More from SeaCon and VegasCon soon, but for now, some excerpts from the meet and greet with Jensen Ackles. Not verbatim, just from recollection, and certainly not a complete transcript – but some highlights from what was a great meet and greet.
Jensen immediately got right to the point of what’s on all our minds – the season finale that will be here all too soon. Mostly because he was really excited about it, which was nice to see. (After all these years, they are as excited about this Show as ever — then again, so are we!)
Jensen said they’re filming out of order so they can accommodate Felicia Day’s busy schedule (he busted on her in an entirely big brother sort of way, which was all kinds of heartwarming). It’s clear that Jensen is very excited about the finale – he even said that for the first time, he’s thinking about calling Jeremy Carver and saying wow, great episode. Jensen then joked “For the first time…. What a jerk I am!”
Jensen was positively gleeful when he talked about how Dean sort of goes all “man on fire”, practically bouncing on his chair. OMG, are we ready for this? He didn’t give away any spoilers of course, and who knows exactly what that means, but don’t go read the Wikipedia entry for that Denzel movie if you don’t want to start biting your nails.
A fan tentatively asked: Does Dean survive?
Other fans: The question is, will WE survive??
I get the feeling we should all stock up on tissues and schedule an advance therapist appointment.
There was a bit of a discussion about whether or not we loved or hated cliffhangers as season finales. I personally rail about them but secretly love them. Jensen wanted to know if the end of S9 was really a cliffhanger, since we already know that Dean’s eyes are black by the end of it.
Fan: Well, it wasn’t for me since you sort of gave it away anyway when you said ‘It’s a real eye opener’
Jensen: (laughing) Yeah, after I said that I thought, oops, that was a little on the nose…
Hard not to forgive him when he’s looking all adorably contrite though, gotta say.
A fan asked about the emotional scenes with Travis Aaron Wade (Cole) in The Things They Carried, including the torture, and if they were difficult to film. Jensen said that because he had worked with Travis before, that made them easier in a way, because they’d both worked out the kinks and the characters now have a past together. Though it was also new ground because most of Cole’s interactions were with Demon!Dean until now.
Jensen asked if Travis had talked about the filming of those scenes when he did his first con in Vegas.
Me: No, but coincidentally we just interviewed Travis and he talked a lot about those scenes.
Jensen: Oh, what did he say?
Me: (wishing I had a better memory) He said that you really helped him. That scene was emotionally overwhelming for him and you came over when you didn’t have to and helped him get it right. To remind him that he had the emotion down, that he could now just say the lines. He said it was you being a wonderful director, even though you weren’t directing that episode, and that he really appreciated it.
Jensen: (is possibly blushing…)
Me: He also talked about his character choice to have Cole call Sam ‘Sammy’ and Dean ‘Deano’ so I get why he did that now, how it makes sense for Cole as ex-military and given his long past with pursuing Dean and his time with Sam as his captive. I understand it now, but at the time that jarred me, just because it’s canon that nobody calls Sam “Sammy” except Dean. Did it feel that way to you and Jared?
Jensen said it didn’t jar them too much. (Sometimes I think fandom takes those canon things more seriously than the actors or writers – or maybe it’s just that it’s hard for us to let the characters evolve, we love them so much and we love the way they relate to each other so much). He did say that there was something else that Cole says that did jar them, not calling them ‘boys’ but close to that.
Jensen: And Jared and I looked at each other like ‘no.’ If he said that, there would be some reaction in the script.
So they changed that phrase, whatever it was.
I have to admit, most of the time I love it when they do that. I love that they know those characters so well, and are assertive about making sure they stay true to Sam and Dean. I love that they were able to work so comfortably and collaboratively with Travis as a guest actor and come to consensus and help each other so that everyone gave their best performance. No wonder the damn show is so good!
Jensen said that it was also scripted originally for Dean to repeatedly refer to Cole as “kid”, which is slightly ridiculous considering Wade is older than Ackles! So they changed that too. Jensen gave props to Travis – they originally were going to cast a twenty year old, but with Travis, they got an experienced actor who could really pull off the character.
