So I went through and removed the spoilers because I am an awesome person.
Feel free to link this to comms or your friends or your FList or whatever. The only reason I'm not posting it to any comms is because I don't think I'm actually a member of any that aren't fic-comms.
PAUL McGUIRE: We're going to get started with the afternoon portion of the program. Thank you all for coming. Sincerely, thank you for sticking around for "Supernatural" and "Everybody Hates Chris." We'll get things started with a clip from "Supernatural" in a moment. "Supernatural" has, certainly, among the toughest time slots in television. Still manages to hold onto a devoted, hardcore following. If you don't believe me, just check out the over 20,000 blog sites devoted to Jared and Jensen and hundreds of videos on YouTube.
There's the YouTube users there. Click.
This year the series has delved deeper into the mythology, introducing a whole new world of hunters, exploring the brothers' destiny and the meaning of John's dying words to his son. All that and [Guest Star Spoiler].
QUESTION: Why isn't [Guest Star Spoiler] here? Is [Guest Star Spoiler] going to be at the party?
PAUL McGUIRE: We'll see. I don't know. After your behavior earlier today, Tom [Jicha], I'm not sure.
Anyway, the show also did a great number last night following "Smallville"'s big ratings. So again, it's a terrific show. We're very proud of it. And let's take a look at a clip before we meet the panel. Thanks.
Great clip for a great show. Please welcome executive producer Eric Kripke and stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, who got up -- well, maybe just didn't even go to sleep, to get down here today and be with you, and executive producer Bob Singer. They'll take your questions now. Thank you.
ROBERT SINGER: Not all at once.
JENSEN ACKLES: Yeah. Got to get me one of those jackets.
JARED PADALECKI: You can borrow mine.
QUESTION: Hello. For the producers. As the series goes on, what is the balance -- is the balance going to change between standalone and arc? It certainly looks like we're getting into deep waters with Sam's character as far as what the big secret is.
ERIC KRIPKE: Right. No, I mean, I think -- I think we'll kind of continue a similar balance we had probably towards more of the second half of season 1. I think, you know, we have -- we think standalones are kind of our bread and butter and just have enjoyable, scary stories. But every three or four episodes, we have, like, a big mythology episode where we really move the ball forward. We'll continue with that. I think the mythology episodes, second half of season 2 especially, get pretty big. And every time we have one, I think something pretty major happens. But rather than having just sort of -- you know, it becomes numbing after a while if, every week, something big happens. And we like to save it for a really big movement forward and really do it when we can do it.
QUESTION: Right next to her, actually, same spot. You guys seem to like to use actors from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "X-Files," recognizable faces. And then they just said that [Guest Star Spoiler] is coming on. Any more guest stars that we can count on? Actually, are you guys bringing Amber Benson back for another guest spot?
[Guest Star Spoilers]
He paid us, like, 200 bucks --
JARED PADALECKI: I did. It was Canadian.
[Guest Star Spoilers, Spoilers for Upcoming Episodes, Spoilers for the General Season]
JARED PADALECKI: Such a coincidence.
ROBERT SINGER: Unbelievable.
JENSEN ACKLES: What are the chances?
[Guest Star Spoilers, Spoilers for Upcoming Episodes, Spoilers for the Season Finale]
QUESTION: Could you talk just a little bit about the first season versus the second season? Are we where you anticipated we'd be at this point, and maybe just how you made some decisions to -- that have brought you to this point?
ERIC KRIPKE: Yeah, I'll speak to it. Then if Bob wants to add to that, because we couldn't do it without the two of us figuring this out. Mythology-wise, I would say we're pretty much on track with what we wanted. We started with about a -- I'd say a two-and-a-half-, three-year plan of what mythology reveals we want to do. I'd say we're actually cruising along in that story right where we thought we would be. And at this point we've kind of now broken through season 3, and we're talking about season 4 mythology at this point. So we're right along that track. I mean, some things duck and move and change and adjust but the big road map has been the same. But versus season 1, you know, we feel -- in our own opinion, we feel it's a better series than it was season 1. Bob and I sat down at the beginning of this year, and we said, "All right, there's a lot to be proud of season 1, but we want season 2 to be better. And how can we do that?" And we wanted the stories to be more vital, and we wanted to say more interesting things, and we wanted to take some more chances and really try to step up our game. And I don't know if the audience feels we've done that, but we feel we've done that. We're incredibly proud of the product. So I would say the big thing about season 2 is we learned a lot of mistakes from season 1. We learned not to do bugs and windigos and monsters that look really cheesy on camera. And I think we figured out how to hone our game a little bit.
