Chad Lindberg – on Being Kissed by a Vampire and Why He’s a Fangirl Too
Chad Lindberg has been busy! We caught up with Chad at the Dallas con last month to see what he’s been up to.
Lynn: We were talking with Tony Zierra and Elizabeth Yoffe (the director and producer of Chad’s indie film My Big Break) the other day, and we were struck by how much has changed for you. You’re so busy we can’t keep up with you!
Chad: (laughing) I guess that’s good. That first little bit of fame and the journey afterwards that’s captured in MBB, I think I’m much more comfortable with myself and more accepting of it, and just really settled into myself now. I know the next wave will come where it will be uncomfortable, something will happen – a tv show or a movie, and the next wave of fame will be scary, it will be a whole different level – but I’m ready for that. I know I’ll be able to handle it and be okay with it.
Us: What have you learned that gives you that confidence?
Chad: I think just knowing myself and doing it for so long and having taken it in steps, not big leaps. In Wes [Bentley]’s case, he went from here to there, and that’s a scary jump for anybody at any age, so I’ve been able to essentially accept it along the way. Now I’m 35 and I do tons of these cons and I really think that trains you in a sense to deal with it, because if you can handle 800 people at once in an auditorium, you can handle it.
Us: Do you think that you can also say like, I’ve already navigated a lot of ups and downs and it didn’t kill me, so….
Chad: Sure, I think it’s imperative, having those downs. They suck at the time and you think, my god this is never gonna get better, I’m never gonna work again, this is never gonna happen. But they do, they always come around, but you need those down times to learn about yourself and what it all means. So I’m thankful for those downs – and also that I’m on the up hill right now! (laughing). But you know there will be another down, it’s the nature of things.
Us: We can relate, as can just about everyone.
Chad (is leafing through Fandom At The Crossroads): And now I’m in your book – here I am in the index, right here! Writing is just like acting, I’ve known so many who have quit and gone home, and I always tell people, you have to stick it out, because the day you quit, the next day could’ve been the job. Just like with the publisher thing with you guys.
Us: Exactly. So tell us about some of the exciting things you’ve been doing.
Chad: Well, I just finished filming an episode of Castle, where I play a thief. It was one of those weird things, I was actually in Vegas for a film festival for three nights, and that Monday I drove home, and after a five hour drive and three nights in Vegas, you can imagine….
Us: (laughing) We can….but what happens in Vegas….
Chad: And I went right to the audition, went into the room and they were rolling on the floor in stitches. I’m not sure what I did, but I got the call that I got it and was like, you’ve gotta be kidding!
Us: Maybe it was just you just went with it, and were just yourself.
Chad: It does happen like that sometimes. I mean, I was prepared but I was also tired and kinda loose. Sometimes your best work comes from being really tired, when you’re like, I’m just gonna let it go and roll with it, rather than like, I’m gonna kill this, I want this so bad. It never goes right when you’re like study study study. The nerves suck, it’s really hard to get under control. I still get the nerves before an audition, especially if it’s something I really want.
Lynn: When my son was acting, I had a hard time hearing the negative things that sometimes got said.
Chad: As an adult I can certainly take that, but as a kid you don’t need to be hearing that, you’re so insecure anyway. It’s a brutally hard and honest business, you end up very aware of how you look, what you look like and what you don’t look like. They TELL you. That’s the business, it’ll never change. You have to have a thick skin. It stings for maybe a few seconds and then you have to say the hell with it. It plays with your head though.
Kathy: Like in My Big Break.
Chad: I was told things relentlessly throughout that time, and I had to grow into myself. Looking back, at 19 I didn’t look like a leading man, but I think I grew into it in a way. I looked very young, but inside I didn’t feel the way I looked, inside I thought no, I could be a leading man, why don’t they see it? I know I have that swagger. So it was this constant fight, now it’s a whole different story.
Lynn: You definitely have swagger, but it’s hard to pull off swagger at 19.
