Being that I have been stuck on the couch for the past three weeks, transcribing this next interview was a lot of fun – definitely a highlight of my weekend. My next interview guest doesn’t need much of an introduction; but for those hiding under a rock, Mark Pellegrino plays a deliciously evil – and very lovable, even if you just love to hate him – Lucifer.
He first appeared on Supernatural in 2009, Season 5 Episode 1 – Sympathy for the Devil. Since then, he has been on the show over 20 times (21 to be exact, according to IMDB). As I mention in one of my questions, Lucifer the character has been played by many other actors; not only Jared and Misha but most recently Rick Springfield and David Chisum.
Aside from Supernatural, Mark has also been on the controversial 13 Reasons Why, Quantico, Dexter, Lost, Revolution, The X-Files, The Closer, and the brilliant Being Human (that’s barely scratching the surface of his meaty tv roles). He also appears in Strangers in a Strange Land and High Wire Act, which are both in post-production. Basically, this guy has been working steadily since 1987, and we still get excited when we see him in a show knowing that it’ll be a pretty juicy role.
So, I have a mix of questions on canon and on filming.
On what, what was the first part of that?
Canon, on stuff that’s happened.
Okay. I hope I can answer those.
Something I definitely found curious: What caused Crowley’s warding on Lucifer to reverse?
Drexel’s brilliant and mysterious work. I mean, I don’t know – I think that’s a writer’s question, that maybe they’ll be able to answer down the road. I don’t know if it’s science specific, to be honest with you but Drexel seemed to be working some kind of magic in his examination of Lucifer, right? Lucifer never made any bone about knowing what the hell was going on, just that Drexel was able to reverse it. If Lucifer’s not going to think too intently about the how, I won’t.
Sounds good. Makes sense. What do you have in common with Lucifer?
Ohh, boy. A rebellious spirit; an impish, playful, practical joker side … individualism and independence from authorities or those that I think are authorities. Enough of an ego to think that I can actually get what I want if I pursue my ends with intention and full passion.
In your opinion, what is the first thing Luci will do in Bizarro world – other than throw a tantrum?
Yeah – I mean, he’s stuck there with Mary, the Winchesters’ mom; so it’s a very interesting question. In this new, alternative universe seems to be sort of third base in Lucifer’s apocalyptic vision, right, so instead of having to go through any of the previous steps he’s got it right there. I think his first order of business is to revenge himself on the Winchesters. His primary goal is to hook up with his son and join forces with his son. Even though he’s been sort of handed the gift of an apocalyptic world where he can probably immediately take charge, he may be conceited enough to toss that option out the door and go for I want to remake this process from base 1 to base 2 to base 3 and then home plate in my own way and not be handed this gift. I think it’s taken care of Mary, use her as a hostage to get the Winchesters to open up that portal and join forces with his son.
Very interesting. And I have to say I agree with you; he seems to be that kind of take-charge type of person; do it my way or the highway kind of thing.
He’s demonstrated a bit of an affinity for – I don’t know how to say this – sort of a masochistic testing of himself. He seems to subject himself to a great deal of physical opposition to see how far it will go. I don’t know if it’s a mind game that he’s playing – throw your best at me, and I’ll take it, overcome it and overwhelm you or if it’s just that impish, roguish I want to see how far I can take this, even to the point of possibly getting killed. It’s a side to his personality, I’ve noticed this no-limit sort of masochistic dimension to the way he goes about confronting people.
What is your craziest fan encounter?
Hmm, craziest fan encounter … I think I’ve been fortunate and have not had crazy fan encounters. They’ve all been really low key and benevolent – so far. So, I’m glad not to be able to answer that in like a truly illustrative in a crazy way.
What about funniest?
Let’s see, that’s a hard one. I think it’s when a person sort of wrote a fan fiction pornography that incorporated Supernatural characters in relationships, in very compromising relationships with each other. That would be my weirdest and my craziest fan encounter. I think it would be that – somebody gave me a book that had stories mixing the characters together in really sexual relationships. It was illustrated with dolls. It was like a photographic album of dolls in various positions. It was interesting.
What inspires you?
