‘Supernatural’ Season 14 – Jensen Ackles on the Challenges of Playing Michael After 13 Years of Dean

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The CW’s Supernatural season 13 ended with Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) making a deal with Michael who then reneged on his end of the bargain and took over Dean’s body. Season 14 will find the elder Winchester brother under Michael’s control and doing whatever he pleases.

The upcoming season of Supernatural will present Jensen Ackles with new challenges after more than a dozen years of playing Dean. During roundtable interviews at the 2018 San Diego Comic Con, Ackles talked about slipping into Michael and what’s in store for fans of the long-running series.

Jensen Ackles Supernatural Interview:

How much of a challenge was it to get into Michael after all this time playing Dean?

Jensen Ackles: “It was difficult. It wasn’t just difficult because I was playing a different character, the challenge was playing this different character in the environment that I’ve been playing Dean for the past 13 years. So, I’m looking around and it’s all the same faces…it’s the camera guys, it’s the sound guys, it’s the electricians, it’s the grips, it’s the this and the that, and it’s in the same sets designed by the same production designers, you know? And so usually when I step onto that sound stage and I see all those faces, I instantly kind of get transformed into Dean. It’s like hitting a button. It’s like, ‘Okay, Dean-mode.’ And to not do that – A) to not do that and B) to do something completely kind of opposite of that – it was tough.

It was difficult. But it was one of those challenges I gladly accepted. I’m like, ‘I’m going to take this as a challenge and I’m going to work hard and hopefully succeed.’”

You have to speak a different language and it seems like you pull it off in the clip that was screened during the panel. Can you talk about that from your perspective?

Jensen Ackles: “That was really hard. It was Arabic and it was an actual verse from the Qur’an and so you didn’t want to mess that up. I’m like, ‘Is ISIS going to come after me if I’m saying the wrong thing?’ So, they’d hired on an Arab speaking coach for me and he was great; Muhammad was great.” (Watch the video for Jensen’s explanation of how he learned to say specific words.)

“It was very nerve-wracking and by the way that was about half the scene that you saw. That was a very long scene. It continues and I continue talking for a long time. So, to throw that Arabic right in the middle of it, I was a little nervous with that. Also playing somebody completely different, I was sweating on that scene.”

Supernatural Season 14 Jensen Ackles

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles at the Warner Bros. booth during Comic-Con 2018 (© 2018 WBEI. All Rights Reserved)

Are you missing Baby?

Jensen Ackles: “Yes. I’m missing my flannel and I’m missing Baby!”

We know that Sam, Mary, and Bobby are out there hunting for Dean. Is Michael concerned about them catching up or are they far away?

Jensen Ackles: “I don’t think Michael’s concerned about anybody.”

As an actor, how much did they really tell you about Michael’s plans and how much did you want to know?

Jensen Ackles: “I didn’t necessarily need to know about his plan. I just wanted to get more of a sense of how tonally they wanted him to be played. I had a very brief conversation with Andrew (Dabb). He gave me a couple of very small notes and basically was like, ‘Do what you do.’ (Laughing) And I’m like, ‘Oh, great, thanks. Thanks for nothing!’

And, yeah, I did it and actually I did get a phone call from Bob (Singer) after a couple of scenes were filmed and he had a couple of tonal notes for me which he said, he was like, ‘It’s kind of weird for me calling you and giving you notes on your performance.’ He’s like, ‘I normally don’t have to do that ever.’

I’m like, ‘Well, yeah, it’s because I’ve been playing the same guy for 13 years. If I haven’t figured that out by now, I think there’s a problem!’

So, he’s like, ‘It was nice. I was able to critique you from a different perspective.’

Bob, I always know that he’s watching my back and making sure that I’m not messing up. So, that was good. I’m happy that he still feels like he can call me and say, ‘Hey, listen, on this is was a little this. Or maybe you need to add a little bit more here or take away a little bit of this.’ I’m like, ‘Got it. Cool. Done.’ I don’t know that there’s a whole lot of people that would be on a show for this long and still take that kind of criticism, but I welcome it.”

Supernatural season 14 will premiere on October 11, 2018 at 8pm ET/PT.

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