What happens when the King of Hell, a Knight of Hell and a werewolf get together? Hilarity, shenanigans and some unexpected, sincere wisdom shared between friends is what happens! Mark Sheppard, Alaina Huffman and D. J. Qualls were the guests of honor at a Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) Supernatural panel on Saturday, April 1, 2023. C2E2 is the largest pop culture convention in the Midwest U. S. so you know these three recurring stars of Supernatural drew a huge crowd! The SPNFamily fandom didn’t quite reach maximum capacity in the several thousand person audience of C2E2’s Main Stage, but looking around, there were only single seats scattered here and there for late comers.
As this Supernatural panel was the highlight of C2E2 for me, and the panel I most wanted to cover for The Winchester Family Business, I made sure to get to the convention center 90 minutes before the doors opened, and a full 4 hours before the panel began! That was a lot of waiting in line, but hopefully the pictures I was able to capture from my first few rows of general admission seats made it worth it! I spotted a friend who had even better seats than me ( because he may or may not have paid to get VIP access) and he generously agreed to share his best pictures with you as well, so thank you Austin!
When the panel finally began, things were a bit confusing at first. Mark and Alaina took the stage to much fanfare and cheering, but D.J. was nowhere to be seen! I was immediately reminded of the stall tactic that was so common at Creation Entertainment Supernatural conventions whenever it was time for a Misha Collins panel. I began singing under my breath, “Where’ DJ?”, with Richard Speight, Jr. and Rob Benedict’s ad lib song lyrics of “Where’s Misha?” going through my head.
No one acknowledged DJ’s absence in the introductions so things began as if nothing was amiss. The panel moderator was Claire Lim, from Glasgow, Scotland. She sounded so much like Ruth Connell!
Moderator: I’m not from here. I’m from Glasgow. This is my first time to Chicago.
Alaina: I feel like I’m talking to Ruthie!
Mark: She does sound a lot like Ruth Connell.
Moderator: You think? Yeah, just a wee bit.
Mark: Do people get confused with your accent?
Moderator: Here, yeah. They do get confused sometimes.
Mark: Do you people understand or do you need me to translate? (he was joking… but it wasn’t a bad idea really!)
Alaina: When Ruth and I first became friends, sometimes we couldn’t talk on the phone because we couldn’t understand each other!. I told her, “I need to see your mouth!” Ruth: “Yeah, me too!”
Mark was clearly in control at this point in the panel. Almost immediately upon taking the stage, he descended into the audience and began walking the aisles, talking and giving high fives to people. He joked with the moderator, who we would learn he knew from prior conventions, and to whom he felt connected because of their shared UK heritage. He was the de facto emcee, and clearly the life of the party. He set the tone of the panel – lively, familiar, sincere, insightful, funny, comfortable. He was the veteran who came to entertain his SPNFamily. The moderator called it his “walkabout”.
Moderator: He’s getting his steps in!
Claire later teased Mark about how well he was doing “for a man of his age” and they bantered back and forth a bit about his age. It was clear they had “worked audiences” together before. They had a whole comedy schtick going! I’m not sure if they were warming up the audience or stalling to see if DJ would arrive. Finally, she acknowledged the elephant in the room (or the werewolf not in the room?)!
Moderator: We are expecting DJ as well.
Alaina: I’m calling DJ.
Alaina then called DJ on her cellphone! She didn’t say if she reached him or not, but she quickly turned her attention back to Mark and the audience.
Alaina: Mark and I have known each other a long time. In fact, before we worked together on Supernatural, we used to be all around the world together. I was like “Oh, it’s Mark again.” Remember when we first met, Mark? (no answer)
Note: No shoelaces! How very young and trendy of him!
Mark: (Startled because he was paying attention to wandering through the audience instead of what was happening on stage) What?!
Alaina: It’s okay. I’m used to it. Mark, do you remember when we first met?
Moderator: Was he like this on set as well?
Alaina: Yes. This is Mark (obviously quite used to talking “with” Mark). Mark and I met in Toronto.
Mark: What were we doing in Toronto?
Alaina: We were doing something in Toronto. We were in this VIP suite and there were just like a few people, and I hear (imitating Mark’s deep voice) “Alaina Huffman.”
Mark: She just makes this stuff up. (teasing Alaina about the accuracy of her/their memories)
Alaina: And that’s when I met Mark Sheppard.
Mark: Yeah, right, whatever.
Moderator: I sent Ruth Connell a voice message last night. I said, “Hey, you know I’m interviewing Alaina, DJ and Mark tomorrow,” and she said “Mark will talk for [all of you], no problem at all.” So is that true? Is he a bit of a chatterbox?
Mark: (returning the teasing) Did you guys get all of that? (He wasn’t wrong! If the moderator talked fast, I really had to concentrate to make out what she was saying through her thick Scottish accent!)
Moderator: (keeping up their banter) Look, you just keep getting your steps in, right?