What inspires me is clear thinking. Philosophy and liberty. Those are huge concepts for me that really, really turn me on. Reading about heroes. It really inspires me; I think this we need as human beings; we’re sort of in an anti-hero age now where more and more we don’t allow human beings to be the heroic in our narrative, they have to be superheroes, and somehow that is more acceptable to us, to generations of people who’ve grown up with the anti-hero. I love it. That’s one of the reasons why I like Supernatural, because it’s good-looking dudes doing impossible things. On top of that, they are orphans; they are broken, they have all kinds of complicated problems but persevere against an entire universe, a hostile universe … and that’s inspiring to me. As crazy as it may sound, I need that every day. Especially the older I get, the older you get, the more you actually see mortality in front of you and the more you need to know that even though you’re facing the end it’s possible to achieve what you want, it’s possible to achieve your values in the world, to be successful and seeing the guys win every week, be brought to the precipice where they’re going to lose everything and they come back is a phenomenal narrative for me and it’s very inspiring. Does that make sense?
Totally. Out of everyone else who has played Lucifer – David Chisum (President Jefferson Rooney); Jared; Misha; and Rick Springfield, who do you think played him the best? (Other than you, of course.)
A guy named Mark Pellegrino.
Other than you.
I haven’t seen Season 12 yet; I binge watch Supernatural, so I’m waiting for it to come out on Netflix and then I’m going to pound out all of the episodes. I haven’t seen Rick, and I haven’t seen David; but I’ve seen Jared, I really liked him, he was really different. I think he really had to be the first Lucifer. The change happened that I was Nick at the time and so he did his own thing and it was a very regal and princely, almost foppish kind of character that I really liked, and probably I consciously stole from that to do my thing. But I liked in Misha’s characterization is that he had – and we talked extensively about my version of Lucifer and we talked a lot about that 14-year-old multisexual kind of impish character and he brought that quality of Lucifer always sort of in the midst of deciding whether he wants to beat the crap out of you or make love to you, that campish kind of quality to it. Since I had that relationship with Misha and was able to see it play out over a longer period of time than any of the other Lucifers, I really sort of have an affinity for Misha.
Misha was an awesome Lucifer. Not as good as you, but I like Castiel so … What do you enjoy most about playing Lucifer?
Since I’m sort of a fearful guy in life and have to overcome fears on a daily basis, I like the gloves being taken off and the no limits of playing somebody who has none of those concerns and enough confidence to press the limit all the time so I’ve always admired even that passionate of a person that is pedal to the medal type of mentality. I love being able to play with that, at least in the imaginary circumstances of the show because I’m just so not like that in life.
What do you think is Lucifer’s biggest regret?
I don’t think Lucifer has regrets. Maybe if I was to crack through the hard exterior that has been built up for eons and eons, being alienated by the people he loves … I think he certainly doesn’t have any regrets … I think what he has is a deep sadness … arrogance and defensiveness and anger and an unquenchable desire for revenge comes from deep sadness. I think in the mythology of Lucifer and God to the extent that Supernatural follows I think Lucifer was right, to be honest with you. What he feels more than anything, and what he compensates for with his aggression, is deep, deep, deep sadness.
I can definitely see that.
So, no regrets – I think he does exactly what he wants to do – and I don’t think he looks back at the consequences of his behavior as reflecting in some sort of poor way on him; it speaks to the bad part of Lucifer. Perhaps if Lucifer wasn’t so masochistic in the expression of his rage he would feel regret and allow himself to feel empathy for the people that he’s harmed.
Out of all the episodes that you have played Lucifer, which one has been your favourite?
I love the stuff with Crowley, to be honest with you, all of the stuff that I did with Crowley because I’ve never worked with Mark previously; I worked with him on another show years before that, but never on Supernatural. It was really fun to play with him and to find ways to make the trade that was going on between Crowley and Lucifer; you see they’re trying to dominate each other and they’re really trying to show the other that they are unaffected by the position that they are in; it’s sort of a Sun Szu’s Art of War. I loved playing that game with the dialogue and with Mark and I was really open to that. I sort of really loved the scene between Misha and I, way back, it might have been Season 5, when Lucifer was just making the apocalypse happen, and he had Cas trapped in the circle of angel fire and they have an exchange where Lucifer tries to win Cas over to his side. Cas stands for humanity and for the boys, even if it means his annihilation and Lucifer kind of just says, “Mmm. Yeah.” Like yeah, you’ll be annihilated. It was a scene between two gunfighters, two bad ass Western gunfighters, facing off in the middle of a street, and both sides not bending. There was a lot unspoken in the words, there was a lot of stuff that happened between Misha and I in the moment, and it was done in a lot of close-ups so you can see all that stuff happening. I loved that encounter too.