QUESTION: Even with -- maybe the actors could talk a little bit too about how they feel about the series has progressed to this point.
JENSEN ACKLES: I think it's going really well. I know that in the beginning, that was kind of, you know -- not a concern, but just something that I thought about quite a bit as far as where it was going to go and where these characters' journey lied. And it's really kind of comforting to know that Bob and Eric have really a nice kind of plan -- at least I'd like to think they've got this nice big road map in their office and everything is planned out. But they do; it's really kind of gone according to plan. And that helps us out as actors as well, playing what we need to from week to week and keeping that consistent with where we need to be going. So I'm thrilled the way it's been going, and I think it's only going to get better.
JARED PADALECKI: I'm also definitely very excited about the second season compared to the first one. I think in the first season there's a learning curve for everybody. The actors are finding the characters. The writers and creator are finding out what works and who's doing well with the dialogue, who's doing well with the story, what's working, what's not working. Like you said, you have to do a windigo and you have to do a bugs to figure out you don't to do a windigo and you don't want to do a bugs.
ERIC KRIPKE: No, you don't want to do those.
JARED PADALECKI: Yeah. And Jensen and myself have to, like, try out a facial expression, just to see it two months later and be like, "Oh, God, why? Why did do that?" So I think we're definitely -- and you can really feel it up north, up in Vancouver, where we're shooting, that we really -- it feels like a well-oiled machine now. I remember sometimes, last season, getting a script or just showing up on the day and being like, "I feel like I'm starting from the beginning, like it feels like it's day one of the pilot all of a sudden." And it's definitely not felt like that this year. And that goes with everybody just sort of getting more comfortable. And I don't understand -- you know, I've heard "sophomore slump," "second season is tough" -- because I'm so proud of what's happened so far the second season. I think we're pushing the envelope. I love that things are happening. I love that Kripke and the rest of the writers aren't answering questions with more questions so much as they're actually getting something done. There's nothing that frustrates me more as a fan of television shows than when it's like, "Ooh, this is where we're going to find out what.... Oh, now they are shooting us that way." It just feels like they're toying with you. So I've been really happy with the second season. And it would be really a huge shame to not see what happens in the fourth season, so --
ERIC KRIPKE: Right, right. Totally agree. I mean, if we don't figure out the seven-season plan --
JARED PADALECKI: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
JENSEN ACKLES: Locking that down.
JARED PADALECKI: It's going to be too bad.
QUESTION: How did you decide to do the one really utterly unbelievable thing and fix the car?
ROBERT SINGER: It's "Supernatural."
QUESTION: How many cars have there been?
JENSEN ACKLES: Got to have that car.
ERIC KRIPKE: There's, like, I think -- how many Impalas are up there?
JENSEN ACKLES: Four.
JARED PADALECKI: Four.
ERIC KRIPKE: There are four. You know, it's like the Bionic Man. It's better, stronger, faster.
JENSEN ACKLES: Absolutely.
QUESTION: There seems to be a lot of credits that come from "The X-Files": writers, maybe just some directors. How much of an influence has that been, and have you seen a lot of crossover from the fans of "X-Files" to this show?
ERIC KRIPKE: Bob?
ROBERT SINGER: I don't know about writers, but John Shiban, who is an executive producer with us, was an "X-Files" guy. And we have Kim Manners, who directed more "X-Files" than I've done shows total. But that's about it for "The X-Files" people.
ERIC KRIPKE: We had Tony Wharmby --
ROBERT SINGER: Right.
ERIC KRIPKE: -- do the vampire episode last year.