Chad: No, I was too awkward. I mean, I’m still awkward, but now I own it!
Did he get to work with Nathan Fillion, we wondered (maybe fangirling a bit, because NATHAN FILLION!)
Chad: I didn’t get to meet Nathan, but I did get to work with a couple of my buddies on the show. Seamus Dever and I did a Cold Case episode together, and I got to see him do his thing on his set, which was cool. And I worked with John Huertas on an indie film years ago. It’s always cool to work with your buddies. I feel lucky to have done a lot of tv.
Kathy: You really have been on so many of our favorite shows – though there’s nothing like this fandom.
Chad: No, and I don’t think there ever will be. For years to come, and it should be like that. This is rare and special. This is straight up bananas, and I mean that in the most positive sense. And I feel so fortunate to be a part of that. It’s changed my life.
Lynn and Kathy: Ours too! In fact, most fans we’ve met say that. SPN really is something rare and special, and lifechanging.
Kathy: You’re also in the new feature film Alex Cross with Tyler Perry and Matthew Fox.
Chad: Rob Coen directed it, who did The Fast And The Furious. I have a small part – I auditioned for it. He knew me, but I hadn’t seen him in ten years and my manager was like, do you want to go in on this? And I said yeah. So many actors are like no, I was already in a big movie with him, but I’ll audition for anything, and I ended up getting it, and Rob gave me the part. He wasn’t in the room, I didn’t see him until I got on set. I had a lot of fun, and got my ass kicked by Tyler Perry. There’s a picture they released of that.
Lynn: Ouch, I saw that – it must have been good acting, because it made me flinch for you! Do you ever get hurt?
Chad: Yeah, I got tossed around. They put padding on my knees and elbows and on the floor, but when the camera starts rolling and they yell action, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing, I will never feel it while I’m actually rolling. I never feel it til after, then when I go home that night there will be all these bruises, but I never feel it when I’m rolling. I can get slammed into a wall or whatever, I’ll never feel it.
Lynn: Is it like a dissociative state? Or just a lot of adrenaline?
Chad: I think so, and it’s a commitment, I’ll throw myself into this if I have to. To make it real. Ed Burns is in it too and I really liked working with him, he was very laid back, we got along. And I got to do a little something with Matthew Fox. I’m a huge fan of his from Lost, one of my favorite tv shows of all time. He plays a very intense character, the main bad guy. It was very cool to watch his process with that character. That was a cool fangirl moment for me.
Lynn: You mean fanboy?
Chad: (grinning) No, I like to say fangirl.
Us: (silently) That’s why we adore you.
Chad: And I was able to tell him how much I respected his work, I was able to have ‘that moment’. I love being able to work with people who you admire. It’s the same as it is for the SPN fans.
Kathy: We love how you and the other SPN actors talk about your own fan moments, it’s validating. You fangirl them like we fangirl you.
Chad: I’m not afraid to tell what other shows mean to me – like Ghost Adventures. I’m crazy about Ghost Adventures. I even tell the guys how crazy I am about them. Over and over, god I love you guys.
Lynn: Will you be back on it?
Chad: I hope so, eventually. I’m also doing a zombie movie for the Syfy channel, originally called Lombard Street, then they changed the title to Dead Walking.
Kathy: Kinda similar to something else…
Chad: Yeah, maybe they got a little heat, I dunno….but they changed the name to Rise of the Zombies. Which in a sort of cult B movie sense, it works. It’s the same director who did Punk Love with me. I’m the good guy. In this one I’m the token cute rugged guy and I get to fight zombies all day!
Lynn: The question is, do you get to survive?? (Be sure to watch Rise of the Zombies this Saturday on the Syfy Channel to find out!)
Kathy: Maybe now that you’re getting more good guy kind of hero roles, you might get to live more often….
