Jensen Ackles in San Francisco – The Sam and Dean Train is Back on Track!
Fans: Umm, that’s not exactly the view we’re here to enjoy.
Jared: (no doubt blushing): Oops, my bad.
We sat in on Jensen’s Q&A a little later, and just as he came in the hair clips began to lose the battle with the curtains.
Lynn (being the wuss she is): Ow, the sun’s in my eyes
Jensen (being the badass he is – or at least plays on tv) jumps up and does some impressive curtain wrangling, only to be foiled by the hair clips.
Jensen: I’m not real good with bobby pins. (looks around the room) Jared???!
We asked how Jensen was holding up, since he’s under the weather with a cold courtesy of Mitch Pileggi – but the DayQuil seemed to be doing its job, he said.
Jensen: Friday night it sucked because I was working until 1 am, but you just man up and get through it, and hope you don’t look too bad.
Fans: Um, yeah, no worries there.
Sick days are a rarity in television production, where every second counts and budget constraints exert a constant pressure.
Jensen: I’m trying to think if I’ve ever had an actual sick day on Supernatural. I had tonsillitis the first season, and I remember Kim Manners sat in my hotel room with me all day and then finally he took me to the hospital, and they got me all these antibiotics, and that was Saturday and by Monday I was back at work.
Okay, the guy actually *is* a badass.
At the breakfast this morning, and at the Q&As, the guys got several questions about soulless!Sam, and how both Jensen and Jared feel about that story arc being at an end. Jensen said once again how off balance he’d been about trying to play Dean opposite a Sam who was so different — which in turn makes Dean a different character, since he doesn’t have that relationship anymore. He didn’t know who Sam was — or who Dean was anymore. So he was very happy when Sam got his soul back, and he could go back to playing Dean as Dean, the character he loves playing. As he tells it:
Studio: Don’t worry, we’ll get Dean back — and Sam back.
Jensen: I don’t care about him!
Fans: *gasp in horror*
Not that we believed him. At the breakfast earlier this morning, Jensen seemed as happy as the fans to be able to say “the Sam and Dean train is back on track!”
We’ve been doing a lot of academic writing on fandom recently, which of course means we’ve been using Supernatural as an example of trends and theories and that sort of fun stuff. Hence Lynn’s question for Jensen.
Lynn: Supernatural is gaining a reputation for being the show that courageously breaks the fourth wall again and again. Do you think it’s unusual on a show that everyone’s so down with making fun of themselves and able to have so much fun with it?
Jensen: Well it’s definitely the only show I’ve been on that I think has had the opportunity to do something like that. I mean, I don’t know, maybe there are other shows out there that poke fun at themselves.
Lynn: (vigorously shaking her head) Not as much as you guys do.
Jensen: We really do, and I think it’s because we kinda feel like we’re the little show that could. So I think we can take some liberties that other shows don’t who get kinda scrutinized by the suits, the studio execs who hold a magnifying glass over shows. Whereas our show is just off doing its own thing.
Lynn: Under the radar, as it were?
Jensen: Yeah, and I think this show, as far as the entertainment industry is concerned, IS under the radar. It’s not on the map like Lost or the shows that get talked about on every news channel there is – so we have a little more liberty to poke fun at ourselves and have fun, and we like to do it because it switches things up. That’s one of the reasons I love the show so much, because it doesn’t take itself too seriously.Yet at the same time, it can get really serious, and when it does -well, I’d put some of our dramatic episodes up against any other dramatic show.
Lynn: The fans love that too
Jensen: And that’s the feedback we get – though some of the executives might be going, what?! I don’t understand what you’re doing…..
Fans: (muttering under their collective breath) Idjits.
A fan asked if the TV Guide cover had made a difference, and Jensen laughed and quoted their probable reaction as “Oh, that’s still on?”
Jensen and the fans in the room were all definitely on the same page, virtually cheering him on as he answered the metaphorical Powers that Be.
Jensen: Yeah, we’re still here, and we’re still knockin’ it outta the park and giving it our all.
Fans: Damn right.
It’s important to the SPN cast and crew that they won the type of awards that aren’t just political – the People’s Choice last year, the TV Guide cover. – the awards with the people’s voice are the most gratifying. Of course, Jensen allowed, that may just be something people say who haven’t won an Oscar.
Jensen went on: I do think it was a kinda coup for us to get that, because it gives us some weight as far as the industry goes. I think it was very surprising to a lot of people – and it’s thanks to you guys. It was funny because the publicity department at the CW called and they were all excited and crazy happy about this — and it’s like yeah — you guys didn’t do it!
