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— by Larry Carroll

When it comes to horror movies, it's never good to be the new guy. If you're eyeballing the poster for next month's "House of Wax" and see the names Elisha Cuthbert, Paris Hilton, Chad Michael Murray and Jared Padalecki, who do you think has the worst odds of survival? Nevertheless, the story of Padalecki's ascension from San Antonio, Texas, wannabe to awards-show presenter to movie star is inspiring. While Padalecki introduces himself warts and all on "Movie Life" (airing Thursdays at 11 p.m. ET/PT), he reminds the world that names like Johnny Depp, Charles Bronson and Steve McQueen all began their careers as horror film "new guys" as well.

Ever wonder what it's really like to be in a movie? Go behind the scenes with Chad, Elisha, Paris and Jared in "Movie Life: House of Wax."

MTV: How did you get into acting in San Antonio?

Jared Padalecki: I always acted as a kid. I was always in school plays and stuff like that. And then between junior year and senior year of high school I tried out to be a trophy presenter on FOX's first-ever Teen Choice Awards and I won. ... After I filmed the show a manager came up to me, "Hey, man, I think you have a good look for acting. Do you act?" And I was like, "Yeah, I've wanted to be an actor my whole life." ... And he sort of auditioned me over time by sending sides in the mail, like little scenes, and I filmed them in Texas and I sent them back and he was like, "Wow, I think you're really good and I'd love to represent you." So I got with him and then I flew out a little bit during my senior year during the pilot season and I booked a pilot. ... The pilot didn't get picked up, but I used that money to come out the summer after I graduated and try this whole acting thing out, which is lucky because I was enrolled at [the University of Texas] also. Literally I was gonna go back to school and be an engineer. But I got this little show called "Gilmore Girls," I got like a three-episode guest star [role] that turned into like a five-year guest star, so to speak, and that's how it all kinda blew up.

MTV: Now here you are in a big Joel Silver movie.

Padalecki: Yeah, no kidding.

MTV: How nervous were you going onto the set?

"Movie Life" Exclusive clip: Jared and Elisha get a quick lesson in working with knives.

More "Movie Life" moments you won't see anywhere else ...

Padalecki: I was real nervous, especially because I was kind of one of six main leads and I had quite a big part in it, so it was a big part and it was a big project. I just had to kind of jump into it.

MTV: What's your character, Wade, like? He's dating Elisha Cuthbert's character, right?

Padalecki: Elisha Cuthbert and Chad Michael Murray are brother and sister and I'm dating her and we're all kind of on a road trip together to see this football game and it obviously goes very wrong. When we stumble into this town it has a strange feeling to it, which always screws up road trips.

MTV: I hate it when that happens.

Padalecki: Yeah, it's always a bummer when you stumble onto this little ghost town with strange serial killers turning everybody into wax figures.

MTV: Did you do anything crazy when you tried out for the part?

Padalecki: I didn't. I just read the script. ... I didn't even meet the director. I kinda went and I put myself on tape with the casting directors, and then the directors saw the tape and booked me off of that. ... I didn't even meet [producer] Joel Silver till I already had the part. He saw the tape and approved, and director [Jaume Serra] saw the tape and approved. So the next thing I know I'm going off to Australia.

More Cast Interviews ...
Paris Hilton
Chad Michael Murray
Elisha Cuthbert

MTV: You're leading a charmed life if all these people are casting you off tapes.

Padalecki: No kidding.

MTV: Working with Paris Hilton, did you have any preconceived notions about her before you started?

Padalecki: Not really. It's not that I'm unsure with what's going on around pop culture, but ... I didn't really watch her show or her Internet movie or anything. I never really got into that kind of thing.

MTV: How about Chad? What kind of expectations did you have working with him?

Padalecki: I knew Chad from "Gilmore Girls," so he and I were already buddies and, you know, make fun of each other and we know each other's girlfriends, and I know his dogs and he knows my dogs, and I've known him for five years.