Jensen was so excited about the episode that Tom Wright directed recently (and did you know he did Hitchcock’s storyboards?? And that he storyboards his episodes of Supernatural? So cool.) Anyway, Jensen was so excited about the episode that he suggested a few things for it, and Tom liked them and incorporated them. I love that the Show is such a collaboration, in so many ways.
Someone asked about the actors who have played young Dean and young Sam, and mentioned how Dylan Everett said that Jared had helped him get Dean right. Jensen said that Dylan came to set also, to watch ‘Jensen, not Dean’. He wanted to study how Jensen walked, how he moved, the cadence of his voice.
Jensen: [joking] It was a little creepy. I was like, who’s that kid watching me?
He was impressed by the amount of “homework” that Dylan did for the part. He also gave a little advice to Colin Ford, making suggestions about the way young Sam would talk taken from his knowledge of the way Jared speaks as Sam.
A fan asked about the Mockumentary, and whose idea it was for Jensen to be a meditating yoga loving sort of hippie. Jensen laughed and said “Misha’s”.
Fan: You were a good sport then.
Jensen: (laughing) We put Misha through enough on a daily basis, I’m happy to do whatever he wants.
Another question was about the amazing visuals on the show, the production values and the sets.
Jensen: That’s the genius of Jerry Wanek and the art department. They’re second to none. The sets are so amazing, I can feel like I’m really there. The Men of Letters bunker is amazing. Like I have to jump up and touch the wall to be sure it’s not real, the painters are so good at texture.
Jensen: I want them to come remodel my house!
At this point, Jensen helpfully jumped up and touched the wall to demonstrate, which I feel certain everyone in the room appreciated greatly. I always appreciate it when Jensen stands up.
Sorry, got carried away there.
He also gave kudos to Chris Cooper, the Show’s prop master. When you direct an episode, there’s a “show and tell” where they lay out all the props for the episode, and the director gets to pick. Very important props like the First Blade or the amulet, Jerry will design himself.
We interviewed Chris when we were writing Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls – what a great guy! The props on this show are second to none too.
Jensen also joked that the art department gets a kick out of putting self references all over the place. You’ll see their names pop up on the boys’ phone screens or on flyers sitting on motel tables, etc. Margie Kugel, the beer the boys drink, for example, is named for Wanek’s grandmother. And there are a million others if you have a keen eye and good screencap software.
Jerry asked Jensen what he’d like to name the diner in an episode last year and Jensen named it Little Levi’s after his nephew. After the episode, his brother was like, what happened to that sign? It’s now decorating Levi’s room.
I have no clue what question he was responding to, but Jensen also got a chance to geek out about camera angles and filming efficiency and lines of sight, again jumping up to demonstrate.
Jensen [excitedly] I’m giving you a little glimpse behind the curtain!
It had to do with filming along a single line of sight instead of on a ‘plus sign’, which would mean you’d have to film it from all directions for each line of sight instead of just for one. Jensen lights up when he talks about that technical stuff, but he says he wants to be an actor, not a director. He also said he didn’t want it written into his contract that he gets to direct, because he doesn’t ever want them to feel like they “have to” let him. He only wants to do it if they want him to. Which means he doesn’t know yet if he’s directing in S11!
Cross your fingers, fandom!
In the meantime, check back here for more from Seacon and more from VegasCon, including some amazing photos by the talented photographer who worked with us in Vegas, and that interview with Travis Aaron Wade that Jensen asked me to link him to (once I actually write and post it, that is…)
Who’s excited for tomorrow night’s new episode? Rhetorical question, obviously. Everything I heard at SeaCon has made me even more apprehensive, and at the same time, nearly overwhelmed with anticipation. I love that this Show can still do that to me after all these years. I wonder what will happen…hmmm…
Read more from Jensen, Jared, Misha,
Jerry Wanek and many more in Fangasm:
Supernatural Fangirls on amazon
at the link at the top of this page!