By Amanda Rebholz
While attending the Texas Frightmare Weekend in Irving, Texas a few weekends ago, I had the unique and awesome opportunity to hang out with Chad Lindberg. While Chad is best known among his fans for the role of Ash, the mulleted hacker genius with an affinity for shotgunning beer and lounging around naked, he is a very versatile, talented actor who has also been featured in projects like ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ and ‘The Fast and the Furious’, among other roles. Chad was in attendance to promote his upcoming film, a remake of the notorious and controversial revenge-horror film ‘I Spit On Your Grave’, which is expected out around Halloween 2010. Chad was kind enough to agree to an exclusive interview with Support Supernatural, but unfortunately due to scheduling conflicts and time constraints, it was unable to happen in person at the convention. However, two weeks later I found myself sitting in my bedroom, terrified that my mp3-recording software would glitch up, as my laptop announced me that I was receiving an incoming Skype call from one Chad Lindberg.
That’s right. Dr. Badass was calling.
Amanda Rebholz: You mentioned that you’re on your way to Europe, is that business or pleasure?
Chad Lindberg: Oh, it’s for Supernatural, it’s the Asylum show. We’re going to Frankfurt. It’s really cool, it’ll be really exciting. I’ve gotten to travel just from being on the show, I’m able to travel and meet all of these different really cool people.
AR: I guess I have to ask, did you watch the finale? What did you think?
CL: I did! I have to admit, I hadn’t really watched from my episode on, but I did catch the finale.
AR: What did you think? Was your jaw totally on the floor?
CL: I thought it was great, it was really good! What’d you think?
AR: I was floored. I think it would’ve been the perfect ending. I’m glad they got a sixth season, but it would’ve been so amazing if that WAS how it all ended. I liked how stuff that was insignificant in season one came back to bite you in the ass like in season four… it was great. I know a lot of the fans were totally floored by it too.
CL: Well, Sam’s pretty much in Hell now, right? He’s Lucifer now.
AR: Well, he got out.
CL: But when he jumped down, he took Michael with him… so now Dean has to go in after him, I guess?
AR: No, at the very end he was outside the house watching Dean through the window. He got out. I don’t know how he got out.
CL: Oh, that’s right! But was that Sam or was that Lucifer?
AR: We don’t know! We have to wait! It’s going to be interesting.
CL: Yeah, they left it open! And Jared does a very good Mark Pellegrino.
AR: He does! He and Jensen both got to do a lot of split-personality acting this season. So, you mentioned to me at Texas Frightmare Weekend that the writers left it open, that we might see more of Ash being in Heaven in the sixth season possibly. Can you talk a little bit about how Ash was brought back in the first place, and the fan’s involvement with that?
CL: Yeah, from doing conventions after Supernatural had ended for me, which was a blast because I got to meet fans one-on-one, I got to actually build relationships with fans and see them at all kinds of different conventions all over the place…the same people, and meet new ones…and I really felt a lot of love for Ash. A lot of people kept telling me that they wish I hadn’t died, they wanted me back, and I could really feel the love for three years of conventions…so then I got on Twitter. I sort of organized an attack on Twitter and just said “Let’s start a movement, let’s get Ash back”…I started engraining myself every Thursday, with the taglines…we were battling P Diddy, and then Twitter was shutting down the Supernatural fans. I helped with their campaigns and they really helped me… they made it a mission, they made videos, I’m sure they even emailed the show, and lo and behold I got news that I was going to be back on the show. It was a great moment, it felt too good to be true. It actually worked! I got on set and I heard that Eric had really gotten the message that the fans wanted me back. It was such a good feeling, knowing that the fans had really gone to bat for me. I’d like to think that I went to bat for them, too.
AR: It was a great comeback, it was like seeing an old friend you’d never expected to see again. You slipped right back into it like you’d never been gone.
CL: Absolutely, and I think the way they brought me back was so much fun. I love that I’m in Heaven just kicking it, that’s so cool.
AR: Hanging out with hot psychics and drinking beer. You got the good end of the deal.
CL: It would’ve been funny if I came back and was hanging out with a dead celebrity in Heaven. Someone cast really well. That would’ve been really funny.
AR: Like that Stephen King story, ‘You Know They Got a Hell of a Band’ where the dead rock stars put on concerts…
CL: Ash going to all of these concerts… a heavenly Woodstock…
AR: Absolutely. Well, you’re currently doing a press junket for your new project, a remake of the horror movie ‘I Spit On Your Grave’… we’ve had some people write into the site saying they’re unfamiliar with the film, they were too young when it first came out to know about it. How do you think the Supernatural fans who see you in this movie are going to react? I’ve seen the original. I know what happens to you.
