On this week’s episode of the NBC drama The Cape, entitled “Goggles and Hicks,” actor Chad Lindberg plays Hicks, one half of a team of deadly tech-savvy assassins hired by Peter Fleming (James Frain) to track and destroy The Cape. Orwell (Summer Glau) faces some challenges against the team’s strong expertise, as the two men discover The Cape’s true identity of Vince Faraday (David Lyons).
During a recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Chad Lindberg (best known for his work as Ash on The CW’s Supernatural) talked about his work on the episode, how it’s a very different role from what people have come to expect from him, how freeing it is to play a bad guy that really enjoys what he does, and how much he enjoyed working with David Lyons and James Frain, as well as Pruitt Taylor Vince who plays Goggles. He also talked about this week’s DVD/Blu-ray release of the re-imagining of the controversial film I Spit on Your Grave, in which he played the role of Matthew. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
CHAD LINDBERG: It was my management that found the audition. I know, in the breakdowns, they were looking for a bigger guy, but my manager was like, “No, let’s take a chance here.” And then, I actually got the sides and I was like, “I don’t know about this. I don’t know if they’re going to believe me or not.” And, I went in and it turned out that they actually liked what I did, so I went back for the director. And then, from what I hear, NBC wasn’t quite sure because they had envisioned a bigger dude, but I gave them more of an interesting choice. A week later, I ended up getting it and I was shocked. I was like, “Really? Me? I’m a bad guy?” It was amazing. It was so cool.
Had you been aware of the show at all?
LINDBERG: I hadn’t heard of the show. My manager sent me a link to the previews for it, and then it was on TV every five seconds. I became very aware of it, very fast. I hadn’t actually seen any episodes because we filmed before it came on, but I’ve been watching it.
How would you describe this character and how he gets brought into the story?
LINDBERG: Goggles (Pruitt Taylor Vince) and Hicks (Chad Lindberg) are tech-savvy assassins who are hired to go after The Cape. Peter Fleming, who is played by James Frain, hires us to go after him. My brother is more the tracker and I’m the destroyer, if you will. I would say I’m really odd. I made a lot of interesting choices. I knew it was going to be funny. It’s a comical character, to me at least, maybe because I’m doing a bunch of stuff that I’ve never really done before. Anyone that knows me is going to watch it and think it’s funny.
LINDBERG: No, he’s straight-up bad. He enjoys it.
As an actor, is it more fun to play a bad guy who loves being bad?
LINDBERG: I think so. You’re not limited by your conscience. You can just go wherever you want. He’s all in. I think it’s freeing, in a lot of ways.
How did these guys become assassins?
LINDBERG: I’m not sure. I think they just decided they were going to go rogue, one day. Goggles is more the tech-savvy one, and Hicks does the dirty work. Peter Fleming finds us and hires us to go after The Cape, and then we discover his true identity.
Did you have a lot of very physical work to do then?
LINDBERG: Yeah, definitely. I think people are expecting to see me in one way, but they’re completely going to see me in a whole different light. I’ve played a lot of tech-savvy guys in the past, but this is a different kind.
Do you enjoy that kind of physical work?
LINDBERG: Oh, it’s fun, absolutely. I started working out and getting my cardio up a little bit. I got to do a few of the things, and then they had stuntmen for different stuff. But, I got to get my hands dirty a little bit, which was fun. On a show like that, which is a comic book setting, it’s pretty cool.
The Cape has had some great stand-out villains. What’s it like to be a part of that?
LINDBERG: It’s interesting, I’ve been reading a lot online and people are all about the villains. I’m excited. I’m hoping our villains catch on. I think people will gravitate towards their favorite villains, and then hopefully they’ll have them back, if the show keeps going.
What was it like to work with Pruitt Taylor Vince?
LINDBERG: He is such a kind and gentle man. He’s been in the business for so long. He and I hit it off, right away. He’s really cool. I hope we get to work together again. We had a blast. He’s a great character actor. He’s fantastic.
How much fun was it to work with this ensemble?
LINDBERG: Most of my scenes were with Pruitt, and I got to work with David [Lyons], who is extremely nice. He is just a very down-to-earth dude. I also worked with Summer [Glau], who is very nice as well. And, I’m a fan of James Frain’s work, especially in True Blood. He was so awesome in that show. It was a real thrill to work with him. It’s always cool to come across actors whose work you’ve seen and you respect. You’re like, “Oh, okay, I get to go up against them now.” It’s pretty cool.
Do you find it intimidating at all to come into a show where the cast is already established, or does it make it easier when that working machine is already there?
