Supernatural Chat: Interview – Misha Collins Talks About Directing and Castiel’s Heavy Question in Season 9

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Hey there, Supernatural fans! I’ve got a special treat for you in this week’s Supernatural Chat. Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend Creation Entertainment’s Salute to Supernatural event and got the chance to chat with Misha Collins behind the scenes, along with some other members of the press. Collins talked to us about his preparations for his first directing job on the show, as well as shared some of his insights about Castiel’s journey this season.

Castiel’s Heavy Question

Collins was asked how he compared Castiel’s trip to humanity this season to the end of Season 5 when the angel went through a similar journey. Though Castiel’s struggles may have been show as somewhat comical this season, Collins said there is something much more serious behind them.

“In Season 5, when Cas lost more of his angel powers and started grappling with a lot of human-ish stuff, it was darker. He was dealing with a darker side of things. Now it’s more mundane, but I wouldn’t actually say that it’s light. I think that the stuff that he has been dealing with is how to brush your teeth and how to feed yourself and how to make sense of what your purpose on the planet is. But that’s kind of a heavy question. Like ‘is this satisfying in and of itself?’”

Preparing for the Director’s Chair

Later this season, Collins will be directing his first episode of Supernatural and is looking forward to working with the crew in a new capacity.

“I think that, for the most part, the crew is going to be supportive and helpful – at least for the first day or so. Once they see how badly I’m botching things they might throw their hands up in disgust and stop helping me. It’s nice going into my first big directing experience with a crew that knows me [and] that I know, [and] that I’m not going to feel like a fish out of water,” Collins revealed.

As for his two costars, Collins had a different idea of how they might treat him as a director.

“Jared and Jensen, generally speaking, are pretty respectful of first-time directors on the show. They kind of give them a wide berth and certainly give them a fair shot. I’m not going to have that experience so that’s too bad,” Collins joked.

But one of the jokesters, one who has directed a couple of episodes of the show himself, has actually given Collins some good advice.

“I’ve talked to Jensen about his directing experiences,” Collins said. “He’ll deny it, but he actually gave me a bunch of advice that was helpful. I’ve basically grilled every director that has come along and asked them for their input. [I have] a cloud app that I’ve been storing all of my director input on.”

One big question about the upcoming episode is whether or not Castiel will appear in it and, if so, what will it be like for Collins to direct himself.

“If I am directing myself, I think for the most part the direction I’m going to be giving is ‘That was awesome. Great work. Way to bring it’,” Collin joked, adding, “In a perfect world, I think I would be very light or not in it at all because it’s just more to think about.”

Luckily for Collins, the show apparently doesn’t put too tight of a rein on new directors.

“I think Supernatural, probably more than a lot of episodic television, gives directors a fair amount of leeway and allows them to do their thing,” Collins revealed. “We don’t have a director/producer up on the site. A lot of shows that shoot out of LA, where the writers and executive producers aren’t around watching what’s going on in production – will have a point guy. [That is] a producer/director who will direct maybe five episodes in the season, but will also keep an eye on the production and make sure that the guest directors that are coming in are doing things the way that they are supposed to be doing.

“We don’t have that on Supernatural so sometimes people come in and totally f*** stuff up,” Collins added with a laugh.

On a more serious note, Collins attributes the show’s variation in tone to the amount of freedom directors are given on set.

“There’s nobody there who’s saying ‘No, no, no. We don’t do that’ and I think it probably gives the tone of the show a little bit more variation than a lot of episode television has. It’s not all the same. But we also have the same cinematographer and wardrobe department and a lot of key department heads who are giving a consistent tone to it – that helps even it out.”

What did you think of what Collins had to say about Castiel’s journey in Supernatural Season 9? Are you excited to see him direct an episode? Sound off in the comments below, I love hearing from you guys!

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  • deb

    Cas is an awesome character; my favorite in the series. I can’t wait to see where his journey takes him this season! I’m also hoping BIG TIME that Misha will continue on as a regular in season ten or even be elevated to full-time (every episode), at that point. As for Misha directing, I’m eager to see his take on the episode; he knows the characters and history inside out and is use to working with the team. With regard to the actual directing ‘experience’, I’m still wondering if the cast/crew are going to pull so many gags on him it will be enough for a second gag reel for the season nine DVD! LOL

  • Linda

    Can’t can’t can’t wait!!!! I know it’ll be awesome, even if Cas isn’t in it. But just knowing that Misha is a part of it is a reward in itself!! If Cas is in it, then that’ll just be an even bigger bonus. I absolutely cannot wait to see it! I know he’ll do great!! :)))

  • Sarah Joseph

    I don’t really see that Castiel’s struggles have been depicted as comical!
    He’s been hit by a car, betrayed by someone he tried to help, living on the streets, stealing food and clean clothes, repeatedly attacked, all while struggling to come to terms with not having his powers, and his all-encompassing inner guilt…!