I remember that, that was a good scene. The actors that work on Supernatural; I thank God every day for the cast that we have because you guys are all so talented. Just within a few words, the quirk of an eyebrow or the look in someone’s eyes, you can tell exactly what they are thinking about and exactly what they mean.
Thank you. Yeah, they are a good group of guys.
Are there any hints you can give us about the fate of Cas, Crowley or Rowena?
You know, I can’t … and it’s not like I know. I am very interested in seeing where Andrew is going to take the next season. I can’t believe anybody’s dead, but they are. I’d like to see how they deal with the characters. I mean in my mind, Crowley is too smart a CEO not to have thought of every contingency there is out there, that’s the kind of guy he’s demonstrated himself to be. Rowena, I mean, he’s a chip off Rowena’s block. She has the same kind of wiliness and craftiness about her and I can’t imagine a witch has survived hundreds of years, gotten to the position that she’s gotten, without being extremely insightful about the way events can go. I can’t believe that she’s just a burned heap of red sequined dress in a classy hotel room. Cas especially, I mean – the one element in this whole formula that changes everything is this alternative universe. Who knows what kind of parallel elements are there besides Bobby? Is Jimmy in that universe? I don’t know. Is Rowena, in a different way? Is Fergus there? I don’t know. Anything goes. We’re in no man’s land – it’s unpredictable, that’s what I love about it.
Quite a few of my friends and I, we think that quite possibly the Castiel that actually sacrificed himself and Lucifer killed, wasn’t the Cas from the main reality, but is from the alternative reality.
How are you getting that?
The exchanges that he had with the boys and with Kelly, mostly … Before he went to the alter reality he was very much hands-on with regards to Lucifer’s child. I’ve taken dula classes, I’m going to deliver this baby, that sort of thing – afterward, he’s like standing at the door, kind of watching everything … there is one conversation that we never see the entirety of – it basically was, “Remember paradise,” or something like that … so it’s definitely a possibility.
Hmm. Wow. That’s interesting. I don’t know, I didn’t get that from anything, but you guys are awful creative and is this now public? I mean, have you guys theorized this stuff out loud?
Yes, there’s more than one of us, actually … there’s a lot of ideas, rationalizations … I don’t know if you follow anyone who was at JIBcon this last weekend …
Who was there?
The main cast, Jared and Jensen, Misha and Mark …
I follow everybody, pretty much …
Jared pretty much let it slip that Misha was recording for the Scooby Doo episode, so at least he’s back for that.
Does Jared know about … well, I mean, he must, he’s got to have a greater sense of what’s happening … I think the alternative universe is that joker, is that wildcard that can mean a lot of things, including a resurge in Castiel, in Jimmy, in some form … I also think Misha’s too beloved a character to lose.
Speaking practically, he’s too beloved a character to lose. Lucifer, I don’t know … when I went to conventions, before the episode came out, I was saying to people, oh, if you hate Lucifer now, you’re really going to hate him by the end of the season because he killed one of the most beloved characters in Supernatural history.
The other thing is that God and Amara are still in play too.
