Now that she's got nine episodes of Supernatural (Thursdays at 9 pm/ET, the CW) under her belt and Ruby's complicated story is beginning to be fleshed out, TVGuide.com felt the time was right to talk to former Wildfire star Genevieve Cortese about playing the double-agent demon. Might Ruby actually be in love with Sam? What sort of surprises might this week's midseason finale have in store? And what's it like shooting a love scene with Jared Padalecki? Let's find out....
TVGuide.com: Were you warned coming onto the show that its fans can be a bit, um, "discerning" when it comes to the women in the Winchesters' lives?
Genevieve Cortese: It was kind of after the fact that I found out. [Laughs] But yeah, once I started talking to people about it, they were like, "Watch out."
TVGuide.com: Did you bother to take any cues from the previous Ruby, Katie Cassidy? Or did you figure the character would simply be who you make her to be?
Cortese: It's funny, because when I auditioned for Supernatural it was for "a love interest." I didn't know I was going to be playing Ruby until I got the job. I was handed DVDs of what Katie did, and at first it was a little funky trying to step into what she did. I was conflicted over where Ruby is now versus where she's come from....
TVGuide.com: The fans seemed to pick up on that right away — "Something is different about Ruby. Is it simply a new actress playing her, or something more?"
Cortese: If you look at Katie's last episode, you see that while Ruby's not responsible for Dean going to hell, she does have some guilt about it. I wanted to use some of that, though not as a sympathy card. After all, if people don't like her, they don't like her. She is a demon. But I wanted to address questions like, "Why are the boys hanging out with her? What do they need her for at this point?" It's not like she is kicking ass; she's asking Sam to kick ass for her, so it's kind of a mutual exchange. I almost feel like, deep down, she's really in love with Sam. One of the lines in [last week's episode] is, "I used to be human, and I still remember what it feels like." Maybe she was being manipulative, sure, but maybe there's also truth to it.
TVGuide.com: Lately, fans seem to be more accepting of Ruby. Why do you think that is?
Cortese: Probably because you now can see where she's come from. I didn't walk in going, "I'm going to kick everyone's ass and be tough," so it was a total 180 from [how she was] last season. It's difficult to watch your favorite show and have a character suddenly be different, so I can totally see how people would be angry. Now they've been able to see what happened in the last six months.
TVGuide.com: Did you always feel that "I Know What You Did Last Summer" would be a big step in shedding light on Ruby's mindset?
Cortese: Yeah, I was really excited for that episode. [Supernatural creator] Eric [Kripke] and I had a big discussion about it, to not have the attitude but show how she's coming from a lonely, desperate place. She has no one. All she has is Sam. She can't even go back to hell, because she f--ked them over.
TVGuide.com: When you can't even retreat to hell, where can you go? Pittsburgh?
Cortese: [Laughs] Exactly. There's nowhere to go. Maybe Detroit.
TVGuide.com: Were you extra-nervous doing Ruby and Sam's love scene, knowing that the boys get precious few of them?
Cortese: There were two things at play. One, I figured they're not going to be looking at me anyway; they're going to be looking at Jared. And two, I was more nervous because he is so big and so tough! [Laughs] Jared's muscles... I mean, his arm is like the size of my body!
TVGuide.com: And it was a pretty physical love scene, too.
Cortese: Yeah! Knowing how Ruby was emotionally, I really felt good about it, because it was important to see that desperation. It's like Monster's Ball — it's about two people who are so broken and sad.
TVGuide.com: That scene just cued up here on my DVD player... Look at you two!
Cortese: [Laughs] I know.... That was fun. I'm going to be one hated girl!
TVGuide.com: How do you feel about the means by which Ruby came to inhabit her new host body? Do you think the fact that this girl was in a coma will assuage some concerns?
Cortese: I do. It's the best way for the fans to accept that [Ruby and Sam] would actually have sex. She came back for him, he asked her to leave that [previous] body and she did. That's what I paid attention to — "Wow, she'd even jump into a new body for this guy. What's going on here?"
TVGuide.com: Will this week's episode, the last before the break, leave us with a big cliffhanger? [Supernatural returns with new episodes Jan. 15.]
Cortese: I don't know if there will be a cliffhanger like there was [last week], but there will be parts where they cut to commercial and you'll go, "What?!" Anna [the young woman who can hear angels] goes through some major stuff, and you really get to see her inner struggle. It's a great contrast between the two of us, because we're both in these places where we have to make decisions for the boys. Both of us sacrifice a lot, and I think that will get the fans very excited.