It might be called the ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’, but there’s no denying that Gavin Leatherwood is the most charming cast-member of the Netflix show, both in his real life, and in his role as Nicholas Scratch, who this season on the show developed his relationship with Sabrina even more.
Throughout the new season, his charms not only worked on Sabrina, but the audience too - with the revelation of his betrayal truly devastating everyone, but not before he sacrificed himself as his form of redemption. Scratch’s charms clearly worked, as in the final scene of the season, Sabrina declares that she’s on her way to Hell to rescue him - truly, relationship goals.
Back in real life, Leatherwood is equally as beloved by everyone he meets. Even after accidentally breaking a water pipe on our photoshoot location and water spraying everywhere, Leatherwood still manages to find the humour in everything - captioning a polaroid from our shoot, “This blanket is big enough for 2 :)”
We spoke with Leatherwood following the release of the new season to talk about his character’s future, anecdotes from filming, and more…
...something that humans are blessed with is that they can utilise their creativity and how the brain brings things to life that are nonexistent until we conceive of them. So I think magic is already here and it’s just how we utilise that part of ourselves.
[T-shirt, Stylist's own. Poncho by Bally. Hat by Brixton. Watch by Shinola.]
COUP DE MAIN: So I just finished Part 2 of the show last week! I really enjoyed when you got to perform in the talent show! If you were to perform in a talent show, what would you, as Gavin do?
GAVIN LEATHERWOOD: You know what’s so funny, when I was a kid I did this talent show with a bunch of my friends-- have you heard of Bazooka Bubble Gum?
CDM: No I have not, but it sounds great!
GAVIN: It must be an American thing. There was this song [that went like], “Bazooka Zooka Bubble Gum,” and we all dressed up with our arms in pillowcases and we were these square-like things and we had a whole dance configured and at the very end we tossed out buckets of Bazooka Bubble Gum to all the kids. If I was in a talent show I would probably want to relive that memory and do it all over again.
CDM: What first caught your eye about the script for the 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina’ when you first found out about it? You initially read for Harvey’s character, right?
GAVIN: It was such a cool thing to get a little glimpse of what the show was before - getting that glimpse into it really showed that the tone of everything was not what I was expecting upon hearing ‘a reimagined version of Sabrina’. I remember ‘Sabrina The Teenage Witch’ when I was younger, but this was such a different, darker, more grounded telling of it - so it was really fascinating and an intriguing place to consider playing in. It had loads of these magical elements and darkness about it, which is just right up my alley, I’m all about sci-fi and fantasy. It just kind of struck a chord that was like, ‘Whoah, this would be a really fun world to play in.’ It didn’t really make total sense to me as Harvey [Kinkle]. As I went in for that I kind of felt like there was more of a lightness to him, and when Nick Scratch came around it just seemed like a better fit. So to already have gotten a taste of the world, I felt even more so prepared for what to expect this person to be like in this world.
CDM: When you first were thinking about bringing Nick to life, were there any other particular personality things that you pulled from for reference?
GAVIN: Yes! I grew up with my mum, my granny and my sister, and one of our favourite shows to watch was ‘Gilmore Girls’.
CDM: I love ‘Gilmore Girls’!
GAVIN: Dude, ‘Gilmore Girls’ is awesome! I was just enamoured with the role of Jess - and I’ve constantly pulled on that again. I watched a couple of episodes actually just to revisit his character because there’s Rory and Dean who are the Harvey and Sabrina - they’re the perfect imagined couple - and then Jess comes in with this more bad boy kind of energy. But at the core of him too there’s this sensitivity, and a lot of that understanding went into developing Nick as well, where there was this darkness, but also a high intelligence and a sensitivity hiding behind this flirtatious, charming person.
CDM: Facts only: I think Jess is the best love interest in ‘Gilmore Girls’, so that was a good reference!
GAVIN: Thank you! <laughs>
CDM: The end of Part 2 sees Nick ‘absorb’ Lucifer. Are you excited to explore this new character which is kinda part Nick Scratch and part Lucifer?
GAVIN: Totally! Yeah, seeing Nick’s character develop from Part One - the writers have done a really phenomenal job developing this character and I’m really stoked to be the person that gets to continue bringing him to life as well. It’s just an incredible opportunity to see him grow from your flirtatious warlock dude into a more sensitive, more vulnerable side of Nick in Part Two. Now there’s this other layer on a certain level of torment of having someone as powerful as Lucifer within the body of Nicholas Scratch. It’s a very exciting character to play with that new addition. I’m really excited to see how it continues to develop, and I’m looking forward to doing what I can to bring it to life.