Mark: How old are you again?? (Mark and Claire then tease back and forth about her age until she admits that she will turn 40 this year.)
Mark: On May 30th, I will be 59 years old!
Moderator: How does it feel turning 59? Do you feel anything? (making everyone laugh)
Mark: I have a 7-year-old daughter! (You have to replay this conversation in your head with both of their UK accents!)
Mark’s New Puppy
Alaina: Are you tired all the time?
Mark: No… The puppy is wearing me out though. I made the biggest mistake of my life which was, I knew that it would be a really good idea for the house to have a dog. I just knew it would be a really good idea. Psychologically, the mental health reasons, the amount of stress everyone’s been through… My daughter, everybody else, they love dogs. My wife’s got dogs, everyone’s had dogs. But my daughter’s never had a dog. So I go and buy a black lab puppy. I have rescued dogs for years. I’ve rescued tons of dogs, but with my daughter never having had a dog, I figured one time, I’ll get a dog. So I got this dog. Twelve pounds. His name’s Harley (Harvey?). And yet, he looks like Isabella. He’s got the same eyes. Twelve pounds. Five weeks later, he was 38 pounds. So all the crap that I bought to fit him, it’s like “well, that’s not gonna work.”
Alaina: You bought him outfits?
Mark: No, no, no. Places to live, things to play with. It’s like every ball, “that’s not gonna work.”
Alaina: Oh, like a baby.
Mark: Yeah, so he’s great. This would’ve been a wonderful thing, except for one thing. I didn’t ask my wife first. (Wails of sympathetic shock from the audience)
Alaina: She didn’t agree to a dog?!
Mark: She wanted to kill me and has wanted to kill me ever since. She likes dogs, don’t get me wrong. But she’s like “thanks” at 5:30 in the morning when the dog needs to get up. It’s a bit bitey right now and it’s a bit humpy right now.
Alaina: It’s a lot of work.
Mark: Sarah’s on her way to Australia tonight to see her family for the first time in 3 and a half years because of the Covid thing and, of course, they park the dog with one of my friends. So I gotta go back and play with the dog.
Alaina: Just get Max to do it (his older son).
Mark: No, they won’t do it. (imitating the kids) “Oh, we’ll help out!” The kids are great. “Oh yeah, don’t worry, we’ll help out.” Nothing! So I have a hellhound! I have a hellhound.
(Alaina made a suggestion that we couldn’t hear because everyone was still laughing at him having a hellhound. Mark heard her, though.)
“NO! I tried that, and it was like, how quickly would I like a divorce?!” [I said to my wife,] you love this dog. (imitating Sarah, his wife) “No, I don’t.” She does really. She’s just mad at me. She’s gonna be mad at me for the next ten years, so…
Music Runs in the Family
Moderator: So you’ve got little kids and the dog as well, do you . .
Mark: I’ve got 3 kids by 3 different mothers, which is a very, very complicated way of doing things. So, my 23-year-old (Max) just produced his first record. So he is working for an artist you might’ve heard of called Miley Cyrus. So there’s a song on the new album that she did called “Violet Chemistry,” which is really cool. So yeah, he’s just out of the gate [and] he’s decided to do the number one record.
Moderator: As a musician, Mark, do you find yourself a bit more critical with your son? (Before, and intermittently during, his acting career, Mark was/is a professional musician)
Mark: Not at all. He’s a jazz pianist, which is insane. And he’s ridiculous. I mean, Alaina remembers when he started playing. He wanted to be a DJ (disc jockey), right? So he wanted to be a DJ to find a way to express himself. It didn’t actually interest him that much. And then, he didn’t learn to play the piano so he could learn to play other people’s songs; he didn’t learn to play the piano to play whatever. [Instead,] he learned to play piano in order to be able to express himself. So he listens to Coletrane; he listens to some of the greatest of all time. And he has a teacher, who is a Berkley professor who’s in his eighties. And [my son] just makes music because he loves it. And suddenly that’s turned into producing and playing on one of the better records that’s come out.
Alaina: Tell them about the studio credit.
Mark: Oh yeah. I’m very proud because he did a lot of recording downstairs in my house. So you know on the record, where it has all of the names of the really big studios where they’ve been recorded. So it says “Recorded at Daddy’s Basement.” He’s working with Sia’s [Seal’s?] guys and Mike WiLL (Made-it, a big-time American record producer) and it’s mind-blowing. And I’m so proud of him because he actually did the work. It’s not a luck thing. It certainly wasn’t a nepotism thing. And it’s a different domain than mine. It’s fascinating because he’s somebody who has such an understanding of music, and funnily enough to see his relationship with Miley being so musical and so interesting in a way. The new album is fantastic. It’s really good. Number one in England and Australia and everywhere else. Not a bad start, kid.
Alaina: I’m proud of Max.
Moderator: Are you musical, Alaina?
Alaina: No. I sing in the shower. Nobody hears.
