Jim Beaver Talks Supernatural, Crimson Peaks – and New Show Internity!
Wednesday night was exciting for more reasons than one – a) a brand new Supernatural episode directed by ActionAckles himself, and b) I had a chance to chat with one of my favorite people, Jim Beaver!
Jim (along with fellow Supernatural alum Julie McNiven and a bunch of other great people) are involved with a new show, Internity, which is also relevant to your interests if you’re a fan – it not only has a great cast, it’s totally fandom positive. The main character is an intern at a hospital, and he’s also a fanboy. In each episode, his fandom comes alive in a series of imagined interactions, which help him solve the problem of the week. We have always said that fandom is a good thing, and Internity clearly agrees!
Lynn: It’s so nice to talk to you again! Internity sounds like a really exciting show, and it seems like something Supernatural fans will really like, don’t you think?
Jim: I do. First off, [series creator] Joey’s premise for the shape of the show, mixing comedy and drama with a real sensibility for the popular culture aspects of the audience, I think, has some real potential. The idea of melding a couple kinds of shows and, as Joey says, sending them to Comic Con, sounds like a lot of fun to me. It sounds like the kind of show that, if I watched much television, I might actually watch! But more importantly, I think it is the kind of show that Supernatural fans might glom onto because so many of the Supernatural fans are active participants in the pop culture world. And not just as viewers, but as a community of fans.
Jim: I think, frankly, that they would be a large portion of the target audience. I don’t know how exactly it’s going to be structured, I’ve only read the pilot script, but it just seems like a fun concept to me. There are a limited number of plots that you can have for stories and I suppose there are also a limited number of kinds of tv shows. So to take a couple of popular genres and then throw something unexpected into the mix like this, I think it could be a lot of fun.
Lynn: I like the mash up component. These days it sometimes seems like it’s all been done, but this show is actually kind of unique.
Jim: Yeah. And when it was brought to me, basically I was just asked if it would be something I would be interested in reading with an eye toward participating, and I read it and thought well, this is smart and funny, and it’s both real and sort of amusingly fantastic. And I liked the part that they were offering me. I think it could be a show that’s a lot of fun to do and a lot of fun to watch, and that’s a great combination.
Lynn: It is. Is there a reason they thought of you? Other than you’re obviously a very good actor.
Jim: Oh, I’m sure there is [laughing] but I don’t recall what it is, if anyone’s ever told me. I think that Joey was basically a fan from other shows I’ve done and I suspect that he saw something in the character that related in a way to characters I’ve played before. He may well have told me why he thought of me but I don’t have a strong recollection of what it was. I mean, you know, there comes a point when my sheer brilliance will take care of all of those questions….
Lynn: [laughing] Oh yeah, I mean, I knew that, I totally knew that…and I’m sure that’s what Joey will say when I ask him too.
Jim: He’ll probably say I was the only one who said yes…
Lynn: Yeah, like you were his 37th call and the first ‘yes’…
Lynn and Jim: [still laughing]
Lynn: So tell me a little bit about your character.
Jim: [deadpans] Oh I don’t know anything about him.
Jim: The fact is, as far as the pilot goes, he’s kind of a mysterious character. He’s one of the few regulars on the show who is not one of the medical professionals. We meet him, he’s a patient, and he’s a guy who’s kind of down and out and has some injuries and is being treated in the hospital. But during the course of the pilot, we discover that he has some deeper history with some of them. More than that I really can’t say because it’s a twist in the script that we don’t want to give away.
Lynn: ooooh, sounds intriguing. Anything else you can tell me?
Jim: Well, one of the things that I like about the project – and it doesn’t directly affect me as an actor – but it indirectly affects me as a human being. And that is although a lot of the cast by virtue of the definition of the show, since it’s about medical interns, the cast is going to skew fairly young, because they’re youngsters fresh out of medical school. However, at the center is the character that Marina Sirtis is playing, and she’s a fifty year old woman who has had a full and demanding life and has only now decided to follow her own dreams and become a doctor. So she’s doing all this intern hell at an age where she has more experience than her colleagues. In life at least, although they’re all pretty much on the same page in terms of their medical careers. So the very fact that age and gender are being utilized and examined in the course of the story is really interesting to me, because we live in such a youth and generally masculine dominated society that a good show with a woman at the center and a woman who’s not 22 and running her own law firm is surprisingly atypical these days.