Chad: I hope so! I was watching an interview with Steve Buscemi and he dies in almost everything he did until recently until Boardwalk Empire and now he’s the leading man, and not getting killed. I could relate to that.
A few fans came up to chat with Chad and take some photos. Chad had given one fan his crazy pair of karaoke glasses, and she was thrilled.
Chad was equally thrilled to be able to make someone so happy.
Chad: This was the first con for so many people, and they were blown away by it. I get what it feels like to be nervous, I still get nervous talking to celebrities. I want people to relax and know it’s okay, and hopefully they come here and say oh, they’re all nice, and accessible, you can talk to them and they’re not assholes. The SPN cast is really a bunch of outstanding people. It’s so rare, and I figure they sort of look at that when they’re casting, they’re not gonna cast assholes to be on that set, because there’s no room for it. I haven’t come across anyone [who’s an asshole] – and these people have become my friends, I travel the world with these people. I’ve never been to Paris with my own family, but I’ve traveled the world with Matt, Richard, Jason, Sebastian, all these people. I’ve been all over and I don’t think it’s gonna stop any time soon.
Lynn and Kathy: (grinning happily) Season 10 is looking hopeful!
Chad: (just as happily) Oh wow. It’s such a huge popular show. And it’s like a parallel, there’s the fan family and the actor family.
It’s true, we’ve all created families on both sides of the fan/famous fence.
Kathy: So tell us about your Ghost Adventures experience.
Chad: That was my fangirl experience. When I first saw that show years ago, my sister turned me onto it, and I turned to her and said, they’re gonna have me on that show someday. Before SPN or just when I’d gotten it. Five years later, I handwrote them a 3 page letter and my not so good agent at the time, I figured if I give it to him, that could at least get the letter to the production company, coming from an official to an an official, trying to show I had a career, but he never got it to them, it fell apart. And then Twitter came. New Year’s Eve 3 years ago and I’d had a crazy life threatening ear surgery and I was down and out and it’s just before midnite, and I’m tweeting fans and one of the fans was like you should tweet Zach and be on his show, and so I tweeted the fans, go bug Zach, plant the seed. And then I was like, I’m just gonna tweet him myself. I said hey if you ever wanna have a guest celebrity ghost investigator please have me on, I’m very passionate about your show and about ghosts, and he tweeted me back and started following me and then wrote me a message and was like, here’s my email, and I was like WHAT?? I wrote him like a huge long email explaining everything about who I was and what his show meant to me and I left my number, and he got back to me and we had a conversation and he was like yeah man, Aaron is a huge SPN fan, and he said Aaron loves the show, and that would be a cool crossover, we have a similar fanbase. So we started talking and became friends. I met Aaron at a convention (not an SPN one) and I sought him out and said I so wanted to meet you, and he was like, you wanted to meet ME?
Us: Mutual fanboy moment! Or fangirl-fanboy moment. Whatever.
Chad: It was! A week later, Zach and Aaron came to LA and we got together and I was on Cloud 9, I was hanging out with my boys. So exciting. And a year or so later, they called up and said we’d like to invite you out for a lockdown, and I was like no shit, awesome. They had me at Linda Vista, and it was a pretty tame night for them, but for me it was a dream come true. I got my name called out through a spirit box, and then Zach sent me and Aaron out on our own little mission to the mental ward, and that’s when things really started to get crazy. The spirits kinda led us into a room and I asked into the spirit box, who is with me right now, and you can hear a demon come thru.
Lynn and Kathy: (are looking around for the Winchesters…) A demon??? Wh-what did it say??
Chad: I didn’t actually hear it when I was doing it, my adrenaline was pumping, but it was a direct response to my question. “A demon.”
Lynn and Kathy: (are frantically looking for exorcism instructions….)
