Julian Richings -- Death (Supernatural); Asteroth (Magicians)
Please tell us about passing off the mantle as Death to Billie; do you think Death would be proud of her accomplishments?
Aside from the fact that I’ve known and admired Lisa’s work for a long time, I think it’s great that as Billie she brings such a different set of skills to the role. She’s powerful and dangerous in a way that takes it to a whole other place. It presents the fanbase with two very different aspects of Death: as you say, a mantle to be inhabited in a completely different entity. You bet Death’s proud!
We now know that Death was formerly a reaper; were you ever given any back story to your Death?
No, it came as a surprise to all of us! But that’s why the show has kept relevant for so many seasons- it puts the viewer (and the actor!) on the edge of their seats. The universe of Supernatural is not an everyday one with predictable cause and effect. Characters die, shockingly, and then sometimes (even more amazingly!) they reappear.
Your Death has definitely been one of the fan favourites; if you ever got the chance to reprise the role, would you say yes?
You bet! Nothing is predictable in a hum-drum naturalistic way. Anything could happen, and if somehow my character reappeared I’d jump at it. I’ve had so much fun working on set with the cast, and off set meeting fans at Conventions. I really do feel I’m part of an enormous, enthusiastic family.
Tell us about your very last scene as Death. Was it difficult to play, knowing it was your last?
Not really. An actor has to live (and die!) in the moment, genuinely inhabiting the emotions and responses required for the scene. I was focussed on some quite intricate dialogue, some delicious food, and a demanding special effect, so I didn’t have time to project my emotions onto the scene. Looking back of course I’m nostalgic, but at the time, my attention was directed on getting the scene right.
Since your “Death” is no longer on the show, are there any tidbits or fun facts about Death that you can share?
Ha Ha! None that I know of. Only that Death seems to be a recurring theme for me. I’ve played the Grim Reaper in several forms, and I’ve just got back from shooting a new television series in which I’m the town undertaker. And I’m quite a happy person, really. (Or at least I like to think so.) I laugh a lot, and I think it’s odd that as an actor it’s called corpsing.
Your appearance on the Hillywood Show parody was quite hilarious – and looked like a lot of fun! What can you share about that experience?
It was lots of fun and entirely different than anything I’d done. I had to take my cue from the soundtrack and count in time as I moved. I’ve never done that before but enjoyed myself. There’s no holding me back- now I’d like to do a whole musical- Death Dances!
Tell us about your role on the Magicians; what was it like working with Arjun Gupta and Jade Tailor?
Sometimes it can be awkward when you parachute into a production that’s been shooting for a long time. Everyone is tight-knit, and a common acting style and trust has evolved. It’s possible to feel a bit out of it, but Arjun and Jade made it easy. They were totally clear in their characters, but open and generous with me and what I brought to the scene. I’ve been lucky in that regard with all the Supernatural cast too.
Do you have any upcoming roles you can share?
I’m in a series on Amazon called Patriot. I’m very proud of the show. It’s a quirky, very dark spy story with lots of interesting characters and funny moments. Over on Netflix, I’m on a film called Polar, with Mads Mikkelsen.
I’ve had a lot of fun doing the new DC Comics show Doom Patrol. I play a crazed scientist- and get to play him at two different ages, one episode at age sixty and one at the grand old age of a hundred and four. Working on the makeup and special effects for the second role was intense but a lot of fun. And the show is wild!
Death loves pizza! Check out the charms available from As You Wish Custom Designs here.
Julian Richings interview comments
"Julian Richings seems, relaxed and extremely approachable. That he also is unfailingly professional, possesses great theatrical gifts, and is generous in his appreciation of other's talents(Lisa Berry's unique presentation of Death)is refreshing in an industry where privilege and vanity seem to exist hand in hand. Julian Richings is a true gentleman, and this interview makes that abundantly clear. WTG, Carol!" ~ Doris Helmick
"Julian has always been a favourite, it's great to see fellow Brits on my favourite show. He brought so much depth to Death, made him engaging as well as terrifying. My absolute favourite scene was Death with Sam after the trials "Well played my boy" 😭😭😭 Thank you Julian you were wonderful." ~ Susan Randall