Great interview to Sebastian Roché by Coup De Main New Zealand, November 2012.
INTERVIEW: SEBASTIAN ROCHÉ A.K.A. BALTHAZAR ON ‘SUPERNATURAL’ AND MIKAEL ON ‘THE VAMPIRE DIARIES’.
BY SHAHLIN GRAVES
You’ll recognise Paris-born actor SEBASTIAN ROCHÉ from appearances in numerous TV shows – ranging from ‘The Vampire Diaries’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Alias’ and ‘Charmed’, as well as playing the [beloved] rogue angel Balthazar on ‘Supernatural’.
Whilst in town for Auckland’s 2012 ARMAGEDDON EXPO, Coup De Main spoke to Roché about his many passions in life…
COUP DE MAIN: A friendship-crush is someone that you have no romantic interest in whatsoever, but just really wish that you were best friends with them. Who would be your top five friendship-crushes, living or dead?
SEBASTIAN ROCHÉ: I wish I was best friends with Meryl Streep! <laughs> Oh my god… I’d be friends with William Shakespeare – if he ever wrote his plays – because he’s truly… I think ‘Hamlet’ was one of the greatest best pieces of literature ever written. I said Meryl Streep because she is… I mean, of course it would have to be Meryl Streep and [Marlon] Brando. Brando is dead but yeah, Brando. I consider them the two greatest actors that ever lived, and of course that’s my trade. Who’s a fun one? Maybe Molière, the French playwright Molière, because I am half French so it’s part of my culture. Who are the great thinkers of our time who I admire? Bloody hell… I mean there are so many that are going through my mind because I love paintings, so I’d love to be friends with Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci – that would be extraordinary – with some of the great Renaissance painters, with some of the great Impressionist painters, with some of the great Modernist painters. Poets, Charles Baudelaire, who’s one of my favourite poets. Rimbaud, who’s one of my favourite poets. I mean there are many; it would be these kinds of people. And of course, a few rockstars here and there. It would be fun to walk around with Jim Morrison. More women? I’m very much for the advent of women. Great women thinkers… Marie Curie? An extraordinary woman. You know, some of those.
CDM: I guess you can have a friendship… club.
SEBASTIAN: <laughs> Yes, friendship club, yes! You wanted more fun people surely, like Katy Perry… but no, she’s too bad. Sorry Katy! No, but you know, people with true talent are people that I really admire.
CDM: What’s the most ridiculous time you’ve ever had to wake up for work?
SEBASTIAN: I remember being on ‘Roar’ actually – I did a TV show called ‘Roar’ where I lived in Australia for eight months. It was a show with Heath Ledger, way back, way back in the day – and I was on ‘Roar’ fifteen years ago, I had hair down to here… but I also transformed into a thousand-year-old man, or a hundred-year-old man; I can’t quite remember, a few hundreds of years… So, I had to do five or six hours of prosthetic make-up. Sometimes I’d have to wake up at 2AM, 3AM in the morning. Or when you go climb a mountain… when you do a summit climb – I mean, that’s not work, but – sometimes when you do summit climbs you have to wake up at midnight. You go to bed early, wake up at midnight, and you’re climbing at nights. And then you arrive at the summit usually at daybreak, or a little after.
CDM: How did you first get into climbing?
SEBASTIAN: I just decided to do it… I’d always loved climbing, and I really started to do it a little more seriously five, six years ago. Because I’d always climbed; anything I’d looked at I would climb. I went to Machu Picchu, I climbed Huayna Picchu, which is the mountain next to it and I thought ‘oh’. I did it in twenty minutes. I thought, I’d climbed all my life without definite purpose, so this time I thought, why not get into it? I’m now actually much more into rock climbing which is kind of an offshoot of climbing, it goes hand-in-hand. So yeah, five years ago I was like… enough with this career thing! <laughs> No, I mean that there are other things to do than to practice your craft. It’s great to not do your craft or your job, because sometimes it’s a job, not a craft. <laughs> There are other things to do – traveling, meeting people, doing charity work, climbing mountains – and setting challenges for yourself as you get older, because I’m getting ancient.
CDM: What’s your favourite memory from playing Balthazar in ‘Supernatural’?
SEBASTIAN: It’s funny, because when I came on the show, I hadn’t really heard about the show. I’d auditioned for the show many times, and I was like: “Oh, I’m not going to audition again! These guys have seen me at least four times!” I auditioned for Crowley, I auditioned for Lucifer. But as soon as I got onto the set, people were just – first of all I worked with Robert Singer, who is truly a really great director I think, in the sense that he knows exactly how to work with actors. And as soon as I stepped on-set, Misha [Collins], Jared [Padalecki] and Jensen [Ackles] were so open to me, and I think I fit in their mould of humour. Because they had so much – there is so much humour on set. They’re true professionals – everyone’s a real professional on-set, they really choose very good actors as you see round; I mean, Mark Pellegrino, Mark Sheppard, all of them. Richard Speight, Jr., Rob Benedict – all these people are very true actor professionals. And what’s really interesting is also it’s a whole group of very, very smart people – I’m not saying that I’m particularly smart – but they really are smart and funny. I think that if you have a sense of humour it lightens up a set instantly, so the experience – I mean, every single time I’ve been on the show it’s been amazing. And the writing of the characters – when I read that episode about un-sinking the Titanic, I thought: “Holy shit, this is brilliant!” You know, just because I hated Celine Dion’s song. I relished every moment that I was on ‘Supernatural’, so I thought: “Come on boy!” I mean, I die on every show I do, so… <laughs> Every single show I’ve done I’ve died in!
