Supernatural DallasCon: Day 1
Supernatural’s convention in Dallas is famous for “bringing the boys home” to Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki’s home state of Texas. As the last convention before Season 9 of the CW series begins and with several episodes filmed, fans are hopeful for more information from behind the scenes, are searching for spoilers, and are hoping for new tales of the pranks and antics that the show’s cast are beloved for online.
Friday afternoon’s events featured Richard Speight, Jr. – known better to the fandom as The Trickster or the Archangel Gabriel – opening the convention and staying for Rob Benedict’s panel to continue the duo act they’re becoming well known for in the con circuit. Rob has admitted that he’s nervous in panels (“neurotic,” Richard teased him), but together they became a non-stop comedy act that kicked off DallasCon on a positive and upbeat note, long before Rob’s panel was scheduled to start.
Rob and Richard have the easy camaraderie of long-time friends, and while they’ve never shared a set together, according to Richard they’ve shared a bed. A king-sized one, that is, in a European con. He’s learned not to agree to anything Rob suggests, now: “no” is his immediate answer to any suggestion Rob comes up with, even in improv acts, because the alternative is he ends up sharing a bed in Milan because “we’re both small guys!”
Hotels like this are a reoccurring theme in their stories: from Richard telling Rob that his pseudonym at an event was “Heywood Jablowme” to have him propositioning unsuspecting desk clerks (“I didn’t know you’d actually do it! But I wasn’t going to stop you!” “The worst part is I mispronounced it twice and still didn’t get it was a joke.”) to Richard’s room-service mishaps at this week’s con that had his breakfast sent to the wrong room number, a room that just happened to have a person staying there who shared a last name with Rob’s con-given pseudonym.
According to Rob, however, when he went out into the hall to correct the order from the confused hotel goer and server, his old-man PJs with matching plaid top and bottom were “hot.” You heard it here first. He wore your grampa’s pajamas, and looked incredible.
More show-related, the actor for the Prophet Chuck confirmed that Erik Kripke’s intention was to have the harried holy novelist as a stand in both for himself as creator and writer of Supernatural, and as God himself. However, when Kripke left the show in Swan Song, an episode that Rob considers Kripke’s “love letter to the show,” he took his counterpart within the Supernatural universe with him.
“Thanks, Eric!” Rob quipped sardonically, stating the desire to come back to Supernatural.
How would Rob like his character to reappear? He wants the clouds to open up, for Chuck to reappear in the same computer chair, in the same white shirt, and for his computer screen to no longer read “The End,” but rather “Miss me?”
For the afternoon’s festivities, Rick Worthy took the stage. For the actor behind the Alpha Vampire, it seemed like the theme behind the panel was food. There were supernatural themed cupcakes, oatmeal cream pies, red velvet cake flavored liquor and more that made an appearance on the stage, and the actor devoured cupcakes (“in one bite!”) and licked and sucked icing off of the finger of one lucky audience member. “Was it as good for you as it was for me?” he teased.
While he impersonated the accent and mannerisms of Sebastian Roche (Balthazar), it was perhaps the other actor’s infamous raunchy humor that he channeled the best. He supposedly left several women pregnant with his “creepy vampire baby triplets” with a look, and he worked the crowd with flirtatious comments, innuendos, hugs and kisses, and eventually learning a Texas two-step from a woman from the audience.
When the questions were brought back to his role on the show, Rick turned serious once again. “In all honesty, I was really hurt that they didn’t bring me back last season.” Rick thought that the introduction of Benny into the show gave a perfect avenue for him to return, given the telepathic link the Alpha has to the other vampires. He would have loved to play off of Ty Olsson, and regrets that they went another direction with the storyline, hiring someone to play Benny’s ‘Maker,’ and building around that instead.
He would have liked for the Alpha and Benny to reconcile. Or, barring that, he wants closure for his character. It bothers him that the Alpha never got resolution of any sort, and if his character dies Rick wants the self-proclaimed oldest monster in the world to go out fighting “like Darth Vader,” he declared. “A long, drawn out battle to the very last fucking breath. I don’t want a cheap death like Dick Roman, all ‘Peekaboo!’ and Borax.”
