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Jensen Ackles at Vancon: Why Dean Makes Him (and us!) Happy

August 30, 2011

We had the pleasure of catching up with Jensen Ackles at his Q & A at the Vancouver Supernatural convention yesterday. The convention was one of the best we’ve attended, both fans and guests comfortable enough with each other to kick back and let loose. More on that in our next blog post, including the wild and crazy karaoke, which we couldn’t bear to leave before it was officially over, even though we’d had about an hour of sleep the night before. It was worth it!

The small group of fans at the Q & A was more laid back than usual too – in fact, when Jensen came in and said “What’s new?” he had to prod us into giving him a bit of a run down of what had been happening at the con, and then invite questions with a sincere “I’m at your disposal.”

Never one to turn down such an invitation, we asked how Jensen’s perception of fans had changed since we first interviewed him for our book back in December of 2008. At that time, we talked at length about fans’ perception of Jensen and his view of fans, and how those expectations don’t always reflect reality on either side. Had his perception changed over the past almost three years, and was anything about that evolution surprising?

Jensen: I think just the relationships that have formed. I come here now and it’s like “Hey, good to see you again”, there are all these familiar faces – and that wasn’t something I necessarily expected, and it’s a very happy result of this. On a lot of movies or shows, you don’t get this kind of consistent interaction. So I think the fact that I get to see all you people five or six times a year is a really unique thing. I think with that comes a degree of comfort.

It seemed Jensen was reading our minds, since we’d just been writing about the uniquely reciprocal relationship between fans and the creative side of Supernatural. When we think back to the first conventions in 2007, neither side was particularly comfortable. Fans were nervous; so were actors. No one knew quite where the boundaries were, and both sides worried about inadvertently crossing them. The level of comfort and familiarity now is striking – apparently both to us and to Jensen.

Some of our fellow fans came up to Vancouver early and trekked out to a location filming earlier this week. They stood for two entire days watching the boys and the Impala and some pretty exciting guest stars whose names we won’t divulge for the spoiler-phobes out there. At the end of the second day, director Phil Sgriccia said to the cast and crew, “Let’s turn the cameras on the fans!” And that’s exactly what they did, incorporating the real fandom right into the gag reel. The cast and crew applauded the fans; fans applauded back. Reciprocal relationship? Sure sounds like it.

The Q & A went on with a question that was right up Jensen’s alley: What are your favorite old western movies?

Jensen said he liked Hang ‘Em High and Appaloosa, because of the two main characters. One of his favorites is Once Upon a Time In the West, especially the scene where Charles Bronson is cornered by three horsemen. A train comes by and stops, and nobody gets off, and then when it moves off screen, there’s Bronson, and three guys on horses who’ve come to get him.

Horseman: “Looks like we didn’t bring you a horse.”

Bronson – okay, Jensen, doing his best Charles Bronson: “Looks like you brought two too many” – and then he’s like Boom Boom Boom! And it’s awesome.

The impromptu rendition certainly was!

While Jensen took a quick break for eyedrops (“Don’t want you to think I’m doing drugs….”), a fan said “This is a random question….”

There was a time when such an ominous preface would have made a guest look nervous, but Jensen gestured her on.

Fan: Why are you carrying an offensive weapon in your pocket?

(It should be noted that this is only a random question if you didn’t see Jensen suddenly whip out a rather substantial pocket knife in the middle of the breakfast stage appearance with Jared that morning, to the surprise of the audience. It was a bit like watching Jensen morph into a very badass Dean unexpectedly. Frankly, we weren’t complaining.)

Jensen explained that his granddad and his dad always carried a pocket knife, and that as a kid he had fond memories of looking up at his granddad at holidays and Christmas, and his granddad would hand the knife down to Jensen to open boxes, so he started carrying a Swiss army knife too. “A man always has a knife on him,” his granddad would say. Alas, airline regulations forced Jensen to give up on carrying Swiss army knives in his pocket when he started flying so much — so he just started stashing them everywhere instead — in LA, in Dallas, in Vancouver.

Jensen *grin*: And they got a little bigger….

Fans: *grin back*

Jensen: In fact, this one’s similar to the one that Dean carries on the show – it’s the same brand, a Kershaw. It’s a guy thing, Clif has one, Jared has one, and it’s not really for protection, but you’d be surprised how useful they can be. You know, I use it to open things . . .

Fans: *nodding far too seriously*

Jensen: . . . to get things out of my teeth . . .

The next question, though, actually was more serious. A fan asked what he was proud of, when he thought about his second time directing an episode of SPN.

Jensen: I was proud of – and this might sound weird – of my time management.

He explained that he had managed to get a few shooting days finished in under 12 hours, which for a television show is a rarity. As he has so many times before, Jensen talked about the significant influence that Kim Manners has had in his life, including his directing. The reverence with which Jensen and everyone else on the show speak about Kim never fails to bring tears to our eyes.

Jensen: Kim always said, if a director comes on and they shoot from every angle, they’re not directing – they’re guessing. They’re just hoping they get what they need. Kim knew every shot he cut together in his head. A camera operator or someone would sometimes say, “Do you wannna just take this shot tight now?” and Kim would go, “No – they’d be expecting that.” He was always prepared, and he inspired me to be prepared, to do my homework. If a shoot goes over, it costs the studio money, and studios don’t like to lose money.

Apparently WB exec Peter Roth phoned after Jensen’s second directorial stint, saying he was just calling to pat him on the back. Not too shabby!

So, speaking of directing…

Fan: Which will you focus on then, directing or acting?

Jensen: (without skipping a beat): Acting.

Another fan, overcome with curiosity: Because??

Jensen: Because I’m still new at it, I still get the jitters. And I have a crew who I know and trust thoroughly that surrounds me, they’ll do anything they can to help me, and that’s rare. If I was asked to direct an episode of Fringe, I’d freak. But if they asked me to guest star, I’d be like “Sweet!”

