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Supernatural

Wingman Wednesday

Barry Nerling

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There have been a sundry slew of fan-favorite characters to claw and scratch their way into the hearts of “Supernatural” fans throughout the course of its 14 seasons. Last night’s episode, “Mint Condition,” introduced us to a new dead darling that our slasher-loving lips can’t stop quoting, Hatchet Man.

We all do bad things sometimes!”

We recently sat down with the actor who brought the memorable boogieman to life, Barry Nerling, to discuss hatching Hatchet Man, fortuitous barbecues, and “farting” in front of Steven Spielberg.

TrunkSpace: We are suckers here for “Supernatural,” particularly with the quirky, monster-of-the-week episodes. One of our new favorites is “Mint Condition,” which aired last night. In it you played Hatchet Man. What does it feel like to be a part of such a memorable episode of this long-running series?
Nerling: It feels pretty dam cool to be honest. I started on the show back on Season 1/Episode 3 and they have had a lot of memorable characters along the way. “Supernatural” has always been about hunting monsters and telling cool stories. Their so called “standalone episodes” are always so much fun, like “ScoobyNatural” – one of my favorites. I just hope the fans like this character so he to can join the ranks of all these great character creations spawned by “Supernatural.”

TrunkSpace: Hatchet Man is a great agglomeration of celluloid slashers, particularly those from the ‘80s we grew up with. How would he fare against some of cinemas deadliest like Jason Voorhees, Michael Myers, and Freddy Krueger?
Nerling: Honestly, I think all of those guys are great. I think we would all look at each other and just nod. You know, like, “I feel you brother, respect.” Although, Krueger likes to try to get into your head, so I think Hatchet Man would have to be careful of that.

TrunkSpace: In the episode, action figures come to life and all hell breaks lose. Did you get to keep any versions of your own mint condition Hatchet Man self as a keepsake? What would you think if actual Hatchet Man figures ever found their way into the collector’s market?
Nerling: Well, sadly the only copy was the life-size version in the comic shop, so no, I did not get a mini version to put with the rest of my collectibles. I for one would love to see the Hatchet Man action figures. If they need me to pose, I am available.

TrunkSpace: Did wardrobe and makeup sort of dictate your performance? Did you just BECOME Hatchet Man when you slipped into his physical skin, so to speak?
Nerling: Playing these types of characters, you always draw from or lean on the makeup and wardrobe, for sure. It is the starting point. Of course, you can not help but draw from the icons of horror as well. I was fortunate to have Special Makeup Effects Artist Mike Fields at the helm for this character and his work is like being in your own skin, so you can really work the character. He designed both the mask and the actual prosthetic makeup I wore.

TrunkSpace: You’ve worked on the series in the past as a stunt performer. Was this a special experience given how featured the character is and how much potential the episode has to remain memorable within the fandom?
Nerling: Yes, this one for sure stands out for me. I have had so much fun doing everything I have been able to do on the show, but yes, this character is very special, for sure. It was also the first time I actually get to fight Jensen (Ackles). I always seem to end up fighting – or should I say, dying at the hands of – Jared (Padalecki), so it was a nice change.

Did I mention how much I love both of those guys? They really are awesome.

TrunkSpace: Speaking of the fandom, there are very few shows out there that have the kind of loyal audience that “Supernatural” has. You’ve seen how the well-oiled machine works both behind the scenes and on camera. What do you think keeps the “Supernatural” train chugging along, currently in its 14th season?
Nerling: First and foremost, the fans are what keep it going. As long as they want to keep watching, the crew will keep making it. Those guys have a lot of fun on that set. They really like each other and it helps that the boys have not changed since day one.

© 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TrunkSpace: You’re based in Vancouver. How important are shows like “Supernatural” and “Arrow,” which you have worked extensively on, to the city and the industry there?
Nerling: These shows are so important to our local industry. They employ a lot of people behind and in front of the camera. They give all of us a chance to show off Vancouver’s talent pool and believe me, we have so much here.

TrunkSpace: You started your career in film and television much later than most. What was it that prompted you to take that leap, because for many people, it’s easier to shelf the dream than it is to pursue it?
Nerling: For me, it was a chance meeting at a barbecue in Vernon that got me here. An agent was there from Vancouver and he liked my look. I took a chance and started doing extra work to get the feel for it and realized I had a performer living in me. So I moved down and started to pursue it more seriously taking classes, getting a principal agent and learning from others around me. Never too late to go for it – whatever you want to do.

TrunkSpace: As we mentioned, you’re also a stunt performer. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done on-camera – the thing that made you go, “Am I really doing this?!?!”
Nerling: I did a gag on “The BFG” where the character I was doubling takes a drink and my pants get blown off from a fart and then I get shot up into the air and crash back down on the table. Looking down and seeing Steven Spielberg giving me direction was definitely one of those moments.

TrunkSpace: One of the things about movie slashers is that they always come back for a sequel! If Hatchet Man came back in the future, would you be willing to pick up the hatchet once more?
Nerling: Absolutely! Anytime they want me to swing the hatchets, I will be ready to slice and dice!

Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

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Wingman Wednesday

Andrea Drepaul

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Andrea Drepaul joined the “Supernatural” universe this season as the sharp-toothed werewolf Melanie. As part of the archangel Michael’s fiendish (and still secretive) plan to destroy the Winchester’s reality, she appears to be involved in the bigger apocalyptic picture, though she’s not giving us any clues as to how the writers will use the character in the future. Thankfully, we’re a patient faction of the SPN Family and will be tuning in each week until we find out.

We recently sat down with Drepaul to discuss werewolf geek outs, the loyal fandom, and why our Jensen Ackles man crush is fully justified.

TrunkSpace: You recently made your “Supernatural” debut as the werewolf Melanie. Did getting to play a classic movie monster fulfill any long-percolating childhood dreams? You’re in great on-screen lycanthropic company now!
Drepaul: You know… I’ve always wanted to play a werewolf. This stems from (along with the other millions of people) I was obsessed with Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” I remember watching it as a kid and was so terrified and yet enthralled with this notion of monsters and werewolves. So my inner geek, really geeked out.

TrunkSpace: The series is continuing to excite its fandom in Season 14, which is hard to even fathom given how short-lived even successful series are these days. We hear it is one of the most welcoming sets to step onto in the business, but is it difficult to go into something that is such a well-oiled machine and not feel like the new kid at school? Were there nerves?
Drepaul: No, not at all. There is zero tension on this set. Everyone is so friendly and lovely. A great deal of fun happens – the cast and crew are infamously known to gag the actors on set. There are lots of jokes and shenanigans, it’s a wonder how they get anything done. But they do and they do it so well. I was confident I had done my work and I knew Melanie inside and out.

TrunkSpace: We would imagine it is very helpful debuting in an episode that was directed by long-time “Supernatural” actor and director Richard Speight Jr. Beyond what he brings to his role as director, were you able to tap into him as an overall “Supernatural” resource as well?
Drepaul: Richard is amazing! We hit it off right from the audition. He loves actors and you can tell by the way he directs you and his insightful motivations for character. He has quite an infectious energy on set, which also makes you feel comfortable and lifts the energy of the set as well. We didn’t talk much about “Supernatural,” more about the motivation for the scenes.

TrunkSpace: Have you had the opportunity to feel the reach of the passionate fandom – the SPN Family – since your episode premiered last week? Has any of it come as a surprise or did you have a sense of how big the fan base was before being cast?
Drepaul: Wow, I’m absolutely blown away by the fandom. Truly, I have received only praise and welcome from the SPN Family. I knew the fan base was big, but you don’t really have a sense of it until you are on the other side. It’s so wonderful.

TrunkSpace: It seems like Melanie is part of a larger story arc that will creep back into play later in the season. Can you tell us about what we can see from her down the line? Is she going full, angel-powered super wolf?
Drepaul: I’d like to think anything is possible on “Supernatural,” but I feel that this would be a question only the writers could answer.

TrunkSpace: You grew up in a small farming town in Ontario. When did the acting bug first bite you and was pursuing it always the only path you considered traveling?
Drepaul: I’ve actually had a very unconventional path to this career. I was a model when I was 15. But I was raised that you had to go to college and get a “real” job. My parents were immigrants to Canada. I love them for that, for teaching me the value of education. I became the first woman in my family to complete college and graduated with an Honors degree in Business Administration. But afterwards I still felt the calling to be a performer. I moved to New York for a bit, but that didn’t feel right so I landed back in Toronto. Toronto gave me my start. My first job was with Taye Diggs! This career continues to be an evolving journey for me but I know that it is my journey.