MTV: Cool. Well on "Movie Life" we get to see him propose to his girlfriend, Sophia Bush.

Padalecki: Oh yeah, that was exciting. Since we were living together, he obviously told us all that was going on and [we] helped set up the apartment to look nice and planned on not being there so they can have some alone time. ... Sophia's great. I got to spend some time out there with her and she's a real sweet chick.

Photos: On the set of "House of Wax"

More "House of Wax" photos ...

MTV: It was really romantic. Do you think you'll steal any pages out of his book if you decide to propose to somebody?

Padalecki: I don't know. [He laughs.] Being an actor, you're always gonna steal from other people, but hopefully, hopefully I'll be so original that I will do what no one has ever done.

MTV: I think his advice would be to get lots of candles, apparently.

Padalecki: Yeah, I know. He had like a thousand or something absurd.

MTV: As for the show itself, "Movie Life," were you afraid of the cameras taking away from your concentration?

Padalecki: Not really. If you get nervous in front of cameras, then acting is the wrong position for you. I'm so used to being in front of cameras for the last five years and working constantly that you're used to filming kissing scenes with 50 people watching you and planes flying by overhead and helicopters going over and car horns honking and you have to learn how to zone out and just be there in the moment and not be nervous at all.

"Movie Life" clip: Jared learns that he'll be sprayed with hot wax

MTV: In one episode, we watch you get the wax put on you and that whole fiasco. What was that like?

Padalecki: That was fun. [He laughs.] That was interesting. Well all I knew, it was funny because I kinda showed up and ... they were like, "Yeah, so we're ready for the hot wax test." And I was just thinking, "OK, how does that involve me?" They're like, "Well, we're gonna spray hot wax on you." I was like, "Doesn't my character get sprayed with hot wax on him so that he dies? ... What if the desired effect actually works?" And so I was kinda hesitant about it at first, but then they kinda did it in front of me and I ended up doing it myself.

MTV: How is a horror movie different from what you've done before?

Padalecki: It was a lot of fun, but I was expecting it to be scarier, like the actual shooting of it to be scary, when in fact it's not scary whatsoever. It's kinda like, "All right, so I want you to walk over here and then turn around and the killer's right here, so look scared." You're like, "Wait a second, this'll look stupid. I'm gonna look like a dork." So I was more worried about looking like I'm a bad actor or something, because it's so hard to act scared when you're acting with a wall.

MTV: Watching horror movies, lots of people probably assume the director has the bad guy hiding behind something to scare the actor.

Watch the "House of Wax" trailer

Padalecki: Yeah, but it doesn't happen. Usually the bad guy isn't even there. Usually you're acting to about 20 camera guys and crew guys and directors and producers. Being there, it's not scary at all. But then you see it put together, and there are a couple of scenes that we watched and I jumped — and I was in the movie and I knew what was gonna happen.

MTV: Have you seen the original 1953 film?

Padalecki: I loved it. I love Vincent Price, actually. I think he's a cool kinda scary creepy classic actor. And it was hilarious. And also I found out after I watched the movie that [director André De Toth only had] one eye, and it was a 3-D movie. So he actually couldn't see it in 3-D but he was filming it in 3-D. So I thought that was kind of an interesting little fact.

MTV: One of the interesting behind-the-scenes facts about this new version, which we see on "Movie Life," is that there was a fire on the set. Were you there that day?

Padalecki: I was actually at my brother's wedding here in the States. ... I was the best man in my brother's wedding, and that happened to be the day it burned down, which is kind of comforting, knowing that no one is gonna try and blame it on me.

MTV: And as the "new guy" to many of this movie's viewers, what are your long-term aspirations? Whose career would you like to mimic?"

Padalecki: Johnny Depp. He started out in "A Nightmare on Elm Street," I can start out in "House of Wax."

Check out everything we've got on "House of Wax."

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