It’s clear that Ackles prefers the creative side.

Jensen: With actors, there’s a unique sensation, when a director calls “action,” it’s like in the movie For the Love of the Game, when the crowd just goes quiet, and it’s like, ‘clear the mechanism.’ I’m not thinking about anything else, just working with the other actor and being in the moment. And it’s really cool, I enjoy it. So I guess it’s good I do what I do for a living.

Fans: Agreed!

When asked if he’d thought about producing, Jensen said he didn’t have much desire to be a “situational problem solver,” that he loves the creative problem solving side instead. Like how can we tell this story the best way we can? How can we compose this shot? How do I motivate this actor to get him over there, in a way that makes sense to the audience? He added that Jared actually was much more of a technical problem solver, and would probably be a great producer.

As most fans know, Jensen struggled with his character’s storyline on Season 6, and came close to succumbing to burnout in the first half of the Sam-centric but Dean-heavy storyline. So when a fan asked what his favorite scene in S6 was, he groaned and said, “I just knew I was gonna get asked about Season 6!” He reiterated his struggle with the first half of the season, when the story was about Sam, without much real exploration of Dean’s character, yet told from Dean’s perspective, so Jensen was always working.

Jensen: So when Sam finally got his soul back? THAT was my favorite episode. I could get back to being Dean, with Sam and Dean.

Fans seemed to concur. And hey, that was one epic hug – almost worth waiting all that time for!

One of the more interesting questions was about how easy it is after seven seasons to “put Dean on in the morning and take him off at night”. Is it harder after all this time to let the character go?

Jensen: Actually it’s easier, which might be surprising. The longer I’ve played Dean, the more of a character he’s become. When I look at Season 1 and 2, I can see Jensen being Dean, whereas now when I watch Season 5 or 6, it’s just Dean. That toggle switch has become very easy to use.

Fan: Do you ever find yourself thinking oh, that thing I did just seemed like Dean?

Jensen (laughing): No, but Danneel does. She’ll say “You sounded just like Dean just then,” and I’ll be like, “Did I?” So it might be a bit of an unconscious thing. If I had to play an awful character, it might be different – but I like Dean as a character. I love playing him. I get to explore emotions with him, and humor with him. Dean makes me happy – so if I have to be him all day, it doesn’t change me.

Fans: Dean makes us happy too!

Ackles also gave us some insight into the mini backpack cameras they now use to get difficult shots, noting that before they had them, photographer Brad was sometimes crouching in the trunk of the impala with a full film camera, shooting up at Jensen and Jared. (This is not a crew who isn’t willing to do what it takes to get the job done, that’s for sure.) Jensen used some of the backpack camera shots for the episode he just directed.

Shortest Q & A exchange of the afternoon:

Fan: Will you sing again?

Jensen: No. Only on my couch.

Entire room: (silently) WAHHH!

Another interesting question was about the fight scenes that Ackles has had with his costar. Is it difficult to have such violent fight scenes with a good friend, like the one at the end of “Swan Song”?

Jensen: No, I prefer to have fight scenes with Jared, because I know he’s so good at it. He and I have been doing this so long, and this is gonna sound (like we’re) gay, but it’s like a dance partner, if you dance with that partner long enough you just know how to go along with their moves, and it’s kinda the same stage fighting with him. He sets himself this way, I’m prepared to take the hit this way, so it’s really more a dance. We prefer to work with each other because it’s so easy between the two of us.

Fans: Awwww

Jensen then increased the ‘awww’ factor by sharing that he got a call from his brother after the scene where “Jared was beating the piss outta me” aired.

Jensen: My brother called and was like, I’ve never gotten emotional with your show, and I was like, “Were you crying?” and he said no, I wanted to jump in the tv and help you. And I was like, “Okay, now I’m crying!”

Fans: *sniffle*

Jensen: And it’s a testament to Jared and how good he is.

Fans: Even MORE ‘awwww’

Jensen shared an amusing story from the meta episode, “The French Mistake”, saying he was glad he didn’t actually have to play himself, but could stay in character as Dean being mistaken for Jensen. When he saw the set trailer, he was like, “I want a trailer like this!” Then he spotted the helicopter, and was just reaching out to touch it when he was unceremoniously slapped on the hand and given strict instructions not to touch the $10,000 “toy”. We’re not sure he’s entirely over it yet.

The last question of the afternoon was, fittingly, about Jensen’s future plans. Any movies?

He answered no, but added that the desire was there, and that while he felt it was a bit weird to say it out loud, some film producers were aware of him. He had a meeting with Michael Bay’s company, and was assuming that of course he’d have to explain to them who the hell he was. Instead, when he walked in they all said “Hey congratulations, we love your show!”

Fans: Obviously producers with good taste.

So when Supernatural does end (which won’t be for a very long time….right??) there are people who are interested. As Supernatural and film producer McGee told Jensen, “You keep riding that wave, and as soon as it dissipates, I’ve got your back.”

Jensen: Hopefully it’s not just a bunch of industry bullshit.

Seems like the new CW president is actually a fan of the show and knows who its actors are, in stark contrast to the previous regime, so that bodes well. There are no guarantees, of course, but everyone seems to be anticipating a Season 8 – or at least hoping for it.

As Max the always empathic Creation volunteer had the thankless task of calling time on the Q & A, Jensen turned back to the room on his way out, and added a few thoughts of his own, with obvious emotion.

Jensen: I know I probably don’t say it enough, but it’s getting this kind of passionate feedback from people who are really interested in the Show and what we do . . . It’s very gratifying, and really means a lot. So thank you.

Supernatural and its fans: Reciprocal relationship? We think so. In fact, we’ve written two whole books about it. And we’re ridiculously excited to announce that our first book on Supernatural and its fans, Stalking Fandom, will be published in early 2012.