TrunkSpace: What job has been the most important to your personal journey thus far? What role and project taught you the most about your craft and profession?
Drepaul: Great question! I’ve had the opportunity to be on amazing sets and work with incredible actors, but the job that taught me the most was my role as Rubina Jafari on “Covert Affairs.” I was working with Sendhil Ramamurthy, who was fresh off of “Heroes.” He was so generous with not only his performance but he really took the time to guide me through how to have a longstanding career. He was the first person to encourage me to get my working papers to the USA and offered to help me through that process. He also was my first on-screen kiss, which I was incredibly nervous about! He walked me through it and really respected my space. He taught me that being a lead wasn’t just about the performance you bring, but also about how you conduct yourself on set – the energy you bring to the table. I never had a chance to properly thank him. Sooooo, if somewhere in the internet ethers he reads this… THANK YOU!!!

TrunkSpace: As you look forward, what type of career do you hope to have when all is said and done? If you could pave your exact path the rest of the way, what would that path look like?
Drepaul: Another great question. I think immediately in the vision of my mind I would be working on a Netflix, Hulu, Apple or Amazon series that is a mystery, thriller or fantasy. I’ve always had a pull to the mysteries of this universe as a person, so naturally I think that a show in this genre would be wonderful for me. Personally I have a heart for the underdog, and always willing to lend a hand to help others see their light. Currently I have started posting my own quotes (on my Instagram) called “Driven” and started to work on a way to launch a platform for young people to help them achieve success in a meaningful, lasting way. Long term I would be working on a cool mystery, thriller show, become an author of a book and have a platform for the youth.

TrunkSpace: That being said, if we had a time machine and gave you the keys to take it for a spin, would you take the journey ahead 10 years to see what your career would look like a decade from now, and if not, why?
Drepaul: (Laughter) If you had asked me this question six months ago, I would say yes. But now… no. I want to be surprised by all the twists and turns. I want to learn the lessons, experience the highs and lows. There is magic in not knowing what lies ahead. But I do know with certainty that the future is very bright

TrunkSpace: Finally, Andrea, our wives give us a difficult time because they say our Jensen Ackles man crush is not normal. Having now worked with Jensen yourself, come to our rescue here… he’s worth every ounce of our unbridled bromancing attention, right?
Drepaul: (Laughter) Yes, he is. He’s actually more handsome in real life.

Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

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Wingman Wednesday

Mark Rolston

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This week we’re taking an extended look at the new movie “Glass Jaw,” chatting with the creative minds responsible for bringing the gritty drama to life. Arriving in select theaters and digital HD on Friday, the film is a story of redemption set in the world of boxing and stars Lee Kholafai, Korrina Rico, Jon Gries, Mark Rolston, Jaime Camil, Malcolm David Kelley, Vernon Wells and Steven Williams.

First up we’re chatting with Mark Rolston to discuss working in independent film, “Rocky” overtones, and what role he’d literally eat a shoe to return to.

TrunkSpace: “Glass Jaw” is not the first independent project you’ve worked on. As an actor, is there a bit of a leap of faith involved with signing on to work on an indie, not knowing when (or even if) a particular film will see the light of day?
Rolston: Well, in addition to “faith,” there is a lot of serendipity. I had been preparing for another film when the call came, so in addition to reading it first, I have to gauge what the character will require and ascertain whether I can pull it off. Of course, you never know what film will actually make it, but “Glass Jaw” had an atmosphere on set, and with Lee Kholafai and Korrina Rico being willing to fight for it; look where we are. Theatrical release is the icing.

TrunkSpace: What was it about “Glass Jaw” and the team behind it that gave you the confidence to jump into the work and take on the character Frank?
Rolston: Frank spoke to me the first time I read the script. I knew I could create a character. I didn’t hardly know anyone on the crew, but when I saw real professionals on set like Scott Eddo (Makeup and Hair) and Charlie Picerni (Stunt Coordinator), I knew the production was real.

TrunkSpace: When you first read the script for “Glass Jaw,” what was the initial draw for you in terms of wanting to be a part of the project? Was it the overall narrative? Was it the character? A combination of both?
Rolston: The script had a lot going for it. The dramatic tension was palpable. Of course, the narrative has “Rocky” overtones. But the story was unique with enough drama to sell it, to me anyway.

TrunkSpace: When it comes to independent films, is there more freedom for character discovery and trying out different ways of delivering lines or emotion within a scene, or does a limited budget mean a limited schedule and a breakneck pace that doesn’t allow for real time experimentation?
Rolston: Independents by nature allow for a lot of creativity, because you have to create on the spot and respect that you don’t have all day to shoot three pages; YOU HAVE TO SHOOT EIGHT TO TEN! The indie atmosphere is one where you have to just bring and throw down. Like a boxing match.

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the work you did in “Glass Jaw?”
Rolston: I am most proud of my character. I found the perspective of the character. I found the space to just let Frank talk.

TrunkSpace: For the audience, the finished work – the end product – is usually the most memorable aspect of a film. For actors, we assume it is the experience of making it. What is a memorable moment during the production of “Glass Jaw” that will stick with you?
Rolston: It was the set up of the pivotal scene between Frank and Travis. Our DP – legend Jeffrey L. Kimball – created a magnificent tracking shot that lands on a very intimate scene between the two men; and Lee/Austin and myself/Frank just talked like real people. Did I say it was Friday night and we were shooting until midnight after a full day? Glamorous, huh?

TrunkSpace: You’ve been acting professionally for decades. Do you still love it as much today as you did when you first stepped onto a set to start your career?
Rolston: Absolutely! I want to follow in the footsteps of the great French Dramatist and Actor, Moliere, and die on stage or on a set for that matter. (Laughter)

Rolston in “Saw VI.”

TrunkSpace: What has been the biggest surprise of your career, the thing that younger Mark who was starting out his career would be extra psyched to hear about in advance?
Rolston: Without question; being called at my home, to be told by writer/director Frank Darabont that I had landed the role of Bogs Diamond in “The Shawshank Redemption.” I thought I had lost it. Frank was my angel, and fought for me to get the role. Indebted Forever, Frank!

TrunkSpace: You’ve given life to so many great characters over the course of your career. Are there any that you wish you had more time to spend with and explore even further?
Rolston: All of them really. Shooting a film is fleeting. You shoot and it’s over. So the rehearsal and preparation – “the work” – has to be done beforehand.

TrunkSpace: We’re suckers for “Supernatural” here. When you first signed on to play the demon Alastair – a character who plays an integral part of the overall series lore – could you have ever imagined that the show would still be chugging along a decade later and that you’d be asked about it?
Rolston: That was one of the most enjoyable characters I ever created. I will never understand why I was replaced. I would literally eat a shoe to play Alistair, “Demon of All Demons,” once more. May the show chug on forever and I will get the chance!

Glass Jaw” arrives in select theaters and on digital HD this Friday.

You can also hear Rolston as Norman Osborn in the new Spider-Man game for the PS4!

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Trunk Stubs

Trunktober: Supernatural

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This October we’re focused on one thing and one thing only… watching as much horror-related programming as possible to prime the pop culture pump in celebration of Halloween. Our consuming will be taking place nightly, and while there’s no rhyme or reason to how we’re going about choosing our scary screenings, we’ll do our best to tell you how we did it so that you can watch them as well.

Title: Supernatural

Episode: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Sam Winchester”

Directed By: Charles Beeson

Starring: Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Ashley Benson, Robert Wisdom, Don McManus

We Watched On: Netflix

Trunktober Approved Because: You didn’t think we’d get through an entire spooky season without throwing our favorite monster-hunting series a bone, did you? In this episode, the Winchester brothers get into some demon-raising trouble on Halloween, which could mean a whole lot of evil being let out into the world unless they can stop it. Which of course, they do!

Biggest Scare: Boiled alive while bobbing for apples. Kind of puts a damper on a perfectly good Halloween party.

Here’s a look at this week’s brand new episode.

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Wingman Wednesday

Giles Panton

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Photo By: Liz Rosa

Giles Panton is perched higher than a stone tower after joining up with Season 3 of “The Man in the High Castle,” which premiered on Amazon Prime earlier this month. Portraying Billy Turner, the newly-appointed minister of Propaganda for the American Reich, the Vancouver native reveled in the multi-layered role and is prepared for Billy’s journey to turn heads.

