Jensen Ackles (Dean on Supernatural)
Sunday was Supernatural day at Comic Con and myself and a few other reporters got to have a little five-on-one with Kripke and the boys.Claiming to be sleep-deprived (they shot until 3 am on Saturday and had to be up nearly that early on Sunday to make Comic Con), but looking terrific nonetheless, Jensen Ackles sat down beside me with a big smile and a great deal of excitement over the new season.
But before that, he had fun lining up all of our little tape recorders in front of him, drawing them in like a gambler looking for sevens at the craps table. “Yeah, baby, bring it around!”
It’s no secret that Dean is coming back from Hell in the season opener, but still I warn you that there may be spoilers ahead.
Says Jensen of the new season, “It’s definitely a big turn in the direction it’s been heading for the past three seasons. Now they’re making Dean an integral part of the mythology of the show, which also means a lot more work for me.” He groans and shakes his head but it’s easy to see that it’s all for show. “I think Jared had four days off the first episode which is more than I’ve had in a season. Kripke’s words were ‘you’re a victim of your own success,’ so it’s kind of a double edged sword.
“Dean is not just trying to save his brother from his destiny, now [he’s] trying to figure out what’s in store for himself. From what I understand, it’s going to be a pretty epic season.”
Rolling into a fourth season has its ups and downs. On the upside, he’s pleased by how the writing staff has been able to integrate what he’s brought to the character of Dean, seeing it very much as a collaborative process. But as much as he loves the role, he’s ready to call it quits after season five when his contract ends.
“I think five would be good,” And then he offers up a smirky smile. “If I was on Lost, then maybe it would be a different story, it’s 30 characters and I’m living in Hawaii with 5 days off an episode.” But he quickly turns it around into something much more important than the work load. “Putting the work aside, as far as the story goes, I would never want people to get tired of it. I would never want people to be like, ‘okay, they’re phoning it in now.’ I’d rather go out strong, leave them wanting more.”
When it comes time to reflect on the prior season, Jensen, Kripke and the others all have a twinge of disappointment in their voices. With the writer’s strike forcing them to unfold the “Dean’s deal” storyline faster than planned, it all didn’t come together as they’d hoped. The one episode that stood out for all of them, though, was “Ghostfacers.”
“I really loved shooting the “Ghostfacers” episode simply because it was a format we’d never dealt with before. Travis and AJ and those guys were hilarious to work with and very difficult to work with in the sense that our director just kinda let them go off page and improvise as much as they wanted. The difficultly came in just trying to keep a straight face through most of the takes.”
Jensen laughs softly as those days return to him and one person in particular comes to mind. “I’ll bust him, but Jared is not good at that. If anybody is going to crack first, it’s him, and oh man, once you get the giggles it’s hard to stop. That was fun, a good time.”
But Jensen didn’t have a particularly good time when it came to the final episodes. He was really pushed to his limits when it came to filming the final green screen shot of his descent into hell.
“It was miserable. I [spent] about four hours in prosthetics ’cause all those hooks and pieces through the wrists and cuffs and everything, and once I was done I walked on stage and they hooked me up. Cuffs around both wrists and both ankles and then just a belt harness [around my waist] so I was wired up with five different wires. Five guys wrenched me up about 13 feet in the air. I had so much [fake] blood all over me, the harness slipped and the buckle was piercing into my hip. I’m hanging there, all of my weight on this one buckle digging into my hip, and I hung there for what felt like ages and it got so bad that tears were rolling down my face and I was like, ‘let me down, you gotta let me down.’ It was tough, but it turned out to be a really cool shot.”
Click Here to Listen to Jensen Tell the Story
The only thing more torturous for Jensen than filming the final scene of the finale is being asked the question, “why did you make a horror movie on your summer vacation?”
From his reaction, I’d say he’s been asked this more than once. And though it seems like the answer should be a philosophical diatribe on why horror is an honorable art form, the actual answer is much simpler.
“I only had about two months off so there weren’t a whole lot of projects that I was even available for. So the fact that this fit right into that time constraint, it just kind worked out to be that one.”
And with that it’s time to move on, to more reporters and then a room packed full of several thousand screaming fans.
“It’s funny,” says Jensen. “We’re kind of isolated in this little corner of the world up in Vancouver and we spend so much time at work, we’re pretty much 8 days an episode, all day we’re there and the only people we see are each other. So when I come to places like this and I see people who thoroughly enjoy what [we’re] doing, it’s very rewarding.”