Moderator: What do you sing in the shower?
Alaina: No, I don’t sing. I love music though.
Mark: You’ve always loved music. You dance all the time.
Alaina: I do. I dance through life.
Mark: I stumble. As we shall find out as I get older.
Alaina: I have teenagers so there’s always music playing in my house. So that’s kind of fun.
Moderator: When you were talking about your son expressing himself through music, I do that with the guitar. The only time I feel anything now is when I play the guitar.
Mark: So the question you asked me earlier was about yourself.
Moderator: I feel nothing for you.
Mark: This is a really sad panel.
We’re now 13 minutes into the panel, and still no DJ. So Mark and the moderator tease each other some more in an improv stall routine worthy of two experienced conventioneers. Alaina then joins in.
“Let’s be honest, the show doesn’t work without Sam and Dean.” – Mark
Alaina: Have you guys felt like Supernatural has been like therapy?
Mark: Really cheap therapy.
Alaina: It really affected a lot of people.
Mark: You know why?
Alaina: Tell us, Mark. Mark knows everything.
Mark: No, you just think he does.
Alaina: My projection.
Mark: But, no. The main reason why is the themes. There’s no TV shows that ran 15 years, for starters, that had a theme or an undercurrent theme that was so about family and sticking together. Good versus evil. Ups and downs. Sideways. I mean, work out why Castiel, and for example Crowley, are so popular in a show. Let’s be honest, the show doesn’t work without Sam and Dean. They’ve tried spinoffs, whatever. It’s your love for the Winchesters is what works. Your relationship with the Winchesters is what works. And what it is, is we worked out that both Castiel and Crowley love the Winchesters, so the audience lives vicariously through us. Cuz you’re the dumb guy that looks like you’re alone; who after 27 years hasn’t gained one piece of knowledge. He was as dumb on the last day as he was on the first day. That’s why I always loved Steve – is that the character’s name? Because Steve was so much smarter.
Mark’s teasing yet sincere, insightful commentary on the formula that has made Supernatural so special was interrupted by commotion in the audience. There was a bit of confusion and rustling, as only one section of the audience knew what was going on! It turns out DJ had arrived, almost exactly 15 minutes late for the panel!
DJ: Hi! No one came to get me!
Mark: Oh, here’s DJ! Hi!
(After DJ settles in, Alaina and Mark pick up where they left off with their last conversation.)
“It’s very unlikely to happen again” – Mark
Alaina: In the whole term of this show, we have so many wonderful friends and connections. Like when we were talking about our kids. It’s just so nice to have this connective . . .
Mark: All of us have worked on other shows with other people, and some shows for a long time. But there was something so special about Supernatural. And everybody says “oh, it’s like a family.” Well it is like a family because the ups and downs are all together. Because there’s never enough money, there’s never enough time, there’s never enough anything to get this job done. And yet, the 200 people that work on this show, that make this show happen, put their entire heart and soul into it. And that’s why it shows. And the audience always knows when something is cynical or a rip off. And the truth is, the SPN family, cuz we hate the word “fan.” I have an aversion to the word because it means “fanatic.” Fanatic is derisive; it’s not a great word. So it’s the Supernatural family. The thing that amazes us, not the people who watch the show… but the fact that you guys will come together, and you come together behind the show, and you use the show to help each other with mental health problems and physical health problems. Loneliness, the number one disease we have is loneliness.
Alaina: Connection, remember?
Mark: But it is special. I remember when you [DJ] started on Supernatural.
DJ: You were in my very first episode.
Alaina: Mine too.
Mark: But you know that people are going to have fun. The people that came and didn’t quite get it, didn’t stick around that long. They had fun. But the people that got it… had fun.
DJ: That’s true! Absolutely true.
Mark: That’s the truth. It’s a wonderful thing. It’s very unlikely to happen again in the same type of format and the same type of thing.
At this point, the panelists inquire about “first timers” at the convention, partially to welcome DJ who had to run through “the largest convention center in North America” to get to the panel on his own. “Yeah, it felt like it! I came through the back door!” he lamented. That was true! He literally ran up through the auditorium aisle and found the stairs to get onstage.
Since all the panelists were finally present and accounted for, Mark took the lead again and asked if they were supposed to take fan questions. The moderator, who at this point was letting this panel happen fairly organically, took her cue from him and invited fans to step up to the microphones to ask questions of the panelists.
“I’m not guilty about anything that I like. If I like something, I go full force at it.” – DJ
“They don’t understand that we’ve actually taken over the world.” – Mark
Fan Question: Have you ever been bullied and did you use any experiences from that for your characters?
DJ: I’m in a movie about it called The New Guy. I was bullied in high school, so I changed high schools to try to reinvent myself. But we played a football game with the other high school, and it just took one person from that former life to wreck everything at the new school. It sucked. People suck. But now I’m on the panel talking to you guys, so… (implying the irony of who got the last laugh!)