CL: That’s a great question. So far my Supernatural fans have been very excited and curious about the movie. A few people have said ‘I think I’m gonna pass on that, but good luck!’. They’re very supportive, and I always try to show myself as a loving and friendly guy, but this is a very different side of my work. It’s like coffee, an acquired taste. You either like it or you don’t. I’m not too worried about it. For the people it appeals to, they’re going to go see it. If it’s not their thing, then they won’t. It’s kind of in that genre, if it’s your thing then it’s your thing.
AR: Right. Well you’re in good company… Jared [Padalecki] just did the remake of ‘Friday the 13th’, and Jensen [Ackles] just did the remake of ‘My Bloody Valentine’… You guys are in a remake club with the horror movies!
CL: I didn’t realize I was in the remake club! That’s really awesome, I hadn’t realized it actually. I feel very honored now.
AR: I think it’s very cool. When Supernatural began, the earlier episodes really were like one-hour horror movies, and a lot of the younger fans have kind of grown up with the show… in five years a lot of them have become adults. They can now kind of transition into seeing you guys in larger formats, in big-time horror movies. Showing different sides of yourselves from Supernatural. So what was the most challenging part of being on the set of ‘I Spit On Your Grave?’
CL: I thought it was a good challenge. Keeping the energy is very challenging, that certain level of energy… you have to go back to a very dark moment after, like, lunch. The bruises, we got knocked around a lot physically. Of a lot of the characters, I was knocked around maybe less. They have some very crazy scenes. The whole rape scene was… I don’t even know how to describe an acting experience like that. It was nauseating, but it was great on so many levels because you got to explore so many levels of emotion yourself. We were so close, and bonding, and then we’d go and like internally hurl after each take. It was a very new experience, but an amazing challenge for me.
AR: How did you feel the reception was at Texas Frightmare Weekend, which was your first horror convention?
CL: I had a great time. Everyone was very warm and loving and nice to us. I think they’re very curious about this one, and optimistic. We know we can’t please everybody, we don’t think we’re going to… but for the most part, a lot of people came up to us afterward and said ‘after seeing your panel, and how passionate you were about it, we want to see it now’. I know we had a great time making it, I hope to do more.
AR: I hope to see you guys in a lot more projects soon. Sarah [Butler] and Danny [Franzese] are both very talented too, and this is very different from anything anyone else involved has done. I heard it may get an NC-17 release on DVD, an uncut version?
CL: I think for DVD there will probably be an uncut, I’m sure. I don’t know what they’re doing with it, but I’m pretty sure there will be. That’s part of the movie’s niche, it’s so controversial and forbidden that you kind of HAVE to see it. People wonder what it is about the movie that they just have to see it.
AR: Back to Supernatural… you’ve had experience in genre work before, you had a role on a very early episode of ‘Buffy’ [“Me Robot, You Jane”], and you’ve always done a lot of thing that are sort of genre. I couldn’t help but notice that in my new Supernatural role playing game book, you, Ash… are a character. What’s that like?
CL: What do you mean, role playing game?
AR: It’s an actual tabletop game! You roll dice and create your own Hunters and fight monsters and things! It’s like Dungeons & Dragons but it’s like Supernatural!
CL: …is this in stores?
AR: You really don’t know about this?! You’re in the book! You’re a character! There’s an entire page in the book about Ash and how cool he is!
CL: You’re delivering this news to me.
AR: Really? They promoted this book at San Diego Comic Con last year! I work at a comic store, we’re trying to get a group together to play this!
CL: Wow… I didn’t know.
AR: Well, now that you know… how does it feel to know that people are using your character to make their own characters now? You’re part of the legacy forever!
CL: That is so cool. I’ve never had an action figure or anything, so this is awesome!
[At this point, I turn on my webcam to hold up the book and show him the image of Ash on the character creation page and Chad gets really excited and freaks about buying one.]
AR: Now you’ll have to buy a copy for sure. It sort of cements you as a really core part of what is turning out to be one of the most influential cult shows of the 2000s.
CL: Yeah, it’s so cool. We never could’ve foreseen this, when I signed up to do it I could have never imagined it being part of such a unique fanbase. It’s an incredibly loyal and loving fanbase, it’s given me way more than I could imagine.
