Interview: DJ Qualls
Usually when you guest on a show, you feel like an outsider... like you're playing in someone else's yard. I never felt that on Supernatural.
– DJ Qualls,
DJ Qualls, who plays the hunter Garth on Supernatural has been kind enough to answer some fan questions for the Super Wiki. Below he talks about how he came to play Garth Fitzgerald IV, what it is like working on the Supernatural set and about his other project 'Legit'.
Joining the Supernatural Family
Lucy: Why do you think you were chosen for the role of Garth Fitzgerald IV and what initially drew you to the role?
DJ: Garth was mentioned in a previous episode before he became a flesh and blood character. Bobby had a phone conversation with him about a case he was having trouble with. When they decided to bring Garth to the show, I was the guy they thought of while they were writing it. Supernatural reached out to me through my manager. I was on the fence about doing it at first. All I knew about the show as that it was two incredibly handsome dudes chasing monsters and I could not imagine how I would fit into this world. Sera Gamble, the showrunner at the time, called me and won me over. One of the best decisions I've ever made. This show and this fandom have changed my life. I knew some fame before Supernatural, but cult fame is whole different level. I love being apart of something that means so much to so many.
Lucy: What was your experience of working with Jared, Jensen and the rest of the Supernatural cast & crew?
DJ: I love Jared and Jensen. From day one, they treated me as a friend and fellow cast mate. Usually when you guest on a show, you feel like an outsider... like you're playing in someone else's yard. I never felt that on Supernatural. For my third episode, I was given a cast chair with my name on it. That is usually reserved for series regulars. It was the show's way of saying 'you are one of us.' It felt great.
Lucy: Have you been victim to or witnessed any of the infamous pranks/jokes on the Supernatural set?
DJ: I get pranked or rather 'messed with' all the time on the show. Once Jared took me to lunch, got me a little drunk, and when we got back to set, I found out he was done for the day. I only drank because I thought, ‘If Jared is doing it, clearly it's okay.’ THEN HE LEFT FOR THE DAY and I had to shoot a scene drunk. They get me in lots of ways, from putting gay sex drawings into a folder I had to look into on camera, to my last episode where Jared kept zipping and unzipping his pants to try to get me to crack. (edited for spoilers)
Lucy: The SPNFamily as a whole have been very supportive of you and welcomed you, but is it true that you received some pretty negative feedback about being ‘the new Bobby?’
DJ: I was never supposed to be the ‘new Bobby.’ When Bobby died, someone had to take over his job. That fell to Garth. I think we handled it very well on the show. In the episode “Southern Comfort,” Dean and Garth have a very tense encounter and go at each other over Garth's inherited duties. I thought it was handled with care and was pretty emotional to shoot. The publicity machine at the network is the one who came up with Garth being the ‘new Bobby,’ and I got some brief fall out over this. I tweeted them to stop saying that, because it wasn't true and not what we did on the show and I got back an apology.
Lucy: You were in the pilot of Criminal Minds, playing a serial killer. Would you relish a similar role or do you prefer playing the goofy guy?
DJ: I loved doing that character on Criminal Minds. Contrary to popular belief, drama is not a stretch. Its merely a different tone to play. An actor gets classified as a certain thing by the public and entertainment journalists based on the luck of the draw. I'm not a comedic actor. The roles that made me a known actor happened to be comedies. If you really look at how I play characters, they are all just reacting honestly to the situation they are in. I approached Hustle & Flow with the same mindset as I did Road Trip. Every part I've played means something to me. I don't have much control over the finished product, so the project becomes about the experience of doing it. I usually learn something and make a new friend. Those memories of doing the work, being there day to day are the things I really cherish.
I do not consider Garth ‘goofy.’ He is a really evolved, calm, thoughtful, caring man. He differs from Dean and Sam both in appearance and method, but he is not to be taken lightly. The boys need him, especially Dean. More than anything, he usually proves to be a mirror for Dean. He gives loving advice to him because he really SEES him.
