It’s been nearly a year since we were introduced to Supernatural’s first angel in residence, Castiel. With his unblinking stare and deep, humorless voice, he’s been guiding Dean Winchester down a biblical path that’s leading them all straight into the ultimate maelstrom known as the apocalypse.
But when the director yells cut, Castiel falls away and in his place stands the witty and charming Misha Collins, fitting in on the Supernatural set as if he’d been there since day one.
Listen in as Misha Collins talks to me about body swaps, the fear of God and his recent dual role as both Castiel and the human vessel he calls home.
Cyn: Last week’s episode “The Rapture,” was a total tour de force for you, wasn’t it? How hard was it to play two different characters in the same episode?
Misha: It was a challenge on a couple of levels. I needed to really flush out a distinct character [for Jimmy] that was going to have different physical, vocal, and personality traits so that there was going to be a clear distinction between him and Castiel. It was a challenge to stay on top of exactly where I was in the story, because there were flashbacks and different arcs for each of the characters, so there was a lot going on that required me to be attentive. It was interesting and I enjoyed it. Maybe next season I could ask Eric to let me play all the characters . . .
Cyn: Well, the fans have been bugging Eric Kripke for a body swap episode. So maybe one of the Winchester boys could change places with Castiel.
Misha: Oh, that would be fun. That would be a great opportunity to mock one another.
Cyn: If you made the switch, which of the boys would be easiest for you to mock. . . or shall we say, imitate?
Misha: (laughs) Jared and Jensen have both given me a lot of material to work with on the mocking, so it’s hard to say, probably a toss up. It would be more absurd for me to play Jared just because he seems so gigantic to me. He’s just so tall that there’s something in that that would be inherently, physically different. So, I think that that would probably be the most fun to do.
Cyn: When Castiel returned from his trip “home” he had some rather biting comments for Dean. What exactly happened up there to make him do such a 180?
Misha: I honestly don’t know that much more than you do about why the change in attitude, except for some things that I do know that you don’t know.
Cyn: Could you vague that up a bit more, Misha?
Misha: I’m guessing when I say, I think that [Castiel] was dragged up to heaven and he was tortured or very sternly rebuked in some way that, pardon the expression, put the fear of God back in him and now he’s back to toeing the party line, which is how he started.
I think that’s where Castiel was in episodes one and four of the season. But I think he started to have a lot of doubt and he started to develop a fondness for the boys and concern for their well being and I think that he was dragged back upstairs and. . . there was something a little bit telling in what Anna says. Something to the effect that it’s really, really bad news to be dragged back upstairs and that, to me, makes it sound like maybe there was some waterboarding that went on up there.
Cyn: That’s a tough concept for me. The fact that there are angels torturing angels in heaven.
Misha: Right. Well, you know in “On the Head of a Pin” we saw the angels asking Dean to do them a favor and help torture Alistair, so it’s certainly not something that is out of the realm of possibility. It’s something that’s in their toolbox that they would consider doing. It seems like, for angles, sometimes the ends do justify the means, which I think has been a source of a lot of Castiel’s doubt up until this point.
Cyn: Knowing how Supernatural likes to go out with a bang each season, I imagine you’ve had more than your share of hours on set recently.
Misha: The finale itself is a bigger episode than most, so they even added an extra day for the shooting just so they could get it all in. Definitely long hours but it’s a lot of fun.
Cyn: And will we be seeing more of you next season?
Misha: I got a letter, so it’s official and I’m delighted to be part of the show for next year.
Makes me happy, too, but I have to wonder. . . knowing nothing at all about how this season will end, I’m truly boggled by how Castiel will fit into the next season. Then again this is Supernatural, so Misha coming back doesn’t necessarily mean Castiel is coming back. I wouldn’t put it past Kripke to give us someone entirely new riding that talented body.
Don’t miss Supernatural, Thursdays at 9:00 on The CW.
Originally published at SFUniverse.com on May 5, 2009.
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