Well, our heads are turned.

We recently sat down with Panton to discuss his “Supernatural” roots, Bronies, and the totally “freaking” awesome things he has tucked away in his closet.

TrunkSpace: First we have to clear the air. We’re big “Supernatural” fans around here, and being a Vancouver native, naturally you have appeared on the long-running series. Is it a bit of a rite of passage for Vancouver-based actors to make a stop in the “Supernatural” universe?
Panton: Absolutely. It’s like “The X-Files” of this generation. It totally felt like a stamp of approval.

TrunkSpace: “Supernatural” has a massive fan base, one that has kept it chugging for well over a decade. Another brand you’ve worked on that has a big fan base, one that still surprises us to this day, is “My Little Pony.” Having worked on the series as a voice actor, do you have any inside insight into the world of the Bronies? What has made that world and its characters build a fan base that no one anticipated?
Panton: It truly is such a unique phenomenon. I don’t know if anyone predicted that “My Little Pony” would pop like that – anyone who could make those predictions would have the golden ticket in this industry! It was a bit surprising that so many adults connected with the show, but at the same time it makes sense. Everyone is looking for a community, and the world can be a pretty mean place – just look at how people interact online sometimes. At its core, “My Little Pony” is just a wholesome and fun show with a message about acceptance and friendship that is surely needed in today’s age. I think a lot of people resonated with that and came together. My not-so-secret goal is to get myself into a “My Little Pony” convention as a guest so that I can see it all firsthand. I think the whole thing is pretty amazing!

TrunkSpace: We mentioned your voiceover work, but “My Little Pony” only scratches the surface. Was voice acting always part of the plan or has it become a pleasant surprise of your performance career?
Panton: It was 100 percent a pleasant surprise. But looking back it’s a perfect fit. I’ve always been quite hyper in general and have been making crazy voices for years. So now instead of intentionally annoying my friends or making them laugh… I get to do the same thing to a group of strangers and call it a job!

TrunkSpace: As an actor, when inhabiting a character, do you approach the process the same in animation as you do with on-screen work? If not, where do the differences lie?
Panton: There are a lot of similarities, and I’m realizing that more and more as I continue to grow as an actor. Both on-screen and animation work require the same ability to accept an imagined world as being real. I tend to use a lot more body work in animation as I’m discovering a character, but that is mainly because playing animals or monsters can be so wildly different than playing a person! But on the same note, there are similarities. I mean, the movements of people can tell you a lot about their character or personality, and this is just the same as an animal or cartoon character. Overall I’d say that doing voice acting and film acting complement each other and have helped me improve in both fields.

TrunkSpace: Joining this newest season of “The Man in the High Castle,” your role is certain to turn some heads. Is it hard not to view this particular job as a possible career game changer?
Panton: I am very excited about High Castle. It is such an amazing project to be a part of. It is definitely impacting my career positively, and the feedback I’ve received so far has been fantastic. When it comes to the idea of being a ‘game changer’… I have a very good feeling about it but this industry is unpredictable, so it’s hard to say anything definitively. At the end of the day a person’s drive, determination and attitude is what plays the biggest part in their career path, and every new role is a step forward. But this job will absolutely turn heads, and I’m grateful for that.

TrunkSpace: In the series you’re playing Billy Turner, the newly-appointed minister of Propaganda for the American Reich. Just in description alone it sounds like a meaty, multi-layered part to play. What were you most excited about when you first learned you were cast as Billy, and what did you go on to love about him the further into his development that you traveled?
Panton: I was excited about being on High Castle. I was creating so many waves and it meant so much to be a part of a project that is tackling such heavy subjects. And Billy was a great surprise. He is very multi-layered and complex, but simple at the same time. He’s a career-focused guy who wants to climb as high as he can while still keeping his head on his shoulders… literally. High Castle is a very cut-throat world. I guess, in a weird way, what I loved most about him was how much of a mirror he is to how complacent we can be as a society… his character has highlighted how easy it is for people to turn a blind eye to things so long as they don’t feel they’re directly affected. In a lot of ways, Billy represents one of the worst tendencies that people have… out of sight, out of mind.

TrunkSpace: What sort of emotions were you juggling in the weeks prior to the premiere of this new season of “The Man in the High Castle?”
Panton: I was nervous and excited. Mainly excited. I knew the show was something special, and I was hoping to add to that. You never know how things will turn out but now that it’s premiered I’m really proud of what we made.

TrunkSpace: As you look back over your career, what job do you think you learned the most from – the one you’ve applied continuously to your career moving forward?
Panton: “Flash Gordon” was my first big job. It was a Syfy show. I learned so much on that set by studying the leads, producers… everyone really. What really stuck with me was how much work this takes – the dedication, the insane hours. At the end of the day everyone is working together to build the best project they can. I was so honored by that and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

TrunkSpace: You’ve played a LEGO character, a character who has been forever preserved in plastic glory as a toy. Be honest with us… is there anything greater than holding a plastic poseable version of yourself?
Panton: I have a closet filled with my different LEGO characters’ toys. And I will admit… nothing has felt quite like being immortalized in plastic toy form. It’s freaking awesome.

TrunkSpace: Time machine question. Here goes. If you had a chance to jump ahead 20 years and see exactly how your career played out, would you take that opportunity, and if not, why?
Panton: Nope. That would take the fun out of it. I think life is more exciting when you don’t know what is going to happen next.

The Man in the High Castle” is available on Amazon Prime.

Tarzan and Jane” is available on Netflix.

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Wingman Wednesday

Jennifer Cheon

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Photography: Jeffery Fountain/Makeup: Caitlin Krenz with Opus Beauty/Hair: Felicia Rials/Stylist: Lauren Taylor

With her character Ivory set to see more action in “Van Helsing” when Season 3 premieres October 5 on Syfy, Jennifer Cheon is living out her Linda Hamilton dream. As a child, “Terminator 2” kick-started her desire to go full on-screen badass, and now thanks to the fan-favorite fantasy series starring Kelly Overton as Vanessa Van Helsing, that dream has become a reality.

We recently sat down with Cheon to discuss how viewers will get to see more of Ivory in Season 3, the reason actors are being drawn back to the city of Vancouver, and why shows like “Supernatural” and “The Flash” have been so important to her career.

TrunkSpace: What is it like being part of a series like “Van Helsing” where the fan base is so supportive? Is it almost more rewarding on a personal level than appearing in a show that pulls triple the audience but isn’t necessarily as invested in the story and cast?
Cheon: “Van Helsing” has the best fans ever! I am happy to be a part of a show that is diverse and full of good ol’ Vampire fun! It is super rewarding when people reach out and tell you they love and support, or relate to your work!

TrunkSpace: The series returns on October 5. What are you most excited about as you build up for the third season?
Cheon: I’m the most excited that people are getting what they ask for in terms of seeing more of Ivory.

TrunkSpace: What can fans expect from Ivory this season, and on a personal level, what were you looking forward to play with on-camera as it relates to the character?
Cheon: Well, this season you see her around more characters that you may love or hate… you get to see her coming into her position more. Very exciting!

TrunkSpace: Is there a secondary level of excitement involved in being a part of a series like this when it drops in its entirety on Netflix? Is it nice to know that new people can continuously discover your work?
Cheon: YES! Yes! I am a binge watcher myself so I love that Netflix delivers it all so you can cozy up to your human or animal and enjoy the whole series.

TrunkSpace: You’re no stranger to fan-favorite series. You’ve appeared in “Arrow,” “The Flash,” and “Supernatural,” all shows that are important to viewers. But those shows are also important to your native Vancouver and the actors who call the city their home. What have those series meant to your career and how it has progressed throughout the years?
Cheon: Oh man, I had some of my first real lines on camera on those shows. I got the privilege to work with industry vets; some of the best, from actors to the crew. It’s funny how much of the industry is in Vancouver now. I lived in LA for a few years and ended up moving back home because the industry was booming (still is). Every experience on set has lead me to this moment. You never know as an actor what role will stick or which role will end up being more than a one liner… you have to really choose this career for the love because you never know.