ROBERT SINGER: But I don't think we think of that much. It's something that we reference occasionally, but I think we almost reference it in a way of "Well, that was good in 'The X-Files,' but how do we do that idea differently so it doesn't look like we're doing 'The X-Files'?" We try to really be "Supernatural" and only "Supernatural."
QUESTION: I'm not saying ripping it off or anything. I'm just wondering if fans of the show who like that type of writing realize that --
JENSEN ACKLES: I've definitely come in contact with people who have been big fans of -- avid fans of "The X-Files" who are in turn fans of "Supernatural." And I think they truly like that, you know, duo journey that was -- you know, like you had with David and Gillian.
JARED PADALECKI: He's much better looking than Gillian.
ERIC KRIPKE: I would also say I think -- I mean, speaking of that, speaking in terms of the fans is -- you know, I mean, I think "X-Files" -- people who have been fan of "The X-Files" tend to really respond to this show because I think we -- again, we work really hard to have a literate show. We kill ourselves to try to give it maturity and sophistication. I would say season 1, we just worried about it being a horror movie every week. This year we really worried about making the characters -- giving them even more depth and complexity and giving them some intricate, interesting storylines. And I think "X-Files" fans have responded to that. Quite frankly, my goal is to have more of "The X-Files" fans out there who haven't found the show yet to find it. And we're trying to -- in the slaughterhouse that is, you know, Thursdays at 9:00, I think we're just trying to wave our hands and say --
JENSEN ACKLES: "Look at me."
ERIC KRIPKE: The people who don't want to watch, like, doctors bang in an emergency room --
-- like the people that are out there who were "X-Files" fans, "We're here" and "Watch, and we think we'll provide something that will be really satisfying for you." An you know, they're out there, and we'd actually -- my own personal -- I'd love to find more of them and bring them and kind of bring them to the party because I think they'd have a good time.
QUESTION: You used the term "mythology" earlier. That's the kind of word that sort of scares off some potential viewers because they're afraid they're coming to the dance too late and they don't know everything that's going on. How do you find that balance between making sure you've got the show accessible, but you're also not cheating the fans who have been there from the beginning?
ERIC KRIPKE: And I would answer that -- it's funny; I would answer that by also referencing "X-Files." And I would say the one thing we do talk about in terms of "X-Files," although Bob is totally right, not specific ideas, we talk about their balance of mythology, especially in the first three to four seasons. I'd say once they got into season 17 or whatever, towards the end, once they got into their, like, last season, 9 maybe, they got way too wrapped up in mythology, and people couldn't come to the party. But the first two, three years, it was, every four or five episodes, they would have a mythology episode. But their bread and butter and our bread and butter are the standalones. That's why we think people can still come to the party, even in season 3, because at the end of the day, the whole concept of the show is two brothers on the road with chainsaws in their trunk, battling things that go bump in the night. There, that's the whole show. And people can watch that and enjoy stories week in and week out that have beginnings, middles, and ends. And that's why we feel we can still -- no matter how far we go, we always feel that we can bring new people to the tent. So I mean, that's sort of the plan. We're never going to be like -- we're just not -- just because it's not the design. We're not a show like "Alias." We're not a show like "Lost." We're not a show that is just one long, you know, storyline or one long melodramatic mythology. It's sort of -- we touch on it, but more often than not, it's just -- it's about these two guys hunting down and killing things. And that's just sort of fun and red-blooded and a roller coaster ride.
QUESTION: If I could follow up on that, how much of the show do you think, the success of it so far, is the relationship between the brothers versus the supernatural aspects?
ERIC KRIPKE: I would say it is 99 percent the relationship between these guys and 1 percent whatever the hell Bob and I cook up.
QUESTION: Can you guys talk about working together and how that relationship sort of developed?
JENSEN ACKLES: Us two or --
ROBERT SINGER: They don't care about us.
JENSEN ACKLES: Him [Robert Singer] and I, we go way back. It was something that kind of just happened from the beginning, I think, when we met each other.