Stalking Fandom is all about the reciprocal relationship Jensen referred to – so we talked to both sides. Many of you have contributed your fannish insights and passionate feedback, and Supernatural’s showrunners and writers and actors have contributed their thoughtful insights about what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence. We hope you guys will find the view from both sides as interesting as we have — and enjoy the incredible photographs of Jared, Jensen and the rest of the gang as much as we do. Let us know!

More from Vancon to come…..

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90 Comments leave one →
  1. Erica permalink
    August 30, 2011 6:31 pm

    What a fantastically long write-up! I just love reading and devouring these when they’re posted. I never get tired of reading how kind, generous, sweet, etc all the people associated with this show are.

    I really don’t know what else to say! I know other commenters will say it far better than I can. It boils down to this: Thank you so much for sharing! I hate how many years it’s been since I was able to go to a con so I always appreciate the wonderful details you ladies give us. Looking forward to reading about that karaoke party!

    And…release date…YAY! But wait. That book isn’t called “Fangasm” so is this a different book? I’m confused…but VERY excited. I can’t wait to preorder that thing. *happy dance*

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:04 pm

      Stalking Fandom is our first book on Supernatural and its fandom — it’s all about the reciprocal relationship between fans and the creative side of SPN (that Jensen was also talking about). We talked to more Supernatural fans than we could hope to count, and interviewed just about everyone who makes the Show – Jared, Jensen, Misha, Jim, Eric, Sera, etc — then added some academic theory and our own take on how the relationship has developed over the years and where it’s taken all of us. Plus, it’s got gorgeous photos of the boys and the fans taken by the talented photographers we were lucky enough to work with. (Obviously photography isn’t on our list of skills, as you can see…..) Fangasm is in a sense the behind the scenes book about the four year roadtrip we took to write Stalking Fandom, and our (mis)adventures at cons, in green rooms, on the SPN set, and all over the world. Hopefully it’s next up to be published!

      • Erica permalink
        September 2, 2011 8:43 pm

        Sounds like it will be a great book! I’ve been super-excited for Fangasm since I love behind the scenes type things. But gotta say that description you just gave has me quite excited for Stalking Fandom too. It sounds fantastic! I can’t wait for a firm date for it so I can start a countdown.

  2. borgmama1of5 permalink
    August 30, 2011 7:05 pm

    What a wonderful write-up–you make it *almost* as good as being there in person…sigh :)

    And be sure to keep us notified when the book comes out, I want to be one of the first to read it!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:06 pm

      Deal! We’ll be keeping you posted here on publication dates, and have you at the front of the line :) So glad you enjoyed the write-up here — thank you!

  3. geordiegirl1967 permalink
    August 30, 2011 7:36 pm

    Great report. I have heard some question Jensen’s enthusiasm for s7, but I have seen no evidence of it and this report confirms his continuing commitment and enjoyment.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:07 pm

      Both boys seem very enthusiastic about S7 — in fact, the entire cast and crew seem raring to go, so yay!

  4. August 30, 2011 8:20 pm

    Thank you so much! If I can’t attend a convention it’s almost like letting them down.
    If Jensen wants to sing on his couch, I have no problem finding a mover to get it and put it on a stage ;) and yes, I still hope he reconsiders singing for us again!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:08 pm

      Hahaha, I love your couch transport idea — makes sense to me! Glad you enjoyed the report, and we join you in hoping Jensen reconsiders singing again. We did get a chance to tell him how much fans enjoyed both his jam sessions, so….. fingers crossed!

  5. Hannah permalink
    August 30, 2011 8:30 pm

    Another great report.. This is so good that I felt I was there. Thanks for posting it.
    And it’s good to see and hear new interesting questions, it sounded like a perfect Q & A meeting.
    Awwww, the part that Jensen talked about his bro calling him about the fight scene was awesome!
    And it’s relieving to know bigger companies know about Jensen, I really hope to see him in bigger projects, God knows he deserve it!
    Thanks again. :)

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:09 pm

      You’re very welcome – that’s our goal, to bring as many fans as we can ‘along with us.’ We’re always impressed with the excellent questions that fans bring to the Q & As, and it seems Jensen is impressed too. :)

  6. Amber permalink
    August 30, 2011 8:39 pm

    Thanks for such a detailed full report, a pleasure to read as always!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:10 pm

      You’re very welcome — thank YOU for reading!

  7. Jena permalink
    August 30, 2011 8:46 pm

    Thank you for this lovely interview with such a lovely man.

    “As most fans know, Jensen struggled with his character’s storyline on Season 6, and came close to succumbing to burnout in the first half of the Sam-centric but Dean-heavy storyline. So when a fan asked what his favorite scene in S6 was, he groaned and said, “I just knew I was gonna get asked about Season 6!” He reiterated his struggle with the first half of the season, when the story was about Sam, without much real exploration of Dean’s character, yet told from Dean’s perspective, so Jensen was always working.”

    He is so very diplomatic, too.This is a perfect statement of the first two thirds of S6, IMO. Here’s to hoping that if Jensen has to work this hard in S7, it will be to benefit a storyline for his own character(and many of that character’s fans, too!) a little more.

    “Fan: Do you ever find yourself thinking oh, that thing I did just seemed like Dean?

    Jensen (laughing): No, but Danneel does. She’ll say “You sounded just like Dean just then,” and I’ll be like, “Did I?” So it might be a bit of an unconscious thing. If I had to play an awful character, it might be different – but I like Dean as a character. I love playing him. I get to explore emotions with him, and humor with him. Dean makes me happy – so if I have to be him all day, it doesn’t change me.”