TrunkSpace: “Supernatural” in particular, which is going into Season 14, seems like a staple for performers in and around the Vancouver area. Is it a bit of a rite of passage for actors to step onto that set and become a part of the “Supernatural” universe?
Cheon: It truly is. I remember I was fresh out of high school and modeling at the time. I needed a summer job, and my modeling agent suggested Background work… I had never heard of that being a way to earn money, but I’m so glad I tried it! It taught me set etiquette, and also gave me an inside scoop to what it was I really wanted to pursue. One of the first sets I ever walked on to was “Supernatural.” I remember saying to myself, “I am going to do that – I want to work with those actors, and be on this set with an actual role.” When it finally happened it really felt like a milestone for me, and what a great group of people to work with!

TrunkSpace: What is it that you enjoy most about performing? What is the internal drive?
Cheon: I LOVE it all. I love that I get to embody different people. I get a chance to understand how they think, whether they are fiction or real. I find it helps me put things into perspective. I love giving people a sense of comfort in the characters I play… comfort in the way they relate or comfort in the escape from whatever might be happening in their own worlds. I also love how the environment on set is so collaborative creatively. In “Van Helsing,” we get to fight with swords and be complete badasses… so much fun!

Photography: Jeffery Fountain/Makeup: Caitlin Krenz with Opus Beauty/Hair: Felicia Rials/Stylist: Lauren Taylor

TrunkSpace: We read that part of what sparked your interest in pursuing a career in film and television was “Terminator 2.” What was it about that movie in particular (and for us, we have to add that the soundtrack was pretty great as well!) that ultimately set you on this path?
Cheon: I’m humming the score right now. (Laughter) Everything about that movie and the making of that movie drew me into this industry. I love action films, and I love seeing humans do these crazy things with our bodies. I love how indestructible we become on film. With “Terminator 2,” not only was Linda Hamilton the first woman I ever saw on TV that was tougher than most men, but she was the real deal. I was such a tomboy growing up, and when I saw her it made me proud of it instead of always trying to conform to the way men tell us we should be. Also, can we talk about the costumes, and styling of that film? Ummm, epic! I think my entire wardrobe is a mix of all the characters.

TrunkSpace: In a perfect world – the BEST best case scenario – how do you see your career playing out? What bucket list items do you want to achieve?
Cheon: I want to be a Bond Girl. I have always been such a fan of those films. I would also die a very happy woman if I were to play Catwoman. I think it’s time for a mixed race female super hero. Also I would love to have more opportunities to direct.

TrunkSpace: What job have you learned the most from, the one where the things you absorbed on that particular set you still find yourself applying to your career today?
Cheon: I think I have learned these general rules from being on a set for so many years in many different departments: Stay in your lane, be respectful, say please and thank you, remember at the end of the day everyone wants to get the job done so don’t think you are the only one who matters. Just remember how lucky you are to be there, and most importantly have fun! This is entertainment!

Season 3 of “Van Helsing” premieres October 5 on Syfy.

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Deep Focus

The Spear Sisters

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In our ongoing column Deep Focus, TrunkSpace is going behind the camera to talk with the directors, writers and producers who infuse our world with that perennial pop culture goodness that we can’t get enough of.

This time out we’re chatting with the writing/directing duo – and twin sisters – Kailey and Sam Spear about their new short film “CC,” whether or not they have super powers, and why one of them is haunted by a “Supernatural” curse.

TrunkSpace: You both shared writing and directorial duties on your new short film. When you go into a project, do you have a clear understanding of who will be focused on what or is it more fluid? How do you ensure that you don’t veer into each other’s creative lane?
The Spear Sisters: It is definitely more of a fluid process. We don’t have specific jobs to stick to that we assign to each of us. Rather, we will float back and forth between covering different pieces of what needs to be done. For example, when we are writing we don’t start by saying, “Okay, you take structure, I’ll take dialogue.” Nor do we sit side by side and write everything together line by line. We talk about what we want to do with the script, the ideas for the characters, plot, tone, etc, and then go off and write scenes separately – sometimes in a different room, sometimes across the table from each other. We send the script back and forth, writing new material and revising the pieces we have received from the other. We discuss new ideas or characters that arise as we go so that we are always on the same page with what is being added to the story. When we come to the time where we have a script that we are both happy reading all the way through without feeling any bumps or irks, then we know it is good to go.

It is similar for directing. We float back and forth between being in different places; one behind the monitor giving notes to the camera and one closer to the actors. If there are a few actors in a scene, we might divide and conquer so that each actor will be talking about the scene with us separately, but at the same time. If we see an adjustment that could be made, there are many times where we don’t have to talk to each other about it, we just give each other a look to see which one of us is going to go and deliver the adjustment.

We are lucky that we always have a unified idea of where we want to go with the project. We can use our two different minds to get us there. We trust that even if we’re trying out different ways to get there, the desired outcome will be the same. We have differences of opinion, absolutely. We bring different ideas to the table. But we have always been good at talking them through and determining which direction is best for the project. This can be in any part of the process: writing, directing, editing, etc. Think of it like this: When traveling, we both decide on the town we would like to visit. We decide that we would like the trip there to be fun. We both go out and find different roads of how to get there. Then we take a look at the roads that each of us has found and decide which one is the best one to take. We might choose to take Kailey’s road because, although Sam’s may take us down a nice winding road by the ocean, Kailey’s takes us past the world’s biggest squirrels. So far we have been cruising down the same creative lane. We just make sure that the lane is big enough to fit the two of us.

TrunkSpace: Would you say that you both share a similar creative POV? And if you don’t, where do you venture away from each other?
The Spear Sisters: We do share similar sensibilities, yes. That might come from growing up together and having many of the same influences.

We have many twin friends, and it is not always that case that those creative sensibilities are shared. We remember growing up and having people urge us to take different paths, to try aiming for different careers. “You both want to take the film class in high school? Why don’t one of you take dance?” But we both wanted to take film, so we did. We didn’t choose to go into film because one of us wanted to and the other followed. We both happened to be drawn to the same thing. We did not want to give up our dream just because we had a twin sister who happened to want to do it too. It is a similar case with the types of stories we are drawn to and the vision we have to bring them to screen. We happen to be drawn to similar stories and come at them with similar ideas of how we would like them handled.

Unless we are actively trying to throw wild ideas into the pot as a creative exercise, there are not many times when we dramatically venture away from a similar creative POV. Of course, we bring different ideas of how to tackle the project (we need a new character here, this needs to be darker, this line is too cheesy, this would be better in a lower angle, we should leave more breathing space in this edit, etc), but we are playing in the same realm.

TrunkSpace: What do you hope “CC” says about who you are as directors, not only to a general audience, but to those people within the industry looking for the next generation of writer/directors to spearhead future projects?
The Spear Sisters: “Spearhead.” (Laughter) Love how perfect that word in context!

We hope that this film will show that, no matter how much time and money we are given, we are dedicated to giving it our all in order to bring a story to screen that delivers dynamic characters, engaging visuals and thought provoking questions that carry beyond the film itself. We want people going to see a Spear Sisters film to know and expect that the film they will be watching has been crafted with intention and care. There will never be a Spear Sisters film made where every aspect from casting, to lighting, to shots, to sound, to color, etc, has not been meticulously thought out in order to better serve the story.

We are also hoping that this film helps communicate our interest in, and our ability to do, genre films. Often women are pigeonholed into drama. Now, don’t get us wrong, there are many dramas that we are interested in doing! But where we really have the most fun is telling a story that has something extra to play with in terms of story world and tone: a supernatural murder mystery set in a 1920 asylum, a dramatic thriller involving a ghost of a murdered king, a swashbuckling steampunk action/adventure, an AI nanny robot mystery. Genre films give such a great opportunity to explore important questions about the human experience from different angles. They have the ability to not only let us have fun being creative as storytellers, but to push the audience to expand their creative minds as well. We would love “CC” to remind people that there are many female directors like ourselves out here who would love to, let’s say, take on a “Black Mirror” episode or a “Star Wars” film. The Spear Sisters would love to spearhead a “Star Wars” film. Young Leia film, we’re lookin’ at you.

TrunkSpace: Is there a concern that you will be pigeonholed as a creative duo as opposed to individual creators? Do you see a day when you’re directing projects separate from each other?
The Spear Sisters: We are not worried about being established as a creative duo. We plan to continue co-writing and co-directing. We realized a long time ago that we can take advantage of the fact that we happen to share similar creative sensibilities and are both passionate about making films. We want to do the same types of projects and joining forces just makes us stronger when it comes to making them happen. Right now, as we begin our careers, it is beneficial for people get to know us as a creative duo as that is what we foresee continuing into the future.