JARED PADALECKI: Yeah. I think as far as -- I think it was pretty effortless. I don't think -- it was probably by design of these guys. We're pretty similar. We have similar interests and similar hobbies, and we're both pretty laid-back guys. We take our work very seriously. We like to work on our characters and like to have a good time and like to keep the mood on the set fun. And we just got -- we just clicked. Like I've definitely worked with my share of people -- and I'm sure he has too -- that I'm just like, "Oh, man, I'm going to work again. I've just got to keep my tongue in my mouth and don't say anything that's going to come back to bite me or just shut my mouth and do my work." But we have a great time. We have a fantastic crew up in Vancouver, and it's just been pretty organic.
JENSEN ACKLES: I think it's also just the common love we share for the show. We really look out for each other when we're working with guest directors or whatnot. And I think that it's just that we truly want this to be a great program. So when we're working, if I see something that he's doing or he sees something that I'm doing, there's this, you know, very open relationship. We're able to talk to each other be like, "Hey, let's do this. Let's lock this down. Let's get this going. I think we're missing a beat here." So it's really neat to have that relationship with your costar.
JARED PADALECKI: Right.
JENSEN ACKLES: It's very rare as well.
QUESTION: Given some of the things that you've done over the last season and a half, just how twisted is this writers' room? Or on the cover, how much fun is it?
ERIC KRIPKE: It's both. It's twisted and so much fun. Just to give you a snapshot of my morning, even this morning we were looking at these photos that our effects guys up north sent us of dummies with eviscerated chests, open rib cages and all the gore inside, and Bob and I are like,[Spoilers for Upcoming Baddie] And then you're playing that, and meanwhile down the hall are editing suites that three episodes are getting cut at any one time. There's always endless screams from the cuts that are coming out. So there's rooms where the actress or there's screaming coming out here. We are looking at gory pits. We gotta go into the room to figure out the best way to kill somebody this week. And every so often we look at each other and we can't believe this is our job. We love it.
QUESTION: Does it get tougher to top yourself? You guys have done some pretty extreme stuff. Second question to that is have you guys ever gotten a note from the network that said, "No. Uh-uh"?
ERIC KRIPKE: You talk about the note from the network.
ROBERT SINGER: They've been great, and there were negotiations, and those are also funny that you wonder, "This is what I get paid for?" "We'll not do the spurting blood, but we will expose the heart. Is that okay?" So that's funny. But, no. They've actually been great, and we've pretty much done what we've wanted to do. We have our own governor, and we know that there's some things we can do and can't do. Also, we, both Eric and I, and I think we impart this to the directors, that a lot of times in this genre you're kind of -- it's better what you don't see than what you do see. And so there's a lot of off-screen stuff that goes on on our show, and we kind of leave it to the audience's imagination. No. We've been great with the network.
ERIC KRIPKE: Yeah. It's been cool.
QUESTION: Bob, following up on the comments on the difference between producing the show the first season -- first season and this season, and from a production standpoint, what kinks did you work out that you experienced last year? Have you been able to give your two stars here more time off?
ROBERT SINGER: No. You know, we try our best to give them time off. But really, the stories take us where they take us. We're cognizant of how much we're working them. We try to help them out occasionally. But sometimes the stories just demand that they work really impossible hours. So we love them, and we appreciate what they do. I guess we could be better to them, but it wouldn't make for a better show.
But what is better is that we really were very fortunate that we got to keep the majority of our crew, and so this season we just hit the ground running. Everybody sort of knows what their job is, how to go about it in the most efficient way. I think that we probably put more on the screen for the amount of money we spend probably than any show on television. And I think we're all really proud the way the show looks and what we do accomplish for limited resources.
QUESTION: For the two actors, your characters' priorities have sort of changed -- your concerns have sort of changed between first and second season where Sam's main concern now seems to be am I going to turn into something horrible, and Dean's main concern seems to be what if Sam turns into something horrible.
Can you talk about playing that shift in concern as the characters evolve?
JARED PADALECKI: I think the staff did a great job of explaining our inner struggles and our arc over a period of episodes as opposed to, you know, I'm like -- Jess, I'm so messed up over Jess, and the next episode I'm making out with some girls. They have given us some time to sort of deal with what our prior demons are and develop our new demons. And obviously with our father passing away, that was a huge shift, and the death of the Elder Winchester, so to speak, obviously made a huge impact on both Sam and Dean. It wasn't immediate what the effect it had been on them both, and that had a chance to come out, and I think that's for the best that they sort of spread it out over a few episodes to really explain what I was going through and what he was going through and give us time to ease under it and to commit to it. I think that it was done gradual really helped out.
