This was the first talk after lunch. It was Amy's first ever convention. She is such a sweetheart. She said all the things con guests always do – she was having fun, we were wonderful – but you could tell she really meant it.
The first real question of the panel was the obvious one to Matt: how did he feel about stepping into the role originally played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I don't think Matt actually used the word “intimidated” but that's the short version of his answer. He's a huge JDM fanboy (in his Sunday panel he revealed that he started watching SPN because JDM was in it). A man after my own heart :-) He said that his performance would be “mediocre in the shadow of his greatness”.
Later in the panel the subject came up again and Matt said something which really struck me. He wasn't talking specifically about JDM as John Winchester, it was more general to Jeff's work. But Matt said that Jeff “plays the passionate side of strength so very well” and that's what he tried to bring out in his version of John. That insight, I think, really sums up the appeal of John Winchester in a way I'd never considered before. Matt's a very thoughtful, intelligent young man. I sure hope the industry doesn't beat that out of him.
Sam was asked about Transformers: she was 7 months pregnant while filming Transformers 2. But she said more about her new baby on the Sunday, so I'll say no more about that here.
Amy and Matt were asked about working with Mitch Pileggi. Both of them obviously admire him, both as an actor and as a person. Amy said Mitch was like family: “He's my dad. It's great!” and talked about how they worked together on the scenes when Mitch is the YED: she was nervous about the scenes but he made it really comfortable for her and kept checking she was okay.
Matt's immediate response to the same question was “He broke my neck!”
Both Amy and Samantha were asked what they thought about Mary in In The Beginning. Amy talked about the challenge of getting an established character right, but the director told her to make the role her own: they didn't want a clone of Sam's performance.
Sam said, “Mary's a badass!” and that she was thrilled by it.
Asked about the pranks and jokes on-set, Matt said no one played any tricks on him. He added “Jensen asked me out on a date after....I don't think that was a trick.”
Sam talked about the technicalities of filming the Mary-on-the-ceiling scenes. They built a “ceiling” on the floor to film much of it, and also an upside-down set of the room. They also built a cast of her torso which they used to film the actual burning (“We called her Crispina.”).
Amy said that working on SPN was a unique experience. She talked about how different attitudes tend to permeate different shows and on SPN the set is always warm and welcoming and you feel everyone there is proud of their show and working hard to make it the best. (It's odd, at almost every con I've been to – for different shows – someone has said something like that and made it sound really unusual. I wonder if having a friendly set is somehow the secret to genre success?)
Amy and Matt talked about the Impala. Matt says it's a “hotrod”. Amy mentioned the line of Mary's that was cut from the final ep, where she tells John she hates the car. According to Amy, Mary was jealous.
Asked if they would like to play any other character on SPN, Amy instantly said she wanted to play Dean. Sam didn't name a specific character but she talked a lot about how great the show is. She's such a fangirl!
Lastly, they were asked if they'd kept anything from the set as a memento of their episodes. Sam said they wouldn't let her keep the nightgown, and she expects it's so she'll get to wear it again. Matt answered “I kept young John's comb-over for two months.”
Seeing the three of them together was just the perfect way to do it. Sam is so enthusiastic about the show, Amy is so very sweet and Matt has a great sense of humour but he's quite serious, too. They complement each other beautifully and honestly, their sessions were the highlight of the con for me. (Yes, even with J&J there.)
Misha's session was up next. Unfortunately, I missed all of it because I had to queue for my Jensen autograph. I really, really wanted to ask him about that Nip/Tuck episode he did! Someone did ask about it, but I didn't get to hear the answer and it wasn't the question I would have asked :-(.
The autograph queue was fake-better. By which I mean that the staff had resolved the long, visible queue issue by moving the bulk of the queue into the autograph room. It was a bit of a shambles and an incredibly long wait for barely two seconds with Jensen. I have no problem with autographs being fast, but because it's so brief, it's so much better if things are organised. The staff did okay; don't get me wrong, and I know having Jensen and Jared there must have been a nightmare for them, logistically speaking. But having that long queue inside the room was sneaky.
I got back to the main hall in time for Jared's Q and A, but by then I was so tired I can't read most of my notes. So I'm afraid all I can offer are the soundbites I can decipher:
Asked about his favourite prank Jared talked about trying to make Jim Beaver crack when he was supposed to be unconscious in the hospital scene. Jim didn't break. But he reacted instantly they called “cut”. Jared also talked about the Jensen Eye of the Tiger thing: he deliberately missed the cue just to see what Jensen would do. And, well, we all know what Jensen did!
I guess the biggest news is the talk of SPN season six. Jared stressed he has no inside info on this, it's just his own hunch, but he thinks SPN will continue beyond next season because in terms of the things the network cares about S4 was their strongest ever season. He said he would be willing to do it “if there is more story to tell.”
Asked who is his celebrity crush, Jared named Kate Winslet. And in explaining his choice he talked about her talent before her looks. Respect to Jared for that. Totally.
Jared talked about the evolution of Sam's character and said he likes the “new” Sam who has been weathered by war. He also likes the conflict between Sam and Dean this season (though he admitted that's partly because the more scenes they have apart the more time off he gets).
Asked how much influence he has over Sam's storyline, Jared...well, he used an awful lot of words to say something essentially simple: that he can influence certain things because he's the actor and controls his own portrayal, but he gets zero say in the storyline itself. He summed it up by saying he gets to “help guide the ship of Sam along the river of Eric (Kripke).”
Jared was offered the lead in the upcoming GI Joe movie, but had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts with SPN.
Jared talked about filming 4.21 and the detox scenes. He said those scenes were filmed in a block over three days and he found the experience – essentially being in one place all day, every day – emotionally exhausting.
He compared Sam to Neo in the Matrix movies – reluctant hero with mysterious powers.
Asked whether he would like to work behind the camera, Jared said he would like to be a producer. The producer is like the captain of the ship, and that level of decision making appeals to him.
There was a lot of talk about Jared's dogs which I didn't note down. One girl asked Jared for his advice about a dog she had recently adopted. He asked what breed it was and when she answered (sorry, I forget the details), he said “you have to exercise those babies”.
Now, here's the thing. A lot of the guests made passing references to having difficulty with British accents. Which I understand: there are a couple of Brit accents I have trouble with myself! But when Jared said “exercise”, what I heard was “exorcise”. It's an accent thing, I'm sure but that was one weird moment until I realised what he meant!
And that's the end of Saturday. There was the concert and disco in the evening but though I made the effort to dress up and go, I only stayed long enough for one drink. I was just too tired.
Tomorrow I am travelling, but I'll try to get at least part of Sunday's report posted for you.