Mark: Doesn’t that really go to what we’ve been talking about, what we’re always talking about? Is that being a “fan” or a lover of something used to be derisory; it used to be something that people thought was a weakness.
DJ: Yeah, I hate the term “guilty pleasure.” I’m not guilty about anything that I like. If I like something, I go full force at it.
Mark: When you come to a convention and you see people dressed. – I mean, you still see news reporters in San Diego going “And here’s the weird people in the Storm Trooper outfits.” They don’t understand that we’ve actually taken over the world. We are the programming. We are the people they’re pitching to because we come from all walks of life and we’re now able to say “we like this” and “we like this” and “we don’t like that.” So that’s the best part of it.
DJ: I spent the last four weeks chain vaping and buying 18th century Chinese porcelain. I like it! (laughing & joking about liking Chinese porcelain)
Moderator: The best way to get back is to get better. That was such a good question and DJ’s living his best life right here right now.
Mark: But let’s be honest, sometimes you can’t do it on your own, or you think you can’t do it on your own. And the trick is, if you can find a group of people or a person that treats you well, gravitate towards them and then maybe that’s a start of finding a way through this horrendous world we live in.
“This Supernatural family, for me, has been profound in my development. I found strength and left a really bad marriage. I live a really healthy life. I genuinely made that decision based on the strength that I feel from this family.” – Alaina
Fan Question: Since each character has character development in the show, as a person in the show, how did you have development throughout the show, as a person, yourself?
Alaina: I feel really grateful for this show. Like any other job, you go in for an audition and you don’t know what’s going to happen. You get on the show and you think “oh that’s fun” and then it changes your life in a lot of ways. And there’s so much strength that I found through this experience that I wasn’t aware of and it’s beyond just an acting job. So this Supernatural family, for me, has been profound in my development. I found strength and left a really bad marriage. I live a really healthy life. I genuinely made that decision based on the strength that I feel from this family.
DJ: Going back to what Mark was saying about the fact that I really realized, while we were filming and also through these experiences, this is temporary and it can never happen again. The idea of being present, and really enjoying things. We get to be together fifteen to twenty times a year, but for how long? Every time we’re together it’s like “I’m going to savor this. I’m going to know that this is ephemeral, and really appreciate it.” And life is much better like that and also, you remember stuff better like that. If you let your experiences pile up on you and not really live through them, you don’t really remember anything. And so being present really helps with that.
“The lesson that I’ve learned through most of this…I feel love by giving love.”- Mark
Mark: I was the old guy on the show so I just had to wait for them to play catch up. No, but the truth is, I met my wife as a result of the show; I have a daughter as a result of the show. My life changed. I came out of a very uncomfortable marriage. You know, I was a couple of years into filming and it was a choice about what was going on and it was a support system. I don’t know. I was talking about this with somebody this morning while we were driving in. I used to think that I felt love by receiving love. Right? So I used to think that if I come to a place like this, you say you love me or you cheer or whatever, and that fills me with love. Why was it never enough? Why was it never what got me through? And I think the lesson that I’ve learned through most of this, I mean, I’m 33 years sober. But the truth is, I feel love by giving love. So I get to be a human being and I get to try to – if you put out, basically your life is different. And the more that I am encouraged to do that and the more I try to do that, the better my life is. And that’s the way it is. And that’s what I think Supernatural and our SPNFamily taught me; it’s all about love. And if it becomes cynical or it becomes angry or if it becomes difficult, it’s just fear. And if you take away that fear, all you’re left with is love.
Fan Question: For Alaina, I loved you on Stargate Universe.
Alaina: That’s the only show Mark’s not been on!
Fan (continuing): I loved TJ’s hairstyle (referring to Alaina’s role of Lt. Tamara Johansen on Stargate Universe). I want to know how it came about and how you think TJ did that every morning. [For Mark]: I was wondering if you were going to come back and make an appearance on Leverage again?
Alaina: Ok, so my hair. So, did y’all watch Smallville? So my hair was like short. I had short, spiky, little pixie hair when I was on that show. And then when Stargate hired me, Smallville kept calling me back. And every time they called me back, I was trying to grow my hair. And you know when you’re trying to grow out a pixie, you get like “here” and you’re like “ugh” and you just have to get through it? Well every time I went back to Smallville, they were like “You have to cut your hair again.” And I’m like “Dang it.” So then I started on Stargate, and I was like, “well, I’m not going to cut my hair,” so I had already been twisting my hair up in pins. The funny thing about that hairstyle though is that we did my hair on Monday and I slept in it all week. David Blue took longer with his hair. Like, I’m just sleeping in, I’d wear a scarf, and you know, show up to work and the messier it looked, the better it worked for the character.
Mark: You’re going to have to ask Dean Devlin. He does read all the posts, by the way, and he keeps liking the fact that everyone’s going like “Bring Mark back. Bring Sterling (Jim Sterling, Mark’s character) back.” And he likes it – Still hasn’t called me.