JENSEN ACKLES: We were kind of well-aware it was going to be a bit of a flip-flop as far as the characters go for season 2. And I think we were prepared for that, and it was a nice shift in tone for the show as well, especially for our characters because we're able to peel back a few more layers and see what truly drives these guys.
And I think that when Dean lost his father, that was huge for him. It was basically like, you know, that was the captain of his ship, and he all of a sudden is out in the middle of nowhere, and he's got his brother, and he's trying to be a big guy, and now his brother's got a problem. He's very confused, and sometimes he just wants to get out. He's like, "Let's forget this. Let's get out of here." So I think that shift in tone for him has been a nice transition from last season when he was like, "This is what we do. This is what we're going to do, and this is how it's going to be. You can either like it or love it." So it's been really nice to have that shift, and I'm excited to see where they go forward from here.
QUESTION: For Jensen and Jared, you guys have been in Vancouver for a while, so you're probably acclimated. What do you do for your rare downtime? Is there an equivalent of a Viper club there?
JARED PADALECKI: What downtime?
And speaking for myself at least, I'm nowhere near acclimated. I still think that it's pretty harsh weather and whatnot. It's interesting. We don't have a lot of downtime. And that's not a pity party or anything. We really just work a lot. In our off time, like my dogs are up there. I love to spend time with my dogs, and my girlfriend will come up or I'll come down, and work on the script. Like the scripts are coming day in, day out. And even between episodes, you go from finishing a huge episode on Wednesday, and you're like, ahhh, another one down. I feel good about that. I feel good about our work, or let's have a Coors Light or something. And then it's like this new 60-page, you know, script that we gotta get used to. It's a lot of work, it really is, for nine months out of the year. There will be weeks when I wake up on Monday and I go to work, and then Friday comes by and it's just been one blur of a week, and I'm like I haven't called Mom. She probably thinks I'm dead or something. There's not a lot of downtime, but just relax. There probably are a couple equivalents to the Viper room, but that would just burn the candle at both ends. It would not be smart.
JENSEN ACKLES: It's a full, full-time job. And we actually have to make an effort to go do something, to go and relax. A few weeks ago, he and I went down to Seattle to catch the Cowboys game. We're both Cowboys fans. That was something that we had planned, and it was great. We had a great time, but that was our Saturday.
ROBERT SINGER: They lost.
JENSEN ACKLES: So, you know, those Saturdays are precious to us, and we try to make the best of them. But, otherwise, it's lockdown, and we're trying to work as hard as they can make us work.
QUESTION: Can you ask whether it's advantageous? I'm from Dallas, so I feel your pain, but I'm also originally from Wisconsin. And people say playing in Green Bay, there's nothing to do but focus on football when you're there. Is it somewhat similar in Vancouver? If you were filming the series here, would it be an entirely different experience do you think?
JENSEN ACKLES: We've talked about that. We talked about what it would be like to film at home where we live here. And we wondered how much different our off time would be and stuff. And to be honest, the amount of work that we do, I think it would be very similar. The only difference is we would be able to get to sleep in our own beds.
JARED PADALECKI: Probably six of one, half dozen of the other.
JENSEN ACKLES: It's a full-time thing, and we crack down on it every single day.
JARED PADALECKI: I think our downtime would probably be a little more relaxing. We were filming at 3:30 in the morning this morning in Vancouver and essentially got out of the rain and the snow 12 hours ago. So instead of going home, and it's an hour drive home, and you sleep in your bed for eight hours and you wake up and head out to Pasadena, it's like you're going to an airport to spend two hours through customs and immigration to spend two and a half hours on a plane to spend an hour in LAX waiting for your bag because they probably lost it, spend another hour driving through the Valley side. So I think the work time would be pretty similar. The downtime -- once again, I'm speaking on something I don't know.
JENSEN ACKLES: We would be available for publicity, guys.
QUESTION: What was the transition from The WB to The CW like for you?
