From show creator Anna Fricke (Being Human), The CW series Walker follows widower and Texas Ranger Cordell Walker (Jared Padalecki), back home in Austin, Texas after being undercover for nearly a year, which has not made it any easier for him to find his footing again with son August (Kale Culley) and daughter Stella (Violet Brinson). With a former colleague (Coby Bell) now his boss, a new partner (Lindsey Morgan) by his side, a family challenging him every step of the way, and suspicions about the circumstances surrounding the death of his wife (Genevieve Padalecki), there’s plenty to make Walker’s life complicated.
During this 1-on-1 phone interview with Collider, actor Jared Padalecki, who’s also an executive producer on the project, talked about the experience of starting a new TV series after spending 15 seasons on Supernatural, how the dynamic between the Walker brothers compares to that of the Winchester brothers, how special it is to work with his real-life wife, having Lindsey Morgan as his partner vs. Jensen Ackles, how involved he’s been with the show’s development, and that they’ll get Ackles to guest on the show at some point.
Collider: I must admit, it’s very strange to be talking to you about something other than Supernatural, when I figured I would just be talking to you about that until the end of time. Congratulations on Walker doing so well! Coming off of a show where you spent 15 seasons and starting a new show, when you don’t know what the audience will be or how the response will be, how does it feel to know that it’s got so many people tuning in already?
JARED PADALECKI: I still am grieving Supernatural. I really am. It was 15 and a half years. I met my wife on the show. I met my dear friend, and many dear friends. I really enjoyed Sam Winchester. So, I’m still grieving that process. We’ve developed Walker over the last two years, so I’ve had a chance to get to know the character and the show and figure out who this guy is and what the show is gonna be about. It’s been interesting. Ultimately, Supernatural was such a big part of my life. I’m 38, and that was 15 and a half years of my life. There’s no real way to calculate it, and I don’t think I’ll ever really grasp that or make sense of it. But I love, love, love the show I’m doing now. I love the character, I love the cast, I love our crew, and I love the stories we are setting out to tell. I hope Cordell Walker feels different than Sam Winchester. I’ve worked really hard to try to make sure that they’re different people. And I think Anna [Fricke] and her team have done a tremendous job and I’m really excited to explore this new world.
How different does it feel to go from the dynamic of the Winchester brothers to the Walker brothers, and play a big brother after playing a little brother for so long?
PADALECKI: Oh, yeah, it’s ridiculous. It’s like apples and oranges. I’ve been on TV, before Walker, for over 20 years. I’ve done almost 400 episodes of television and I had never played a father. So, to play a father and a widower, and to be a little brother and a law enforcement agent, it’s so many new horizons for me and it’s such a cool privilege that I get to do this and sleep at home. It’s amazing to sleep home, but it sucks to wake up at home because I have three, two-legged alarm clocks that just wanna come in and jump on dad’s head. They’re like, “Time to wake up, I want Lucky Charms! Time to wake up, I want Cheerios! Where’s my yogurt?” And I’m like, “Uh, I gotta go to work.” It’s a very different lifestyle, in many ways, and maybe it’s helping me film Walker because my life is very different today than it was even four months ago when we were finishing Supernatural in Vancouver.
What does it mean to you to get to work with your wife, Genevieve Padalecki, and to be able to share scenes together as part of this relationship that’s really the driving force for your character?
PADALECKI: She and I met on set. The first words we ever exchanged were on the set of Supernatural in Vancouver. She was a guest star who was gonna do a couple of episodes. She went to Tisch School at NYU, did theater and drama, and had her own TV show. She’s a wonderful actress and she’s a super hardworking A-type. I love seeing her in her element. Like so many women do, she put her passions on the backburner for many years, to make sure that she was there for the kids when I had to be out of the country shooting the rest of Supernatural. During these COVID times, you can’t bring friends and family to set because it’s against the rules, so I just also love that my fellow cast and crew gets to meet her and see her. I get to show her off, off screen and on screen, and I couldn’t be more proud. She brings such a light to Emily and to the set, off screen. I couldn’t be happier. It’s such a special moment. I read the script and we developed a show, with Anna and Dan Lin and Lindsey Liberatore at Rideback Studios. And then, funny enough, Gen and I were in Park City skiing last February, for our 10-year wedding anniversary, and I got a phone call from Anna. She was like, “Hey, I wanna talk about Gen.” And I was like, “Okay, I’m with her.” And she goes, “Does Gen wanna play Emily?” And I was like, “What?!” So, I told Gen, and now here we are, almost a year later, with six episodes in the can and I couldn’t be happier.
How are you also finding the experience of having a female partner on the show with Lindsey Morgan, as opposed to having Jensen Ackles as your partner?
PADALECKI: Well, she’s much better to look at than Jensen. She’s still shorter than I am, so I don’t have to break my neck looking up. I’m just kidding. I love Jensen. I feel like I could see him in 10 years, and we’d go right back into our on screen and off screen vibe. He and I have just spent so much time with each other, more time than with our wives, our kids, and other friends and family, so it’s so easy with Jensen. He’s a wonderful actor, obviously. We get each other. With Lindsey, she’s also just a wonderful person. She’s kind, she’s smart, she’s hardworking, she’s talented, she’s very passionate about her character and the role, and she takes it very seriously and does her research and her preparation. I really enjoy working with her. It’s certainly very different with my co-anchor, so to speak, being somebody who’s not related and a female, then with Supernatural, where he was related and an older brother. It’s also a dynamic that selfishly helps Walker be his own person. I’m not the little brother anymore. Now, I’m the senior Ranger in a duo. It gives me, Jared, an opportunity to explore different aspects of building a character. And Lindsey’s a sponge. She’s eager to learn, and eager to work hard and do a great job.
As a executive producer on the show, are you part of the conversations about what could happen in the future of the show, what you cover in Season 1, and how you lay the groundwork for Season 2?
PADALECKI: I’m part of far more conversations than I wanted to be. Frankly, Anna and her crew of fellow writers have fleshed this show out with phenomenal stories that I’m really proud of. The genesis of this show was me in my trailer, during Season 14 of Supernatural thinking about a story that I would like to watch, if I were gonna have the chance to watch TV. Before this show was ever even called Walker, I had an idea of a guy who was stuck between a rock and a hard place, who was bound by his own moral code, but also bound by his oath and his duty, and they didn’t always mesh. I’ve had a great time exploring it and I’m excited to continue getting to explore it, but it’s been a new world for me.
I certainly think you should put in a bid for having Jensen Ackles come on as a villain because I think it would be very fun to see you guys go up against each other, in that way.
PADALECKI: Your mouth to God’s ears. Count me in. We’ll get him on. We will share a screen together again.
What does your family think of Walker?
PADALECKI: It’s a great show. I’m really proud of it. Supernatural was funny because my kids couldn’t really watch it because dad is dying or dad is killing somebody or we’re cutting heads off or someone is getting their heart eaten. With Walker, I feel very comfortable saying to everybody on the planet, “Hey, you can watch this. You can watch this with your kids. You can watch this with your parents. You can watch this with your friends. It’s gonna be fun. It’s heartwarming. It’s a great show for anybody and everybody.
And I’m a sucker for anything with Mitch Pileggi in it, so thank you for that.
PADALECKI: Me too! I asked for him by name. Not a word of a lie.
Walker airs on Thursday nights on The CW.
This looks like Kristen Wiig’s ‘MacGruber’ and I’m here for it.
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