On SUPERNATURAL, now in its tenth(!) season on the CW, Tuesdays at 9 PM, a lot of weird stuff happens as brothers Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) continue to hunt monsters and grapple with demons, angels and you-name-its.
However, one of the stranger things within this strange universe, created by Eric Kripke, was the character of Chuck Shurley, pen name Carver Edlund, played by Rob Benedict. Chuck, albeit a nerd, was a Prophet of the Lord, who actually foresaw the adventures of the Winchesters, which he wrote as novels, which developed a cult following – within the world of SUPERNATURAL. When creator Kripke left his show-running duties at the end of Season 5, Chuck vanished, underscoring the notion that he was a stand-in for Kripke, if not actually God.
At the end of SUPERNATURAL’s two-hundredth episode, “Fan Fiction,” which aired November 11, Chuck quietly returned at the end of the episode to in essence bestow his blessing on a high school girl who’d mounted her own production of “Supernatural: The Musical,” based on Chuck’s books and her own interpretation (much to the horror of Dean and the amusement of Sam).
Benedict is at Creation Entertainment’s Salute to SUPERNATURAL at the Burbank Airport Marriott. Not only is the actor a convention guest in his own right, he also fronts the Louden Swain Band, which plays throughout the entire event, including at a Friday night karaoke party for all and a Saturday night concert, both hosted by other convention guests.
During a break between his various duties, Benedict takes time to talk about recent and past events, as well as what may yet ensue.
ASSIGNMENT X: When did they approach you with this episode?
ROB BENEDICT: At the end of the summer, when the writers went right back to work, they said their plan for the two-hundredth episode was to have me do a cameo and was I interested, and I was like, “Yeah.. I mean, that sounds awesome, that sounds so fun.” And I’m so honored to be a part of it. And at first they talked about my band writing the music and maybe even playing in the girls’ musical. But they’ve got a composer who’s been doing it for years, so that was his gig. So he did that. But I loved it. That was such a special one to be a part of. A lot of episodes that I’ve done as Chuck have been the sort of breaking the fourth wall kinds of episodes, and so it kind of made sense.
It really was kind of a nod to the writers and to the fans. I was the link between the writers and the fans, calling back to episodes people say they didn’t like and things like that. We could make that kind of commentary, which I always thought was so cool, that I was basically like Kripke personified.
AX: Since we now see that Chuck is canonically alive, have there been any discussions about whether you/he may appear again?
BENEDICT: I can honestly tell you, I don’t know. But there have been discussions and I know what this says is that he still exists. And so I can’t imagine they’d do something like this and then not have him come back. But again, they wait for the right moment. So when that moment’s going to be, I’m not sure, but yeah, certainly this says to people, to me, that he’s still around.
AX: Well, it would be a giant shoe to drop and never drop the other one …
BENEDICT: That’s what everybody seems to be saying. It’s funny, because as a guest star/recurring character, you’re the last to know anything. The episode where I disappeared, when I may or may not have been God, I got the script, I’m literally in Vancouver and one of the boom guys was like, “So you’re God, huh?” I’m like, “Is that what this …?” No one had talked to me about it, I just read the script and I was like, “I love the script,” and then the last page, I disappear. I’m like, “Wait, what? What just happened?” And then of course afterwards, Kripke calls me and was like, “Hey, I want to let you know and what I intended this to be.”
AX: What did he intend it to be?
BENEDICT: Well, he intended it to be that Chuck was God, but first of all, Eric was very specific about, “Let the fans interpret it how they want to interpret it.” Which I’m always a fan of. I think how you would justify how is Chuck God is, Chuck is almost God outside of the story, the bible of the show. Eric personified himself into the show as this guy Chuck, who’s a writer. When Eric left the show, he wrote a love letter to the show, which was “Swan Song,” and then he left. “Here’s my love letter and now you carry on and I’m out.” So in the greater picture, I’m this omniscient being, which is Eric. He’s the Almighty Creator of the show. But within the mythology of the show, I know there are a lot of hiccups, like, “Well, then how …?” But I always explain it as, if it’s outside the mythology of the show, if you take a step back, that’s where Chuck is God.
AX: Well, now they’ve got a lot of explaining to do, seeing as Kevin Tran, played by Osric Chau, was the Prophet who came after Chuck, and that some angel characters know of Chuck and don’t seem to think he was God …
BENEDICT: Sure. I think that’s why they’ve waited so long to bring me back and they wanted it to be right. It’s hard to then, after you do that, explain when I come back. So I think they’re waiting for the right time. It can’t just be ho-hum. If the idea was that maybe I relinquished [the job of Prophet] to Kevin while I went back up and me being God, I think that was how they justified that. I’m no longer a prophet. We wait to find out. Again, I keep going back to the Kripke model that Eric is still out there – his spirit lives on in SUPERNATURAL, but he hasn’t been around. You can’t talk about SUPERNATURAL without talking about Eric, but he hasn’t been on since Season 5, so …
AX: Is Eric Kripke coming back, maybe in a guest writer capacity?
BENEDICT: Well, I don’t know anything. But I always assumed that before the end of the show, Eric would come back and maybe write a few. That’s Rob’s personal opinion. Certainly, if that happened, that would be a good time to bring Chuck back.
AX: As a viewer, what did you think of the two-hundredth episode?
BENEDICT: I thought it was great. I mean, I was watching it, going, if you don’t know the show at all, it would be a hard one to come in on, because there are a lot of inside jokes, or a lot of inside nods. But I thought it was super-fun. It’s filled with love for the fans’ love for these characters, too, and they can make fun to a certain point, but then at the end of the day, it still supports the show, and that’s what Jensen’s thing has always been – [it’s okay] as long as we don’t do anything that would be outside of what our characters would do. And I felt like it held true to all that. It didn’t water it down for the greater audience. It said, “Hey. This is us.” It was really cool.