Now, we don’t know what the future holds. There may be a time where we both have projects we want to do that the other has no interest in. If that happens, we will go ahead and do our separate films. If people get thrown by that, well, it means The Spear Sisters are established enough for people to get thrown when we do something different. So I think we’ll manage! Right now though, we can’t see the day where we would be directing projects separately from each other. We have too many shared projects we still want to get on screen!

TrunkSpace: What are you most proud of with the film?
The Spear Sisters: Honestly? That we got it made!

Every film has its challenges in getting onto the screen and this one had some unique ones for sure. “CC” was made through the Crazy8s film competition in Vancouver. The winners of the competition are given eight days and $1000 to make a film. But there were several competitive phases to get through before even getting to the challenge of making the film. First, we sent a video pitch for “CC” alongside over 200 pitches from other filmmakers wishing to make a Crazy8s film. We were narrowed down to a group of 42 to come in and pitch our films to a panel of industry professionals. We did our pitch and were narrowed down to a group of 12. These 12 wrote and submitted their scripts. Of those 12, six were selected as winners of the competition. “CC” was one of the six! So, as winners, we had eight days to start and finish our film! That’s from the start of shooting to handing in the edited film complete with sound, visual effects and color. Yep, it was tight for sure!

Which brings us to what we are second most proud of (a very close second): our freaking fantastic cast and crew! They not only worked hard to get it done in the time we were given, they made sure that every aspect was executed with intention and care. We feel incredibly lucky to have had each one of them on this film.

TrunkSpace: Time always seems like the one commodity that is lacking on a set, but did having a fixed deadline help you to stay organized and shoot exactly what you needed?
The Spear Sisters: Yes, the timeline really did make hone in and become super aware of what exactly we needed to tell this story. There was no time for anything extra. We had every shot planned out very specifically, and we used every one of them. When it came to editing (which we had an incredibly short amount of time to do), our choices were already narrowed down for us as we didn’t have any extraneous shots. We knew when a moment was going to be covered in a close-up, and that is the only way we shot that moment. We had a futuristic phone that required visual effects anytime the device was seen while it was on. We determined when exactly the phone was needed to be seen on screen, and hid it from camera anytime it was not giving us new information. That made the epic task of finishing VFX in time a little easier.

TrunkSpace: You’re also both working actresses. Do you think understanding how both sides of the camera works makes you stronger directors, particularly in getting what you need from actors through their performance?
The Spear Sisters: Yes. We came from a theatre background originally, then moved into film and TV. Coming from an acting background helps us do our work as directors for sure. We approach a project character first. Knowing what the character is going through helps inform our other choices for the film. How the camera is moving, what the color timing is, what the sound choices are, etc. They are all chosen specifically to support and enhance the character’s journey. When we are writing, reading a script, or editing, there is always a part of us that is playing the characters through as well. Making sure that we know what is important to focus on. We feel like directing is, in a way, playing all the characters at the same time.

When it comes to getting what we need from the actors, having been on their side of the camera helps us know what they are going through, what they need to help them, and what could prevent them from doing their job to the best of their ability. We know what it is like to get a confusing piece of direction, to get a page of new dialogue right before we are supposed to start shooting, or to try to settle into an emotional state when the set is loud. The more that you know about what the other person’s job requires, the more you will know on your side what you can do to help that process and get what you need.

Having worked as actors, and among fellow actors, we also understand that everyone responds to different types of direction in different ways. What might work for one might throw someone else off entirely. Some actors want you to tell them their character’s entire backstory, some just want to know where to stand and when to move. Different actors need different things from us. It is part of our job to get an understanding of what works best for each actor in order to get what we need. We like having conversations with our actors before we start shooting to get a better sense of how they like to work and how we will best work together. This can be rehearsal (we love rehearsal!) or just chatting over coffee.

Jewel Staite and Sharon Taylor in “CC”

TrunkSpace: We have an unnatural obsession with “Supernatural” around here and we couldn’t help notice that both of you have appeared on the series. Is it a bit of a rite of passage for actors from Canada to appear on that show at some point in their careers and what was that experience like for you?
The Spear Sisters: Yeah, “Supernatural” to Vancouver must be what “Dr. Who” is to London. At one point or another, if you are an actor in the city, you’ll be on the show. And what a great show to be on! We both have had so much fun working on “Supernatural.” We have both worked as actors, background performers, and in the casting room as videographers for “Supernatural.” There is such a wonderful team of fantastic folks on that production! We’d love to work on it again.

Kailey has had a fun string of characters on the show. First she played an attendee of a chastity group meeting. That was a funny scene. Then she played Beth, a research assistant who gets her throat slit by a demon. Not such a funny scene. But it involved some awesome practical effects to get that blood going. Kailey wore a prosthetic neck so that a tube of blood could be pumped up through it to pour out after the slice.

Then we both got cast as twin demons sent by Lucifer to deal with Crowley. That was great! One part involved dropping huge knives out of our sleeves in unison before going to attack Crowley. It was the first time that we were cast as twins on TV and it was a really fun scene to do.

Now, funny story about Sam’s appearances on “Supernatural.” Funny… is that the right word? You can decide. The first TV role Sam ever booked was a role for “Supernatural.” It was the role of a waitress at a diner. It was two lines, but you know, first role on TV – big deal! The scene was cut for time. The character of “waitress” was never seen. The casting director said, “Don’t worry this just means Sam can work on the show again.” So, when we booked the demon roles, there it was: the time Sam was going to make it to screen on “Supernatural.” And the scene was cut out of the final edit. Those twin demons were never seen. Sam has still never had one of her “Supernatural” characters make it to screen. (Unless you keep your eyes super sharp, you might spot her as a nun in the background of the episode “Mother’s Little Helper.”) But that means Sam still could show up as another character on the show! So, let’s all cross our fingers and hope that Sam’s “Supernatural” curse will be broken this season. Come on Season 14! Maybe they could bring back those demon twins, eh. Wouldn’t that be fun?

TrunkSpace: What is your best case scenario when it comes to your careers moving forward? Do you hope to find a balance between acting and directing? If you could write your own professional future, what would it look like?
The Spear Sisters: Absolutely. We would love to move forward keeping both acting and directing in our lives. We can’t imagine giving one of them up or doing only one of them.

We have our own projects that we would like to direct, but are also very interested in taking on adaptations or working with someone else’s existing script. Our current dream project to direct is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”. This is a film that we have been wanting to do for years. Our version will keep Shakespeare’s original dialogue but set the story in our modern media-crazed world with a female Hamlet as the young royal.

We would love to see some great dynamic roles for us in the future. We love that acting gives us the opportunity to work on projects separate from each other, but we would also LOVE to join a project together playing twins. Now, not as a gimmick (as is painfully common to see when adult female twins appear on screen), but as fully developed characters that just happen to be twins. It is not something that we have seen much of and we would love to be part of bringing those characters to screen. And, while we are writing our dream future, let’s make them pirate twins!

TrunkSpace: We’ve all heard stories about the connections that twins have, but can you give us some insight into how being twins impacts your creativity? Does the one of your creative outputs inspire the other? Does having a creative twin make you a stronger creative person?
The Spear Sisters: Oh yeah, well, we come with the regular set of twin powers: we can read each other’s minds, feel what the other one feels, have our own secret language, etc. So that is useful.

(Laughter) Nah, we lie! No superpowers here, sadly.

We do think that we are lucky though. We don’t take for granted the unique situation that being twins who happen to have similar interests has put us in. We are wonderfully primed to join forces to get things done. We do think that it makes us stronger. We always have that person there to bounce ideas off of. Someone to tell those weird story ideas that pop to mind. We can bring our own ideas to the table, and build on what the other has brought. Having someone else there beside you who is equally as dedicated to making things happen is a great motivation. We give each other energy to keep going. Choosing to work together means that we are both accountable to the other, and supported by them. Having someone there who both supports you while pushing you to do the best, sometimes in that brutally honest way that only family can get away with, keeps us creating. It keeps us motivated to keep moving forward, to keep trucking ahead, even when the path ahead may be a treacherous uphill climb.

For more information on “CC” and Crazy8s, visit here.

