It’s been a while since we last saw Garth (DJ Qualls) on “Supernatural” but he kept himself busy behind-the-scenes — helping other hunters like Bobby once did and keeping Kevin safe from Crowley (before Gadreel murdered the prophet).
When he finally returns onscreen this Tuesday (Jan. 28), however, he won’t be the same Garth we’ve come to know and love. According to a promo The CW aired after last week’s episode, Garth is now a werewolf? What?!
Zap2it spoke with Qualls in advance of the episode, “Sharp Teeth,” about some big changes Garth has gone through over the past year, what it was like returning to the series after being away for so long, his relationship with Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles and a certain nude scene we hear is coming in the episode …
Zap2it: So Garth is finally back! What’s he been up to this whole time?
DJ Qualls: I can talk about it a little bit because the preview they aired was pretty spoilery. I won’t speak about the werewolf stuff that you saw in the preview because it’s not actually the full story, but I can reveal that Garth has found someone and he’s settled down. He’s retired from hunting and he’s found something that hunters are usually unable to have which is a family and a partner. He likes it. He loves being married.
Garth, a family man? That’s pretty surprising that he would give up hunting after becoming so competent at it.
It goes to show you that love conquers all. The show really is, at its heart, about people wanting to find the truth about themselves and find a place where they belong. Sam and Dean are hunters but they’re not happy. Every relationship they have falls apart because it’s basically the job or the relationship. Garth found something, and there are other reasons that I can’t go into that he had to leave that life, but there’s a lot of hurt between Garth and Dean and it gets worked out in this episode. They always go at each other. In “Southern Comfort,” they had an uncomfortable friendship when Dean got mad at Garth for taking over Bobby’s job.
When were you approached about coming back to “Supernatural”? Was it always in the cards?
They pitched this to me in last July, and I was in Vancouver doing a convention for “Supernatural” and Adam Glass, the writer who didn’t create Garth but he writes him so well, he pitched it to me when I was in a bar getting loaded with some friends. It’s kind of a mind-blowing episode for Garth.
Garth and Kevin have a close relationship behind-the-scenes, even though we didn’t see it play out onscreen. Does Garth know about Kevin’s death?
Garth has no idea what’s happening with anyone. He’s completely cut off. When he left being a hunter, he left it all behind. He carries a lot of guilt from that and he doesn’t know what’s happened to Kevin. Dean’s mad at him and he’s actually mad at Dean for some stuff and we’ll get into that in the episode. But I think that’s the beautiful thing about Garth: He owns his own failings and he’s able to see Dean for who he actually is. I think that’s why the boys need him. He’s a mirror for Dean and he loves him enough to go at him and say, “Look dude, you’re messing up. I see that man that you want to be but you’re not there yet.”
In this episode, when Sam and Dean are questioning me about why I left, we have some pretty intense stuff and some pretty honest stuff. That’s why I love this show: Even though it’s set in a world where there are demons and angels and fantastical things, the show at its core is about human relationships. Hunters especially have very few chances to get close to people and care about people. So when they care about people and they do stuff you don’t like, they take them to task for it. So there’s a scene in which I’m trying to explain myself and they’re going at me for it, and it’s a little combative but the result is we come to an understanding and acceptance.
So I hear there’s a nude scene coming up in the episode …
What can you tell me about why Garth’s naked?
I can reveal that I end up in the hospital. I leave the hospital and run away from the boys after they find me and wake me up — because I’ve been in a drug-induced coma. So I have to leave the hospital gown behind so they know that I left — leave a clue, right? It was written that I didn’t have anything on underneath the hospital gown and you would see a flash of me from behind but I negotiated that I had to have underwear on. When I told Jared that I had to shoot this scene, I was like, “I have to be naked on this show with you two guys!” and he was like, “Yeah, I’m going to show up that day and do jumping jacks and pushups behind you.” So I was like, I cannot be fully naked on this show [laughs].
Did you do anything special to prepare for the scene?
