When character actor Julian Richings walks on an elevator or travels by plane, he says it's not unusual for people to recognize him — and flinch.
That's probably because to more than one generation of fans of the TV show Supernatural, they see Richings and think Death, the character he's played with great distinction on the horror-thriller series now in its 12th season on the CW.
Fans of Richings and the show will have a chance to get more inside information when the Supernatural Convention opens for a three-day run at the Hilton Houston North Hotel starting January 27. Also in attendance will be the leads, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who play the brothers Dean and Sam Winchester. There will be meet-the-actor sessions, photo and autograph possibilities and non-stop action promised from about 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.
Richings was involved in one of the most iconic moments in the series when while sitting in a restaurant with Dean, Death decides not to destroy Chicago (as Lucifer ordered) because he really likes the pizza he’s eating. Asked about that scene and if he really likes pizza, Richings laughed, explaining, "In the first rehearsal I ate way too much of the pizza and by take 58, I had to have a spit bucket. "
When he was first approached about reading for a part in the show, Richings said they had him audition for the role of Pestilence. “They were assembling the Four Horsemen,” he says, adding that he thinks it was the only character they’d written lines for yet.
He did his bit and forgot about it until about a year later when his agent told him he had a part, but a different one — “To play Death."
Richings thinks one of the reasons his character and the show have continued to be so popular is because of the humor that's injected into the scripts. "That’s really what I like about it; there’s a real twinkle," he says.
Even Death, with all his immense power, is not one-dimensional, he says. "He kind of has an integrity to him. He's not just gleefully taking lives; he has a reason that he's doing it to maintain order."
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"He has a kind of shine especially for Dean and the foibles of humanity."
Also in attendance at the convention, among others, will be Misha Collins (Castiel), Mark Sheppard (the King of Hell) and master of ceremonies Richard Speight Jr.
Richings says he likes to go to conventions to talk to fans to let them know that he's an actor and approachable. "I like to dispel some of the mythology of being an unreachable star."
Houston’s Supernatural convention runs Friday through Sunday from about 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day at the Hilton Houston North Hotel, 12400 Greenspoint Drive. For information visit creationent.com/cak/supernatural_houston. Ticket prices and availability range widely depending on what session you want to attend, so consult the website.