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Wingman Wednesday

Kavan Smith

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We’re just minutes away from the season finale of “When Calls the Heart” on Hallmark Channel, so sit back and enjoy our chat with series star Kavan Smith while you wait!

We recently sat down with Smith to discuss his on-screen chemistry with costar Pascale Hutton, the upcoming “The Perfect Bride” sequel, and why he’ll need his head sewn back on if he’s ever to return to “Supernatural.”

TrunkSpace: You and your “When Calls the Heart” costar Pascale Hutton are doing a sequel to your movie “The Perfect Bride,” which seems like a rarity for the network. It must be a vote of confidence for the work that both of you are doing to have such support from Hallmark Channel?
Smith: Yeah. You know I think that, with the one that we did last year, “The Perfect Bride,” the first sort of installment, I guess, neither of us were really sure, because we’ve had a lot of people talking over the last couple of seasons about having us doing something together that was more contemporary, and they just kind of threw it at us last minute. So when we read the script, we weren’t really sure what it was they were looking for, and ultimately just kind of decided to do what we thought we did best, with just kind of basically making each other laugh. And it worked out. It was really a lot of fun to do. And then ever since we finished that last year, it seemed like the fans did like it and responded to it, and we’ve been trying to find a way to convince them to do a sequel. So we actually ended up going down to Los Angeles, the two of us, and pitched it together as a team. So not only did we work together as an acting duo, we kind of had our first foray into trying to produce something as a tandem, and it was a lot of fun. For our very first attempt at trying to get something made together, the guys down there at the studio were really, really receptive to us, and it went really well. And for whatever reason, they decided to go again. And I think that script was written a little differently. It was the same writer, but this script seems to be written a little bit more towards what we do, whereas the other one, it was like, “We have this script. Let’s throw Kavan and Pascale at it and see what they can do.” This one is a bit more, “OK, we’ve seen what you did in the first one. We’ll write that way, and good luck.”

We read it today for the first time out loud, and really all we did was laugh. We laughed for an hour and a half sitting around a table, so I think that’s a good sign.

TrunkSpace: When you’re working with someone like Pascale who you know you already have solid chemistry with, do you try to alter than chemistry at all when you’re dropped into new roles opposite each other, or do you stick with what works?
Smith: I think it’s kind of a combination. I think both of us as actors think about making changes and think about making conscious choices to be different than our characters on “When Calls the Heart.” But I also think that sometimes just the language alone being so different and the feeling being different, it really kinda does it for us. What seems to work for us, and I think what our chemistry is, for lack of a better word, and what has built our friendship off camera as well, is really a desire and a joy of making each other laugh. It’s kind of like having a buddy that you just like to go out and have a beer with, and just laugh for an hour with, only we do that during the course of a shooting day. In some ways it almost feels like cheating because it shouldn’t be fair that you go to work and laugh all day. It just doesn’t seem quite right. But we do, and I think that the more we foster that, the more that it reads on camera. So I don’t even know that if we were to try and make too many conscious choices to make it different, that that would work. I think part of what really works for us is just the joy that we have of kinda riffing off of each other. And we just have a very similar sense of humor. I grew up with a kid, when I was very young, and we had that same sense of humor. And she’s kind of like my friend from when I was eight years old. It’s just a good fit, work-wise.

TrunkSpace: Well, that’s got to be the dream, right? Not only enjoying the work, but enjoying the process of working?
Smith: Yeah. Absolutely. That’s why I said it feels like I’m kind of cheating the system a little bit, because it should feel harder, but it’s really fun. And even though we love working with everybody else on the show, and I think we work well with the other actors, when it’s just the two of us and the director and the crew kinda just say, “Oh, good. It’s just Kavan and Pascale now.” It’s kind of fun for those moments to have that. I do think it sort of leeches into the crew as well. And when you can have people who are… I wouldn’t say in charge, but when people that are sort of higher up are having a great time, I think it’s infectious for everybody, and it makes the whole day fun. Like the last time we did one of these shows… we did this movie last year. I don’t know if I’ve ever had that much fun on a show. Martin Wood was the director, and we both knew Martin. I’d worked with him in the past, so it was really like a trio, and I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed that hard on a show in my life. I don’t know if I’ve ever laughed that hard anywhere in my life. I can’t express enough how rare it is in my business to find somebody that you work well with, that you get along with, whose families get along. “When Calls the Heart” keeps going and they keep giving us other opportunities to do more. It’s kind of like a partnership, and that’s sort of rare in my field. Usually you do a gig, and you move on. You do a gig, and you move on. And you try and develop friendships, and you try and develop chemistry, but we had a natural chemistry just from really wanting to make each other laugh. And now we’re building more depth to it because it keeps going, and because we keep getting more opportunities.

TrunkSpace: Season 5 of “When Calls the Heart” finishes up tonight. What has that long-term journey with the character been like for you, especially with the series being presented in relatively short season orders? Does that change the dynamic for you as an actor in terms of the character journey?
Smith: I do think it changes the dynamic a little bit. And to be totally honest with you, I think most actors are fairly selfish, and I’m included. I want the story to be about me, and I want to develop more. I want to do more. I want to push the bounds of what he is, and the world that he lives in, because it’s fun. I really enjoy visiting this guy’s life and the limited seasons… I think series television is new for Hallmark, and I think it’s something that they’re working on. And I think we’re in a way, a bit of a test – a test child. They’re testing the waters. I really wish it was more of a 16 to 20 episode show, where you really got to get a few episodes that were really about Leland and Rosemary and their journey. I think that we’re sort of handcuffed from time to time, because in a short run like this, there’s Elisabeth and Abigail and Jack and Bill. And there’s a lot of stories that need to be told. And when you’re only doing 10 episodes, you want to go further with it. And I think that’s the mark of having something that you are enjoying, is you want to do more of it. And we all definitely want, selfishly want, a little bit more. And I do wish that maybe the network would be open to that, but that’s way over my pay grade.

TrunkSpace: It does seem like, in terms of the television industry in general, things are going more and more in that direction.
Smith: Yeah, definitely the landscape is changing a lot. The traditional 13 to 22 or 26 episode run seasons are an anomaly now. I guess money being what it is, and people’s attention span being what it is, and the fact that you can list off 50 new shows that everybody’s talking about, it’s hard to… I think that what’s unique about this show is that, because it is what you would call a family values show, I personally believe that the market and the audience is there for a longer run. I think that on some of those shows, because that subject matter almost seems to be a little over-saturated right now, that people’s attention spans might only be six episodes or 10 episodes where everybody dies, and everybody’s doing drugs, and whatever. Our show, being a little cleaner, I still think people crave that. Families crave that. I think there would be an audience for 13 to 20 episodes, but I don’t control the purse-strings, sadly.

TrunkSpace: And it does seem like the network has such a passionate, loyal fandom. The Hallmarkies, and in your particular show’s case, The Hearties, are committed to the content.
Smith: Yeah. You know, it’s interesting… because I’ve done sci-fi in the past, a fair bit of sci-fi, I’ve had experience with science fiction fans, which are phenomenal fans. They are rabid. They really, really bite into that, being that fandom thing. And I didn’t think that is existed anywhere else. I knew that people were fans and there wee lots of other fans, but I always thought sci-fi fans were sort of the most extreme version. But Hearties are proving me wrong. They are a very loyal, outspoken bunch. They are remarkably positive. I’ve done all sorts of shows in my career, and I’ve been on good shows and bad shows and all sorts of genres. And you read fan stuff, and usually it’s OK, it’s pretty nice, but there are always haters and you try not to read too much. But the Hearties, I guess by definition, are so positive. These are things that you can easily have my kids read. Occasionally when I’m not paying attention, they’ll grab my phone and they’ll look at a Twitter feed or something. There’s never anything on there that I’m worried about them reading. They’re very positive and they’re very complimentary, and they’re really into their show, and it rivals any sci-fi fan base that I’ve ever been a part of, that’s for sure.

TrunkSpace: And that’s very refreshing in this day and age, because you don’t see a lot of that, especially online. It’s hard to find anything positive online, to be honest.
Smith: Oh man, I’m so used to seeing and hearing nothing but constant rivers of negativity, and I also think that that’s part of why, whatever your political bent is, I think that on either side, people are so stressed or so tight, that something like this has a home. I think it’s not just the show itself, but it’s that… I guess people are embracing the whole positive vibe of the show. We’re trying to embrace humanity and positivity and community and things like that.