Fans: *are beaming*
Interesting guest stars this season? Jensen mentioned Mark Sheppard and Sebastian Roche, who apparently grew up in Turkey and is a professional rock climber.
Fan: Plus he does a great Julia Child
Jensen: Wait, how did you know that??
Room: Jared 🙂
To date, nobody has made a first impression on Jensen that rivals Misha’s.
Jensen: But nobody has come on and put me on my heels as much as Misha did that first day. I was just like, who is this guy, is he for real? But then it so worked and I was like all right, you’re a lot smarter than I thought you were.
A fan asked if Jensen might do a commentary on the dvd for “Weekend at Bobby’s”.
Jensen: I’d have a lot to talk about for that one — I’d like that – would you like that?
If Season 7 is a go (and Peter Roth, the big time marketing exec at WB said months ago it was an 80% chance), Jensen would like to direct again. He seemed quite surprised that when he called to see if he might be able to, the answer was simply, sure.
He had thought he might have to do a little song and dance for them, do a little negotiating, but clearly they’ve recognized his directing talents. Maybe he should have asked for a raise while he had them in such a good mood? Next time he’ll most likely direct an episode with Jared and Misha. If we’re very lucky, some of it will end up on the gag reels 🙂
Will we see Ben again? Jensen doesn’t know — though he expressed surprise that some bad guy hasn’t used them as leverage against Dean.
A fan asked where he sees himself going from here.
Jensen: Each year the show has kinda built up a bit more steam, gotten stronger and stronger, gained momentum – and I think if we can continue on that path, and take risks, and getting the kind of attention that we’re now getting, which seems like very positive attention – I don’t read a lot of crappy stuff about our show, I think we’ve been really fortunate – I’d really like to continue doing the show – if season 7 is it, then that’s that, or if there’s another year or two, and then put it to bed and try something new. I love working, I love being on set, I love telling stories and working with characters, as long as i can continue doing that.
He also mentioned wanting to have kids once his life settles down, prompting a room full of stifled Awwwws.
A fan asked Jensen to describe a typical day on set. Just hearing his answer made us tired.
Jensen: We’ll get picked up at 6:30 or so, do hair and makeup, come to set. And we’ll shoot everything from one side of the scene, then we’ll have a ‘turnaround’ and we’ll have a break of maybe a half hour, and then we’ll have maybe some odd and inconsistent breaks during the day (These sometimes consist of “Jensen we’ll need you in 5 minutes”….45 minutes later….”okay, ready for you now!”) Sometimes it’s action stuff, so we’re sweaty and taking advil….sometimes it’s a lot of dialogue…a lot of it is back and forth to the set and the trailers, laughing with the crew, having a really good time – they really are like family. It’s the longest on set that anybody has ever been on a show. And then we wrap after about 12 or 13 hours, then it’s back to hair and makeup, wash all that off, get out of your costume, get into your street clothes, hop in the car. You’ve got about 9 hours, so you decompress for about an hour, then go to bed. We’re guaranteed a 12 hour gap between call times, so it pushes our call times every day. Monday we’ll start at 7ish, by the time Friday rolls around we’re starting at 1 or 2 in the afternoon.
Jensen shares not only the fans’ love for the ‘little show that could’, but some of the frustration of not always knowing where the writers are going.
Fan: Death said something about Dean being an intrepid detective, can you tell us what he meant?
Jensen: I have that same question for the writers!
This is a good time in the filming season, since they’re getting into the one-off episodes, which Jensen loves. He mentioned the ‘bizarro’ episode (what fandom calls the meta episode) and his favorite — the long-awaited western episode. When the guys talked about this episode at the breakfast, Jensen confided that Dean, predictably, loves Westerns – so he’s really into it.
Fans: Assless chaps?
Jared: Oh definitely. But they only shot him from the back.
Jensen, of course, got back at Jared by doing an impromptu imitation of Jared/Sam riding — on a tiny little pony. Oh boy, are we looking forward to this episode!
As the Q&A wrapped up, Jensen apologized for not being ‘as lively as I should be.’
Fans responded with ‘we hope you feel better’, to which he replied, “I do – you guys made me feel better.”
Say it with me, one more time, readers. Awwwww.
More from Creation’s Salute to Supernatural convention shortly — Richard Speight Jr. played tour guide for us in North Beach and caught us up on what he’s been doing lately, Gabe Tigerman updated us on his latest projects, and we sat down with the Brian Buckley Band to find out how they got together and how Jared convinced them to play a Supernatural con. Also, photos from the San Francisco con coming up. Check back soon!