LINDBERG: That’s a good question. There is always that intimidation because you are the new guy and you know everyone knows each other and is doing their thing. They were so nice to me and so welcoming. Then again, I’ve been in the business long enough now, to where I can go on set and do my thing and feel comfortable with it. But, when it’s somebody else’s show, I always stand back and am very respectful of their space. They were very cool. I had a great time.
LINDBERG: I didn’t know it was a remake. I just read the script and I instantly felt a connection with the character that I ended up getting. My previous representation had wanted me to go out on a different role, but I read the script and I was like, “No, I think I’m more right for Matthew.” When I read the script, I was like, “Oh, my god, this is crazy! I’ve never read anything like this before!,” not knowing it was a remake. Then, I got cast after two or three auditions and I was just ecstatic to be working on this cool horror flick. And then, I came home and started doing some homework online. It came out in the breakdowns as Day of the Woman, so I typed that in, and then I saw all this stuff come up about I Spit on Your Grave and was like, “Oh, my god, this is a remake. Look at the history that this film has and what’s attached to this film.”
With such difficult subject matter, what was it that drew you to that film?
LINDBERG: I’ve always been drawn to dark, disturbing characters, so it felt right at home for me. To this day, it was one of the most creatively fulfilling roles and experiences of my life.
Once you were aware of the history, was it daunting to remake a film that’s considered one of the most controversial films of all time?
LINDBERG: It was daunting in a way that we all wanted to honor the original and we knew that horror fans were watching. A lot of them were upset by it, which I understand, of course. I got upset when I heard The Karate Kid was getting remade. Also, at the same time, (the original filmmaker) Meir Zarchi was attached to this as the executive producer, so it has his blessing on it, from the get-go. They also felt that it was one of those films that was due for a remake because so many people have never heard of it. And, now they’re re-releasing the old one with the new one, so people are going to become aware of what this thing is. As far as the controversy goes, I invite controversy. I enjoy it. If people are talking – whether it be good, bad or indifferent – it’s a good thing. This movie always warrants a conversation, no matter what. You can’t help it. When you see it, you have to talk about it.
Don’t you feel like the film got a positive response, once people did see it and give it a chance?
LINDBERG: Yeah. I think we made a really good movie and I stand behind it. It has gotten a lot of great feedback, and a lot of negative feedback. It’s going to be one of those films. But, for the most part, even the most hardcore horror fans that have seen it said, “This is really good. It’s well done.” They dug it. I’m ecstatic about it. I can’t wait for it to come out. I hope it causes a wave somewhere.
Since this is such a difficult subject matter to convince people to watch, what would you say to people who are wondering whether to check it out on DVD/Blu-ray?
LINDBERG: I say, “Enter at your own risk.” It’s just not for everybody. I even told my closest family members, “If you don’t see it, I completely understand.” It is a difficult subject matter and it’s hard to watch. I sometimes like to watch a good dark, disturbing movie. If that’s your thing, then check it out. If you’re a horror fan, then definitely check it out. It’s just one of those flicks. To this day, this film is probably one of my proudest moments, as an actor.
LINDBERG: The challenge for me was that I wanted to play this role truthfully. It was a fine line character. I didn’t want to go over-the-top with it, but I wanted to make him sympathetic, in a way, and just stay true-to-heart. Doing these scenes was just unreal to us. It didn’t take a lot of acting because you were just doing this really unbelievable content. When we were done filming, we would all be on this weird, creative high. It would be six in the morning and we’d be getting in the van to go back to the hotel, and you could hear a pin drop. We would go back to the hotel and sit where they were serving food in the lobby, and other guests would be up, and we’d look like we’d been through hell. And then, we’d go hop in the hot tub, crack a beer, make jokes and laugh to get it out of our system. I think we grew closer because it was so intense. We bonded immediately. The other cast was out there filming for two days before I got out there, and then once I got there, we became a collective family. We shot the whole intimidation, up to the rape, in order so that we could have that in our system for the rest of the shoot. Those scenes bonded us. We became a family after that, and we loved working with each other. It’s one of my favorite casts, to this date.
You’ve done a lot of genre work, with episodes of The Cape, Supernatural, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, The X-Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Are you a genre fan, or is it just a coincidence that you’ve done so much of that type of work?