    I just love this question and answer because I’ve always known that there’s a little bit of a latent Dean in Jensen, no matter what he says. *winks* And so sad to hear that won’t be singing anymore, but perhaps we can get one of his singing buddies to help us encourage him again…
    Thanks again for this great report!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:11 pm

      You’re very welcome for the report, it’s our pleasure! Both Jared and Jensen are so articulate, which makes Q & As and interviews with them fascinating. And Jensen pulling out that knife? SO Dean :)

  8. candygramme permalink
    August 30, 2011 8:51 pm

    Thank you for the write up, ladies. I really think we have to begin to think of ways we can bribe, beg or coerce Jensen into singing again for us, because he blew me away with that one Jam Session I attended, both by his talent and his song choices. I think he’s amazing and really REALLY want to see him play again.

    And also I love hearing about how Jensen creates his characters. I’m glad he likes Dean as a person, and that he enjoys playing him, but I do want to see other characters he creates, and am so glad that McGee seems to think he has a future after Supernatural. I know I’ll be watching him in whatever he does.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:12 pm

      Obviously McG has an excellent understanding of talent :) So agreed on the need for another jam session too — maybe if we keep begging…. err…..asking….

  9. Amy permalink
    August 30, 2011 9:18 pm

    As always, thanks for being my eyes and ears when I can’t be there in person. Your report really made me feel like I was a fly on the wall during that Q&A. Thanks again and a big congrats on the publication of your book next fall- that’s just wonderful news!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:13 pm

      Thank you!! We can’t wait for Stalking Fandom to come out, and hope that Fangasm will be close on its heels. It’s been a fun four years of research, but time to share all that fun with the rest of fandom!

  10. August 30, 2011 9:27 pm

    Great report! I didn’t even know you were at the Con! I would have loved to tell you in person how much I love this site and your writing. I’m really looking forward to the book. :)

    Jensen is a sweetheart. I’m glad that the film industry is noticing his talent.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:14 pm

      We keep saying we need to wear Fangasm tee shirts so we can say hi in person. Maybe next con….. Thanks so much for your lovely comment, and we totally agree about Jensen :)

  11. magichappening permalink
    August 30, 2011 9:40 pm

    Thank you guys, as always, for sharing this experience. As I think someone else said above, it really is the next best thing to being there. The whole convention sounded like it was rather epic, it has to be said. I really do wish I had money sometimes! Perhaps I should sell a sibling or rob a stage coach/hedge fund or something….hmmm…decisions, decisions…

    I am always so interested to get a peek behind the curtain and stories like the Swan Song one, his grandfather, Dean in his real life and how he is so willing to share as he grows as a director just add to why I do so like this guy! He seems like a genuinely good-hearted, (occasional bouts of water fowl-related violence notwithstanding), hard-working human being, who is willing to make mistakes and challenge himself. He loves his job and I admire how he treats his fans and the respect he has for his colleagues like Jared and Kim (RIP).

    I am glad to know that people like McG and film companies have their eye on him for post-Supernatural work. Although I shall miss Dean Winchester terribly when the series comes to an end, I can’t wait to see what Jensen does next. Supernatural now, and everything else Jensen does after. Win-win situation :)

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:16 pm

      (still laughing at the ‘occasional bouts of waterfowl-related violence’ comment….) This con was indeed rather epic, and we completely agree with you about Jensen. How lucky to get guys like the J’s to play the characters we love — win win indeed!

  12. karla permalink
    August 30, 2011 10:59 pm

    thanks, awesome recap as always. cant wait for your book! ^_^

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:17 pm

      Thanks Karla, so glad you enjoyed — we can’t wait for you all to read it and let us know your thoughts!

  13. hermit permalink
    August 31, 2011 12:53 am

    Thanks for this great inteview with Jensen and Jensen talking about Dean. Jensen makes Dean the character he is and Dean Winchester will always be an icon.

    Add me to those who hope that Dean will have his own storyline in season 7, it sure would is a long time in coming for many of us Dean loving fans.

    • Sarah T permalink
      August 31, 2011 9:04 am

      oh here she is moaning in ever medium good to see you again hermit even though Dean having his au life was the biggest storyline to the start of the season and soulless sam meant us sam scenes didn’t have the character we love for almost a half a season it still needs to be ALL about Dean for you. For the LOVE of god. He’s been the storyline owner of most of the seasons.It’s Sam fans who are left as background a lot of the time.

      Please leave your whining out of a lovely piece of writing, Jensen doesn’t feel hard done by nor should he the amount of whining and attention Dean fans warble on for constantly, he certainly doesn’t need ypu hear giving them all a bad name. Seriously.

      • August 31, 2011 3:56 pm

        Sarah T, you’re extremely rude. And completely wrong.

      • spnfans permalink*
        September 1, 2011 3:19 pm

        Sincerely hoping that S7 will bring a bit of what all SPN fans are wishing for — we don’t envy the writing team in trying to please everyone though!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:18 pm

      You’re very welcome, so glad you enjoyed the report – and here’s hoping everyone will have more of what warms their fannish heart in S7!

  14. August 31, 2011 1:44 am

    Thank you ever so much for this, and yay to finally having a publication date for one of the books on “Supernatural” fandom! Tell me as soon as I can pre-order it, please, because I want it the moment it appears!

    At the risk of sounding like a fangirl, I love Jensen and Jared, and this article just demonstrates why in spades. I hope “Supernatural” continues for as long as Jensen and Jared are happy doing it and the writers are inspired by it, and I look forward to seeing what all of them do in their careers afterward! Here’s hoping Jensen and Jared team up a lot, including for at least one epic Western!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:20 pm

      Own it, Mary! Sound like a fangirl!!! Absolutely we will let you know the second we have a publication date and amazon pre-order info. We too are looking forward to SPN having a long and happy and inspired run — and oh hell yes, at least one epic Western!

