LAST MEN STANDING
Words: Nicholas Knight
As season five continues, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles find themselves facing new challenges all the time. As The Offical Supernatural Magazine catches up with both leading men, they tell us about driving the Impala, playing against themselves, and why they love it when Sam and Dean fight!
"I'M SAM WINCHESTER MORE OFTEN THEN I'M JARED PADALECKI!" -- JARED
For nine monts of the year, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are possessed by supernatural entities. It's like demons -- or angels -- have taken over their bodies and they are powerless to do anything but watch their days unfold through someone else's eyes while they speak someone else's thoughts and live someone else's lives. Of course, those entities are just the fictional characters they play for their TV show, but when they're Sam and Dean Whichester for "sixteen hours a day, five days a week -- it's like being in a different world," Padalecki related. "I'm Sam Winchester more often than I'm Jared Padalecki!"
When Jared and Jensen are working those kinds of hours in the mindset of brothers who are trying to stop the apocalypse while dealing with their dysfunctional relationship and coping with the fact that the blood of all humankind could be on their hands due to the roles they played in freeing Lucifer, the enormity of it all can be rather "exhausting," Ackles confirmed. "It's been an exhausting season so far."
Yet the actors seem to be in good spirits, and the atomosphere on the set is filled with laughter. The actors' pranks are well-documented, but they really don't have the time or energy to dole out elaborate pranks on a regular basis. Rather, they just like to keep the mood light. "We do a lot of stuff during shooting to try to make each other laugh." Padalecki confirmed. "Just making stupid faces and being goofy and not saying the right lines and stuff like that. We have a fun time doing it."
With this issue of the Official Supernatural Magazine getting into readers' hands close to the holidays, we had to inquire about a rumor that Padalecki (or someone) slipped some rum into Ackles eggnog during the shooting of season three's A Very Supernatural Christmas. Padalecki adamantly denies it. "What? No...!" Then relents. "Okay, it's true that I put some stuff into his eggnog. And I got a great reaction out of him when he went to drink it..." It's unclear if perhaps Padalecki's pulling one over on our trusting reporter, but Ackles corroborated it with a grin and the suggestively enthusiastic comment, "I love eggnog!"
Ackles doesn't just drink his eggnog straight up or with rum, he loves it in lattes as well. "Hell, yeah! Those are great! I'm a sucker for those holiday coffee drinks. Any other day in the year, it's black coffee, but during the holidays, I'm all over the pumpkin spice..."
Whether black or flavored, the actors must go through a lot of coffee to stay alert during their long work days. With some of their days reaching 18 hours, they had to schedule our latest chat to take place by telephone while they were riding from the set to their home to get some much-needed rest. We pictured them in Impala, but it's more likely they were riding in a comfortable van, driven by the show's driver. But that begs the question: do they even have cars of their own? "I keep my pickup truck here in Vancouver," Ackles said, "so I've got some wheels, but in California I just kinda get by..."
So no replica Impalas in the driveway? "I wante to," Padalecki claimed. "I'm looking into getting a big, black beast! I had a '69 Camaro long before the show, so I'm a big muscle car fan." The Impala is indeed a beast. "The thing's a boat," Ackles laughed. "It's a big long, heavy car. You don't get that kind of style or make anymore in a modern vehicle. I love driving the Impala, and I like to mess with it sometimes; like if we're pulling out I'll kick up some rocks or maybe skid the car sideways a little -- power slide -- something like that, but it's really hard, because it's a heavy, heavy, long car. It's a really kick-ass car."
"I love the Impala, and I love driving it," Padalecki added. And with Dean tossing Sam the keys at the end of Fallen Idols, it looks like the actor will get to drive more often. "I hope so," he said. "So then I won't always have to shut my cakehole..."
Despite the significance of Dean's gesture of making Sam his equal with regards to driving the Impala, one can't
"I LOVE DRIVING THE IMPALA, AND I LIKE TO MESS WITH IT SOMETIMES; LIKE IF WE'RE PULLING OUT I'LL MAYBE SKID THE CAR SIDEWAYS A LITTLE. IT'S A REALLY KICK-ASS CAR!" -- JENSEN
help but wonder if deep down inside he's still praying that Sam will keep his cakehole shut... at least when it comes to drinking blood (or choosing music like Jason Mann's 'Vissions'). "It'll be interesting to see how that's going to play out." Padalecki mused. Last issue, we reported on how the acor is fascinated by the actual lore of people drinking blood, and he elaborates some more on that. "There are a lot of people that drink or ingest blood in some way, shape, or form, and they believe that you take on the attributes of whoever you're drinking the blood of, so it's kind of interesting. There is actually a lot of mythology behind drinking blood to summon demons. When we first started summoning demons on the show, I discovered that you can actually look it up online. People have stories about summoning demons and whaat it's like and what to be more aware of and what your sleep patterns will be like, stuff like that. I kind of looked int that, and it's really amazing what peoplle believe."
Padalecki himself used to believe that supernatural creatures were real. Specifically, the Monster-Under-the-Bed. "My Dad used to make me watch an episode of The New Twilight Zone show called 'The Shadow Man,' about a shadow that lived under a kid's bed. The kid wasn't very popular at school and the Shadow Man started getting all those bullies for him and the, one day, another kid's Shadow Man comes along... It was plain out scary."