LINDBERG: I think it’s been a coincidence. I’ve never really been a genre fan. I never grew up reading comic books, or was a horror buff. It just ended up that I was in this show, Supernatural, that become a phenomenon in its own way. I didn’t expect that to happen. I was on Season 2, and then I started doing all these conventions after that. I got to know the fans and I realized that this fan base is loyal and they are serious. They write about the Supernatural fans in magazines. I feel incredibly blessed to have been on a show as unique as that, that has a fan base like that. They’ve carried me a long way. They watch everything I’m in now, and they will from here on out. But, it’s a coincidence that I ended up in these genres. I think they’re fun.
Looking back on the experience, what are your fondest memories about working on Supernatural?
LINDBERG: The funnest part was probably putting on the mullet and having a whole new character come out of me. Working with those guys was like a family. Jared [Padalecki] and Jensen [Ackles] are the sweetest guys on earth. They really, truly are. They work so hard. I’ve gotten to know my other castmates through conventions and they’re amazing people.
LINDBERG: Yeah, once I started doing conventions, I realized that there was a lot of love for Ash. And, Twitter came along and, after that got going for awhile, I led a revolt and said, “Let’s make some noise and see if Supernatural will put me back on the show.” And so, they wrote letters and made petitions and made videos to (show creator/executive producer) Eric Kripke, and he got the message and heard the noise. So, they brought me back for an episode and I was blown away. It was thanks to the power of the Internet and the power of the fandom.
Did you ever actually think that that would really work, or were you shocked that it did?
LINDBERG: I didn’t know that was going to work. I knew that I was making noise because Twitter is such a powerful tool. But, the fans were on board and they were all about it. I didn’t think it would really happen, but it did. I was putting that energy out there and fighting for it. It came around and they put me in what I thought was one of their cooler episodes that season, and now Ash is in heaven.
What do you enjoy about being so interactive with your fans on Twitter and at conventions?
LINDBERG: It is really important to me – just meeting them in person and making an experience for them that they’ll never forget. It goes both ways. They’re extremely supportive. They watch all of my projects now. I talk to them religiously through Twitter, and I think that’s really important. It’s just important for you to reach out to your fans. That’s just the way I like to do it, and they’ve been really sweet to me. Without them, there’s no me.
How did your work on Funny or Die (www.FunnyOrDie.com) come about? Where did Sven, the uncool vampire blogger come from?
LINDBERG: My buddy Josh [Cowdery], who’s also an actor, and I have a lot of downtime sometimes, so we said, “Let’s just start making some videos and put them up on Funny or Die.” What’s cool about that now, especially with Twitter, is that I can promote that and get people actually watching it. Before, you’d get lucky if you got a few hits on your video. So, we just started making videos that we thought were funny, and we hope that other people think they’re funny, and people are actually watching them and responding to them. And then, I thought of Sven, the uncool vampire blogger a couple years ago. I was like, “All vampires are so cool. What if a vampire wasn’t that cool?” I think he’s endearing. He’s one of my favorite characters. I’m hoping to put him out there somewhere and have something happen with Sven ‘cause he’s special to me. He’s a funny character.
Do you have any projects that you’ve completed recently, that you’d like your fans to keep an eye out for?
LINDBERG: I just had a movie come out that I did with Ed Harris, called Once Fallen. I had another movie come out, called The Other Side of the Tracks, which is now The Haunting of Amelia. I have a little cameo in a movie called Black Velvet. Other than that, I’m auditioning and just hoping to get my own show.
Are there particular types of roles that you’d just love to do?
LINDBERG: I’d like to play an alien, like from Starman or K-PAX, where it’s human. I think I’m destined to play an alien.
How did you originally get into acting? Was it something you had always wanted to do?
LINDBERG: I actually wanted to be a police officer, like my dad, for the longest time, up until my sophomore year in high school when I started doing plays. I did plays when I was little, but in high school, I started getting into acting. And then, Jim Caviezel, from The Passion of the Christ, was from my hometown and he had just booked Wyatt Earp. It was this big news in Mount Vernon, where I came from. It’s a small town in Washington. I was like, “Man, that’s really awesome!” I had the bug from acting and I was like, “I’m going to give this a shot.”
So, I started doing my research and started out in Seattle. I went to an agency and they picked me up immediately, and they sent me out on my first audition, for a Warner Bros. movie called Born to Be Wild that had come up to Seattle to film. I went in and booked my first audition, and it was for a two-line “Burger Boss” role. That was in high school. And then, after I graduated, I booked a lead in an independent movie, called Black Circle Boys, that had come up to Seattle to film. That just opened my doors wide open. I moved to L.A. and, luckily and fortunately, have been working ever since. I look back now and I’m like, “Wow, that happened?” It’s scary to look back and think, “Well, what if it hadn’t?” I just feel lucky and thankful, every day.