  15. August 31, 2011 1:55 am

    Excellent article! Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:21 pm

      Thank YOU for reading and commenting — our pleasure to share :)

  16. August 31, 2011 2:16 am

    Just wanted to say, lovely interview with Jensen. Loved the questions asked by you and the fans present at the O&A. And I look forward to reading your book when it is released :-)

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:22 pm

      Thanks, Ebony — we can’t wait to hear your thoughts about the book when it comes out! We are continually impressed by the thoughtful questions fans ask – and the thoughtful way the actors answer. :)

  17. Corinne (sn_chills) permalink
    August 31, 2011 2:23 am

    Since its unlikely that I will ever get to an actual Con I live vicariously through these types of interviews. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!. Looking forward to when your book comes out.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:22 pm

      Thank YOU Corinne, we can’t wait to hear what you think of our book(s) — and are so very glad you’re enjoying our reports til then :)

  18. idanceinthedark permalink
    August 31, 2011 2:42 am

    What a lovely insight to Jensen’s perspective. I love how they’re always complementing each other on their acting. I say that because even in print, you just know that Jensen was saying those things about Jared and Kim with the utmost sincerity. And that shows us a lot about who he is as a person. He seems so genuine and honestly cares what fans think.

    For example, (and I appreciate that you called it ‘Sam-centric but a Dean-heavy storyline’ because that’s exactly what it was) he expresses his dissatisfaction with season 6. I think him and Jared and Misha were all dissatisfied with season 6. BUT at the same time, he’s respectful about it. Most actors wouldn’t be as respectful, you know? Like I mentioned earlier, it shows that he is a kind, genuine person.

    I do not, however, enjoy his flippant use of the term “gay.” I don’t care if you are from Texas, that was uncalled for Mr. Ackles. Plenty of other adjectives you could have used there, sir.

    (Don’t come at me all defensive, Jensen stans, there’s NEVER an excuse to use that word as a negative adjective.)

    • spnfans permalink*
      August 31, 2011 2:49 pm

      Important clarification — as I said above to another poster, we want to make it crystal clear that he was not using the word gay as a synonym for anything negative, he was actually using it in its literal sense as a clarification. As someone who actively works against the casual use of the word as a negative and hurtful adjective, it’s very important to me that this be clear — and in fact we struggled with how to make it clear in this article. I appreciate more than I can say that you let us know it didn’t come through clearly so we could have the opportunity to clarify. We are in complete agreement with you that there is never an excuse to use the word gay as a negative adjective, and can assure you that’s not what was meant here. Jensen was clarifying that what he was about to say would sound as if he and Jared were in fact gay — no negative or positive connotations attached, just a fact — and that he wasn’t saying that exactly. He was not using the word as a negative adjective. Please let us know if this response makes this clear, it’s very important to us that the distinction be made. Putting something in print sometimes makes this difficult. Blame the writer, not the speaker! Thank you again for your comment — and your work in changing some of the hurtful language out there :)

      • JAM permalink
        August 31, 2011 4:29 pm

        I love Jensen and don’t think he was trying to be offensive, but even if he said it exactly the way you claim, it was still an unnecessary use of the word. It’s sad that Jensen feels he needs to clarify something like that when he’s simply talking about his professional interaction with his co-star. I wouldn’t have even considered the example he used to be “gay” if he hadn’t already brought it up in order to dispute it.

        Otherwise, this is a lovely article about a great actor.

  19. Joanne Ortiz permalink
    August 31, 2011 2:45 am

    This is such an AWESOME blog, thank you for sharing the insights of what goes on in these Q&A with Jensen…I attended last years JIBCON but didn’t get to participate in one..is very nice to know Jensen’s view about his character on the show and the fans. Thank you.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:24 pm

      Thank you so much, Joanne, we’re thrilled you’re enjoying our blog posts — and we totally agree, it’s fascinating to hear the view from the ‘other side of the fence’.

  20. kenia permalink
    August 31, 2011 2:50 am

    Oh my God! This report is just P.E.R.F.E.C.T. Congratulations! :D

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:25 pm

      Thank you, that makes our day to hear that!! Very glad you enjoyed :)

  21. August 31, 2011 3:38 am

    This is just amazing. I’m going to ChiCon and it’s my intention, come hell or highwater to do the Jensen Q&A, if it happens (it must happen)! This just made me even more determined. As usual, a wonderful write-up with balanced love and commentary! Thank you so much for sharing and I can’t wait to read the book!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:25 pm

      We can’t wait for you to read the book either, Amy — and to hear your thoughts when you do! Perhaps we’ll see you at the ChiCon Q&A if we all end up there?

  22. Fetish permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:45 am

    Jensen is a wonderful man and an incredible actor, director and singer. And he makes Dean shine in every single episode! We are truely and completely blessed to have him on our show! Thank YOU, Jensen for all that you do! <3

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:26 pm

      We couldn’t agree more — well said, Fetish :)

  23. write_light permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:50 am

    “I’m at your disposal.” I’m going to keep replaying that in my mind. ;)

    Also, I totally believe McG would say that and mean it. If not him, someone else. You build up goodwill, it comes back to you.

    The duck incident now makes so much more sense, after learning of the Knife at Breakfast.

    Thanks for this! THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE PUBLISHED LIKE YESTERDAY.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:28 pm

      To anyone who didn’t already know the Knife at Breakfast story, the Duck Incident must have been bizarre and unexpected, to say the least! Also, we agree with you wholeheartedly — this books needs to be published like yesterday! Coming soon tho :)

      And yes, just keep replaying that phrase….. ;)

  24. write_light permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:52 am

    “I’m at your disposal.” I’m going to keep replaying that in my mind. ;)

    I totally believe McG would say that and mean it. And if not him, someone else (like the story he told about the GH actress). When you build up that much goodwill, it comes back to you.

    Also, the Duck Incident makes so much more sense now – the Knife was a bit of a surprise. :D

  25. xwacky permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:59 am

    Thank you for sharing another wonderful experience and insight.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:28 pm

      You’re welcome — thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, we really appreciate it!