Alaina: I mean, you’re busy. You’ve got a lot of stuff. You’re busy.
Mark: Am I busy?
Alaina: You’re busy.
Mark: I’m busy.
Alaina: You have a puppy.
Mark: I am kinda busy.
DJ: You got a puppy? What kinda puppy did you get?
Mark: I got a black Lab.
DJ: Oh nice!
Mark: He’s named Harvey.
DJ: Oh no.
Mark: He eats things and chews stuff and barks.
DJ: That’s his job.
Mark: Yes, but I didn’t ask my wife before I got him so she’s mad at me.
DJ: Oh wow.
DJ: I brought a dog home once; it didn’t go well.
Mark: It doesn’t go well, does it?
DJ: People don’t like that.
Mark: Why didn’t you tell me this before?!
Notice the progression of DJ’s and Alaina’s expressions in this and the next 2 pictures!
DJ, Mr. Fizzles and another Puppy Story
Fan Question: What’d you take from the studio when the show ended?
Mark: Steal, you mean?
DJ: They wouldn’t let you have anything, right? You had to steal it. I asked for a silver bullet necklace. It wasn’t silver or a bullet and I asked for it and they wouldn’t give it to me. They did give me Mr. Fizzles, though. Mr. Fizzles voice, is the voice—I had this dog who was born with hydrocephalus (too much water in his brain) so he could only walk in a circle. He was only supposed to live to be 2. This dog pissed on my belongings for 10 years. He was mostly nonresponsive. But that Mr. Fizzles voice is the voice I talked to him in and so, after I shot that episode, George died. He lived to 10; he lived a good life. And they sent it [Mr. Fizzles] to me on the day before Christmas. I still have him. He lives in my sock drawer. So yeah, but I didn’t get my chairback.
Alaina: That’s the only thing I got. So I always collect the chairback.
DJ: So do I!
Alaina: It’s the chair that says your name and the show on the back of the chair. New shows now, they just have a plastic thing.
DJ: Yeah, it’s cheap.
Mark: What shows are you doing?
Alaina: Three shows on The CW. (Lots of audience laughter recognizing the low budgets usually given to The CW shows!)
Mark: Oh yeah.
“I want my original hunter coat… Y’all help me with that, please?” – DJ
Alaina: But on Supernatural, I have my chairback. Our props guy, Michael . . .
DJ: They sold all of our clothes for like $10! I asked for them and they said…
Alaina: They did.
DJ: …they sold them at a yard sale for like $10. I felt bad about it.
Mark: All the suits, the coats, the ties are mine. Because they were mine.
Alaina: You brought them in?
DJ: You showed up with your own wardrobe?
Mark: I did. My tailor. So I had my tailor . . .
DJ: I can imagine you in a Louis Vuitton steamer truck. Like from the 1800s.
Alaina: But they all had blood on them though.
Mark: Yeah, they had to make like 20 coats because I blew them up and got shot. But my original coat and my original suit, is my original suit and coat. I have the original tie as well.
DJ: I want my original hunter coat, though. They sold it at a studio sale. Y’all help me with that, please? Put it out there.
Fan Question: [For DJ]: This episode always runs in my head. This episode where Sam and Dean reunite with Garth.
DJ: Oh yeah. I think it was called “Southern Comfort.” It was named after the first time I went out with Adam Glass. I ordered a Southern Comfort Diet Coke and he was like “Do people drink that?” It’s disgusting. I don’t know what I was thinking.
Mark: Yeah. Janice Joplin’s favorite drink.
DJ: I know.
Fan: I was just curious, in that episode, Garth has kind of taken the mantle of Bobby, started wearing a hat . . .
DJ: I did steal the hat. I forgot until now. I have the hat, yeah. What’s your question? I worked all day yesterday [ I think he said until 5AM!] then got on a plane to come straight here so I’m loopy as a mother f*!
Fan: I was just wondering, was it funny trying to imitate Bobby, to say “Balls” or just acting like that?
DJ: Yeah. It’s really hard to watch the show because I know all the people on it. So it’s like watching your friends pretend. It’s bizarre, right? Like the first time I worked with Jensen, I didn’t know Jensen actually, but he rehearsed in his normal voice (imitating Jensen mumbling). I thought he was messing with me because I heard they were pranksters. But, obviously it works for the character.
Mark: (imitating Jensen’s deep voice) Yup.
Alaina: There’s some times on set where I am like “oh, my voice hurts. Why am I trying to speak so low?”
Mark: When they put the four of us together, it’s a disaster.
DJ: And I’m over here like (accentuating his high-pitched voice), “What’re you guys doing?”
Mark: (as Crowley’s low voice) Hello, boys.
Alaina: (in her voice) Hello, boys.
Mark: No, lower.
Alaina: (in a sultry voice) Hello, boys. (Normal voice) They gave me that, and you [Mark] were like “that’s my line.”