Lynn: I’ll say!
Jim: And I think a comedy drama is a great place to explore some of the issues that come up with that. It’s one of the things that drew me to the project.
Lynn: It’s one of the things that grabbed my attention when I heard about it too. As a woman who changed careers and went back to school after raising a family, I rarely see my own experience reflected onscreen.
Jim: So, it’s a fun show but it also fits in well with my feeble feminism credentials. And I’m happy to have the opportunity to be associated with something that’s not just going to be the status quo same old same old show. I think it could be fun, interesting and meaningful. You don’t often get a combination of all of those.
Lynn: No you don’t. By the way, when I asked Julie how she got involved with Internity, she said that she did it because you were involved, and that was good enough for her. I thought that was very sweet.
Jim: Well, that’s sweet of her to say that. The fact is, they’re lucky to have her. She and I were supposed to do a movie together earlier this year and it kinda fell apart over financing, but I was so looking forward to working with her on that and now it looks like I’ve got another chance – at least I do if we make our crowd funding goal.
Lynn: I hope so!
Jim: I hope so too. I’d reiterate something that Marina said , basically that if all our twitter followers gave a dollar we’d make this show. So it’s not about 500 bucks you can give us. Crowdfunding is a really wonderful way of getting people involved and creating a community for something and making things happen that ordinarily would have taken somebody’s deep rich pockets. So reaching out to a few hundred thousand twitter followers means that there’s a real chance to make something happen. You look at what they did a year or two ago with Veronica Mars, nobody went broke making that happen. The fans of that show got something real out of it and not only did they get the project made, but they I’m sure felt a real connection to it because they were the people who made it possible.
Lynn: Yes, essentially they were the producers.
Jim: Yeah. So we’re hoping people will have that experience with us. Without the people who for whatever reason are interested in my career and Marina’s and others, without those people, it isn’t going to happen. It’s not a matter of we can turn to somebody’s rich uncle or we can get a studio involved. This is only going to happen if the people who care about us want to be part of it with us.
Lynn: It could be a great community project, yes. I’m on board! By the way, did I recently see that you were at a Supernatural something?
Jim: No…well, wait a minute, I was at the season premiere party at somebody’s house.
Lynn: Right, there were pictures.
Jim: On right, Misha, Curtis, Kim, some of us were all at a party held at one of the staff member’s house and we took a group picture. It wasn’t a big public event or anything, it was just at someone’s house.
Lynn: I just thought it was so nice to see a bunch of SPNFamily all together again to watch the Show.
Jim: You know, they invite me every year to the big premiere party and I always feel a little odd about it because I don’t have much to do with the show anymore – much as I would like to – but at the same time, they have always treated me as family and they still do and I’m delighted to go see old faces. I’d rather go see old faces at the studio in Vancouver, but…
Lynn: [laughing] I still think that will happen. It’s a strange show in how loyal it is, they seem to really consider those of you who have worked on the show will always be family.
Jim: Well, I’ve been in every season so far, so I have my fingers crossed that they’ll keep that tradition going.
Lynn: So what did you think of the premiere?
Jim: I thought it was terrific. I didn’t have a clue what was going on…
Lynn: [laughing] I bet you didn’t, I bet you were pretty lost.
Jim: I was pretty lost, but I’ve been pretty lost for a couple of years. I went up last season to do the Inside Man episode and I had to ask what the whole Mark of Cain thing was, and they kept talking about the Men of Letters and I didn’t know what that was – I still don’t know what that is! I don’t watch a lot of television and I was always a couple of seasons behind even when I was in the middle of shooting Supernatural regularly, so I’ve still got a lot of catching up to do. But I’m past where I was in Season 3 when I asked Jensen why we were spraying salt on the windowsills…
Lynn: [cracking up] Sorry that’s funny…
Jim: Yeah, well. It was at that point that I decided I needed to go back and catch up on the mythology because I didn’t know what I was talking about!