AR: You’re sort of known for being very approachable back to us, too… you’re so passionate, you promote your projects with so much love and enthusiasm that we can’t help but love you back. You’re like a brother to the fans. Everybody loves you.
CL: I appreciate that so much, thank you.
[I then ask Chad if he has a secret talent that no one knows about… he spends awhile thinking about it, then explains he really doesn’t have one and hasn’t thought about it. He asks if it makes him boring not to have a hidden talent, and promises to think more about it.]
AR: You’ve done a lot of short films that are currently all over the Internet… any plans to combine those into an anthology on DVD or anything?
CL: Josh is a very good friend of mine, and he’s sort of just starting out. I think he’s very funny and we have good chemistry, and when I have down time from acting it’s fun and good to do stuff to keep you busy and creative. We make each other laugh. It started out as a joke with ‘Sniff’, but then it carried over into other things. I’ve always wanted to make weird, quirky, funny films and so has he, so we’re collaborating and I’m sure we’ll keep working. We want to start making movies, doing things we want to do. I think it’s leading somewhere. It’s great because we have the Internet to kind of give us a platform, and we’re able to upload a video and the next day it’s on the front page of Funny or Die… only for like a day but it’s great because it gets us out there. It’s also great when people pass it around on Twitter, get kicks out of our funny jokes. I would like to direct eventually and this is a form of directing, so it’s good.
AR: You did ‘My Big Break,’ a project that focuses pretty solely on how hard it is to be a working actor in Hollywood, and shows your own personal struggle and passion. Have you ever thought of doing like a weekly how-to video blog or something to give advice or help out other aspiring talents?
CL: I’ve never thought about doing that, that’d be interesting. I have the documentary coming out, which is my opus to use my story as an example. For actors, and sort of not feeling like they’re all alone… they can watch and hopefully have the same feelings and emotions. That movie encompasses Hollywood and relationships and filmmaking and everything. It’s a very honest look. I’m hoping that people will see that, like the Hollywood 101 handbook. It’s a very affecting movie, I’ve been told by people who’ve seen it. It’s sort of unsettling and inspiring at the same time.
AR: If you were to be given your choice of a ton of scripts and you could pick any project you haven’t done yet, what sort of role would you like to take on?
CL: Something like ‘Powder’ or ‘Starman’. I want to play someone sort of alien or supernatural of that kind… something in between those two characters would be very cool.
AR: Are you a science fiction fan?
CL: I do like science fiction. I like all kinds of movies, I’m not a heavy fan of any one thing. Science fiction in a more realistic manner though, not necessarily galactic stuff with stars and stuff.
AR: Who would be your dream co-star in a movie like that?
CL: I love Edward Norton. We could play brothers. I hope the universe aligns and we could play brothers and have a good laugh. Wouldn’t that be something. I’m very open to whoever I co-star with, I learn from everybody that I come across, though.
AR: I think you’re familiar with Support Supernatural – you’ve donated items to our cause before to be auctioned off. All of the money made goes to A Dog’s Life charity out there in LA…Last year I think we raised about sixteen thousand dollars for the animals. I was wondering if there are any specific charities that you’re very passionate about or that you donate to regularly?
CL: I think it’s awesome what they’re doing. I’m a big supporter of breast cancer charities, their charity is very important to me because my mom had breast cancer. I think it’s very important what A Dog’s Life does though, you have to love the doggies. My baby is everything to me. There are no words.
AR: What new projects are you working on?
CL: I have a movie coming out called ‘Once Fallen’. It’s doing the festival circuit right now. It’s starring Ed Harris, directed by Ash Adams. I’m not sure when it’s coming out, but soon. I play a tortured soul who got wrapped up in some bad things with the main character, played by Brian Kressly.. his father, Ed Harris, goes to jail for killing my father because he abused me. The movie starts out twenty years after that, Ed Harris has been in jail and he’s the head of the Aryan Nation now… and I’m hooking up with my best friend, who’s been in jail for some bad choices he’s made and I got into some bad things too. I play a character that you love, but you know he just doesn’t really stand a chance through the movie.
AR: It’d be really nice to see you play somebody that survives.
CL: I know! I have a dying specialty.
AR: That’s your niche. “We need someone who is gonna die, get Chad Lindberg on the phone!”
CL: [cracking up] That IS my niche! And I will continue to die a lot, I’m sure.
AR: But never in our hearts.
AR: That was terrible. That was the worst ending to an interview ever. I’m sorry.
CL: [laughing] No, that was GREAT.