Curtis Armstrong talks Supernatural, King of the Nerds, and more!
Bandit: Better Off Dead is one of my favorite movies of all time. Charles del Mar- I quote him every winter […] Then there’s One Crazy Summer, which I don’t think gets enough recommendations.
Curtis: I agree with you on that. That one’s sort of grown on me a lot. I love both of them. I have very fond memories of making both of them […] If you think about it, Better Off Dead was not well received at the time at all. And One Crazy Summer was even worse, critically and commercially. But since they have both had this second life and third life, I do have great fondness for One Crazy Summer. It’s so silly and so wonderful. Both good movies.
Curtis: I don’t have a preference because it’s impossible.
Bandit: Because they’re both Savage Steve Holland films.
Curtis: Yes, they were. And the first one was just totally out of the blue. I’d been doing a movie up in Canada and they called me and offered me this part. The reason they’d done that was because Savage was a big fan of my first movie Risky Business and also of Revenge of the Nerds and he had this side kick part. At that point he hadn’t even cast John Cusack yet, but he wanted me in the movie because I’d been in the two movies he really loved. So I found myself in this weird position and they sent the script to me and I read the script and howled. I mean it was really so funny to read. And I loved doing it and being in Utah and Snowbird and doing all that stuff. It was all great. But then going to Cape Cod was pretty cool too. Spending the summer there and doing that movie. It was great great fun. […]
To give you an idea of how ill regarded Better Off Dead is, they’ve never done anything but a budget DVD of it still. It’s 40 years old this year and they have no intention of doing anything with it because I guess John Cusack hates it so much so he won’t have anything to do with it so they say why bother? But we did the BluRay [for One Crazy Summer] – Savage and Bobcat Goldthwait and I – we got away with that. I don’t know why we wouldn’t do that on Better Off Dead too.
Bandit: I’ve got to say, Bobcat’s scene with Godzilla, oh God, it gets me every time.
Curtis: I know. I know, it’s hysterical. It’s really funny.
Bandit: So moving on from one of my favorite films to one of my favorite TV shows, Supernatural […] Metatron was mentioned in the season opener Tuesday about being walled up in Heaven’s prison. Are you going to make an appearance in season 10?
Curtis: I’m not sure I’m allowed to say. I think I have to be discreet about that one. I’m not sure I can say one way or another. Which is probably to say yes, I just can’t say when or in what condition. He was in prison when we last saw him. And I don’t think anyone is sort of beating down the doors to let him out. But he’s there doing hard time.
Bandit: So what I wanted to ask is, like Chuck before him, Metatron is a stand in for the writers talking to the fans and how he’s kind of shaping the world, especially in Meta Fiction.
Curtis: Right. Can you imagine how much fun that was for an actor to get a part like that?
Bandit: I wanted to ask […] did you know about the big fandom coming in and how you would be received?
Curtis: Not really. I mean they told me that I was going to do this show and it was recurring and you hear that all the time and so I went “alright, so I’m going to recur.” And then I started following up [on] Twitter and I could not believe what I was seeing. I’ve never seen a fandom like it. It’s the most amazing group of people. And it’s just going on and on. And the funny thing is that I’m SO disliked and there are some people who are a little scary about it. I sometimes get messages that creep me out a little bit. But most people take it in good humor.
Bandit: MetaDouche, yeah.
Curtis: I’m going to the convention in Chicago. It’s the first one I’ve ever done. And I’m going to have to address that at some time.
Bandit: I’ve watched Supernatural since it first aired, like a thousand years ago […] and I have to say out of all the villains [you truly are] the only one I’ve really wanted to reach through the screen-
Curtis: Yeah, I know! A lot of people feel that way. A lot of people want to kill him.
Bandit: That’s a testament to how good of an actor you are.
Curtis: It’s also a testament to a really well written [part].
Bandit: Yeah, writing as well.
Curtis: I mean it’s a really well written part and a lot of fun. […] I like to consider myself a fairly well rounded actor. And I’m also aware of the fact that most of this stuff I do never gives anyone an opportunity to see that. I started on the stage and then went to movies and then went to TV. And there are within all of those there were things that were good and exciting […] But most of what I do is pretty average. Like any actor, you know, you do a lot of junk and then you do something really [great]. After a while you start thinking “maybe that’s it for the good stuff.” And then this comes along.
Bandit: I actually remember that episode of Psych you did as well. That was really good.
Curtis: Psych. I mean, I don’t remember that being that memorable, but-
Bandit: But you do pop up everywhere and it is great.
Curtis: You stick around long enough and you pop up everywhere. But the key to the whole thing is longevity. If I knew what the key to that was, that would be helpful.
Bandit: Now God has pretty much abandoned everybody. How do you think Metatron would feel if God suddenly shows up again, whether in the guise of Chuck Shurley or somebody else?
Curtis: Well, a lot of it depends on the situation that he’s in at this point which I can’t speak to, partially because I really don’t know. I believe that he has – this is my own opinion – a very deep rooted resentment to God, much more so than most people have anyway. I think the key for me was in the last episode of last season right before he killed Dean. In that scene where he’s talking to Dean and he says- he talks about people going to war in God’s name and dying in God’s name and how God doesn’t even know their names, but I know their names. I’m one of them. That sequence- and that’s not exactly how he put it, but it’s close – that to me, that late- I’ve been doing it now for parts of three seasons, but that was the key to me to what motivates him. I think he felt underappreciated. I think he did enormous things for God, and for God he was just a guy. He was, you know, ‘you.’ […] He swallowed it for a long time. And now he’s getting back.