ERIC KRIPKE: Honestly, very frankly, it was an improvement. Speaking creatively, a lot of the same team was in place, so I want to be sensitive to them. But over all, season 2's been much more hands-off for us than season 1. We found actually -- just purely speaking about scripts and writing and show direction, we actually found a lot more freedom and support with The CW, and they have let us sort of go further in terms of making the show exactly the way we want to make it. And I think Bob and I both are extremely grateful for that. And, again, we feel that quality of the episodes has shown that we've just been able to take some risks and do some unusual things and do some things that are edgy or different, and so it's been great. It's been a real positive experience.
QUESTION: Eric or Bob, you guys were sort of building up the daughter at the Roadhouse. Looked like she might be a sidekick for the brothers, and then she just disappeared. Can you comment on that? Was that the direction it was heading?
[Jo Spoilers, Spoilers for Upcoming Episodes, Spoilers for the General Season]
QUESTION: Do you have any weird dreams after doing this? Like when you go home at night? Do you start --
ROBERT SINGER: I dream that I roll over, and instead of seeing my wife, I see Eric.
ERIC KRIPKE: Which is horrific. Absolutely horrific.
JENSEN ACKLES: Going to be an episode about that.
ROBERT SINGER: No. I don't. When you break these stories down, and they become so sort of business-like, kind of that thing of whatever is out there that goes bump in the night or just kind of story problems for us, and so I don't think it affects us in that way.
JARED PADALECKI: I think for me, I don't either. But I love nothing more -- as far as the show, I love nothing more than hearing somebody say, "Man, it really scared me. I had to turn away." Our guest actress, [Guest Star Spoiler], was talking about a few episodes, and she was like, "Literally, I jumped. Like, my husband threw food on the floor. I screamed, and it scared me." And it's so funny to me because we're sitting there staring at a piece of tape or something and running away, and we see it all happen, and we know -- I watch the show sometimes and I'm like, "I remember there was the boom guy like right between my legs."
So I'm thinking about all sorts of stuff, which is another reason I try and wait before I watch the shows, because they're too fresh in my mind if I watch them on television. But I love hearing about scaring people or giving them nightmares or that they can't watch it. To me I'm dealing with it day in or day out. I'm like, "Oh, yeah. Jensen was grabbing my butt in that picture." I'm sorry to sell you out.
That was a hypothetical.
QUESTION: Jensen and Jared, when does your much anticipated season hiatus begin, and what plans do you have? What jobs are you pursuing for your hiatus?
JENSEN ACKLES: April. First week of April I think we start that. It's a little too soon to start locking down a project for that hiatus. Probably start looking at stuff in the next month or two. But much needed sleep, I think. We've got a trip to -- a publicity trip to Europe planned, I think, that we're going to do in May. But other than that, it's catch up with our friends and family.
JARED PADALECKI: Last year this time of year I was thinking, man, I'm just going to sleep for three months. And I ended up --
JENSEN ACKLES: Sleeping for three months
JARED PADALECKI: -- seeing my brother graduate med school and seeing my buddy get married and my sister's 21st birthday, and I went and traveled the world.
This year I'm actually looking forward to working. Once again, like Jensen said, it's a little early to start. A lot of the things that are casting right now are filming in February or March. So that's out of the picture. So I think in a couple months I'll start reading scripts and auditioning, and hopefully...
QUESTION: Who is the distributor of "Ten Inch Hero," and what's the release date for that?
JENSEN ACKLES: That's a great question. Have to get back to you on that. I don't know. They're just now starting to shop around at the festivals and stuff like that. But honestly, being up in Vancouver, I've been completely out of the loop with most of that stuff.
QUESTION: Was that filmed on your last hiatus?
JENSEN ACKLES: Yes. Towards the end of last year, summer.
PAUL McGUIRE: Okay. We've going to wrap this. The four guys will be at the party tonight. I especially want to thank Jared and Jensen. You know, when you have a show with two stars, they work their butts off, as opposed to a lot of ensemble casts. So, again, thanks to them for taking the time to come down and be with us today and tonight. Thank you. Be right back with Chris Rock and company in just a couple of minutes.