  26. SPNOnMyMind permalink
    August 31, 2011 4:46 am

    Please don’t get me wrong, I adore Jensen and I know he doesn’t mean to be disrespectful but when he says things like “this is gonna sound really gay” (like he did in this article) or “this is the gayest thing I’ve ever…” (which I heard him say in a con video once) it surprised and saddened me. Now don’t everyone get their feathers all ruffled here– I’m not saying he has anything against gay people, but unfortunately, when he says phrases like this, it makes him SOUND like he does, and I wouldn’t want anyone to get the wrong impression of him–and I’m sure he wouldn’t want that either. It would be nice, IMO, if someone would kindly enlightening him to this, cause I’m sure he isn’t aware that using the word “gay” in this way could be offensive to some people. I understand if some of you don’t agree with me or think I’m being overly-sensitive. That’s cool. I just wanted to add my 2 cents –for what it’s worth. :) (Goes to hide under my desk)

    Anyhoo, on a less serious note, I really did enjoy the article, especially when he was talking about his brother getting emotional about watching Swan Song. :)

    • spnfans permalink*
      August 31, 2011 2:40 pm

      I was so afraid the use of the word gay here might sound like that, and we actually struggled with how to make it clear that he was NOT using it in a disparaging way — he actually meant that what he was about to say would sound as though he and Jared were in fact gay, in a literal use of the word, and he was clarifying that he wasn’t saying exactly that — he was not making any negative comment at all. His comment was in no way a use of the word as disparaging or negative. As someone who actively works against the casual use of the word gay as a synonym for something negative, I want to make it very clear that’s not what was being said here at all. It’s difficult to convey the difference in print, so please accept my clarification and assurance that he was not tossing the word around in that offensive way. And you’re not being overly sensitive at all, we think it’s an important clarification to make and are grateful you let us know that it might have come across that way. Blame the writing, not the speaker!

  27. shaz permalink
    August 31, 2011 7:57 am

    Fantastic report, thank you so much. I adore Jensen (and Jared of course) and am really pleased at the questions asked at this Q&A and the answers he gives. I’m always impressed by how much both he and Jared are willing to share with this fandom, they seem like such great guys and long may they both reign! Also, I would be super happy to see Jensen on big screen, or even to continue on the smallscreen. He is such a talented actor, and though he did an awesome job directing and no doubt will do so again with 7×03, it would be a shame to see him hidden behind a camera instead of in front it. Unless that’s what he wants of course. Again, thanks for this. Loving your work.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:29 pm

      Thank you so much, we’re thrilled that you’re enjoying our blog and hope you’ll enjoy our books too! We feel pretty lucky to have fallen for a show that has such genuinely wonderful people involved in the making of it :)

  28. TyGuy permalink
    August 31, 2011 9:09 am

    I hope that doesn’t mean season 7 will be all about Dean, on offence but season 6 was like Jensen said all from Dean’s perspective mostly, they need to even it up and have some of what’s going on in Sam’s head out now. Especially since we’ve been waiting to see the fallout from hell for a year. Sam’s only been back for half the season so us Sam fans need to see that explored.

    I’d also like to see something good and meaty for Dean but i don’t need this big epic story arc for Sam or Dean just them both dealing with things in a balanced and truly Winchester way.

    I have to say i get sick of the Dean fans moaning. Sam fans had a massively hard season in four, with him turning evil, five with him being blamed for everything when it was clearly everyone’s faul the apocalypse and six with him being a totally different character ie Robo Sam. We haven’t had Sam as we know him for a while now and we don’t ,moan in every artile written about Jared that he is being hard done by so i wish people didn’t do the same.

    Great piece on Jensen. I’m not a big fan of his singing so not to upset about that but he’s a lovely guy and his acting is great and I hope we never have to hear the end of either of our boys. They have way too much talent.

    Well written article.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:30 pm

      Thank you! Let’s hope S7 brings something for everyone — in, as you say, a ‘balanced and truly Winchester way’. Sounds good to me!! :)

  29. August 31, 2011 12:22 pm

    Thank you for such a wonderful report on a wonderful and talented man. I always love reading your reports.

    I am saddened to hear that Jensen won’t be singing anymore, that was truly the highlight of the Nashville convention for me. I think he has a great voice and I thoroughly enjoyed the jam session with Steve Carlson.

    I have to commend you and Jensen for how you described Season 6, I thought it was a very honest and objective view: even though Dean had a lot of screentime, it was Sam-centric, and I agree there wasn’t any real exploration of Dean. I think the possibility was there, but the execution in writing and storytelling was just bad and it wasn’t a story the writers seemed to really want to tell, so it looks to me like it got short-shafted. So, I hope for more for Dean, for a real individual arc for Season 7. Unfortunately, nothing we’ve heard so far makes it sound like that will happen. But, I have faith in Jensen, I know he loves playing Dean, that he understands Dean, and he will portray Dean to the best of his ability, no matter what the writing is like. Though, I hope he doesn’t have to work as hard against the writing like he did in Season 6.

    Thank you again for a great report!

    I love the stories Jensen tells with regard to his family, both biological (knife story and his grandfather) and not (Kim Manners).

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:34 pm

      You really hit the nail on the head there — Jensen speaks with so much genuine emotion about his biological father and grandfather and the father figure he and Jared both found in Kim. It never fails to make my eyes literally water to hear him talk about what he learned, not just in a practical sense, but in a how-to-live-your-life sense, from Kim. Here’s hoping S7 brings some of that emotional resonance to the screen for Sam and Dean as well.

  30. natalie permalink
    August 31, 2011 1:03 pm

    Thanks for this detailed near-transcript! Next best thing to actually having been able to go to the con. i appreciate your asking questions and eliciting answers I haven’t heard before – it lets a reader get a fuller sense of the human being who plays the part.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:35 pm

      You’re very welcome! We’re always impressed with all the great questions, and the candor and thoughtfulness with which the actors answer.

