SFX Issue 194

May 2010

Profile:

Misha Collins

Supernatural ’s resident angel fights the apocalypse on TV while commanding an army of Minions in real life…

“This is definitely the coldest interview I’ve ever done,” complains a shivering Misha Collins as he warms his hands on a nice cup of tea. We’re sitting in a huge bare-brick room in North London and the heaters are losing their battle with the winter chill. Collins is still perky despite the cold, however, having warmed up (mentally at least) while conducting interview after interview all morning to promote Supernatural ’s debut on Living. Which is pretty “cool” in itself – if you pardon the pun – because how many other series suddenly pick up viewers and critical acclaim after four years on the air, and then find their fifth season launched with such a fanfare on UK telly?

Collins, who joined the show at the start of season four as the angel Castiel, has his own theory for the show’s long-awaited success. “I shouldn’t be saying this, but it’s entirely due to me,” he deadpans. “It’s because I’m amazing.” Then he laughs and continues more seriously, “I did a decent job, yeah, props where props are due, but the fact is that the introduction of my character coincided with the introduction of the mythology of angels. Suddenly for the writers there was a whole new wealth of material to mine, and it gave them a lot of stuff to work with.”

Castiel certainly had a lot to do last year: after pulling Dean Winchester out of Hell, he spent the rest of the season trying to decide whose side he wanted to be on. “Castiel intermittently protected and then ultimately misled Sam and Dean,” the actor explains. “He was following the orders of Heaven throughout season four, but at the end he disobeyed and became a rebellious angel. And now, at the start of season five, he’s a renegade and is hunted by both Heaven and Hell, and working with Sam and Dean trying to head off the apocalyptic confrontation between Lucifer and the archangel Michael.”

The angel had to overcome another hurdle before embarking upon his new mission, however, seeing as he was smited (er, smitten? Smote?) by an archangel in the season four finale. Thankfully he was brought back to life, but we point out that it can’t have been easy to reassemble him after he exploded into a million pieces. “I’ve been thinking about that recently,” Collins declares with a grin. “Somebody had to actually collect all the bits and fragments and molars and pieces of hair and blood that were scattered around from Castiel’s body and reconstitute him. Can you imagine that assignment? ‘Where is that toe?’ Maybe it got pushed under the sofa in Chuck’s living room…”

With Castiel sticking around to help the Winchesters fight the apocalypse, does Collins think he’s eventually going to become part of the family? “I think he is working his way into the family somewhat. At times it seems he’s a bit disconnected from Sam and Dean, and I think that their triggering of the apocalypse also put a little distance between him and them. He definitely began the season feeling angry and disappointed at them. Justly or unjustly!”

An instant success on the show, Castiel isn’t the only one who’s been popular with the fans. Collins himself, helped by convention appearances and a rather unusual Twitter account, has attracted a lot of attention. “It’s a bit strange and a great stroking of the ego,” he laughs. “It’s always nice to have people fawning over you.” As he speaks, a heater rumbles into life a few feet away (better late than never), and so we have to clarify whether he just said “fawning” or “fondling”. “No, I said ‘fawning’,” he nods sagely, “but the fondling is also nice.”

Which brings us to that bizarre Twitter account with its tens of thousands of followers, on which Collins has claimed to have eaten a pony in an underground bunker, been imprisoned by the Queen in Buckingham Palace and declared his intention to take over the world. “I don’t really know what my Twitter persona is,” he muses. “It’s a strange phenomenon and I’m having some fun with it. Apparently I’m an Overlord of sorts who has lots of Minions, which are handy. But I’ve not actually put them to any productive use whatsoever, so it’s kind of wasteful.” [Not any more: since we chatted with him, Collins has set his Minions to work and so far raised over $30,000 for Haiti relief.]

So he’s been a busy chap over the last year and a half. What would he cite as the highlight? “Sitting in this frigid room,” he says ruefully, over the roar of the useless heater. “And it’s really nice having a job for a long period of time. I’ve always wondered, ‘Why would you want that?’ But now I see!” And the fact that Supernatural is such an interesting show helps, too. “A lot of procedural cop shows would be dull to be stuck on every week. Interviewing the perp in witness room number two over and over again. On Supernatural there’s always something new going on. We get to play different characters or travel through time – there’s always an adventure!”