So what he’s doing is viewed as evil by a lot of people. He views it as a comeuppance long needed. A realigning of the way things should be from somebody who does know what the downtrodden feel like. God had lost touch with the common person but Metatron never has. That’s the way he looks at it, I think. They may have a whole different idea, but I have to come up with some way of playing him so I have to find something and that’s what I’ve found. Of course I’ve been playing him for episode after episode before I got to that thing and went “oh that’s what it is.” Because up to then I didn’t know. From my standpoint I walk in that first episode and he’s in this hotel room and it’s piled high with books, I thought he was a good guy. And he may still be.
Curtis: I know. I’m sure. You been to one of those?
Bandit: I went to the one in New Jersey. It was my first one. It was insane. It was a lot of fun, though.
Curtis: I followed the last few on Twitter to see what- I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like.
Bandit: I would suggest going to the karaoke on Friday.
Curtis: That’s what I hear. […] I’m not sure I’m there on Friday night. I think I’m there on Sunday. […] But if I am there, I will do that.
Bandit: Because somehow I found myself on stage for Karaoke. A lot of whiskey to get out there.
Curtis: I’ve never done it. It’d be a good way to break in.
Bandit: Sunday is a nice relaxed day. Usually Jared and Jensen are there on Sundays. It’ll be a lot of fun. But I think you’ll find that people don’t hate you as much-
Curtis: Well I haven’t been reading the Facebook page. All I see is what’s on my Twitter feed and all this stuff has been coming up on the Twitter feed lately, I mean the last few days-
Bandit: Well, it’s because you were mentioned in the opener. Metatron was mentioned.
Curtis: Right, but even before the opener. I think because they were playing the episodes leading up to the premiere and a lot of people were just raw and writing things – horrible things on Facebook apparently – and all these people jumping to my defense and I thought it was really cute.
Bandit: What I thought was cute was you trying on the trenchcoat in the mirror. Was that a director’s choice?
Curtis: It was in the script. They’ve got a real good sense of this guy. They really do. I think that’s the way that is with that show. When they come up with a major character it’s thought through before they get there. The whole arc of that character is already decided on. Nothing is done half assed there.
Bandit: Was there any part of it that was your favorite? Any scene or actor working with you?
Curtis: The one with Dean stands out. Although Meta Fiction, the whole of Meta Fiction was great because it was my first chance to really get into who he was. But that scene with Dean was critical to me. It’s going to alter, probably, my perception of it.
Bandit: That scene with humanity.
Curtis: The scene about humanity, yeah. I love that.
Bandit: Was that pause [when you were talking about how Cas was ‘in love with humanity’] intentional?
Curtis: Oh yeah, it was and everybody went nuts about that. And I had to go back and look at it because I thought “what pause?” I didn’t know what anyone was talking about it. I don’t know why I read it that way. It didn’t mean anything. It was just the way I read it.
Bandit: That was perfect though.
Curtis: And everyone was going “what was that all about” and “why did you do that” and “what did that mean?” And I’m going, if anything it was just a pause.
Bandit: Yeah, subtext is very big in Supernatural.
Curtis: Even when there is no subtext.
Curtis: It gives me an opportunity to say it meant nothing. In fact I might have just forgotten the word. And I ended up saying “… humanity” because I couldn’t remember the word until the last minute. I don’t recall.
Bandit: So moving on from Supernatural to King of the Nerds. Now you had [a woman] win the ultimate crown this year-
Curtis: And the first year.
Bandit: Do you think the trend will continue into season three? And what do you [think of] women in geek culture more or less nowadays?
Curtis: As a nerd who is also a feminist, it pleases me enormously. It’s not something I look to have happen. The first season the women just outplayed the men like crazy. I mean there was no competition. Well, it’s not that there was no competition – the guys were great- but the women were stronger. When it came down to it you had one man and four women in the final five. In the second season it flipped. It was the men [who] played stronger in the second season, but we had that one woman and she came out on top. And I think that that’s really wonderful.
As for the third season, you know, we talk about it. When we cast this group of nerds, the discussion was you know, if we actually go for a trifecta of women winning this, we’ve been coming off very knowledgeable with saying “well you know, there have been female kings, so we’ll keep the title of the show.” But now they’re beginning to go “what does this mean?” You can’t alter the balance of anything because you’re just casting the best people that are a good mix. It’s just that they’re such good players. Strategically they’re brilliant. Some of the guys fall away. Some of the women fall away. And you wind up with whoever plays the game the best.
Curtis: Oh yes. We’ve filmed it already. It was filmed in August so we’re editing now. […] We have to turn it in in December. So we’re under the gun here.
Bandit: Another good balance of men and women again this year?
Curtis: Very good balance. Very very good balance.
Bandit: Can you give me a sneak preview of what we might expect?
Curtis: All I can say is that this group of nerds is as brilliant as the previous two seasons. They’re astonishing. It’s a fantastic mix of hard science and pop culture. [With] slightly more emphasis on the pop culture. Slightly. Whereas last year it was a stronger emphasis on hard science. And what happens with this group is unlike either previous series. It’s going to be cool. […] I just watched the first episode and it looks really good. There’s a lot of comedy in this season, which there was less of last season mainly because of various circumstances, mainly personalities. This season there’s a lot of comedy.
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