DJ: I love dancing (figuratively speaking, meaning experimenting with playing a character like Bobby) with Bobby. Here’s the thing, I loved all that stuff. They showed me some things and also, we all know each other in real life, so I know his mannerisms and all that stuff. But the thing is, when I read that, I called my publicist and had them call the CW and was like, “tell them I will absolutely not be happy if they do this: “The New Bobby?” And they said, “we won’t.” And that’s [exactly what they turned around and put on] the promo, and I got like thousands of hate tweets about it. “You’re brand new here. You can’t be Bobby.” I was like, “First of all, y’all are mean. And second of all, I’m not trying to be Bobby. I’m on another TV show, I’m happy to be back here.” Yeah, I learned the “other side” of “the love.” People got really mad. And so like, after answering a bunch of them Jared called me, and I was like “My feelings are hurt.” So he sent me a bunch of screen grabs of things that had been said to him over the years. And I was like, “Oh, I’m fine.” (I guess Jared has screen grabs of the hateful things that have been said to him over the years, and they were much worse than anything that had been said to DJ!)
“If you love something, there is nothing more wonderful than going up to somebody and telling them.” – Mark
Fan Question: If people recognize you on the street, what are the one or two things they recognize you from? Dr. Who, Supernatural, whatever, or all the other shows you’re on?
Mark: It [the list] will never end. I was walking with Saul Rubinek (a prolific Canadian actor. Most recently known for Artie on Warehouse13) through Toronto one day; with CCH Pounder (4 time Emmy nominated actress) and Saul Rubinek, and he got stopped on the street. The woman who stopped Saul on the street gave her bag to CCH Pounder and asked me to take a picture of her with Saul. That’s when I realized that it’s all about perspective and context. And Saul said to me, he goes, “I can tell what they’re a fan of by their age.” This is a man who’s been in so many different genres and so many different things, but he literally can tell by the age of the person who walks up what it is. But with Supernatural, it’s a different thing. There’s new people watching it now. I’m surprised if you were kids when you first watched it and now it’s 15–20 years later. I wouldn’t expect anybody at 15–16 to be coming up and going, “Oh my god, it’s Crowley.” But it happens every single day of my life. Every day when I’m out in public, wherever I am. And it’s gone from “You’re that guy” to “You’re Crowley” to “Excuse me, are you Mark Sheppard?” I feel somewhat vindicated by this thing that I’ve been doing a long time. But it’s a lovely thing to do. If you see somebody that you like or admire, do the same thing. If you admire their work, you go and you tell them.
DJ: I always do that. I always lead with that and if they can’t accept that, then that’s on them. I’ve sat down to dinner with people, which has happened to me, my father doesn’t like that. I still look at actors and go “I’m freaking out right now.” I’m in a movie right now and there are a couple of actors who I just love, agreed to be part of it. And my palms were sweaty the first day. And I told them, “I have just loved you.” Not “since I was a little boy” cuz people don’t want to hear that, but I always lead with that and I like getting that back from people. It’s brave to tell people things!
Mark: I got kissed by Smokey Robinson. I saw Smokey Robinson and I said, “Mr. Robinson, I just have to tell you how much joy you’ve brought me.” And he said, “Man, I love your work.” And grabs me and kisses me. I smelled of Smokey’s cologne for the next five hours. It was a really cool day. He has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen in my life. I finally worked out why he’s called Smokey. He has smoke-gray eyes. Beautiful man. But that’s the thing, if you love something, there is nothing more wonderful than going up to somebody and telling them. And if they respond badly, they’re an asshole. Don’t do it again.
Alaina: I usually get people that are like, “Did we go to school together?” In fact, one year, I was walking down to San Diego Comic Con and I was with Osric Chau, and people kept stopping him going, “Oh my god, I loved you on Supernatural. You know, he’d take a picture, sign an autograph.
Mark: He was the only Asian on the show.
Alaina: Well, we just kept walking around like, I think it was just me and Oz [Osric], maybe someone else was with us but no one seemed to recognize me. And he was like, “Why don’t they recognize you?” And I was like, “I have different colored hair, always.”
DJ: You had flame-red hair, right?
Mark: She did have the red hair.
Alaina: In fact, a lot of time I’m up for two jobs at the same time, and the network’s like, “Oh, we can’t have you on two shows.” And I’m like, “No one will know.” I look different on all of them. So we started playing a game. And Osric would be like [to the fans], “Who’s your favorite character?” This was a few years ago and they’d be like “Oh, I love Abaddon.” And he’s like, “She’s right there!” They didn’t even recognize me. Yeah, it’s nice. I can go to the grocery store.
Mark: People would say, “You look familiar”. I’d say, ” Yeah, I painted your house!”
The panelists then complimented a fan on their cosplay from the movie “A League of Their Own” (a fictional story about the real life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League). The moderator told Mark he didn’t have the legs to be cast in it. He debated with her the validity of that assertion; he feels he does have to legs to qualify him for the cast! Sometimes, their tangents were bizarre! Somehow, they got back to fan questions!
