Jared Padalecki at Comic Con 2008

A year ago, I was standing outside of the press room at Comic Con waiting for my first interview with the cast and creators of Supernatural.  It was while I was standing there that I began to hear the rumble, someone was late. . . no, someone was missing. . . someone missed his flight and wasn’t going to be there at all.That someone turned out to be Jared Padalecki.  And as delighted as I was to talk with Jensen, and Kripke and the others, it wasn’t quite the same without Jared.

Fast forward to this year and a foreboding sense of deja vu.  Jensen’s here, Kripke’s here, Sera and Ben. . .uh oh.  I feel like I’m the cursed one keeping Jared at bay year after year.

“He’s just stuck in traffic,” they assure us and then I remember that this is his first Comic Con.  Poor boy had no idea what he was driving into.

“I’m sorry, it’s a zoo outside!” Jared proclaims as he dashes in and takes his seat beside me. “Lots of craziness. Hi, hi, hi. . . ” Almost one for each reporter at the table. He looks my way and wow, he’s got gorgeous eyes! I’ve never seen him this close up and for a second I’m speechless. He’s taller and thinner than he looks on TV, tan and that emo Sam hair is falling into his eyes exactly as it’s supposed to.

Friday_Jared_07 It’s question and answer time and Jared begins talking a mile a minute, something common among us East Coasters but an unusual trait in a Southern boy. He’s talking so fast that he’s leaving words out and all of the thoughts are combining and crossing. He’ll hear his own words sometimes; a shy smile, a head duck — and before the day is over he’ll apologize 50 times for running late and not being all that he thinks he should be.

It seems that Jared even views the success of the show as someone else’s doing.

“People who are real fans of the show they love the story, the characters, but I’m still the actor, I’m not writing these scripts. I get paid to say the words that are on the page and I defer to Eric, he’s the storyteller.”

And if Kripke wants to call it quits at five?

“I love my character and I love exploring it, but I know Eric wants to keep the quality up. He doesn’t want it to be 39 seasons Bonanza and it’s like, shotgun in a wheelchair, c’m on Dean,” he quips, donning a Hillbilly accent, “with our sons running around fighting for us. If [Kripke] says four is good, then four is good. If he says five is good, then five is good. He hasn’t steered us wrong yet.”

As talk rolls around to the new season he jumps in with, “We feel like we’re stronger and more on track and it’s been really exciting and energizing to do something new. ‘Season One Sam’ who didn’t want to be there, or ‘Season Two Sam’ that was sort of messed up about their dad, and ‘Season Three Sam,’ I’ll get you out of your deal. . . now we see Sam and Dean kind of thinking about themselves, fighting for themselves cause obviously they’ve each spent four months doing something which I’m looking forward to finding out. We see them more individually, which adds an interesting dynamic to their relationship as brothers.

Comic_Con_Booth_spn2 “I love the brother conflict episodes, I love going toe-to-toe with Jensen; Sam and Dean and how their stories are playing out and they’re becoming the archetypes. We started out as the reluctant heroes, two guns blazing, the Han Solo type character and I like watching the switch. Eric and the other writers have guided us through these paces, these steps. [They have a story they] want to tell and I’m here to tell it.”

Well, maybe “tell” it, is putting it too simply as Supernatural requires more of a ‘full-body’ commitment.

“Eric sat down with me and Jensen and said, ‘listen guys, I don’t pull punches anyway but this year, I’m really not going to pull punches’ and so we hit the ground running. We read the first script and went, ‘ahhh no time off for us.’ Jensen had just got done shooting a movie and I just got done shooting a movie, so we wanted to get back and laze around a little bit. It’s Season Four, time to relax. But no, we’re hitting it hard.”

Which left me to wonder, have you ever gotten a script that when you read it you said, ‘no way?!’

Friday_Jared_08 “I have a few times,” says Jared, smiling with the memory. “The one [I] specifically [remember] was in Season One, we did “Route 666″ and it originally had us dragging a truck out of the water. It’s November in Vancouver and we’re supposed to be knee-deep in water. We’re thinking, it’s snowing outside right now, and they want us in the water? They ended up changing it for us.

“[And then] you do those killer physical episodes! We just shot one, episode two of Season Four. Instead of there being the end climax fight scene, it was the beginning climax fight scene, and the middle climax fight scene, and how many fight scenes do I have!” He pants as if he’s out of breath, his voice rising into a higher register. “The next day. . . what am I shooting? Another FIGHT SCENE! Oh my God,” he squeals in a perfect imitation of SNL’s Chris Kattan, “And I’m crying?!? Aagghghg!” Then he turns to me and calmly, soberly says, “So, certainly yeah.”

Listen To Jared Tell the Story.

And with that, he’s told it’s time to move on to the next table of reporters. Jared stands and smiles and falls into his Texas accent with a sincere, “thank y’all so much.” And then he adds, “I’m so sorry.”

Jared doesn’t take any of this for granted; the fans, the press, the support. You can see it in his eyes and in his smile. He’s going to give this everything he’s got, full throttle until the very last second of the very last scene. You’ve come along way, baby and we can’t wait to see where you go from here.

Previously published at SFUniverse.com

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