"THE TOUGHEST EPISODE FOR ME THIS SEASON WAS EPISODE FOUR, THE END, WHEN I HAD TO PLAY AGAINST MYSELF THE ENTIRE TIME." -- JENSEN
Fans of Supernatural will attest that many of its episodes are plain out scary, too. Since there are no shortage of scares on the show, Ackles likes to see some more comedic elements brought back into the mix. "I want to do an episode that takes place in the Wild West! A real John Ford type of western -- but with demons instead of Indians. I mean, we know from In the Beginning that the angels can send people back in time, and there's a whole mythology surrounding the demon-killing weapon created by Samuel Colt, so the writers could definitely send Sam and Dean back to the days of Wild West. I really hope to see the brothers riding horses while chasing demons before the end of the series.
"The advantage of being on Supernatural is the fact that anything's possible. Another thing I'd really like to see is the brothers getting dressed up in the old Ghostbusters outfits and actually going into a library and fight some ghosts. You know, I always savor the comedic episodes. It's the comedy ones that we have a good time with. The dramatic ones are always tougher for us. So far the toughest episode for me this season was episode four, The End, when I had to play against myself the entire time. As far as being an actor, that was the toughest one. I can handle Dean with anybody, but handling Dean with Dean was definitely a task! I worked with my stunt double, Todd Scott, and he's never really acted. That whole episode with the future thing was very interesting, but it was very difficult for me."
What surprisingly not difficult for Ackles is having to pretend like he wants to kick Padalecki's Sam's ass to Hell and back. "I love it when they fight each other!" he insisted with a laugh. "In the past, Dean could never stay mad at his little brother, but this time he could because he has all the reasons in the world to be mad; his little brother caused Apocalypse! I mean, come on!"
Padalecki agrees. "I love the conflict. Before it was like, 'Oh, you made a deal with a demon, didn't you?' 'Yeah.' 'Uh, okay. So, how long?' 'A year.' 'You suck. I'll find a way to get you out. Hug me.' But then the situations obviously changed, so even though the brothers still cared about each other, what Sam and Dean went through changed them both and separated them more into individuals, so their relationship got much darker. I like the dynamic of brother versus brother when they both think they are doing the right thing for the right reasons. And I would like to see how dark Sam could get."
Both actors don't actually expect that things will go darker; they expect that Sam and Dean will change the destinies laid out for them in The End. "They still have their own inner demons and skeletons and secrets and all that to deal with," Padalecki pointed out, "but I'm sure they'll get back together and join forces somehow." Ackles agreed, adding, "Yeah, I kinda think they'll spend most of the rest of the season trying to fix things up and forgiving their mistakes, especially Sam, because he's feeling guilty for Lucifer's rising on Earth, he's admitting his faults and trying to find redemption."
"It's ultimately all about the relationship with the brothers," Padalecki continued. "They'd do
"I LIKE THE DYNAMIC OF BROTHER VERSUS BROTHER WHEN THEY BOTH THINK THEY'RE DOING THE RIGHT THING..." -- JARED
anything for each other, and they are going to go to the bitter end together, even if it is a bitter end..." And he means that. Even if the way the Winchester brothers faces the End of Days is for it to be their end also. "I think it'd be poetic," Padalecki remarked regarding the suggestion that the brothers might have to sacrifice their own lives to kill Lucifer, ending the Apocalypse and and the TV series in a blaze of glory. "It would give closure. We don't have to see it, it could just be a freeze frame."
The problem with that scenario is that fans and studio executives alike are hoping for a sixth season. Both actors are contracted for a sixth season, so they'd have to come back as ghosts or zombies or something. Maybe they'd even come back as angels! Then again, if the show does go on beyond the Apocalypse, the focus will likely be on something other than angels and demons.
"At this point, it's absolutely open," said Ackles. "Selfishly, I think that it would be cool to go out on a high note [like saving the world from the Apocalypse]. Don't drag it out season after season after season until fans lose interest. But... I don't feel definitively about season five being the final season. I just know that's where Eric Kripke has led the series from the very beginning."
"He could very well hand it over to one of the other writers and stay on as a consultant producer, but how the story would go from there I don't know. I think the studio and network are preparing themselves for this to be the final year, but to be honest, I thought this past season was going to be the final year and it was the best season we've had. So if we are still putting up the numbers later this season, it'd be stupid [for the network] to get rid of it. I could do another season. It's a good job."
So what would happen if season six gets the green light? "If that happens," Ackles speculated, "then Eric will be like, 'Okay guys, they want you to go one more year.' And we'll be like, 'Alright, what are we going to do?' And he'll be like, 'I don't know! We'll start getting into our bag of tricks and figure something out.' So if that happens, I have no doubt that Eric and his team of writers will somehow come up with a way to make it all work for another season.
"I think with the knowledge of knowing that this could be the last season they are still just going to pull out all the stops and see what happens..."
Padalecki is keeping an open mind, too. "The adage is that season six means residuals from syndication," Padalecki said. "You know, like, 'Yay, life is good. Buy a new car!' But it's not about that for me. I really want to focus on creating and building a character, so if there is still something for me as an actor to bring to Sam then absolutely, let's do season six. Otherwise, I think Sam and Dean should go out fighting!"