Fan Question: What’s your favorite line from the show?
Alaina: They always gave me these really like campy lines. And my favorite one is “I’m gonna stump you to death. It’ll be swell.” Who says that? Whenever in your life are you going to say that?
DJ: “You’ve been Garthed,” probably. It’s so funny. And we also tried to do a cool moment where I’m lighting a match over somebody’s grave, I’m setting it on fire or whatever, and I’m walking away and I do this and I go, “You’ve been Garthed.” Match. Then the flames. As I’m walking away from that, I take my jacket, my hunter coat, and flip it over my shoulder, and it comes whipping back and hits me in the face. It was written as a Garth cool moment, like my first, and I messed it up. And that’s what they used. If you give it to them, they will use it.
Mark: In 2017, I was at a convention, it was one of the last Creation gigs I did, and a lot of the members of the audience had paddles with lines written on them that somebody had made, so there were 80 to 100 paddles with lines that I’d spoken. And I was doing my walkabout thing, and suddenly, they all very sheepishly put up these paddles. And I was like, “Oh my god. I’ve said all this stuff.” And I could remember the context of every single thing that was in them. And that was fun for the writers. They enjoyed writing epithets for me. There was, “No one in the history of torture’s been tortured with torture like the torture you’ll be tortured with.” Things that drive you crazy when you’re saying them. There’s loads of them.
The Supernatural Gun Incident
Mark: I was in a scene with you (speaking to Alaina), but you nearly killed me with a gun.
Alaina: Mark says I nearly killed him with a gun. I didn’t.
Mark: You nearly killed me.
Alaina: I accidentally shot you.
Mark: She accidentally shot me with a pistol.
DJ: Like on the show?
Mark: Yes, yes!
Alaina: It was a really heavy gun!
Mark: How much did they pay you to do it?
DJ: Take me through this. What happened?
Mark: It’s on the gag reel.
Alaina: It’s on the gag reel?
Mark: I’m at the camera and she picks up the gun and it went off. And all you see is me looking into the camera going [sassy face].
DJ: We don’t do that anymore.
Alaina: It was a heavy gun and I’m right handed. And so my instinct was to grab it and shoot it. And the director just wanted me to like fling it from the hip. And I was like, “I don’t have the thumb strength to cock the gun.” So I asked him to cock the gun for me. It’s a hairpin. I’m like “It’s fine. I got it.”
Mark: She just reaches for it and “bang!”…
Getting Back to Their Favorite Line…
(Yes, the conversation moved quickly! You really had to keep up!)
Mark: The line that messes everything up, which created this entire weird genre, that is my favorite – there’s “My mansion’s burned down and I’ve lost all this stuff and they’ve eaten my tailor” and all the fun lines – but there’s Dean, sitting on a burnt out couch with a bottle of beer. And I turn around and say to him, “Where’s your Moose?” Sera (Gamble) had been trying to write nasty lines about Jared for a year: “Gigantor”, Mop-headed Lumberjack, Giraffe, Jolly Green. I mean, it never ended, and they weren’t funny. But as soon as I said, “Where’s your Moose?” and Dean says, “Oh, he went out.”; “Oh, he went out.” (repeating the line in Jensen’s deep, mumbly voice), it’s like instant. So it stuck. And, of course, Jared has the most ridiculous upper-body strength of any human being I know – he’s 6’5”. He lies about his height. He’s 6’5”. Don’t ever tell him this. I don’t want him to hear this because he’ll chase me: I think he has legs like a chicken.
So the thing is, a moose, you know, is a 2–3 ton animal that’s designed to go through the windshield of any car because it’s on stilts. So he was Moose. And if you have Moose, you’ve got to have Squirrel. And the greatest one that ever happened, was when I was having that date with Kim’s character and she doesn’t know who I am, which is just evil, it’s just awful. And the phone rings, and of course, on set, it’s just Robin going “ring, ring” so I pick up the phone and I look at it and go, “I think it’d be funny to go, ‘This is the King.’” And, of course, it gets to post-production, and the ringtone is “I like big butts and I cannot lie” and it doesn’t register on my face! And I look down, and they put an insert shot in of the screen, and it says, “Not Moose.” Which makes me and Ruth, Boris and Natasha!
“The point being is, without Sam and Dean, it doesn’t work… Our love of them, our protection of them, our journey with them, is what I think you guys like the most.” – Mark
Fan Question: [To Mark]: Was there ever any talk of a Cas & Crowley spinoff?
