Fred Lehne recently returned from filming a new episode of Supernatural, and later this month will join Jared, Jensen, Misha and the gang at Creation’s VanCon – so we thought this would be a good time to post our chat with him last month at the New Jersey Supernatural convention.
We’ve interviewed Fred many times for our fandom books, so catching up with him is a real pleasure. This time around, bonus for his lovely wife Ginger joining us afterwards (and somehow talking Lynn into taking up yoga…..) We sat down with Fred in the green room (nope, still not green….) and asked him right away what he could say about his return to Supernatural, which Fred had just alluded to in his Q&A.
Fred: I haven’t been told not to mention anything, but I feel like I shouldn’t be blabbing it around. It’s what’s considered a spoiler, right?
(We agree, and listen raptly while Fred talks off the record for a little while. Let’s just say that the writers came up with an awesome plot device to allow the Yellow Eyed Demon to make a dramatic return, and that we cannot wait to see the episode!!! Hurt!Dean fans will recognize a familiar and beloved plot device and wonder how much fanfic Sera and Bob have been consuming recently. How’s that for a teaser?!)
Here’s what we CAN print:
Fred: I got a call out of the blue a couple of weeks ago and I certainly didn’t expect it…. But yes, he’s coming back. For how long I don’t know. It just looks like one episode, from what I can tell. But you never know. … I thought (this plot device) was a good way because I like to work, I like the Supernatural residuals. The residuals are good on this show. It plays all over the place all the time. So I tell everybody (I’m coming back) without telling them.
(L) I think you told the fans just enough, they’ll spread the word.
Fred: On the intertube.
(L) (cocking an eyebrow) Is that a combination of the internet and youtube?
(K) I think you should coin that.
Fred: It should be called the intertube. That’s a better name. You should go get that domain. Wait, (jumping up) I’m gonna go right upstairs and for $15 it ‘s mine!
(L & K): (are impressed with Fred’s marketing genius)
(L) So have you seen the Supernatural script yet?
Fred: I have. Expectedly nasty and the generations continue. I’ll say that.
(L & K): *grin*
We asked Fred what we’ve been asking many of our celebrity interviewees – do they use facebook and twitter, as either a social networking tool or for publicity purposes?
Fred: Both, I guess. I set up a page, I had a personal page, thinking that they would be kept separate somehow. And also because I didn’t know what I was doing. When I was setting it up all of a sudden I had these two accounts, I might even have three. I didn’t know what I was doing and I still don’t know what I was doing. People poke me, I don’t know what to do when I’m poked.
This all sounds very familiar to Lynn, who is similarly technologically challenged. Not so much to Kathy, who can run circles around the rest of us when it comes to mysterious electronic stuff. Luckily, Fred has teenage children who helpfully provided tutorials, precluding further confusion about how to not send a public message when you think you’re sending private. O–o. Fred’s more a facebook fan than twitter, though. As others have commented, it’s too easy to get yourself in trouble with twitter, sending out an ill-advised one liner which immediately gets passed around the world. Literally.
Plus, he reconnected with probably his oldest friend, who he hadn’t seen since college. Such is the power of Facebook
Fred: I hate to Twitter, too much stuff to do, it’s kind of like having a gun in the house, you know…. I think it’s the same thing with Twitter – like, I’m having a really bad moment here, and you can’t retract that.
(L) So what’s up next for you?
Fred: I got a small recurring in the new show Rubicon, which shoots in NY. I relocated to NY, eight/nine months ago. I want to get back on stage. My kids are all off in college now. I always threatened to and now I can. I have some good opportunities, it’s good stuff, but you know it’s been 11 years since I’ve been on stage and it’s different. The audition alone, you go into this big room and they give you 600 square feet to fill up and they’re 30 feet away from you and it’s just different. It’s been a long time. I’m used to auditioning in somebody’s office, across a desk or a table, or maybe a conference table. Now I’m readjusting. I did a play for two months, Studio Theatre, it was part of their one act festival, which is the second oldest festival in the country after Lexington. It’s actually a little prestigious. I got my stage legs back. So, I did that. That’s where I’m putting my energies. My life’s changed over the last year. My kids are back in California, I’m here, I’m with Ginger now.
(L) So are you going to do more stage work then?
Fred: Yes, you know when I was 21 years old I was working on Broadway. And I was married at the time and I had kids and they kept sending me out to Hollywood anyway and you know one episode of this or that is one month’s pay on Broadway. Five or six weeks on Broadway. There was no reason for it, the pay scale was reversed. You would bust your hump, eight shows a week on Broadway at the acme of your profession and get paid shit.
Fred spoke thoughtfully about the non-economic reasons he’s looking forward to returning to the stage, and the frustration of doing repeated guest star roles on a variety of television shows. Many of the actors we’ve interviewed have talked about the same need to express their creative side, the satisfaction of creating a character and connecting with an audience – of doing something meaningful.
Fred: I was doing the guest star television thing for so long, very rarely do I have any fun and you hardly get any sense of accomplishment. ….I would join someone else and help them out for a couple of days, got a page and a half here, two pages there. I’ll have a moment of satisfaction, or feel creativity or feel like I’m doing something and a second or two of magic here, but no real sense of having done anything or filling that creative hole in yourself. Sometimes, but they’re very few and far between. Like the universe is expanding, few and farther between. There’s nothing like being on stage, it’s a communal experience. There’s a beginning, middle and an end. You feel like you’ve done something. People watch films, television by themselves. You shot it 6 months ago, you have little moments of magic. You’re connected, but it wasn’t an experience, it was a moment.
Nevertheless, and lucky for all of us, Fred is continuing to do some television work. Since Rubicon is a recurring role, he can put more of his creative insights into play, much as he does on Supernatural. Television work does bring its unique frustrations, however, as we learned.
(L) So you shot Rubicon in New York? It’s been so hot here, how was that?
Fred: Shooting it was 105 here. I’m playing a colonel, in full dress. A wool uniform.
(L & K) (*are gasping*) Oh No!
Fred: Tie, wool jacket with a belt and we’re shooting indoors, thank God, but in this little room with floor to ceiling windows with big lamps with 12 gage coming through the windows and big lamps on the inside and they have to turn the AC off for the sound. It was 125 degrees in there if it was 5.
(L) I would have passed out if I were you.
Fred: Yes, but you can’t. You tell the guy you have a 104 temperature and he goes, SO! If you had a real job you’d be calling in sick.
See why we love Fred?
(Note: look for Rubicon this Sunday night at 9 pm on AMC!)
Upcoming: Jason Manns gives us an update, and then we head up to Vancouver for Creation’s next Supernatural convention. We promise a full report!