  • Christine

    “We don’t have that on Supernatural so sometimes people come in and totally f*** stuff up,”

    Dear God, they do.

  • ST

    Cas’s becoming-human struggles in Season 5 and his new humanness in Season 9 are like night and day when compared, and not in a good way. I had high hopes for the human Cas storyline this season — since 2014 is around the corner I was really hoping they’d hint at 2014!Cas from “The End” by having Cas experiment with drugs and freak Dean out — but I’ve been disappointed. (Who knows, maybe they’ll still go there.)

    I guess I just can’t comprehend that a being who is thousands of years old wouldn’t know how to brush his teeth. I sincerely believe he would have been able to figure it out very, very quickly, even if he’d never done it before. He’s certainly spent enough time hanging around Dean and sneaking up on him in bathrooms to pick up on things like that. Or, if we look back on Season 8, that he would be dumb enough to crack eggs open on a floor in a food mart. Seriously? He’s an angel, not a total moron. Cas might not have understood all of Dean’s pop culture references from the beginning, but he wasn’t completely inept like they’ve written him in the past few seasons. Not understanding a reference is a cultural subtlety; not knowing you shouldn’t crack eggs open on a floor is basic common sense that anyone over the age of 5 knows, angels included. These are the sorts of things they’re doing with Cas that I guess are supposed to be “funny” but are really just bad characterization. I feel like Season 9 is just turning Cas into a slapstick character now. Cas is human and isn’t it so funny he can’t work the slushie machine! But at least he got laid! (Ugh, that episode is a whole other story.)

    And I compare this mess to Season 5 and I sometimes can’t believe it’s the same character. Cas slowly losing his angelness while searching for God, drinking a liquor store (which was actually hilarious) out of depression (something he undoubtedly picked up from Dean), becoming affected by Famine and eating raw meat off the floor? My heart almost stopped the first time I saw My Bloody Valentine and that scene happened. The fearsome angel being reduced to that. It was so jarring and yet totally appropriate for Cas’s character development over the course of the season.

    I say all this with love because I love this show so much and particularly Cas. I really hope they’re going to turn this around and give Cas the treatment he deserves. I know a lot of people bitch about Cas still being on the show but I know most of them wouldn’t be saying those things if the writers had done better with Cas.

    • GodDamnAngel

      I never really expected this version of human Cas to follow the same pathas his endverse self. The Castiel in season 5 was still proud to be an angel and bitter over his punishment for what he presumed was the right path, which is why he was so frustrated with losing that part of himself and becoming this “lesser” person. The Castiel of the present finds himself largely unworthy of his angelic status, while simultaneously having gained a more nuanced appreciation of human life. So, while I would have liked Dean to acknowledge the endverse parallels, I don’t think it would have made narrative sense for Cas to fall into those patterns of behavior.

      As far as the eggs are concerned, I always figured that was an accident on his part, given his relative strength. I don’t think he intentionally broke it open on the floor. Just like he didn’t intentionally knock the shelf over. Human beings break things and knock stuff over and make messes all the time. It happens. I don’t think that sort of thing is a reflection on his intelligence anymore than it is on ours.

    • Me

      I don’t think that Cass is necessarily a bad character, I actually think that his character depicts a lot human characteristics in the sense that he makes mistakes. (Sam let Lucifer out, Castiel let the Leviathan out, etc.) I also don’t underestimate the kind of ignorance that comes with being an angel. Hell, I watch shit on TV that I can’t do; seeing someone do something does not necessarily mean you will know how to do it. Someone that has watched (in life or one TV) someone shoot a gun, will they automatically know how to do it? Will they do it accurately? You can watch as many fight scenes/shoot outs as you want on TV, but you will never understand how to/it feels to actually do it yourself. I think it makes perfect sense that Cass would not know how to brush his teeth. Why the hell would he need to? Why would he even give it a second glance?

      I’ve always loved Cass’s character; he always thinking that what he does is for the greater good. It is this that makes the character flawed (above anything else) and I don’t think they should change a thing.

  • MishaMinion

    I’m very excited for Misha to direct an episode and can’t wait to see it. I respect that it will be more difficult for him if his character is in the episode, but I selfishly really hope that Cas is part of the episode, but then Cas is my favorite character and I always want him to be in every episode of the show, even though the show itself has been mostly very disappointing to me this season. I’m really hoping that the second half of Season 9 is better than this first half has been, and that we have more Cas and more of Cas being with Dean and Sam in the show. The three of them being together is the best part of the show for me and something that I’ve dearly missed this season. Like deb, I also would love for Misha to be a regular in season ten as well, or even better be full-time and in every episode with Jensen and Jared. (If there is a season ten, of course.)

  • Mandy

    I can’t help but root for Cas–he’s like the quintessential outcast with a heart of gold. He doesn’t seem to belong anywhere: not in Heaven, not on Earth, not with the angels, and not even with the Winchesters. If I follow Supernatural through to the end, I think it may be mostly just to watch Cas find his real home and the happy ending he deserves.

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