I think that these types of things, given time to bloom, will just get other people more and more involved. And it’s kind of nice to go online and see positive things. When I first started on following the Hearties and stuff on Twitter, I did so apprehensively, thinking “Well, there’s going to be a ton of people that hate this character, and they’re going to hate the positive message, and they’re going to hate…” But it’s really been just a stream of positivity. It’s really something. My kids are quite young, and with all the negativity in the world, it is nice to be able to show them that something daddy does has a positive effect on some people.

Credit: Diyah Pera/The CW — © 2014 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: We’re rabid “Supernatural” fans here, and we always enjoyed your character Cuthbert. If there was ever a character with a built-in backstory worth exploring, he is it.
Smith: I agree. I really, really enjoyed him. And the backstory to that, I did a movie with Jensen’s wife, her name is Danneel Ackles, and we did a movie maybe about a year or so before I did “Supernatural.” And so I got to meet Jensen a couple of times and he came to set – really nice guy, and we kind of hit it off a little bit. So when I got cast on the show, I went in and they were warm and accommodating. His wife came in to say hi, and she and Jensen sort of took me under their wing a little bit, and kept calling the producers every day saying, “We gotta get him on more. We gotta get him back more. It’s a great storyline. It’s a great character.” And I almost felt bad, because I felt like they were going too far. (Laughter) Sometimes when you push producers on something, they react the other way. So it’s like, “I really appreciate the love, but you might be pushing these guys too far.” (Laughter) But I really did enjoy that guy, too. I thought that it was a really interesting bridge that they’d built that they didn’t explore. But they have a million story lines on the show, so I guess I just wandered into obscurity. But I really, really did love doing that role.

TrunkSpace: Well, if there has ever been a show where a character can come back years later, “Supernatural” is that show! (Laughter)
Smith: Well, I have to find a way to get my head sewn back on, but yeah, if there’s ever a show, that’s the one.

The season finale of When Calls the Heart” airs tonight on Hallmark Channel.

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Wingman Wednesday

Chris McNally

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If you have an insatiable entertainment sweet tooth that craves sustenance, we have just the movie for you!

Starring Julie Gonzalo and Chris McNally, “The Sweetest Heart” premieres this Saturday on Hallmark Channel, serving as the delicious kick off to the network’s annual Spring Fever programming event. The story focuses on Maddie (Gonzalo), a cupcake shop owner who reconnects with her first love, Nate (McNally), and discovers that there is a future to be had in the past.

We recently sat down with McNally to discuss hair commitments, why he loves working for Hallmark Channel, and the fun in getting to play a cardiologist knowing that the doctor ship has already sailed in real life.

TrunkSpace: Something we couldn’t help but notice with “The Sweetest Heart” is… you cut your hair!
McNally: (Laughter) Yeah, I did. I had to cut it for a movie of the week about three years ago, and I was really sad about it actually.

TrunkSpace: It’s tough. It’s like you’re losing a piece of yourself.
McNally: I know, right? It takes so long to get there, and you have to go through such an awkward stage.

TrunkSpace: (Laughter) Yeah, the awkward stage is the worst. It’s like growing out a beard. It’s a commitment. When you shave it off, you’re shaving away that commitment.
McNally: I was really happy that they let me keep my beard for “The Sweetest Heart” because, originally, they were going to shave it, and I really don’t like being clean shaven. It was a big relief.

TrunkSpace: This isn’t your first time working with Hallmark Channel. What is it about the company that keeps you coming back?
McNally: It’s a great company to work for. I’ve always had a very pleasant experience every time I’ve worked on one. I did one in Victoria that was really, really enjoyable. It was a great cast and crew, and I really liked going away to Victoria. It’s not far from Vancouver, but it was a little getaway. That excursion to Victoria was my first time having a more substantial character with them, and everybody was really nice and it was just an awesome time. And then I did “Rocky Mountain Christmas” just before the holiday season. They’re just a pleasure to work for really.

TrunkSpace: It must be an interesting experience because you’re whisked away to these places, and then once you get there, it’s all work, right? There’s not a lot of time to take it all in.
McNally: Yeah. They have to shoot so much in so little time, so it is very crammed. For “The Sweetest Heart” though, I started off the shoot commuting from Vancouver. We were shooting mostly in Langley, which is about 45 minutes to an hour drive away, and then for the second week, I decided to stay in Langley, and that made the days a lot easier because I didn’t have a chance to really rehearse anything with Julie (Gonzalo) after the days were shot because she was staying in Langley throughout the whole shoot. I cleared a little bit more time for myself by staying near set for weeks two and three of “The Sweetest Heart.”

TrunkSpace: Obviously every project is different, but how did this particular experience working with Hallmark Channel differ from those previous movies you worked on?
McNally: I find the more material you have, the easier it is actually. Because you have structure, there’s more of an arc and your character has a journey. When you get to evolve and develop like that, it’s a more natural progression. I find it hard to come in and just hop into a scene. You kind of move the story forward with a little bit of expedition, and I struggle with that, so I was grateful to have more material to work with on this one.

TrunkSpace: A lot of Hallmark Channel movies focus on would-be couples who are just meeting for the first time and discovering each other, but in this one, your character Nate and Julie’s character Maddie had a past. Did that lend to a different layer of backstory in what you two did from a performance standpoint?
McNally: Yeah, definitely. Julie and I met up prior to shooting to spend some time together and get to know one another, just to try and get a little bit of history and backstory between ourselves as people that we could relay into the story with our characters. But, yeah, I like that extra layer of complexity.

TrunkSpace: It’s also something that everyone can relate to… running into an old flame.
McNally: Yeah, there’s that nostalgia, and I think there’s also, when you run into a past love, it’s like, “Oh, did I make the best decision, or did I not?” In this case, it was not a great decision to break up, but, then again, if they hadn’t gone through that, they might not have ended up together where they were at the end of the story.

Photo: Chris McNally, Julie Gonzalo Credit: Copyright 2018 Crown Media United States LLC

TrunkSpace: In the social media age, it’s probably more difficult to lose complete touch with past loves because if you want to, you can always lurk and check in.
McNally: I know, it’s so hard. I’m really terrible at social media, and I try and stay off of it as much as a can. I don’t have Twitter. I’ve got Instagram, but I try to avoid swiping through the stories to see what people are doing.

TrunkSpace: Yeah, seeing what people are doing in that capacity removes the human element of learning about what they’ve been up to in person.
McNally: Yeah, absolutely. And I also feel like there’s always a filter put through on social media. You’re not getting the full story. It’s an idea that people are trying to project.

TrunkSpace: Yeah, it’s the best case scenario. So, in terms of the performance, Nate himself, what was it about him that you dug and you were interested in exploring?
McNally: I like playing characters who are smart and more intelligent than I am. (Laughter) Nate’s a cardiologist, and it’s great when somebody has written dialogue that is more than anything I could come up with in my own life. So, it was the fact that he’s a doctor, which is appealing to me, because I’ll never be a doctor. I don’t think that’s a possibility for me at this point. (Laughter) And he also likes to help people. He’s a cardiologist, but more focused on the research aspect, and he’s looking for ways to help the masses, as opposed to one surgery at a time. I also love the fact that he’s got this playfulness to him. It’s actually when he is around Maddie, I think that brings it out. They regress to their younger selves, and that is something that I register with, because I’m kind of a goofball myself. I feel like I’m 22 and always going to be 22, so playing into that playfulness was awesome.

TrunkSpace: You were based in Vancouver for many years. We’re big “Supernatural” fans here, and we know you’ve appeared on the show. For actors based in Vancouver, is guesting on that series a bit of a rite of passage?
McNally: Yeah. I love that you said that. It absolutely is a rite of passage. Buddies and I joke about that. “You have to work on ‘Supernatural’ before you can graduate from Vancouver.”

TrunkSpace: And in its 13th season, there’s been ample opportunity!
McNally: Yeah, they keep reusing us. It’s awesome. We grow a little older, we look a little different, and then we come back and play someone else.

The Sweetest Heart” airs this Saturday (9 p.m. ET/PT) on Hallmark Channel.