  31. August 31, 2011 1:34 pm

    Thank you for your report. I am so proud and happy to be a Jensen Ackles and Supernatural’s fan . It’s amazing how he sounds like a great guy, a talented actor and a very nice and kind man. And I would love one day to talk with him ..

    But that’s alright c’mon, I’m from Brazil and would like to know if your book will be available for purchase anywhere in the world. I really want to get a copy.

    Thank you. Brazilian hugs….

    • Dezza permalink
      August 31, 2011 5:06 pm

      Hi! Pollly and I agree with you. I also would very much like to get this book, it seems really very interesting. : D Brazilian Fan.

      • spnfans permalink*
        September 1, 2011 3:38 pm

        We hope you’ll find the book really interesting — we found it fascinating to write! (Almost as interesting as we find the Show itself….) And yes, it will be available to buy in Brazil — we’ll keep you posted!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:36 pm

      Absolutely, Stalking Fandom will be available for purchase anywhere and everywhere — we’ll keep you posted here on when and how to order, and look forward to hearing your thoughts about the book once you’ve had a chance to read it. Fingers crossed that you’ll get to tell Jensen how much you appreciate his work in person one day soon :)

  32. Lídia permalink
    August 31, 2011 1:48 pm

    Thank you so much!

    Jensen is really amazing! I admire him more and more!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:38 pm

      You’re very welcome — and we totally agree with you :)

  33. MCM permalink
    August 31, 2011 3:57 pm

    hi – thank you for your wonderful report, as always. it’s nice reliving the whole experience. :D:D:D

    • MCM permalink
      August 31, 2011 4:00 pm

      clarification — the experience of being at the con; wish i were at this function as well but this is the next best thing to being there. :D

      • spnfans permalink*
        September 1, 2011 3:39 pm

        Hey! It was a treat saying hi in person at the con, and sharing our mutual love of photography ;) Hope to see you again soon!

  34. August 31, 2011 6:11 pm

    This is the first post I’ve ever read on this blog and I’m overwhelmed. I’m almost ready to cry over how awesome this interview is. I only recently started watching Supernatural (up to season 3 now) and I can’t watch the episodes fast enough. This show is so amazing! Again, great write-up! Gotta check out the rest of your site! Cheers!

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:40 pm

      Hi Beckie, welcome to the fandom! We’re thrilled that you’re enjoying our blog (and SPN), and hope you’ll enjoy the book when it’s published as well. Thank you!

  35. P/Just My 2 Cents permalink
    August 31, 2011 6:17 pm

    ‘… even if he said it exactly the way you claim, it was still an unnecessary use of the word.’

    To make matters slightly more light – hearted for a minute, in THIS fandom, I actually understand the need to clarify that :)
    Seriously, though, I think we can all agree that Jensen was not trying to be offensive. I will therefore leave him out of my post. The discussion about language, however, is interesting and close to my heart. A lot of my friends are gay and for a long time I’ve been actively participating in their fight against negative representation of sexual (and not only) minorities in media. We do pay attention to the flippant use of ‘gay’ or ‘lesbian’ (and many other adjective) and thank you posters above for being vigilant, too. It is really appreciated.
    I have to say, however, that the difference between the ‘innocent’ use of ‘gay’ (or legitimate, as in this article) and ‘negative’ is really really difficult to define. Is it better NOT to use gay at all (and reserve it ‘for special’ occasions), be somehow fearful to use it, even with best intentions, thus making the word taboo and stigmatize it or should the word be a normal part of our public discourse? After all, two men dancing usually mean two gay men dancing and I see absolutely nothing wrong in clarifying: I’m not gay, I’m using this (gay) example.
    The problem with this adjective is twofold. It cannot be easily replaced and somehow even the most ‘innocent’ use carries these negative connotations. So we seem to be faced with only two options: use it sparingly and extremely carefully (and never ever jokingly) or not to use it at all. I strongly oppose to both. It should be used, celebrated, it should become a ‘normal’ part of the public discourse and not ‘this’ special word everyone dreads to use. Yes, even describing stereotypes. People think in stereotypes. People perceive world in stereotypes. The key word here is ‘intention.’ Do we really believe the words were meant to be hurtful. I am aware it is not a tangible or even objective criterion. But the problems are never with words. They are always with people’s attitude towards the phenomena the words describe.
    I could go on, and it is a very interesting discussion, indeed. Just wanted to offer my 2 cents. I think there is nothing negative, flippant or offensive in the way Jensen uses ‘gay’ in this article.
    Oh, and to be absolutely sure, I have asked four of my gay friends (who don’t know who Jensen is) to read the article. They did not (not one of them) find ANYTHING even remotely offensive (or even suspicious or insensitive ) about the article as well (and the use of ‘gay’). All the responses have been: oh, what a sweet guy, what a truly interesting article (that one goes to you, amazing Fangasm ladies). And, of course, after showing them Jensen’s pictures… well, let’s just say there has been a lot of ‘objectifying’ going on. ;) Which, funnily enough, ended in ‘YOU. SO. GAY’ statement.

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:51 pm

      Well said! Actually we should just refer other comments to yours, since you managed to make what we were trying to say much clearer. Thank you! We anticipated some reaction just to using the word and almost left that phrase out, but then had to step back and ask ourselves why. Had the word itself become so loaded that someone could not use it in its literal sense –even if, as you point out, it made perfect sense to do so in the context of what was being said? That seemed to say something even more negative and problematic than acknowledging the instantly loaded meaning it has acquired, one way or another. As you say so eloquently here, the problem is not the word, but people’s attitudes. And we chose not to buy into that, and to leave in what we felt certain was an appropriate use of an appropriate word for an appropriate reason. (As you note, without the clarification the assumption would likely be that two men who are long-time dance partners would be gay — we all parse the world in stereotypes, and base our assumptions on them). It seemed important to keep it a normal part of the discourse. YES.

