on Supernatural? (just kidding, folks…)

While we were waiting in line for Starbucks (where you can find us alarmingly often), we asked fans what they wanted us to ask Richard. The consensus was everyone still wondered how he made the transition from the Trickster to Gabriel – probably because it was amazing!

Richard: So how did I decide to make the transition? Honestly I rehearsed the daylights out of that scene. By myself. It was such an extensive piece of material that I studied that scene like I was doing a play. It wasn’t like a normal TV scene where you can do a little work and then sort it out the day of the blocking. It was so intense and the change was so specific that I wanted to be sure that I hit all the beats I wanted to hit. I’ve done a lot of theatre in my life so I kinda dusted off that skill set. And I think in the process of doing that I made the decisions. It wasn’t like I said, “OK I want to use this voice for this guy and this voice for this guy.” In the formation of the scene there came a natural rhythm, to where one guy stopped and the other guy starts. And when you find that point it’s like letting the air out of a tire, because it takes a lot of energy to pretend to be someone else, so pretending to be the Trickster was exhausting (for Gabriel) – it’s not his persona, it’s a lie.

Lynn: So it’s like layer on top of layer of acting.

Richard: Right! And for me that was why the body changes and the voice changes – because he (Gabriel) just slumps down into “Well I’m not going to put effort into this because you’re not buying it anymore.” And that’s like the air coming out of the tire, or the wind gone from the sails. And it informed how the vocal delivery and the pattern of Gabriel talking was different. I get asked all the time about my favorite scene to shoot, and as much fun as it was watching women in bikinis flopping around a bed with Jensen, form an acting standpoint, in that scene I’m just in the auditorium watching. The dialog stuff we shot in thirty minutes and the rest of the two days was chain saws. So this was actual acting, and you don’t get to do that a lot in episodic TV. We didn’t do that scene in pieces. We did it in one long scene and it was really fun to do. And you know what? People do like that episode and I think they didn’t see that change coming. The writing was spot on, and everyone was really committed to it. I remember Jensen making a joke when we did the first rehearsal. I had the time to put into it so I’d been prepping this for a week, so we rehearsed the scene the first time (and now this is Jensen telling me this later) so I was at eighty percent that first time, laying the groundwork for what I planned to do, and Jensen was like “You did that and then we took a break, and Jared and I elbowed each other and we were like, We better learn this – he showed up to play ball, man,’” Not that they wouldn’t take it seriously anyway, but acting is like tennis man, I was the ball machine – I was firing at them, so they were like, oh, ok! And Jensen actually had to physicalize it with the side nudge and “Let’s go learn this in the trailer, Jared.” People asked me did they joke around in that scene, and they didn’t because it wasn’t that kind of scene. Sometimes the tension needs to be broken. When you’re doing a really gruesome scene, it’s great to have the break. But sometimes the break is distracting. And the one thing I know about these guys is they know the difference. They know exactly when it’s ok to make funny faces when you’re off camera and [when] they go “OK, this is an intense moment and we need to be present, not goofing around.” They’re veterans.

We talked about what it’s like to be a guest star on various shows, since Richard has had a lot of experience.

Richard: Any show you guest star on is trickle down. If the guys who are number one and two on the call sheet are assholes or goofballs, or don’t take it seriously, it’s going to be a long week. When you walk onto a new set, it doesn’t matter that I’m older than them, or how long I’ve been doing this, every day on a new job is still the first day. So I’m the quietest guy you ever met, I’m not going to speak unless spoken to. I keep to myself until they start joking with me, then I joke back. Plenty of shows never go there. They just want to get going. And some shows that are good shows, are miserable sets. I’m lucky this is the one I ended up on that does cons, because I like all the guys – we’re all buddies now because of the cons. That makes it fun. The fans always ask “Do you really like being here?” but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. If these things were a nightmare, or if the guys were assholes – life’s too short.

We love the reciprocity of fandom – fans get together at cons and bond, and the actors do the same! We caught up with Richard’s buddy Matt Cohen later that same day, and talked about the loyalty and protectiveness of SPN fans. A private picture of Matt and his grandfather had been leaked onto Tumblr, and Matt had asked that it please be taken down.

Matt: And within five minutes, there were a thousand responses, saying “Don’t worry, we’re on it”. Now you can’t even find the picture. My fans are always so good to me. Occasionally, every now and then someone says something negative like “You’re a bad actor,” and they don’t stand a chance. Fans are so nice until someone crosses a line then they’re like vampires.

Never underestimate the power of fandom!!

Both Matt and Richard were looking forward to another installment of the Dick and Matt Karaoke Kings that night – we were too. And more karaoke madness tonight, yay 

Matt: It’s all about the karaoke! We’ll rock the house tonight. This is my jacket (showing off garish 80’s looking jacket). Wait till you see the pants!

He refused to give us a preview so we could be properly surprised. We were. High waisted and quite tight. It’s a definitely a look. We’re not sure there are actually any BAD looks on Mr. Cohen, luckily.

Chad gave us a few hints about what he’ll be wearing for tonight’s karaoke at ChiCon, and we have to say – we can’t wait!

More from Chicago soon – right now it’s time to catch Chad’s Q&A and then get ready to watch tonight’s episode of Show with the lovely Mo Ryan of AolTv. The guest stars alone have us shivering with antici—pation!

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