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Wingman Wednesday

Leanne Lapp

LeanneLappFeatured
Lapp in “Supernatural”

Leanne Lapp first caught our “iZombie” eye as Gilda in the undead CW dramedy and now she’s returning to the network, guesting on tonight’s noir-inspired episode of “Supernatural.” Portraying a procurer of rare items who appears to know the whereabouts of one that is of particular value to the Winchester brothers, the Vancouver native is set to further complicate the already-complicated lives of everyone’s favorite demon-hunter siblings, sending them on a wild goose chase that is sure to get wilder than most.

We recently sat down with Lapp to discuss why she was excited about working on the series, getting to go full femme fatal, and the reason “Supernatural” has been so successful at capturing lightning in a bottle for 13 seasons.

TrunkSpace: You’re guesting on this week’s episode of “Supernatural,” a series we have covered in great length here. One of the things that we have heard over and over again from everybody who has appeared on the show is that it’s one of the most welcoming sets that they’ve ever stepped foot on. Was that your experience as well?
Lapp: Yeah, it was an amazing set to work on. They’ve been running for 13 years now, so the entire cast and crew know each other so well and are so comfortable with one another, they almost know what the other is thinking. So it’s such a smooth set to work on and that really makes things great when you’re just coming on as a guest star and you’re kind of the new kid in school. It makes things really easy and enjoyable.

TrunkSpace: And as you mentioned, 13 seasons, that’s such a rarity in this day and age where everything is getting more streamlined in terms of not only seasons, but episode counts as well.
Lapp: Yeah, that seems to be the trend. I feel like people are really enjoying television in the sort of mini series format these days, which I love as well, but I think the fans of the show just kind of pulled it through. The “Supernatural” fans are so, so supportive and that is the reason the show has aired for so long and has kept everybody employed.

TrunkSpace: It certainly seems, as far as the fandom is concerned, that for somebody guesting on the series, this is a universe where every character matters.
Lapp: I don’t know that I’ve worked on a show yet with such an amazing group of fans. It’s been amazing.

TrunkSpace: The fandom hasn’t seen your episode yet, but when the ending credits roll later tonight, will they accept Margaret or are they going to lash out against her?
Lapp: Well, she’s a really interesting character. The episode is a really interesting episode. When I first got the audition sides, I had so many questions, which of course, nobody would answer for me because it’s all kept under wraps. (Laughter) But the scene just seemed so different from anything that I had seen on the show or knew the show to be centered around and so, I was like, “Oh my gosh, what’s going on here?” The episode really is a very, very fun episode. It’s kind of, a little bit, stylistically different. You can see in the promo just with my character and a couple of other characters, it’s almost kind of like a film noir-esque episode, so I think that will be a fun one for people to watch.

TrunkSpace: That’s a dynamic that the show has always done well, sort of combining the elements of drama and comedy and mashing them together.
Lapp: Definitely. I don’t know if my character was necessarily the funny one, but there were definitely moments that were meant to be quite serious where I had a hard time keeping a straight face while we were filming because the other actors were just cracking up. But I got through it. (Laughter)

TrunkSpace: We’re sure you can’t say too much for fear of stepping into spoiler alert zone, but what can you tell us about Margaret and how she makes her presence known in this universe?
Lapp: Well, what I can say, I guess what’s already been released to some extent, is Sam and Dean are looking for a specific item the entire episode, and it’s something that they wouldn’t be able to find in a store. They’re not able to obtain it traditionally. They kind of have to seek out some pretty dark characters to get a hold of it and Margaret is somebody that they meet in this sort of black market community and she sends them on a bit of a wild goose chase for it.

TrunkSpace: Characters on the show tend to return, either to become allies of the Winchester brothers or to make their lives more difficult. That seems to be another element that the fandom really enjoys because it helps build out the world and add layers. Perhaps we could see Margaret again?
Lapp: You never know. That’s definitely kind of the vibe that the cast and the crew certainly have, and I’m not even necessarily speaking about my own character. I have so many friends and colleagues in Vancouver who have worked on the show over the past 13 years and the vibe of every crew member is like, “Well, we’ll just see you back here in a couple months or a couple years or a decade.” They just all sort of assume that you’ll be coming back because now, especially with that show, they’ve been running for so long, that I have friends that have played two different roles on the show. The vibe is definitely we’ll see you again soon.

Photo By: Kyla Hemmelgarn

TrunkSpace: So for you personally, what did you enjoy most about Margaret and getting to play her?
Lapp: So many things. I guess I can narrow it down to three things. One, I wanted to work on the show. It’s been running in Vancouver for so long and filmed a lot in the neighborhood that I grew up in as a child, so I grew up seeing their trailers and such, dispersed around my neighborhood. Two, as you can tell probably from watching the trailer for the episode, Margaret is sort of this femme fatal character who’s kind of trapped, maybe not literally, but her style and her vibe is very much of the ‘40s. I did that for so long on “iZombie” playing Gilda and I was excited to revisit that because I collect a lot of vintage clothing and stuff just in my own life. And probably the biggest thing is I really, really, really wanted to work with Amanda Tapping, who directed this episode. I had heard so many amazing things about her and I had met her in a couple audition rooms and she comes from a world of… she’s an actor as well who is now directing and she was just the most lovely person to work with, even in the confines of an audition room where you work with each other for five minutes and then you may never see them again. She was so wonderful and I just knew shooting an episode with her would be a great experience so, I really wanted to work with Amanda as well.

TrunkSpace: Is an actor’s relationship with a director on a series different than with film? Do the dynamics change from medium to medium?
Lapp: In some cases. When you’re working on film, generally – hopefully – you have a little bit more time. Everything in television, the pace, everything goes so quickly. When I first started acting, I was working on some independent films and just small things and stuff like that where they had the location for as long as they needed it, or it was really about the director feeling happy about what they had gotten. And of course that’s the case working on television as well, but everything works on a much, much faster pace. The great thing about working with Amanda was, because working in television has to happen really quickly, and television is predominately what I work on these days, I’m used to maybe getting two takes. Maybe only one, maybe two, maybe three if I’m really lucky, and Amanda was the first director that looked at me and was like, “Do you just want to do that again?” And I was like, “Yes, I would love that!” She worked on “Stargate” for 10 years. She just knows that feeling of, “Gosh, I really wish I had another chance at that.” So that was really great. She really is an actor’s director.

TrunkSpace: You mention the speed of shooting a television series, but we know that you’ve also done a number of Hallmark Channel films, which as we understand it, can move even quicker, right?
Lapp: Yes, they shoot I think 10 of those at a time in Vancouver and they shoot on a three week schedule, sometimes less, and a lot of times you’re working with a skeleton crew, so half the crew is shooting one thing and half the crew is shooting another. But those sets, those movies, that’s another thing that has a really, really huge, supportive fan base that love Hallmark movies.

TrunkSpace: Absolutely. The Hallmarkies rival the fandoms of a number of genre shows, which tend to draw a more passionate viewership.
Lapp: Yeah, I was so surprised when I first started working on them. I guess I was just kind of ignorant to it because I hadn’t seen many of them until I actually started auditioning and working in Vancouver but, Hallmark fans are extremely supportive. I think the nature of a Hallmark film is, with some exceptions, as long as you’re having a good time shooting it, as long as it’s an enjoyable schedule to work on, it’s going to show and the audience is going to enjoy it. All of those films are just really feel-good movies that you come out of with a warm feeling in your heart, so I think as long as the set and the work experience reflects that, it shows.

TrunkSpace: And that kind of goes full circle back to “Supernatural,” because that is also what has made that series work so well for so long. It doesn’t take itself too seriously and fans can sit and chuckle their way through an episode, even when the stakes are high.
Lapp: Yeah, that’s so true. And, you know, that reflects as well on to Jared (Padalecki) and Jensen (Ackles). The show is huge and they’ve had such successful careers. You meet all types of people working as an actor when you come on different shows. Jared and Jensen are super humble, so relaxed and casual, and not stressed out about anything. There’s really this vibe on the show of which, doesn’t exist on every set. A lot of sets this isn’t the case, but there really is a vibe on the show of, “We’re not doing open heart surgery, we’re not saving lives, we’re making a TV show and it should be fun and enjoyable.” From other shows that I’ve worked on, I think when your lead, or in this case your two leads, project that attitude, it really stems from them and then it trickles down to all of the crew and the entire rest of the cast as this is the appropriate way to behave and act on a set. I think obviously the show has a lot of amazing things going for it, but I think those two guys really had a hand to play in making it the enjoyable experience that it is for every actor that guests on the show.

Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

Featured image by: Kyla Hemmelgarn

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