CDM: It was a really sacrificial and selfless thing that Nick did in that final episode - did you feel proud of your character in that moment?
GAVIN: I think he knew he had to do something. He knew that he’d fucked up in a large way by deceiving Sabrina for a bit. His gesture in that moment was so obvious to him, and I’m glad that he was able to sort of redeem himself in that moment - or else he would still be on Sabrina’s shit list. <laughs>
CDM: Are you excited to get rescued from hell? You’ve said that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa has said they’re going to come get you in the first episode?
GAVIN: Yeah! Let’s hope so, right? I think that with the formation of the Fright Club, and them at the very end of fight club having that mission… I don’t think Nick is sitting on any beaches drinking Mai Tais in hell. I don’t know if people should trust Madam Satan when she says, “I’ll take care of the boy, don’t worry about him," you know? It’s probably due time for Nick to get out of there.
CDM: It’s also really interesting, someone mentioned on Reddit that you and the Dark Lord had been foreshadowed in the scene where Sabrina's Aunt Zelda is directing choir practice, Nick sings the line in 'Do-Re-Mi', “Me, a name I call myself," which points to the idea of yourself as a persona, and 'Old Nick' and 'Mr Scratch' are traditionally alternative names for the devil. Were those things that you were aware of at all?
GAVIN: Yeah! They definitely crossed my mind, there were fan theories early on as well that stated that my character was, in fact, the devil. So it was something that I definitely wanted to honour and play with. I liked having that as an extra layer of who this character could possibly be. I didn’t know exactly how it would pan out with the speculation of him being the devil or not, or how they were going to mesh, but in the way that the writing continued to develop, I think that they did a really good job with bringing our characters together in a way that wasn’t too on the nose. It was able to show that there was a bond or a relationship between Nick Scratch and the devil.
CDM: It was so heartbreaking in the finale to see Nick reveal his betrayal of Sabrina! At what point did you find out about it when filming Part 2? Was it a surprise to you?
GAVIN: There was a subtle hint dropped to me on the first episode I worked on actually. It was Episode Four, and it was the scene where I give Sabrina her father’s journal. I remember Rob Seidenglanz was directing this episode, he’s one of the producers as well, Rob’s awesome, and I did a couple of takes where I just sort of watched her leave [after giving her the journal] and then Rob said, “On this next take, just take a moment to take in the Baphomet statue, and kind of just glance up at him.” As an actor you want to know why you do anything, ever, so I asked him like, “Yeah I’ll try that for sure, but why am I glancing up at the statue?” And he’s like, “Because there might be something more at play here than just a friend helping a friend.” So that was the subtle hint dropped for me where it was like like, ‘Oh, what are Nick Scratch’s intentions? Is he sort of in communion with a much darker force? What’s going on here?’ So it kind of occurred to me around then that something more was at play.
CDM: In this latest season, the trust between Sabrina and Nick is such a fundamental issue. Do you think that in any relationship or friendship, trust is one of the most important things?
GAVIN: 100%, yeah for sure. I think friendship is a lot of things, and it certainly is a lot of trust and having that open honest communication. Trust plays a huge role in that in every relationship.
[Leather Jacket by Aldo. Turtleneck Sweater, Stylist’s own.]
CDM: Throughout the season, Nick kind of learns what love is through Sabrina - even when he wanted to go to the Valentine’s Day dance at her high school. By the end of the season, do you think Nick has a better understanding of love?
GAVIN: I definitely know that he caught glimpses of what it feels like. At that moment when it’s so clear to sacrifice himself too, he kind of gets this wrong sense of unconditional love where like, ‘This is a moment where I can save not just Sabrina, but all these other people too.’ I think throughout that part you really see what it means to love one another - that’s something Nick never knew, he was constantly driven by lust, that was the most common thing in the witch world. Seeing how much Sabrina cared for Harvey and how much love was there, Nick’s jealousy at first for the mortal and Sabrina eventually grew into a desire to understand and feel all of that. I think he definitely grows in a big way.
CDM: The show is so forward-thinking and touches on so many modern-day issues - from sexism within the Church of Night, to Theo’s transitioning. Do you think that it's important for the show, despite being set in this fantastical world, to still explore ideas that we can relate to in our everyday lives?
