'Supernatural': Jensen Ackles doesn't like 'soft' Dean; Jared Padalecki talks hell

supernatural-jensen-jared-s4.jpgWhen Season 6 of "Supernatural" begins, Sam ( Jared Padalecki) can now relate to his brother Dean's ( Jensen Ackles) experience in hell.

Zap2it visited the show's Vancouver set while the stars were filming Episode 8, "All Dogs Go To Heaven," and we had to ask whose tour of hell was worse - Sam's or Dean's.

"I'd say mine, I think," Padalecki says, explaining that not only was Sam in hell, but he was in "Lucifer's cage with an archangel battle."

"Crowley ( Mark Sheppard) says, 'I can't imagine what it's like in the cage, and I can imagine so many things,'" Padalecki continues, "So we get the idea that Sam was in the bad part of hell. He wasn't like, in the penthouse. He was slumming down there.'"

The experience has changed Sam significantly. "I come back much less lovey-dovey, and more like 'All right. I've been to Hell a couple times. I've been to Heaven. I've died; I've come back, I've done this, and I've done that; so I think Sam's kind of more no-bulls***."

In the scene we observed on set, Sam and Dean pose as experts at a crime scene. "We go up to this dead body, and my line is 'Yeah, we're specialists. We answer the questions of mouth-breathing d*** monkeys.' Stone-faced. 'You're going to tell us what's going on?'" Padalecki says.

Ackles chimes in, "He's come so far!"

Meanwhile, Dean has the added pressure of a girlfriend and a child to worry about. The more nurturing side of Dean doesn't necessarily sit well with Ackles.

"There was a big shift in Dean's character, actually, much to my chagrin," admits Jensen. "I was not happy with it. Dean was really kind of being written soft. We spent five years with this guy being a tough, shoot-first-ask-questions-later kind of guy, and now all of a sudden he's lived one year in more of a domesticated life and he's gone soft on us."

Ackles feels for the fans who might be missing "old Dean" as Season 6 begins. "As a fan of the show myself, that kind of made me upset, but I did my best to kind of curve that in the acting. It read pretty soft on the page, but I think I toughened it. I'm like 'Look, if I've got anything to do with it, I'm gonna beat this guy up a little bit.'"

Padalecki jumps to his co-star's defense, explaining that Ackles wasn't going against the writers' wishes - he was just doing his job as an actor. "You kept it true to the character," he says. "It wasn't like you were just not doing what the writers were writing for. It was like 'How can I work this in to where I don't completely lose Dean?'"

The changes have made playing Dean come less naturally to Ackles. "I had no idea what the hell I was doing," Ackles laughs. "Even the dialogue, the way it was written, being so soft and affected. I was like, 'This is not the guy I'm used to playing.' I would kind of skew the dialogue a little bit to make it work in his favor. But it was definitely different. It was an odd situation for Dean to be in."

"After five seasons of playing this guy, now I actually have to think harder about how to play this guy correctly than I have before. I'm like, what happened to the gravy boat here?"

"We talked to [Smallville's Tom Welling], and he's like, yeah, Season 6, it's easy from there on out," Padalecki says. "We're like, it got harder!"

Though Sam and Dean have definitely grown apart, they are working on rebuilding their bond -- though they may be going about it in different ways.

"I think the common denominator is also that Sam and Dean both want it to be better," Padalecki says. "In their own way, albeit; but they at least both want the same things. Maybe they work differently, but it's no longer Sam going 'Alright, I've got this demon... you do whatever you want; we'll meet up later.' I think we're just wording differently what we want. We're trying to work together and let it flesh itself out."

Of course, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and before things get better, they will get worse. Dean is upset with his brother from the get-go. "When Sam shows back up unexpectedly, obviously there's surprise, but then there's also anger. 'How long has he been around, and why hasn't he told me?' That's the first bit of friction," Ackles says.

It only gets messier from there. "In the trailer, there's a shot of me hitting him, and that wasn't edited to look as though it was; that actually happened," Ackles promises. "There are physical confrontations. There are verbal confrontations between the others. But they do have their common denominator, and that is that they're both hunters, so they get back on the right track  eventually. There is still a strain in the relationship that has yet to be worked out [by episode 8]."

Will there be more physical fighting between the brothers? "I hope so!" Padalecki laughs. "It's fun."

"Supernatural" fans, we love hearing your thoughts. Let us know what you think of Dean's potential "soft" side -- and how do you think Sam's post-traumatic stress will fare now that he's topside? Dish in the comments below and don't miss the season premiere on The CW at 9 p.m. on Sept 24.

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Photo Credit: The CW