      Thank you for your insightful comment here – it’s much appreciated!

  36. August 31, 2011 6:20 pm

    OH SNAP!! This WHOLE blog is about SPN? (faints happily)

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 1, 2011 3:52 pm

      Why yes, this whole blog IS about SPN! Hope you enjoy :)

  37. Namie permalink
    September 1, 2011 5:54 pm

    Thanks for that fantastic article. You guys write some of the best because you really focus on what many fans want to know. Your articles about Jensen are tops.

    Much as I love it when Jensen directs, because he’s really good at it, I’m SO glad he wants to focus on acting, because he is such a GIFTED actor, talent like that is a rare thing and on top of it he’s humble, always looking to compliment and build up the people he works with. I really hope if there is a little fairness in the world, he gets rewarded with some great roles after Supernatural is over. Maybe he won’t be “our little secret” anymore but lots of other people deserve to be aware of him and what he can do.

    (Of course he’s a true multi-talent, acting, directing, singing, guitar – so if he got a role in, say, a movie where he had to sing…that would be a nice thing;)

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 5, 2011 12:18 am

      Thank you, we’re so glad you’re enjoying our articles — we tend to ask what we want to know, so hopefully that translates for other fans too. Both Jared and Jensen are always giving kudos to cast and crew, which is really a refreshing thing to hear. Let’s hope there really is a little fairness to come in the future for them!

  38. Nancy Monroe permalink
    September 5, 2011 6:17 am

    Yes I do agree that Jensen is a very good actor and a director as well. It must be hard to direct himself in some of these shows. I have never heard him sing except on the show when he was trying to sing along with Bon Jovi which it didn’t come too good but Jared sounded pretty good and I don’t even know if he can sing or not never had a chance to hear him sing. He too is very good actor as well and I hope they both accomplish what they start out to do. I wish them both lots of luck in their lives. Good luck guys! thanks Nancy Monroe

    • spnfans permalink*
      September 7, 2011 1:42 am

      It’s interesting that Jensen is such a good singer, and yet the character he plays is terrible — that Dean singalong with Bon Jovi was purposely awful, and boy, did Jensen succeed with that!

  39. EricaJane permalink
    September 14, 2011 7:35 am

    I couldn’t agree more with the comments on how our unique relationships have evolved. I remember my first convention in 2008 and things were sill kinda awkward and hesitant on both the fan’s side and the actor’s; it was almost as if everyone (maybe sans Jared lol) had their guard up. When I go to a con now I can definitely feel the change in the atmosphere, like everyone’s a lot more comfortable now that it’s all familiar. I still stay kinda reserved just because I’m always sooooo nervous I’m going to offend them somehow, but cons are still a lot of fun :)

    Glad to hear that Jensen’s caught some people’s attention. He’s a genuinely amazing actor and he deserves the work, same for Jared. I don’t want Supernatural to end any time soon but it’s good to know that they could easily have stuff lined up after it’s over.

    Thanks for the great report!

  40. Bennett permalink
    June 9, 2012 6:59 am

    Perhaps he didn’t use it as a negative adjective; however, it’s pretty clear to me that his usage was in fact somewhat onerous. I realize Mr. Ackles didn’t set out to make a homophobic remark, but no matter how hard I try, I simply cannot cast his lines in a totally benign fashion. There’s just no manner of delivery that doesn’t convey the speaker’s tacit meaning as, “I am not this negative thing, so don’t misunderstand what I’m about to say.” Why else would he have found that caveat even necessary? Mr. Ackles is married, as is his co-star, so there’s nothing “factual” required. And although I appreciate P/JustMy2Cents thoughtful explanation, I have to respectfully disagree with it. I know this article is old, but I’ve had several of my gay students bring it to me recently. They’ve told me point blank that Mr. Ackles’s words not only upset them but also offended them. My Ph.D. is in sociology and I teach a graduate level media representations class that deals with social class as it’s portrayed on television. I’ve used “Supernatural” in that course for years, but a good number of my gay students have come to me on more than one occasion with articles like this one in hand. As I said, I have no doubt that Mr. Ackles didn’t intend to upset anyone; however, when people we admire use phrases such as this one it makes even the most fervent fan wonder. Not that Mr. Ackles isn’t entitled to his own beliefs, no matter what they are. He is, of course. But as a genuine and kind as everyone here assures me he is, one would think that out of respect for his gay and lesbian fans, he would be more careful with words that could very well be deemed insensitive.

    • spnfans permalink*
      July 3, 2012 1:36 am

      Bennett, I’m just seeing your comment now, my apologies. I would so appreciate an email to discuss this, as we’re really concerned about anyone being hurt. Can you shoot us an email at fangasmthebook@gmail.com? Thank you so much for your message — your students are lucky to have such a caring professor.

  41. Paul permalink
    August 30, 2011 9:35 pm

    “He reiterated his struggle with the first half of the season, when the story was about Sam, without much real exploration of Dean’s character, yet told from Dean’s perspective, so Jensen was always working (…) This is a perfect statement of the first two thirds of S6, IMO. Here’s to hoping that if Jensen has to work this hard in S7, it will be to benefit a storyline for his own character(and many of that character’s fans, too!) a little more”.

    God, I couldn’t agree more. Here’s to hoping…
    Thank you for the absolutely wonderful and insightful report.

  42. spnfans permalink*
    September 1, 2011 3:53 pm

    You’re very welcome, Paul – glad you enjoyed! Here’s hoping S7 brings some in depth storylines for both boys, and alot of satisfaction for SPN fans :)

Trackbacks

  1. Winchester Daily ~ Supernatural News Straight from the Pit
  2. Why Dean Makes Jensen (and us!) Happy | 我只會吃米

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