This Friday, Felicia Day (The Guild, Eureka) joins the Winchester brothers on Supernatural as Charlie, a hacker deep inside Purgatory escapee and season 7 villain Dick Roman's evil (corporate) empire. We spoke to Day earlier this week about her role on the series (which was a dream come true for The Guild writer and star), getting geeks right on TV, and the current status of her YouTube Channel, Geek and Sundry.
"It's definitely one the top shows that I've wanted to be on for years and years, so I cleared my immense schedule—there was no thought in my mind, I wanted to be on Supernatural." This is how Day explains her reaction to being approached for her role on this week's episode, "The Girl With the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo," where one could say she plays a Lisbeth Salandar-type, trading perhaps the immense personal trauma for a love of D&D and hardcore gaming. She remains a huge fan of the show as it nears the end of its seventh season. When the series was initially set to end in the fifth, Day was actually afraid that she'd never get to be on the show.
On reading the script for the episode, Day was actually quite shocked at the prominence her character had in the episode, aiding Sam and Dean. That extra time in the episode afforded Charlie the opportunity to have a little more nuance than the usual one-off guest character. "She's so fully fleshed out... and you really live with her." Day says that she shares Charlie's smartass nature along with her fangirl devotion to the likes of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, making it easier for her to meld with the character, whose lines actually caused her to laugh out loud as she was reading and rehearsing them.
Charlie is an IT drone at Richard Roman Enterprises, and Sam and Dean approach her about stealing some information from an RRE hard drive. "It's definitely a situation of her not knowing anything about the [hunters'] universe and being thrust into it," Day says of her character. "So she has to find her legs in this crazy, topsy-turvy universe." Day suggests that Charlie's fangirl leanings for fantasy come into sharp contrast with the "reality" that Sam and Dean bring into her life of otherworldly creatures, freaks, and face-eating monsters. "It's kind of fangirl's dream, in a sense," Day, tells me, "to be thrust into [this] world. Maybe not so dangerous, though."
I pointed out that every season or so, Supernatural might lovingly poke fun at the fanboy and fangirl scene (in particular, the rabid devotees of a series of in-show novels about their adventures which have become a cult phenomenon). I asked Day how well she thought the show was at treating and portraying hardcore genre fans, and speaking to the authenticity of the character she's playing in this week's episode, Day she says that she's seen plenty of three-dimensional people like Charlie in her day. "She's 100% a character who could be walking around the Comic-Con floor... possibly attending a Supernatural panel." Day says that not only is Charlie authentic in her interests, but that she recognized so many of the must-have figures, toys, and items used as set dressing in the show. But besides identifying the character by her fandom, Day says Charlie is also grounded, and that she hopes viewers are able to relate. "She definitely has a lot of depth and bravery. I feel that she's a really strong woman character which I feel is great for [the Supernatural] universe."
As for the Supernatural fans themselves, Day says they've been nothing but welcoming and warm towards her since the announcement of her appearance on the show. I asked her if she let the writer know that she'd totally be up for another stint as Charlie and Day laughs it off. "This was the only episode planned, but certainly, I love Charlie a lot, I love playing her, and I hope people who watch love her as much as I do. And whatever happens in the future will happen."
Day feels like Charlie is outside of the awkward/weird fanboy/fangirl character that professed comics/horror/genre film and TV fans tend to get lumped into in pop culture: the gangly friend whose personality is set to "endless stream of pop culture/possible computer references." Day says you can often tell when a show has geeks on its staff precisely through how the geek character is handled. "I do think there is that type of abysmal, kind of stereotypical character that people try to stick in, but I do feel like with the strength of fandom and the strength of geek culture that more people who are behind the scenes, they're allowed to have their voice come through." She says she knows some writers on-staff on shows who are geeky who might not have necessarily been the first pick for a more mainstream management. Now she says geek/nerd interests are becoming more of a force on the business side of the entertainment industry, which she finds is a good thing in allowing authentic geek/nerd voices to come through in film and television.
Day wields a bit of that business power herself, with the Geek and Sundry YouTube channel which she founded launching with a year of programming on order. Our own Alex Zalben spoke with her recently about Geek and Sundry, but Day did want to remind fans that around Comic-Con, both Written by a Kid along with Learning Town are launching, the latter Day describes as being the closest thing to The Guild that they'll be doing on their channel. "We're a small channel and we're looking to prove ourselves so crossed fingers that fans like our content and maybe we can do another year, maybe add shows. That's kind of my dream."
Before I let her go, I wanted to know what the frequent gamer Day was playing right now. Between her busy schedule of running a network and performing, she's been squeezing in Mass Effect 3 when she has a chance but says that she's still not planning on tackling the ending until she gets her game's Galactic Readiness up. "Literally, I'm in New York, using the app and upping my Readiness Rating before I get home so I can finish the game," she joked. She's also been spending some time with Trials Evolution, the extreme motorcycle stunt game on XBLA.
You can check out a trailer for Felicia's appearance as Charlie on this week's Supernatural:
Supernatural airs Fridays at 9 on the CW.