Mark: Listen, as I said earlier, as much fun as it was, what we were doing, we had so much fun being stupid. My favorite moment is supposed to be me and Castiel as FBI agents and he picked the names “Beyonce” and “Jay-Z.” “I’m Agent Z.” It’s just this depressive thing that we cannot be competent FBI people. But there’s a moment when Dean and Sam come down into this morgue and there’s a dead guy there and I literally had shades [sunglasses] on as he’s passing by the window, and I did the full CSI and he said, “Put those away.” It’s funny, but it’s not the Winchesters. The point being is, without Sam and Dean, it doesn’t work. And it doesn’t work for us. Our love of them, our protection of them, our journey with them, is what I think you guys like the most. And I think us on our own is a fun little Saturday morning cartoon. I don’t think it has the same weight as the interaction with the brothers. I think that’s what’s important. As much as I’d love to do it, and I’d do it in a minute. Any chance I ever get to work with Misha is fun, but I think that’s the part that we’ve got to remember. It’s a pyramid and it’s built really, really well. And we’re there to serve that pyramid.
Pies and Pictures of Misha
Moderator: Last Question!
Mark: No pressure, but it better be a good, bloody question!
Fan Question: I would love to hear more about pranks. Whether it was on you, or one that you committed. What’s your favorite?
Alaina: Did you guys hear about when we pranked Mark and decorated his trailer with Misha’s face?
Mark: I walked into my trailer. There was 500 unsold Misha calendars all over my room. The best one was when I lifted the lid of my toilet, there was a picture of him right there, which I used as target practice.
Alaina: They were in his shower, his microwave, his shoes…
Mark: The floor, the ceiling.
Alaina: So I was in town, I was shadowing Phil Sgriccia, I was learning to direct. And Ruth called me and she was like “I just got delivered a box of calendars from last year from Misha.” And Misha was like, “That’s disappointing, they didn’t sell.” And I was like, “Let’s go decorate Mark’s trailer.” And I told Phil, “I’ll be back in a minute.” He was like “You motherf*ers.” He thought Mark was going to be so mad, but then, you guys know Mark, Mark’s always early. We knew he was going to be at work at 1:00, or 12:30, and we were just ready. And we all hid and waited. I taped a camera to the wall, but it timed out before you got there. But anyway, it was hilarious. We’re out there waiting. And we hear the steps come up and we hear the door open, and we hear “Ahhhh!”
Mark: I just laughed my ass off because I thought, “What poor person is going to have to clean this up?” What really made me sad was all the unsold Castiel calendars that they had shipped, through customs, from America!
Alaina: We love you. It was all for you.
Mark: I had a panoramic picture of it on my Facebook for years. It’s in my trailer.
The worst one was when Misha was directing his first episode, they shredded his script 3 times. They hid his keys. He got pied. He got pied professionally by Jensen, who came up behind him.
Alaina: Almost broke his nose.
Mark: No, the best part was Jensen’s was beautifully, great, wonderful. Jared hit him with a pie so hard, he did break his nose. It took 45 minutes to clean the set after. And then, you know, he did a great job directing, they were just torturing him. And the best part was, Jared comes up to me and goes, “Hey Shep, how much do you think his car’s worth?”
Alaina: No, exactly. I was in that episode and I remember Jared the first day he came to set, I was like, “Be nice to him, ok?” And he’s like, “I already told him, make copies of your script, get a waterproofed safe, like hide everything.” They prepared him.
Mark: Oh they prepared him, “We’re gonna getcha.” He did a great job under tremendous stress. But they never pranked me.
Alaina: He’s never directed since.
DJ: The thing is though, like the pranks were 99% funny, but sometimes it was like, “Not now.” They mayonnaised my trailer and I hate mayonnaise more than anything else on the planet. I hate it more than homophobia. I hate it. They put mayonnaise on my counters and stuff, but what made me actually not happy was that they put it perfectly in the handle of the door. I’m out there and I’m carrying things. I’ve got werewolf claws on and I’m like “bleh.”
And I go in and it’s smeared on the counters. I was not happy about that.
Mark: They didn’t do it to me because they knew I’d sue. Jared wrote something puerile and childish on the back window of my car. I went up to him and went, “Don’t scratch my paint or it’s gonna cost you about six grand.” And I walked away. Never did it again.
DJ: I want them to prank me so I can sue them. That’s my new goal now. [My goal] used to be an old man who hates me so much he’d give me 10 million dollars to not act anymore. And now it’s just to sue Jared and Jensen for pranks!
There you have it. An hour of hilarity sprinkled with tidbits of heartfelt wisdom. These three actors entertained their fans with an ease and comfort that comes from being family. If you pay a fee to Popverse, you can watch the video of this panel until approximately May 2, 2023 but after that, this may be the only record of a time when two demons and a werewolf made us laugh, feel a connection and forget about the real world for a while. My extreme thanks to Chelsea, who transcribed my static filled notes for you. I’d never be able to do con reports without her!
You can read about and see pictures from more appearances of Supernatural‘s actors at conventions in WFB’s Convention Reports!
I’d love to hear your experiences at your local conventions, or any times when you’ve seen Supernatural’s actors. Please share your thoughts below!