Chad: And at the time, it’s like you’re in that bubble, I didn’t even feel it, but I got scratched. I didn’t feel it until 3 or 4 days later, and then it was like a hot stinging sensation and I thought if this is like 3 marks, I’m gonna pee myself. And I felt it and looked in the mirror, and it WAS. I took a picture and sent it to Zach saying, ‘I don’t wanna make any assumptions here, but I think I got marked.’ And he’s like ‘Yeah, that’s exactly what that is. Have you noticed anything weird, or any changes in mood?’ I was like absolutely, I went home from that lockdown and it was really intense, there was a spike in my level of aggression, it was crazy. For the next week I felt different, I was like cocky, like I can DO this – don’t know if it was just from having had physical contact with something from another plane, or if it got into me, it got into my blood….
Lynn and Kathy: (moving our chairs back a little) Um, so how long does it last?
Chad: It wears off after a while, but for that week, the way he described it — it’s kinda like being kissed by a vampire. And that’s kinda how it felt. I saw it as a gift, that something, whatever that was, it scratched me with crooked claws – and that’s why I wanted to do it, because it really raises questions like, what is that?? For that week I felt like the biggest badass on earth. I felt like I had a little bit of their power in a way. Like I was touched – it penetrated the skin, it broke the skin. And then that wore off, but I carry that with me as a great experience. They’ve gotten scratched – Zach all the way down his back. They’ve become buddies of mine, so I hope they have me back. Next time I think it will be on a different level, we know each other, we’re friends. I want it to get crazy to where they’re freaked out, because then you know serious shit is going down!
Kathy: It’s cool that SPN fans can relate. Supernatural didn’t know how perfect you were when they cast you as Ash. Maybe that’s why the character really worked. He’s quirky, you’re quirky too.
Chad: Absolutely. And he was even quirkier originally, they dialed back the character. I don’t know whose decision it was, I think they just saw the original scene we taped and it just didn’t work. The network didn’t understand the show’s audience early on. Ash’s first appearance, he was able to see ghosts and he was psychic. I was literally (Ash) sleeping on the pool table and then falling right off the pool table, just going for it. Everyone was in stitches. I think the Show just didn’t know its audience well enough yet, they were still trying to find their footing.
Lynn: I bet it would have. SPN fans are perfectly willing to go ‘out there’. I mean heck, we loved “The French Mistake”!
Chad: I bet it would’ve worked too. I mean, Ash was pretty zany. I remember they were actually building “Ash’s Lair” that we never saw, you were gonna be able to see it.
Lynn: Awww, that would’ve been iconic!
Chad: Especially now. But I don’t think they knew exactly what they wanted to do with the Roadhouse and with those characters. And you know, they wanted to give Jared and Jensen a little – not a break, but really every day it’s just them all day long, just those two guys, and they do an amazing job, they work so hard, so I think they were considering some new regulars, but then they burnt down the Roadhouse and killed Ash!
Kathy: Might have been better to keep Ash and Ellen instead of Ruby and Bela…
Chad: If they brought Ash back now, it would be huge, I think.
Lynn: Yes! Same with the Trickster/Gabriel or Michael/young John. The fans have come to know and love you guys as human beings, so having you back on the Show would be awesome.
Chad: Tweet about it! But they’re still gonna go in the direction they want to go, I accepted that years ago. If Ash came back now, I think the reception would be great. But I’m cool with being dead too, grateful for the opportunity and all that’s come with it. If I were to get to come back, it would be awesome, it would be icing on a huge cake – but you know, I’m very cool with the experience I’ve had being a part of that show and a part of this phenomenon, and I get to live Ash through these cons. He’s a fan favorite, and I’m so thankful for that.
That he is, and we’re thankful too – for the iconic character and the awesome guy who plays him.
Chad posed with a couple of fans cosplaying two other Supernatural fan favorites — guess who!
Stay tuned for more from ChiCon – we’re set to interview Emily Perkins (Becky) and Rob Benedict (Chuck) on Saturday, so if you have any questions, let us know! And please leave some love for Chad (and Ash) in the comments too!