CDM: But on all those shows, no-one ever stays dead!
SEBASTIAN: <laughs> It’s true. Of course it’d be great to come back – it’d be great if all the angels came back and were like: “Hey you!”
CDM: I had a look through your filmography and you’ve been on every TV show, from ‘Charmed’ to ‘Alias’. Are there any shows you haven’t worked on yet that you’d like to?
SEBASTIAN: Oh yeah! ‘Game Of Thrones’ would be my first, I would love to be on that show. Some of the new shows, I love the show ‘Homeland’. I think it’s brilliantly written, brilliantly acted, it’s a great show – a really, really, truly great show. There have been many other shows I would have loved to have been on, I would have loved to have been on ‘Lost’ and gotten very close to that, but it didn’t happen. It almost happened; it’s just luck of the draw. Yeah ‘Game of Thrones’, very much so. And there are certain shows too on Showtime, there are many, many really great shows – it really is kind of the golden age of television. I mean, some of them are crap, and some shows are truly wonderful.
CDM: I saw you on ‘Grimm’ recently! What was working on that like?
SEBASTIAN: ‘Grimm’ is a good show. I wish… they were really wonderful, they offered me the part, and they actually gave me the choice of either playing the bad guy, Waltz, or to play the other guy who he’s hunting, who may be a recurring character. And I chose to play Waltz, who was a very interesting character in my mind, a really interesting character. I wish now that I had chosen the recurring character, because I really enjoyed working with these guys in Portland, it’s a good show. That episode was really well-written, the character was so well-written – it was a real delight to play him – very manipulative, yet this sort of very gentlemanly, well… neo-Nazi gentlemanly view. He had this sort of German extreme side to him, and yet was always with a sense of gentlemanliness while he was killing people. It is a cool show, I really, really like it.
CDM: And you were also recently on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ playing Mikael!
SEBASTIAN: That was great, that was a great experience actually – I really really enjoyed that, playing that character. Mikael was a… I mean, there was so much back-story, which I love, and I hope to come back as a flashback or as a ghost. I really thought that it brought another… because there are many side-stories to ‘The Vampire Diaries’, but it really brought a different dimension to the background of some characters. But at the same time, it’s Damon and Stefan and Elena’s show, so… But I think The Originals are really interesting characters – I was sad actually, to leave so early. I really enjoy the work that Joseph Morgan – who plays Klaus – and myself did together, that last scene was a really good scene, I really enjoyed that.
CDM: What do you think is your spirit animal?
SEBASTIAN: I know what my spirit animal is! Because I was actually in… it sounds very ‘new age’ but I was in Peru, and I went to see a Shaman. And she did this whole purification ceremony on me, and told me that I have two spirit animals, supposedly. The spirit animal is really another way of saying ‘this is what your personality is’, and one of them is the lion, or feline. Actually, I have my Inca Leopard around my neck. This is an Inca leopard, which I bought in Písac in the Sacred Valley. So the lion is grandiose and a big personality, very much like the starsign if one believes in that stuff. The other one actually, which is actually really interesting, is the owl – the owl is the observer, the person who doesn’t say much but sees everything. It kind of sums up my personality – I’m very big, I have a big personality, big ego, I’m very generous, I love people. But at the same time, I also observe, while people think that I’m an egocentric bastard. No! <laughs>
CDM: What’s currently on your reading-list?
SEBASTIAN: I’m reading so many books at the same time – I’m reading this book called ‘No Easy Day’ about the capture of Osama bin Laden, [it’s] not a very good book. I’m reading ‘The Malice Of Fortune’ – it’s a book I just started about Leonardo Da Vinci and Machiavelli teaming together to resolve a crime, which is fun. And lately I’ve bought… actually a book that I think any person, religious or not [should read] is a book I’ve been wanting to read, because I’m very interested in religion, while being an atheist myself – not in the derogatory sense of the word, because I don’t think being an atheist is anything wrong – but I’m reading ‘God Is Not Great’ by Christopher Hitchens. It’s an extraordinary book about the impact of religion through the ages; the negative impact of religion through the ages. And also, sometimes positive, it doesn’t mean that I denigrate any other religion; a lot of people are faced with a lot of good. But in general, if you look around and look at the news, everything that’s happening nowadays is basically religion-based and religion-impacted. Even the Presidential election, everything that’s happening in Syria, everything that’s happening in the Middle East, everything that has happened over the years in Europe, in America. Everything has been religion-impacted or religion-based, basically, to the detriment of the world. So I think faith is a formidable thing, if you can use it for the power of good; often times people forget to read what is actually written in those religion pamphlets, so to speak, and the interpretation of religion can be extremely dangerous. Therefore I think that that book is incredibly enlightening; and actually if I was a religious person I would read it, because Christopher Hitchens is one of the true great minds of our time and I think it’s very, very informative. He doesn’t condemn it; he just explains why he is the way he is, and he gives you a really detailed account of history through the years. And you know, the man is an extraordinary mind – his knowledge is monumental. He could be acquainted to these men like Machiavelli, who were encyclopaedias of knowledge.
You can find the full interview here!
Posted on December 7, 2012, in Conventions, Twitter news and tagged 2012, Armageddon Expo, Auckland, Cons, Conventions, interviews, sebastian, Sebastian Roché. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.