“These days angels are popularly depicted as fluffy-winged, cherubic beings, like little tooth fairies and that does not sound interesting to me. But going back to the bible and reading Revelations, they are nothing like the angels we see in modern lore; they are very complex and often incredibly dark characters.”
And thus Castiel was born. . . or should I say. . made? Misha Collins has joined the Supernatural family and he’s stirring up the fans in an unholy way! Sharp and witty, he has a lot to say about his new roll, the impact of the fans and he even braved my favorite 3 questions.
Misha, welcome to our world.
“A few people have emailed me links to chats where there was a lot of discussion going on and I’m amazed by how in tune the fans are. It’s almost like the show has 4 million editors,” says Misha with a laugh. “It kind of makes me nervous, I didn’t realize people would be going over it with a fine-tooth comb. I’m going to have to be sure that I don’t screw up.”
The reality is, he just has to keep on doing what he’s doing and he’ll be fine.
Misha’s Castiel is the angel who pulled Dean Winchester out of the depths of hell on the season opener of Supernatural appropriately titled “Lazarus Rising.” But adding an angel to the show wasn’t a slam dunk and Misha had reservations when it came to taking on the role.
“I didn’t want to play anything that could be a one-dimensional, feel good, kind of character. But reading the scripts, it became clear very quickly that that was not the direction they were going in and that took my reservations away.”
Figuring out how to play this new, complex character was the next hurdle.
OH, THE HUMANITY
“I was kind of dubious about it because, I’ve always thought what I’m doing, in terms of acting, is tapping into some universal human qualities. And then I thought, shoot, he’s not human, so what the hell am I going to be tapping into? But it’s actually been so fun to explore. I find that there’s something very human about my angel in the end. So it worked out.”
It’s that bit of humanity has fans completely charmed by the seemingly innocent, yet incredibly powerful being.
“Castiel has so much power and potential to do damage that he doesn’t need to flaunt it at all,” says Misha with no hesitation at all. “He’s got so much power that there’s no reason for him to be demonstrative, so I think he comes across as very calm and peaceful in part because he is so powerful.”
Misha brings an intriguing mix of qualities to Castiel. With his expressive eyes, unnatural movements and off-beat line reads, he manages to convey a true “not of this earth” quality while still coming across charming and relatable.
“Kripke definitely wrote the dialogue very stylized and I completely credit him for that. I’m responding to what he wrote, working with it, but it was his choice. The dialogue has a very biblical, kind of ancient, it feels like it’s from another epoch. I don’t think one could call themselves an angel of the lord and have it come across as contemporary and hip sounding.”
The trouble with dialogue like that is that it can come off sounding stilted or campy. Though a few disagree, most fans feel Misha is doing a great job walking the line.
“It is a danger, and I think the only way to make it not campy is to play it as real as possible. It’s kind of powerful and moving. . that may sound a little trite but there’s so much information and history and theology going on, I’m getting into it. I’ve been reading Revelations in preparation for the character and it’s fascinating. It’s such a rich story to work with it would be boring to do it in a campy manner.”
Misha has spent a good portion of his acting career as the visiting guest star on a number of big TV shows so this is hardly his first rodeo, but still he found something new and refreshing about working on Supernatural.
“I’ve done a lot of guest star work and it feels like I’m the new kid in school. They’ve got their own thing going and they know each other so well that I don’t know how I fit in. This did not feel like that on the set of Supernatural. Kim Manners was directing the first episode I did and he’s such an amazing man to work with. The entire production team was very welcoming and Jared and Jensen are both very open and generous guys and it just felt like I fit in right away. It’s a really happy set. Sometimes you get on a set and it’s surly and everyone is sick of each other. [On Supernatural], despite the fact that they’re putting in 15-hour days and working their fingers to the nub, everyone’s happy.
And though he’s been warned to be on the lookout, Misha has yet to fall victim to the infamous SPN prank-monster.
“I heard that they had a tendency to prank people and I actually feel a little cheated because I have not been pranked yet. Maybe they don’t like me enough or maybe they’re waiting for me to drop my guard.”
Could be. Misha has filmed three of at least six episodes that he’ll appear in this season, so there’s still plenty of opportunities to have his trailer TP’d, or his trench coat pockets filled with shaving cream. Actually, he’s had it pretty easy since joining the cast. Nothing but indoor studio filming at normal hours and not a lick of rain in Vancouver.
“It’s such a beautiful city and it’s the best time of year. It didn’t rain a single day when I was up there so I have a sort of distorted view. I think by the time November rolls around I’ll be hating it.”
A real lover of the outdoors, he’s taking advantage of everything Hollywood North has to offer.
“I took two days off to go kayaking in Provincial Park — a chain of 300 uninhabited islands, infested with bald eagles and a big grey whale breaching right next to my kayak. It was scary and amazing. I love the outdoors and adventure in general, which is another neat thing about working in Vancouver, you can do all these neat things in the ferny, mossy woods. It’s good to get a change.”
CHANGE IS GOOD
It’s only been a week and already Misha Collins is firmly ensconced in the Supernatural fandom. LiveJournal communities have been set up to extol the virtues of Castiel (physical and otherwise) and he’s made his way into a number of fan fiction pieces, not all of which could be considered “work safe.” So how does Misha approach the fandom?
“With a mix of excitement and fright. I’ve been recognized quite a bit on the street and it’s exciting [but] I can imagine it might get a little tiring, I don’t know, but for now I’m going with mostly exciting and we’ll see about the frightening part later. Everyone seems quite nice; if it was a fanbase that hated me I’d be more frightened.”
No need to worry Misha, we’ll handle you just as if you were one of “the boys.”
Castiel returns on this Thursday’s episode of Supernatural. Tune into The CW at 9:00 for “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Dean Winchester.”
MISHA ANSWERS MY FAVORITE QUESTIONS
If you’re a follower of SFUniverse (or me, for that matter) you know I love my “random” questions. Here’s Supernatural’s warrior angel, Misha Collins charging once more into the breach, dear friends. . . once more!
What’s something you’ve done that there’s no way you’ll ever do that again?
Misha: Kayaking down the Los Angeles River, it’s like an open sewer trough.
What have you saved since you were a kid?
Misha: Our house burned down when I was in high school, so I can’t say I have anything from childhood. I guess, my femur? (house burned. . . when he was a kid. . . does this worry any of you?)
Captain Kirk vs. Captain Jack Sparrow
Misha: I think Captain Jack Sparrow. He’s got a joie de vivre that Captain Kirk is missing. He’s a swashbuckler! (I like him, he says joie de vivre)
And a bonus question:
Your real name is Misha Dmitri Tippens Krushnic — Russian, much?
Misha: Actually, no. My mother went to Russia when she was in college. She had a boyfriend named Misha and much to my father’s chagrin she named me after him. And the last name, Krushnic, goes back six generations in Canada and we’re not sure where they came from, could be Russian or Ukrainian or Polish. My brother’s name is Sasha, we’re not Russian but my mom wished we were Russian I think. She was a hippie. . . .she wanted to bring communism back to America.
And apparently I’m not alone in my thinking. . . .
Misha: I played a Serb on 24 for several episodes and the producers of the show came in to talk to me, like 5 episodes in. Denzel Washington had just won an Oscar and they said, ‘isn’t it great that minorities are finally getting recognition at the Oscars? It’s great for people like you and for Denzel Washington.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry but I don’t think I qualify. I’m a white guy from Massachusetts.
Photos courtesy of The CW