You’d think after ten years shooting "Supernatural" in Vancouver that stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles would be sick and tired of both the series and the city. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"We still get excited about it," says Ackles. "That hasn’t tarnished in 10 years."
The CW series, seen in Canada on CHCH, has been on so long it was originally broadcast on defunct U.S. broadcaster The WB. The simple premise hasn't changed over the years. It’s still about two brothers who hunt down demons, ghosts, monsters and other supernatural bad guys. Winchester boys Sam and Dean have been spiking vampires long before it was the thing to do.
The two actors are now 31 and 36, although Padalecki playfully claims Ackles is really 48.
Both were asked about relocating to Vancouver for what has become a significant chunk of their lives. While Padalecki, a San Antonio, Texas, native, says he does miss home, he doubts the series would have lasted anywhere near this long had it been shot in Atlanta, say, instead of Vancouver. "We remained out of the craziness that is Hollywood," he told reporters attending the summer Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, California. Padalecki said that distance from Tinseltown allowed the young actors to focus on the work "instead of partying," to have "tunnel vision" to the task at hand. Had he always filmed in the city where he lived, he speculated, it would have exposed him to "too many distractions."
Ackles said Vancouver was also a perfect production centre for the look and tone of the show. "We get nine months a year of overcast, blues and dark [skies] and that really plays into the majority of the show we try to produce." As Padalecki put it, "It’s more fun hunting vampires in the doom and gloom." Had the Winchesters been chasing nasty beasties on a beach in, say, Malibu, "Supernatural" would have looked super silly.
Certainly "The X-Files" set the tone a few years earlier by making the most of Vancouver’s darker skies. "It pulls an audience out of their comfort zone," figures Padalecki.
Ackles added that the cooler weather also helped when trying to conceal guns and other weapons under coats. Had they shot the series in Atlanta, "we’d be a sweaty mess."
A lot of the action on "Supernatural" takes place at night, and Ackles feels Vancouver’s relatively shorter days also buy the cast and crew extra time for night shoots.
He added that a side benefit from their years in British Columbia was the lifelong friendships made with cast and crew members. "It’s a wonderful town full of wonderful people," he said.
It’s a good thing he feels that way. "Supernatural" doesn't appear to be shutting down anytime soon. Executive producer Jeremy Carver said the show continues "beyond any of our wildest dreams." He admitted he really didn't have an ending to the adventure in mind at this point, suggesting he was leaving room "for a happy accident" and was open to suggestions from the cast.
"You realize you just invited us to write the ending?" joked Padalecki.