When asked, Rick Worthy discussed his first day on the set of Supernatural. Having worked with Jensen in Dark Angel and Jared in an NBC pilot that wasn’t picked up, he was looking forward to seeing them both again. Jared’s transformation in the years between was remarkable. In his memory, Jared was a cute, gangly kid, and when he saw him again he was “now a man, with sideburns and muscles like kapow!” Jared cruised up to him on his mini-bike, gave him a crushing hug, and said “It’s so fucking good to see you!” It was a memorable experience and Rick, like most of them, describe the Supernatural cast as family.
Our final guest for the evening was our first with an active role on the show: not that you would recognize Osric Chau as Kevin Tran from his con pictures! The advanced placement prophet was replaced today with Princess Bubblegum from Adventure Time, complete with pink body paint and a wig that he admits having significant difficulty with. He looked fantastic, though, and as several of the congoers pointed out to him, he has amazing legs for that skirt. He admitted to the costume being difficult and leaving him “very hot in. . . places,” but he had missed Comic Con and the opportunity it provided to cosplay, and then realized. . . DallasCon is a con! He was among his people, and welcome to play.
It’s not his first time playing along with the fandom. Our first few questions from the panel let us hear about his experience with the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, or GISHWHES, a time period of complete chaos founded by his fellow SPN actor Misha Collins. Osric’s housemates are Supernatural fans, and for the first year one of them was taking part in the madness. They were gathering at the house to make things for the bizarre list of scavenger hunt items and working hard, so he asked how he could help. And now we have photos and videos of Osric being ‘kidnapped,’ tied up, and turned into a shrine to himself, and later in “Casplay,” cosplaying as Misha’s character Castiel. He took to the public to protect crosswalks and shop in malls while maintaining Castiel’s trademark stoicism, and had a lot of fun with the event. Osric isn’t sure what Misha thinks of this yet: he hasn’t seen him since GISHWHES, and admits to sheepishly avoiding him since then, which has been easy as they haven’t been in any scenes or episodes together yet.
That was the first of a few inadvertent reveals of Season 9: from that, we know that Kevin Tran and Castiel don’t have any time together in the first seven episodes of Supernatural. He discussed how last season he was “stuck in the houseboat, this season I’m stuck in the Men of Letters,” which tells us that Kevin did not take off with that backpack he was carrying in his final scenes of Season 8, and that it’s unlikely Cas has been to the MOL bunker as yet in those episodes.
He’s had several scenes “stuck in the basement with Crowley,” however, and says that apart from an English PA whom he loves for her sense of humor, he sees Mark Sheppard the most of any of his castmates and has built a great rapport. Perhaps that’s why, when a fan asked who he would want to be Kevin Tran’s secret father, he suggested the king of hell, Crowley: “It’d be a crazy twist!”
Is love in the cards for Kevin? Probably not. He’d have to get out of the basement, first.
Eventually, conversation turned as it always does to the on-set pranks and antics, and as a reoccurring castmate Osric has been brought into it as well. Though he revealed that there is an hour buffer built into every day of shooting to “let the guys be idiots,” he doesn’t often like to take part in the pranking. He tries to be serious on-set and work while limiting shenanigans, but he’s sometimes drawn into it. “It’s always Jared!” he said. Jared Padalecki’s responsible for the houseboat door not opening during a take: “I didn’t know it was a prank, I thought it was inefficiency!”
Osric admits to one prank of his own: the Holy Water Super Soaker is his weapon of choice, it seems. He blasted Jared in the face as hard as he could with the prop weapon, in retaliation for being the butt of pranks.
Osric has grown to love his character during his last season of transformation. He thinks it may have all started with the haircut. The actor cut his boyish ‘do for a Halo production, and when he returned to Supernatural director Robert Singer had him try on and take off a wig that would return him to that look several times, “off and on and off and on” before deciding to leave it short. It helped establish him as a prophet on the edge, becoming less fearful as he obsessively works to close the gates of Hell. It began a progression that took Kevin from being, what Osric rightfully points out was a rather simple stereotype of an Asian character, and on to one with more depth and development. It was significant to Osric, to be the first major Asian cast member on the show, and to provide some diversity to a fairly whitewashed cast.
The day’s events wrapped with the convention’s famous Karaoke Free For All, hosted by Richard Speight, Jr. and Matt Cohen, with Osric (still as Princess Bubblegum) rapping Gorillaz song “Clint Eastwood,” Mark Sheppard appearing to take in Osric’s outfit, and Rob Benedict singing “My Sharona” to the audience, before having “Happy Birthday” sung back to him by the fans in celebration of his 43rd.