The Sam & Dean effect
As Supernatural returns with a new season, lead actors Jensen and Jared talk about the cult show and its fandomUpdated: Oct 12, 2013 16:57 IST
Take two good looking men. Give them company: monsters, demons, angels, vampires. Make them travel: to heaven, hell, purgatory. Ensure that their lives are riddled with deep angst, intense emotions and visceral violence.
That’s the cult TV show Supernatural, and it’s back with a brand new season (nine). For those who came in late, this is a, well, supernatural-themed drama series that first premiered in September 2005. It features two brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who have a rather unusual job: hunting down and exterminating evil supernatural beings. Over the years, the show has created a vast, intricate universe peopled by the Winchesters’ family and friends, bitter other-world enemies, and recurring motifs (such as the 1967 Chevrolet Impala in which the brothers cruise the American Midwest looking for monsters). Supernatural has acquired a committed global fan base that can sometimes border on the crazy. India has not been immune to the Winchesters’ charm. The show has been a superhit for AXN, the channel on which it airs.
Dean Winchester is played by the jaw-droppingly handsome Jensen Ackles, previously seen in shows such as Smallville (based on the DC Comics character Superman). But Supernatural is what has made him a superstar. Girls have been known to hotly debate the exact colour of his eyes (green or hazel?) and go weak-kneed when he wields his demon-killing knife.
Sam Winchester is played by the tall (at over six-feet-four, he towers over everyone else), floppy-haired Jared Padalecki. He’s appeared in a few horror films like House of Wax, but he too shot to fame with Supernatural, in which he plays the role of the geeky younger brother with a disturbing tendency to slide to the dark side.
Brunch got a chance to do a brief telephonic interview with the two men. Excerpts:
Were you aware that your show has a huge fan following in India?
I was surprised, I didn’t even know the show was airing in India till very recently and I had no idea it was so popular. I’m so happy to be talking to someone from India.
I didn’t know either. We both found out together.
Are you surprised that the show resonates in a country like India?
The show is not just about two Americans, it’s about two brothers, it’s about loss, family, hardships, it’s about how they fight the bad guys. All human beings have the same emotions, and that’s why people from all over connect with the show.
Both of you have been on the show from season one. Have you, in some ways, become Dean and Sam?
We both grew up during the show, I was 22 when I started, now I’m 31. I met my wife on the show. As an actor, you do try and find similarities in your life to your character.
For me it’s the opposite of that. The longer we become these characters, go through so many experiences both on and off the screen, we learn about ourselves. There is greater clarity about who Dean is and who I am. We both look alike that’s for sure! (Laughs)
Dean and Sam have gone through so much tragedy… don’t you think the show can get too bleak?
I guess the whole world can relate to the fact that they lose family, friends. They go through loss and sadness and you wonder whether that will take over or will they get up and fight back.
That’s why we have episodes like Changing Channels, The French Mistake, Yellow Fever [primarily comedy episodes]. The show is bleak and dark, so it’s good to make fun of ourselves from time to time. It’s necessary to have funny episodes.
You need to have that [the dark aspects] to bring out the drama, to bring good stories to life, to look at the tragedies and the triumphs. But I will
convey what you said to the producers.
Your fans include armies of Dean girls and Sam girls...
Sam fangirls are smart, Dean fangirls have vision problems!
Yes, his fangirls are all from his family! (Both laugh)
The Supernatural fandom also has something of a cult status now...
Jensen: Without fans, there’s no show. They are the ones who keep it going, their energy matters to us. We need that to continue.
Jared: That’s part of the reason you get into acting, that you can make the greatest impact on so many people.
When are you coming to India?
Jensen: We’re dying to come to India. It would be amazing.
Jared: We would love to.
Crowley: He’s the sardonic, sadistic King of Hell, the Big Bad of Supernatural, and he’s played by the charismatic British actor, Mark Sheppard.
Castiel: The unsmiling, lovable angel in a trenchcoat, who’s been a friend of the Winchesters (especially Dean), then a foe, and then friend again. He’s played by actor Misha Collins.
Bobby Singer: The gruff but loving surrogate father to Sam and Dean. He was killed off in season seven, but no one in the show is ever really dead.
Death: Yes, Death is a character on the show – a gaunt man in a black suit, carrying a steel-tipped cane. He’s played by the impressive British actor, Julian Richings.
Supernatural airs on AXN
From HT Brunch, October 13
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