Lucy: I believe you are currently filming the new season of Legit, can you us about the show and why the SPNFamily should get behind it.
DJ: While I love playing Garth more than I can say, love the fandom equally, Legit is my home. This little show is a true labor of love. I can say with absolutely no shame, I think we are the best comedy on television. Our current audience is small, but I think as word gets out and people give it a chance, we're gonna win you over. Despite our small audience, we are a critical favorite. The reviews for the show are consistently outstanding, the best of my career, and were so good, they got us picked up for a second season. I'm really proud of the work we do.
The show's premise is simple. It's about three guys living together in a house in Venice; how they relate to each other and lean one another as they face the world. I play Billy, a guy with advanced stage muscular dystrophy. I'm confined to a wheelchair and can only move my neck and a couple of fingers on my right hand. Its hysterically funny and heart breakingly poignant. I've never done anything like it.
Our second season begins Feb 26th on the new FXX. I hope all my Supernatural fans will tune in, especially because Legit had to totally reorganize our season to allow me the days I needed off to fly to Vancouver to play Garth. It was really stressful and expensive for our small show to make that work, but they did because they knew how much it meant to me. The actual filming of the show was a rough two weeks for me. I was flying back and forth from Los Angeles to Vancouver, shooting both shows at the same time.
Lucy: What is your favorite costume/outfit that you have worn during any of your TV/Film roles?
DJ: Hands down, my orange Atari shirt from Road Trip. I still have it.
Lucy: We know that you are a big reader; do you have a favorite book? Also what are your hobbies/interests when you are not reading or acting?
DJ: I am an avid reader. I typically burn though about 3 books a month. My character on Legit is confined to a wheelchair and if you could see under my legs, you would see my Nexus 7 tablet (and my glasses, cell phone, script, and possibly a snack). The moment the director calls ‘cut,’ my tablet comes out and I resume whatever book I'm reading.
A favorite book is impossible to pin down. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand and East of Eden by Steinbeck mean a lot to me. So do Of Human Bondage and The Moon and Sixpence both by Somerset Maugham. The experience of reading these four books made a definite stamp on my memory.
There's a book called FAKE! by Clifford Irving that I also love. It's the story of the greatest art forger of perhaps all times. He mostly forged works by artist working in France from the turn of the century to the '40s. This is the area of art that I collect.
Lucy: Is there anywhere that you would love to visit but have not had the chance yet?
DJ: I consider myself extremely lucky to be an actor for many reasons, but the travel is right up there at the top. This job has taken me all over the world. Unlike most jobs that allow you to travel, when I go to a new place, I usually get to live there for a while. I got to live in the Philippines a few years ago for 8 weeks while I shot a film. Learning a new place as a local is a rare thing. 14 years into my career, I have a ton of places I can go back to and feel at home.
As to where I'd like to go next. That's difficult. I'd love to go to St. Petersburg, Russia so that I can see the Hermitage museum. I'm an art collector and they have one of the best collections in the world. I've been many times to the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay in Paris, but I would love a week to do nothing but those two museums. Usually I get a day at each before I have to move on.
For work, I'd love to do a movie in Romania, South Africa, Mexico or somewhere in South America. I almost took a movie once because it shot in Peru, but turned it down because it was honestly a terrible script.
Lucy: Did you get to take Mr. Fizzles home with you?
DJ: Mr. Fizzles arrived at my home a couple of Christmases ago. It was a wonderfully unexpected gift from the producers. They never let an actor have a prop from the show. He currently resides in my nightstand and makes the rare convention appearance.
- A huge thank you to DJ Qualls for answering these questions for the fans!
- Thanks also to his Publicist Jenni, for helping to arrange the interview.
- Thank you to all that helped with the question ideas.
- E-mail interview by Lucy (@SpnUK).
- For inquiries about the Supernatural Wiki, you can contact Jules at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- E-mail interview conducted 17th January 2014.