Tricia Helfer -- Supernatural and Lucifer
What can you tell us from your time on set for Supernatural?
It was really cold. The majority of filming the episode was done at nights; it was January, just into the new year. It was either raining, or snowing, it was right at freezing. Of course, you’re not in winter gear … it was long nights … It was physically a tough shoot. The crew was lovely, the guys were great and I had a good experience, but during it, it was pretty tough.
What was it like working with Jared and Jensen?
This is so long ago now … it was 2003 or something? It was one of the first seasons, maybe second season? I remember at the time calling them the boys, because they were so cute. Now they’re family men … actually I saw them in Rome – I was partying in Rome with them last year at this time, at JibLand. Tom Ellis was there from Lucifer and I so happened to be there with a girlfriend on vacation, I hooked up with Tom and he’s like, “We’re at a convention, come on over …” This convention – they bring all these handsome men from sci-fi series over, so my friend and I we show up at this dinner and we’re like, “Oooh, eye candy everywhere!”
They were lovely, they are such good men. They were very sweet … very professional. They were actually happy because they got some time off in that episode. For the guest star role, I was pretty full on in the episode. A lot of it was me running through the forest trying to find my husband. They actually had quite a bit of time off. For their gruelling schedule that they had normally, I remember them commenting and thanking me for being heavily in the episode so they could get home and get some sleep some times.
I didn’t work with them that much – but they’re lovely. They’re absolutely wonderful. They’ve taken their success … they do a lot of charity work and a lot of giving back to the community. I think that’s wonderful. They’ve stayed humble, sweet guys. Which is nice to see.
What is your favourite behind-the-scenes story that hasn't been told?
There are so many stories … there are some kind of raunchy ones that I won’t say … the cast is very – we joke around a lot. Not kind of practical jokes so much … there has been a couple of things. They were both Lauren based … Lauren filled Tom’s trailer with life-sized cardboard cut outs of some character – I never worked with the guy, but he was a little bit of particular character, kind of eager beaver type. He would show up when he wasn’t supposed to be on set, very excited to be there … sometimes when you’re filming that could get a little bit like okay, calm down, I’m trying to get the job done here. She filled his trailer with life-sized cut outs of him which was very funny.
Kevin’s bike was stolen once, in Vancouver; which was obviously not a fun thing – so he had rented a bike and one of the days we were filming in LA, second season, when were still filming in Vancouver, but we had a couple of days in LA – he had taken his bike and she took it and hid it, made him think that his bike was stolen again. She let him go on for a little while, being upset about that. That’s really the only practical joke … there was a lot of laughter.
I don’t know what would be a favourite – every day was fun. It is hard to pick out one.
What was your most difficult scene to film, emotionally and/or physically?
Charlotte’s death scene was actually beautiful to film. It was hard because it got disjointed … The day we were originally supposed to film it … for this last episode they actually filmed something – kind of the aftermath, the police investigation scene that was shot as well that day. We had shot talking on the bench, shot up jumping up and getting shot – and the special effects stunt guys had rigged me with the squibs to go off. We come out of the little tent … “Okay, I’m squibbed up …” The fog had come in. We didn’t get to shoot that. We waited for a little while, jumped ahead and shot the aftermath of everybody finding me, and then they called the night. We didn’t go back until two to three weeks later to shoot the actual death part. D.B. and I both were really geared up to shoot it that day, so it was hard to wait two weeks and be also with a splinter crew, because they were filming on something else, not being with your main crew. D.B. and I were there, just ready emotionally to do it.
One of the hardest scenes was actually in season two – both of the scenes when we go back to hell, Lucifer goes back to hell and gets stuck there -- with Uriel, and mom goes down to get him out – that scene. The emotion – it was very hard to connect to it – I’m with Uriel, and Lucifer is trying to get me to go – because there was so much multiple stabbing, so much special effects and such. It wasn’t one fluid scene. It was so disjointed because the stunt guy was just like pause, give him the knife, take the knife away, pause, pause, pause, pause … To keep that, it was really hard to connect emotionally. And also the last scene of mom going into a new realm. There were so many special effects, you couldn’t get a flow. Okay, now the fake sword comes in, no, no, take this out. It’s really hard.
Tell us about playing two different characters on the same show -- Goddess and Charlotte?
I’ve had experience with it on Battlestar, where I played multiple characters, so I wasn’t daunted by it at all. To me I looked at it as a challenge. It was more about figuring out – she clearly had to look the same, but figuring out how to make them different. The writers didn’t have me in the first three episodes of the third season – I think it was four actually … they shot some stand-alones from last year that they interspersed – so for us, in the filming schedule, it was three episodes that I wasn’t in. That helped also solidify the point that mom was off in another realm. The characters – when Charlotte first comes back, when Lucifer first sees her, it’s like “Mom?” It was more just – I wasn’t worried about it, it was more just what are the subtleties physically … mentally and emotionally it’s a different person, you’re coming at it from a different perspective. You bring something different to it … the first episode, Welcome Back Charlotte Richards, was written by Chris Rafferty, lovely, really talented, fairly new writer, actually, quite new to the business. Him and I get along great, I thought his episode was wonderful and then there were a couple of episodes after that where there was a little bit more mom. I did work with the writers and showrunners a little – I think it was the next two episodes – because I thought there were a few things that sounded more mommish. They did a pass on some of the dialogue, and kind of tweaked it a bit. They were like yeah, you’re right, there’s a bit more of how mom would say it, as opposed to Charlotte. There was a little bit of working together with the writers just to kind of tweak
things and make sure she wasn’t sounding like mom.
Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like to share?
I have a passion project that is now in early stages of development. I’ve been trying for the last couple of years to get it going. It’s not a conceptualized project in terms of like Alan Tudyk (Con Man), where he wrote it, directed it, kind of did it all himself aside from the crowd funding. This is a series of books that is six international bestsellers wit
h two more on the go, so it’s quite an expensive project that I needed to partner with people to try and make happen.
It’s now at a production company that is looking for show runners for it, and trying to get it set up – it takes a long time to get projects set up in this business – that’s what I’ve discovered through this process. I’ve always been on the other side, the acting side – we get brought into it, kind of at the last bit. You don’t realize the years that it’s taken to get into development.
It’s a series of books called Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. It’s about a female serial killer and the lead detective that’s on the case; it’s a twisted love story. My goal is to play the character Gretchen Lowell. Hopefully in the next six months it’ll be closer to pilot development and getting made into a series.