“From what I’ve gleaned on the Internet, Castiel is the angel of Thursday. Thursday, as you know, is the day that supernatural airs on the CW. Castiel is supposed to help people on Thursdays and is supposed to be helpful in times of big changes.” – Misha Collins
Last Thursday night at 9PM EST, the hit Warner Bros/ CW Network series Supernatural – starring Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles as ‘supernatural hunting’ brothers Sam and Dean Winchester – rolled out its fourth season premiere episode, Lazarus Rising. By the time the ending credits finished rolling and the preview for the next episode had ended, two things became very clear: Season four had come roaring out of the starter’s gate with a winning episode and viewers/fans had become enthralled with the new recurring guest character, the angel Castiel, played by handsome thirty-four year old Misha Collins.
The season three finale, No Rest for the Wicked, saw Dean Winchester having to make good on his deal to trade his soul into hell to save his brother Sam’s life. The consumation of this deal found Dean being turned into ‘a hellhound’s chew toy’ and his soul dragged from his mutilated body and down into hell. Four months later an angel named Castiel was sent by God to pull Dean out of the pit and restore him back to life and healed body.
Eclipse Magazine had an opportunity to catch up with Misha Collins and talk about his role as Castiel and his work on Supernatural, which he says he had only watched a couple of times. “I wasn’t an avid watcher of the show until I was cast in it though. Does that make me a narcissist,” he asks mischievously in response to my question.
Naw, just makes you another fan of a really terrific show.
Speaking of fans, I asked Misha what his reaction was to the fact that fans of Supernatural have already taken to the character of Castiel and his place in the role. Was this something he considered might happen when he took the role?
“I love it and, no I definitely didn’t expect it,” he says in awe over the strong, positive emotional response he has received since Lazarus Rising aired.
Supernatural is not Misha Collins first appearance on series that has something to do with demons and the supernatural. In 1999 Collins guest starred in episode of the series Charmed titled ‘They’re Everywhere’, in which he played Eric Bragg, a young man being chased by demons called ‘Collectors’ who wanted to ‘suck the knowledge out of his brain’. I asked him now that he has played both sides of the coin – as human being chased by a supernatural creature and as a character is a supernatural creature- which side of the coin did he prefer being on?
“I like being on the supernatural end of the spectrum. Partly because that guest star role on Charmed was really the first big part I’d ever had on camera and I was so green, I had no idea what was going on. I was totally overwhelmed and under-qualified and panicked the whole time,” Collins says of his work on Charmed. “There was just so much that was new to me. I had to hit my marks and maintain continuity and remember my dialogue all at once and if that didn’t make it tough enough, I had a kissing scene with Alyssa Milano and she slipped me the tongue. There was just way too much stimulation there for me. Funny thing is last year I shot a pilot for ABC where Alyssa Milano and I played brother and sister. When I told her about our kiss (that scene wound up on the cutting room floor) she didn’t have any recollection of it. I guess I didn’t make as big an impression on her as she did on me. Now, on Supernatural I’ve got a little more experience and I’m able to sink in and enjoy the whole process a lot more.”
Still, there were challenges for the actor in playing the recurring role of an angel of God. I asked him what was the main challenge for him so far and he said it was in his introduction scene as Castiel.
“Not flinching while walking through a shower of sparks and getting shot at. My scalp was getting singed and the explosions were very loud,” he says. That whole entrance I guess it was the hardest and the most fun scene all in one. I mean it was definitely the best character introduction I’ve ever had.
Talking about things that can be a challenge for an actor in sometimes FX laden series like Supernatural, Collins says that so far he hasn’t been asked to do any ‘green screen’ work. “I have done a bit of green screen work in the past (in the series Seven Days). It’s hard. Everything has to be in your imagination. They haven’t told me if I’ve got any green screen work on Supernatural, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.”
What wasn’t hard for Misha Collins was working with series regular, Jensen Ackles. Many fans and viewers alike have already sung the praises of the onscreen dynamic between these two talented actors as Dean Winchester and Castiel confronted each other for the first time in the ending sequence of Lazarus Rising. Collins agrees that there was a working chemistry between he and Ackles that definitely added to the power of those scenes. “I think there’s a real intensity between the two of us that just comes from the stakes being really high (between the characters). You know, it’s hard to be cavalier about things when you are talking about Armageddon.”
In that first confrontation scene between Dean and Castiel, Collin’s character has a very childlike innocent quality about him, which is a direct contrast to the world-weary, cynicism of Ackles’ character at that moment. That childlike quality seemed to be the pivotal thing that has endeared him to many fans. I asked Misha Collins where the decision to play the character of Castiel this way came from.
“Eric Kripke told me that Castiel has never been up close with humans before, so he has an innocent, curiosity about people. I think that’s where it comes from. Also, I don’t think angels really understand the nuances of human behavior like irony or self-doubt. Most of my work is taken directly from Eric Kripke and the other writers’ work. They gave me very specific, fleshed out material to work with and that made it really easy.”
Misha Collins told me that he is not quite sure how many episodes of Supernatural season four that Castiel is scheduled to be in “I’ve shot four already and I’m currently booked for two more,” he says. With Castiel having so many opportunities to hang around with Dean Winchester and interact with him, I asked Collins if he thought that over the course of time, Castiel might become influenced by Dean in any way or if Castiel will have more influence over Dean.
“I don’t really know where this is going,” he says of the ongoing story arc. “but I do know that Castiel begins to understand humans more as time progresses and I definitely think that he develops a real respect for Dean.”
So I asked Misha Collins some hard-hitting questions looking for more in-depth spoilers to share with Eclipse readers.
Does that mean that Castiel might suddenly acquire an addiction to pie?
“To be honest, I’m not yet sure Castiel eats at all. He may be anorexic.”
Did he think that Dean and Castiel might become buddies enough that Dean would let the angel drive the Impala?
“I don’t think they give out driver’s licenses in heaven.”
It was obvious that even angels live in fear of ‘the Kripke’ when it came to divulging spoilers. However I did get one thing out of Misha Collins. Apparently Castiel’s favorite music is Rachmaninov’s Vespers. Somehow I’m thinking that’s not gonna go over too well with Dean Winchester if Castiel tries to pipe that through the Impala’s speakers!
I also found out that, while most of his work on screen is done extensively with Jensen Ackles, Collins does get to do some scenes with the other series regular, Jared Padalecki who plays Sam Winchester. “I have shot an episode working with Jared. He’s got a great sense of humor. Jensen does too,” the actor says of working with the two Supernatural series leads.
One last thing I was most curious about was would Castiel be getting a wardrobe change or will he continue to dress like a ‘holy tax accountant’?
“Kripke wanted to base the look of the character on the comic book character ‘Constantine’ I don’t know if I’m ever going to change clothes. Maybe they will eventually be worn to tatters and I will morph from “holy tax accountant” to “holy homeless guy.”
I admit this left me a little worried about were losing those tatters could put Castiel at regarding the next level of ‘holy’ if no wardrobe replacement is made. But I’m sure the wardrobe department will keep it from going that far.
Speaking of going to next, I asked Misha Collins what fans and viewers might see him in while we wait for him to continue on in Supernatural season 4 as Castiel.
“I’ll be in Nip/Tuck later on this year.”
Meanwhile catch Misha Collins in his second appearance as the angel Castiel, in Supernatural’s fourth season episode ‘Are You There God, Its Me Dean Winchester’, airing Thursday, September 25th on the CW Network at 9PM EST.