Lynn: It’s gotten complicated eleven seasons in.
Jim: But insofar as the premiere episode, I thought it was terrific. It was tense, and impressive. And I always thought that Mark Sheppard makes a great woman and he almost pulled it off this time.
Lynn and Jim [are laughing]
Lynn: So are you doing any cons coming up?
Jim: Am I?
Lynn: I don’t know…
Jim: I’m doing one in England in May, Asylum in Birmingham. Let me see, I think I may be going back to Australia. What I’ve got lined up mostly now is stuff in the states. I’m doing Rhode Island Comic Con and Creation’s Houston con. My daughter wants me to crash the Pasadena show.
Lynn: You totally should!
Jim: I might do it, it kinda depends on work and on whether, I mean I don’t wanna throw a fly in Creation’s buttermilk.
Lynn: They don’t seem to mind. Come to karaoke, anyone can come!
Jim: Maybe I will. They’re always fun, and it will be much less exhausting than actually being an invited guest!
Lynn: I’m sure it will! Oh, how was working on Crimson Peaks, I heard it was awesome.
Jim: Yeah, it was amazing, wonderful. It was a really rich experience. It was draining, but in a good way. It was the kind of thing where you go home at the end of the day exhausted but feeling like you’ve done something really worth doing. I had a fabulous time with my costars and working for Guillermo del Toro is just a dream come true, he’s an extraordinary person and an extraordinary artist. And I reveled in both aspects of his personality, his creative genius and immense warmth and generosity as a person. So yes, it was a magnificent experience.
Lynn: I’m looking forward to seeing it.
Jim: I saw it three times in the past week, I may be done for a while.
Lynn: That might do it.
Jim: It’s absolutely gorgeous, I’m gonna be shocked if we don’t get attention from the Oscars on costume and set design and art direction because it’s a magnificently rich movie to look at. And I had a great time in it, I got to play something way different than Bobby Singer or some of the other characters that I’ve gotten well known for playing. I spent three fourths of this movie in white tie and tails, so …that’s a very different experience for me.
Lynn: That is. Must be nice to step outside and do something very different.
Jim: It is, but you wonder how that particular style of dress ever caught on, because it’s really fun to put on a coat and white tie and starched collar, but then about twenty minutes later you just want to rip all that stuff off as fast as you can.
Lynn: [laughing] I can imagine, doesn’t look very comfortable.
Jim: It’s not, and of course the women are all in laced up corsets and I guess not bustles but man, they had a lot of clothes on.
Lynn: People must have been really cranky back then because they were so uncomfortable.
Jim: After a couple of days, I noticed that Charlie Hunnam and Tom Hiddleston and I all had these bright red marks on our throats where our starched collars had rubbed us wrong. That gets old really fast, I’m really surprised people did that on purpose.
Lynn: Yeah, it’s one thing to do that for a role and another just because you think it looks good.
Jim: Yeah, I don’t – anybody who’s seen my work knows I don’t care that much about looking good.
[Hey, I think Bobby Singer looked pretty damn fine actually!]
Jim: It was pretty cool to play dress up, but it was also pretty cool at the end of the day to take that stuff off.
Lynn: I know that feeling. Anything else you’d like to add, anything we missed?
Jim: I can’t think of anything. I’ve got a couple projects coming up that I can’t talk about, so… Might as well not mention them.
Lynn: [laughing] Might as well not. But ooooh.
Jim: The main thing is we want to try to get Internity on its feet.
Lynn: I’m with you!
So who else is with us??? Head on over to grab some great perks, and join Julie McNiven and Jim Beaver and be a part of Internity!
Read lots more from Jim Beaver, along with Jared,
Jensen, Misha and more, in ‘Fangasm Supernatural
Fangirls’ – click the link at the top of the page!