Blair Back in 'Supernatural' Form
An Oscar nominee at age 15 for the classic 1973 horror movie, Blair hasn't performed much in recent years, focusing her energy on her continuing efforts toward animal welfare. That drew the attention of the syndicated magazine program "Extra," which then campaigned to land Blair another acting role. The result: her "Supernatural" guest stint Thursday, Nov. 9, on The CW.
The new episode casts her as a police detective who suspects demon-fighting brothers Sam and Dean (series stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles) of killing an attorney and his wife. She starts to have threatening visions and tells her partner and boyfriend (fellow guest star Jason Gedrick, "Windfall"), but he doesn't believe she's in imminent danger, forcing her to rely on the siblings who have seen enough to know she isn't lying.
Blair is friends with a number of "Extra" staff members, and she says that in covering her Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation (which rescued 51 dogs in Louisiana in the wake of Hurricane Katrina), "They thought, 'This woman needs a helping hand,' so they asked to line up some meetings for me at Warner Bros. for work. That's not the normal route you take.
"'Supernatural' came through, but I had my concerns. I'd turned it down in the past because of the demons, and I had worked so hard to have a clean slate. I'll do maybe one festival a year, but I haven't done anything mainstream. I love 'Supernatural' as a fan, but I was afraid that if I put myself in that position industrywise, I would suffer consequences. You just have to watch what you do."
Indeed, despite other projects ranging from "Airport 1975" and "Roller Boogie" to the TV movies "Born Innocent" and "Sarah T. - Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic," Blair's main calling card has remained the role of possessed Regan MacNeil in "The Exorcist." Thus, she was relieved the "Supernatural" staff "honored everything I asked for. They gave me a wonderful, strong part with lots of colors, and I'm in 85 percent of this thing. I felt they respected everything I wanted, so I said, 'OK.'
"How come Anthony Hopkins can play the most horrifying creature in cinematic history," Blair says of his portrayal of Hannibal Lecter, "then go on to do a romantic film? It's because he's an actor, but the industry has not been quite as forgiving with me.
"Over and over, people ask me why I'm not working more. That's one of the reasons I turned to what was needed, knowing that maybe the career will come back someday. 'The Exorcist' is a very big thing, and I understand that and I have great respect for it, but I need to be seen in many different lights."
Blair's "Supernatural" episode ends with the words "to be continued," but she claims not to know if the show's producers want her to return. She says the cast and crew make it "one of the nicest sets," and she forged a particular bond with Padalecki, who owns two rescued dogs. "Everyone is hardworking, but boys like to have fun. They just goof around, but then as soon as someone yells 'Camera!' they're on it. There's a lot of special effects, and it's really intricate."
Should "Supernatural" seek her services again, Blair maintains, "I don't think I could do a series regularly, because of the time element. Could I do a recurring role or a multiple-episode arc? Yeah. Think of what they did for someone like Sally Field on 'ER.' There are some wonderful shows I would love to guest on. For some reason, everyone thinks they know me, but no one knows me. I'm not the one you cast as the usual mother type."
Recently honored with a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles, the Linda Blair WorldHeart Foundation (www.lindablairworldheart.com) advocates the rescue and adoption of animals.
"It wasn't that I didn't love my work," Blair says of her dedication to the organization, "but we do have a crisis in America, and maybe somebody needed to shine the light so people could come. We have large organizations, but their hands are full, and they're not as involved in the sheltering of animals. Most people don't understand that."
Being left with little time to pursue acting roles hasn't surprised Blair. "I was doing education and rescue, and I realized this is getting out of control. There's no way rescuers across America can help the number of animals being thrown away or abandoned. I was caught up in the circle of not being able to stop, but also being unable to go back to work (because of time constraints)."
Now, Blair is hoping to accomplish both, thanks to "a few in the community who are trying to help me make a difference."