Yes, this is also a possibility, God and Amara – and now the nephilim … this is shaping up to be … I don’t know where you can go …
The thing with the nephilim, Jack, the other idea is that Jack actually comes upon the little video that Kelly makes for her son, who says well, you have an angel watching over you … and he finds Castiel dead and says, well, he’s supposed to taking care of me then I suppose I should revive him …
This is possible too. This is my greatest fear as Lucifer, is that the nephilim has an alliance, a real love for Cas, as opposed to his real father. It would sort of fit into that orphan template. One of the things I really love about Supernatural, I wrote in a forward to a book coming out about it, is that everybody’s an orphan; they’re not just family by blood, they are family by choice, by the values that you love. It would be quite a statement for the nephilim to reject his biological father in favor of Castiel, his spiritual father. It certainly speaks to what we consider fatherhood and would make us reconsider what those roles actually mean. I was hoping that Lucifer would actually become a better being by route through the fact that he had to take care of someone else. Instead of nurturing him to his own purposes, fatherhood can often be a game-changer for many man, and I was hoping it would be the same for an angel … in other words, Lucifer has an issue with his father; there’s no better way to learn how flawed your father is and love him in spite of it than being a father yourself. I was hoping; I don’t know if it’s good drama, but I was hoping fatherhood would teach Lucifer to repent and reconnect with his own father and understand that maybe dad wasn’t as bad as he thinks he is.
The nephilim is definitely another wildcard; he’d have the power to open the portal again, he can bring Lucifer out, he can do anything. It all depends on how he perceives all the principals. Does he perceive them as enemies, is Lucifer, his dad, an ally; I don’t know man, I’m going crazy!
Well hopefully at least you’ll be put out of your misery soon, and you’ll get a few scripts.
That would be great. And hopefully, Lucifer gets to work through them.
Do you have any words of comfort for the fans of Castiel, Rowena or Crowley?
None. Nah, they’re going to have to sit in their pain until the first episode airs, and then maybe even beyond. I know the family, and I love them. I’m just being impish … if I did have words of encouragement, if I knew anything, maybe I would give the hint just give the fans a little bit of relief, but I don’t.
In my own honest opinion, Jared’s little slip-up about Cas coming back, I think that was a calculated slip-up.
Oh yeah. He’s too smart to let something like that go without thinking about it.
Since I knew where this was going, I was sort of upset for the fans, I feel like all the cons that I have done have bonded me to people. I’m friends with some fans; my wife and I are actually tight and in constant communication with a few of them and so I feel sort of bonded to them, and I take it a little personally; I don’t know what the other actors do, but I do. I was concerned for their well-being even though I appeared to be stirring them up …
But that’s the fun of social media …
That’s part of the fun for sure.
It’s the fun of switching between your character and your actual self.
I understand that you are also involved with Attitudes in Reverse, AIR?
So, AIR is a group that raises awareness about the epidemic of suicide. It does this by opening up dialogues in schools, sponsoring mental health and intervention programs, and traveling displays that concretize the human devastation of suicide.
I met Tricia the day after my best friend’s funeral. He killed himself on April 20th of last year. She and I bonded instantly because our shared loss (she lost her son to suicide 8 years ago) and I have been speaking on their behalf ever since. My contribution has been small so far, but passionate, and I think they are doing great things to de-stigmatize mental illness and spark the important conversation we all need to have.
To learn more about Attitudes in Reverse, AIR, click here.
Last but not least; I’ve noticed that you are a very political being, shall we say … What can you tell us about the American Capitalist Party?
I can tell you that it’s the only alternative to the versions of stateism that exists out there today. The left and the right represent alternative stateism; in other words, they think that the state really has a prerogative over an individual’s life; they just disagree on how much and in which areas the state takes control. The Capitalist Party says that the state has no prerogative over the individual, that that is the individual’s responsibility. The only function of the state is that of a watchman, as a police officer, as a policeman. That means that the state’s function is to point the gun at bad guys, not at good guys that they want something from or want to prevent from engaging in relationships that they don’t like. For me, it’s the only actual alternative that exists out there, and every variation from socialism to the Green Party to the American Independent Party, all of these are variations of the theme that the state has a right to control your life to some degree or another, it just differs on how. The Green Party uses the environment to do it, the Democrats use wealth, Republicans use your moral values; either way, your life is not your own, you’re beholden to the collective. I say, let’s get back – I don’t know if we were ever really there, at the founding of the country, but to the extent that we were, we should get back to the notion that the individual is the primary unit of society and their right, their property, their life, their choices are inviolable. Nobody can point a gun at you and say I want what you have. There is no justification for it whatsoever. That’s what capitalism means; capitalism is a system of free trade, of property ownership, of private property ownership exclusively. Does that make sense?