AX: Awhile back in your career, you were also on another supernatural show, BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. Who did you play?
BENEDICT: I was in Season 4, where Adam [played by George Hertzberg] was the bad guy, and I was his vampire sidekick for a couple of episodes. He was planning, and I’d say, “What about this, what about this?” The first episode I was in [“Superstar”] was where [Danny Strong’s nerd character Jonathan uses a spell to become a hero] and the opening sequence is all about his character. To me, there are similarities between that and this [SUPERNATURAL]. They did the meta thing, had really smart writing, dealt with the same kind of demons, and I loved that show. So when I got cast, I was thrilled. And the fact that I got to be a vampire was like, “Oh, awesome.” And I got all the makeup and it took forever – they were really good at what they did, and I had a mouth full of teeth, and I remember it was hard to talk, hard to get my lines out – you could barely understand them.
AX: Do you have or interactions with the BUFFY fandom on the convention scene?
BENEDICT: People will come up [at SUPERNATURAL conventions] and have me sign some BUFFY things, but no, I never did any conventions or anything like that. It’s funny, because I was a big fan of that show, and I only met the guy who played Adam. I never had any scenes with anybody else, so I never met those people. Which is kind of cool – they can still remain that for me, those actors. But yeah, I’d love to meet them – it would be fun to do [a BUFFY convention].
AX: On your IMDB page, there’s a reference to BAD, BAD MEN. What is that?
BENEDICT: BAD, BAD MEN is a movie. This guy [Allen Gardner] who is an independent filmmaker – Richard [Speight, Jr., who plays the angel Gabriel and was hired to emcee the SUPERNATURAL convention] and I met him at a film festival last year. Richard had a short film, I had a short film that were showing at this festival – I produced and wrote and was in a short; Rich directed and wrote a different short. So they were both at this film festival, and we met [Gardner], who was great, and we watched his film, and we told him we loved it, which we did, and then so he called us to say, “Hey, I’m making this movie, would you be in it?” And so we shot it in Memphis. Both our parts are smallish, but it was super-fun to go in and do it. We just did it a couple of months ago, so we’re eager to see how it comes out.
AX: Are your and Richard Speight’s scenes with each other?
BENEDICT: No, they’re not. In fact, we weren’t even there at the same time we shot in Memphis. We missed each other by like a day. But I had a blast. It’s a really funny script.
AX: When you’re not acting, are you touring with your band Louden Swain?
BENEDICT: Yeah. Lately, the band’s life has been these [SUPERNATURAL conventions]. They [Creation Entertainment] have booked us for every one through 2015.
AX: How many Creation Entertainment SUPERNATURAL conventions are there?
BENEDICT: Well, next year they’re adding some. There’s definitely going to be fifteen next year [in different cities and states]. It’s gotten to where you do one to two a month. It’s crazy. So we put out an album earlier this year, and these conventions have become our coming out party for that album. We play the songs and if we had more free time right now, we’d be touring, doing these little tours, going to these cities, we’d play to fifty to a hundred people, we’d sell a couple of CDs. We get to come to these [conventions] and we play to a thousand to two thousand people. Everybody’s so welcoming. So it’s awesome. It’s a great sort of side tour for us that we’re doing. We’re going to all these different cities. So it’s great. This has been what we do.
AX: So you are also a singer/songwriter?
BENEDICT: Yeah. Louden Swain is my group and I write the songs for the group that the band orchestrates. It kind of starts as nuggets of songs. I never did [the] solo thing until I met Jason Mann, and then I started playing with him solo and so Jason and I, we’ve done a couple of gigs together, me singing my Louden Swain songs just by myself on acoustic guitar and we’re going to go tour together, me and Jason, in February of next year, we’re going to go to Europe.
AX: Can you talk about what you get out of being singer/songwriter, a scriptwriter and an actor?
BENEDICT: The thing about scriptwriting and singing and songwriting that I like is, you have total power. You are your own boss and creatively, you can do whatever you want. I’ve never been concerned about selling screenplays and songs. If they sell, that’s great; if not, I just want to have fun creating it. On the acting side of things, you don’t have as much control. You don’t have control over when you’re going to get a job, or what the job is going to be, and if you get the job, you don’t have control over what lines you say, so I always liked it as a freeing thing, creatively speaking. But in terms of which I like better, to me, they all kind of come from the same place. I just like to create and have fun and play. And as an actor, you can’t act by yourself. You need someone else. And you can write by yourself and play music by yourself, and that’s what I like about that.
AX: Have you ever written any songs about SUPERNATURAL?
BENEDICT: No, I never have. The closest thing I’ve done is, we wrote a song called “Worlds Collide” that’s off our ESKIMO album that played in an episode of the show. But it wasn’t written for the show, they just listened to it and liked it and then the other thing is that I actually wrote a song about Richard that’s on our new album, called “Trigger Finger,” about his fear of flying [laughs].
AX: Anything else you’d like to say about SUPERNATURAL or your career overall?
BENEDICT: You know, I’m just thrilled to be a part of this group. This [the camaraderie of the actors who do the SUPERNATURAL conventions together] is something that’s really special that we don’t take lightly. It’s something that’s very special and becoming even more so. And that’s what I didn’t anticipate. I just thought, “Oh, this’ll be a couple years of doing these conventions, and then maybe it’ll be over or whatever.” But I didn’t realized they’d actually get bigger and more people are finding out about the show and finding out what’s special about it, and I’m feeling more like the people who are here and the people that I’m doing it with, these other actors, are like my family and best friends. It’s a really special, unique thing. I’m happy to be a part of it.
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Article Source: Assignment X
Article: Exclusive Interview with SUPERNATURAL guest star Rob Benedict