GAVIN: 100%. If you look at our demographic too, we are catering to a young adult scene. Within that time of your life, I think it’s very important to think about these things that are becoming more relevant in our society, and there’s openness and acceptance and non-judgements and standing up for yourself. Our show is absolutely fun, as you said it’s set in a fantastical world and it’s light in moments and really dark in other moments, but I’m very proud to be part of a show that’s also doing its part to speak to these deeper issues that we haven’t quite come to accept as a society on a massive scale.
CDM: Do you think the world would be a better or worse place if magic was real?
GAVIN: Oh man! Depending on who’s wielding it. I think magic is definitely in our world, it sort of stems from the creative mind. Something that humans are blessed with is that they can utilise their creativity and how the brain brings things to life that are nonexistent until we conceive of them. So I think magic is already here and it’s just how we utilise that part of ourselves.
CDM: What's been your favourite memory or anecdote from filming the 'Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina' so far?
GAVIN: Oh man, I’m like a kid on Christmas every time I’m on set. I have so much fun every time I’m there with everyone. I think our last day was really special though when we were all realising that Part One had come out and we had been working on Part Two right after Part One and we had just been seeing the story really develop, and our last day we were shooting the scene at the gates of hell. It was the first time a couple of us had seen that set, it was just so fantastic to see these extravagant gates of hell, it was just a moment of like, ‘Holy shit! We just poured so much into this! We are at the end of it for now.’ It was just a really emotional joy-filled day, where we all took a step back and looked back at what we had done and felt a certain sense of pride and fulfilment in doing what we are doing.
CDM: So I just read your Mum’s blog post about you titled ‘My son is on a billboard in Hollywood,’ and it’s so emotional. She describes your journey as a rollercoaster, and talks about how you tried, and tried, and tried again with acting roles. How does it feel to look back on those times, when you were living with five other people in a three bedroom apartment, struggling to book small roles?
GAVIN: I first of all want to say that I would have no way made it to this point if it had not been for my mum. I have loads of supportive people, but my mum always being the rock in my life, she would hear about every audition and the small successes and the failures. It’s so mind-blowing to me that I’m able to form this career out of something that I really love and had it not been for my mum telling me to continue to chase after that thing that I love, then I wouldn’t be here. I’ve just got loads of gratitude for the support that I’ve had in my life, and for being able to do what I love and I just hope to continue to do it for the rest of my life.
[Sweater by Bally. Pants by Topman. Hat by Brixton.]
CDM: It seems like so many of the cast-members are musical on the show! What’s it like being surrounded by like-minded individuals, especially when you guys are jamming music?
GAVIN: It is so inspiring! Everyone has such different talents that they just are willing to offer and when we’re in this free creative space it’s so fun to see and hear other people’s talents. Ross [Lynch] is so musically inclined and Jaz [Sinclair] can sing beautifully, and Tati [Gabrielle] has an amazing sense of rhythm - everyone just kind of adds something to it and it’s just incredibly inspiring. You learn a lot when you surround yourself with like-minded, creative individuals.
CDM: You’ve talked about reading ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz which talks about personal growth. Have you been reading anything else recently?
GAVIN: I just read ‘Supermarket’, Logic wrote it, it’s a New York Times bestseller, it was kind of a break from more of the personal growth books. My manager referred this book to me and it was an amazing read. But I feel like those kinds of reads, like Don Miguel Ruiz, I just feel like it’s important to keep those words circulating as well. There’s a lot of books that I turn to frequently - ‘A New Earth’ is another amazing read, written by Eckhart Tolle. I think it’s just sort of important work to do, and it lends itself nicely to living a joy-filled life.
CDM: The Sabrina Netflix Instagram made a meme of their five favourite things which were: Conjuration, Demonology, Invocation, Ritual Magic, and you. In reply to that, what are your five favourite things?
GAVIN: What are my favourite things? My guitar is up there for sure. My books. My salt rock. My family is my favourite thing - does that count? It doesn’t have to be a material possession, does it?
CDM: I think that counts.
GAVIN: My family is a big one. And my passport, because it allows me to go to places that I would otherwise not be able to go. <laughs>
PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAREN ISHIGURO
GROOMING BY CAITLIN KRENZ
STYLING BY DOLLY PRATT
STYLING ASSISTANCE BY ERICA MCKAMEY
The ‘Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina' Part 2 is airing now on Netflix - watch the trailer below…