Well, I quit smoking a while ago and I’m in a wheelchair for my show, “Legit,” so I’ve been letting my muscles atrophy and sitting around eating Cheetos. For the last six months I’ve been sitting around eating fatty foods. And nowhere else on my body do I gain weight except for right around my midsection, so I gained this weird layer of fat right around my stomach. My body looked like a doughnut with a hot dog stuck through it. I had to get rid of it so I went on a no-carb diet for about four weeks before, and after taking this weird supplement that’s supposed to eat body fat — I don’t know if it did. I did end up losing it.
So were you actually naked while filming the scene?
[Laughs] I negotiated that I could wear underwear. But first of all, they wanted me to wear bikini underwear and I was like no way. My character wouldn’t wear bikini underwear. I think Garth’s a boxers man. So I negotiated to wear boxer shorts. We shot this scene at 5:30 in the morning at 22 degrees in Canada outside and I’m wearing nothing but boxers. So it’s a really good thing that I wasn’t fully nude because there was nothing there to see. It was so cold. But I’m really proud of the episode. It explains a lot.
Please tell me this won’t be the last we see of Garth.
Well, that’s what I think the show is really good at: Tying up loose ends. Honestly on my last day of filming I got a little emotional because it felt like a farewell. But you never know with this show, right? There was a finality to it.
I know I wouldn’t be the only one sad if this was truly Garth’s last episode. You’ve become a fan-favorite character in such a short amount of time, and not many people can say that after being a guest star on “Supernatural.”
Even though I haven’t done too many episodes, the show has become a huge part of my life. This fandom is unlike any other fandom ever, because our fans follow you to other jobs. They follow your career and you build up relationships with these people. I knew fame before doing “Supernatural” but I had never known cult fame like this. It’s pretty interesting who they sort of glom onto. The
re was no way I could have possibly anticipated that I would become one of the chosen few. So the thought that this could be the last time I’m on the show — because every time could be the last time I’m on the show — but this time I got emotional and had a little cry when I got home after I left.
What was it like returning to the set after being away for so long?
It was so fun being back with Jared and Jensen. They mess with me all the time. I had to lay on the wet ground in one scene and I walked into my trailer and saw this rubber suit. I had never seen on before and shot so many scenes like this so I thought Jared was messing with me. I wouldn’t put it on. So finally I went to his trailer with the rubber suit and I was like, “Did you do this?” And he started laughing and was like, “No, I actually did not. That is what you have to wear under your clothes before you lay down when it’s wet outside.” I was like, I never know where I stand here! I never know what I should be doing because they always mess with me.
We have this really tense scene in this coming episode where I’m in a coma and they’re debating what to do with me and they’re worried about a security breach. And the boys haven’t seen each other in a long time. This is the first time they’re seeing each other [since Dean left to hunt Gadreel]. They’re talking out their issues over me while I’m asleep, so I have to lay still.
And then Jared starts zipping and unzipping his pants over me, and that man has the loudest zipper in the world. I could not keep a straight face. He’s a huge dude so it’s very disconcerting when you hear a zipper going up and down and your eyes are closed. But I love them and I trust them. Well, I wouldn’t say I trust them because I never know what’s coming next. But it keeps you sharp!
Do you keep in touch with them when you’re not shooting?
Yeah. That’s the best part of all of this, is my relationship with Jared, getting to know him. And Jensen, too. I think Jensen and I have better onscreen chemistry but Jared and I have become more friends outside of the show.
Thanks so much for talking about your return to “Supernatural.” I can’t wait to see the episode!
Thanks! I am so proud of it and I have to give a big thank you to my producers on “Legit” and the producers on “Supernatural” because I had to shoot this episode at the same time that I was shooting my show. I had to fly back and forth doing three days on one show and two days on the other for a couple of weeks and it was very expensive to move the schedule around, and the poor “Supernatural” producers had to build all of these locations and shoot with a double for part of the time. They had to build a whole bottom floor of a house because the location was too far away for me to shoot all the scenes in one day. It was so flattering. There were some grumbling and hurt feelings on both sides but I walked on set and saw all these locations they had built for me to be able to be on the show and it touched me, man.
“Supernatural” airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.