'Supernatural's' Jared Padalecki: Will Season 7 be the scariest yet?
"I got chills on my arm. I don't think I've ever gotten that," he says. "There were parts where reading the script I was almost watching the show." He gives a full-body shudder for effect. "We've seen these guys bear their burdens and wear their fear with courage and with stoicism, and just flash through it, and that's honorable, that's how people get through their day, hopefully, but here we see Sam scared. Truly terrified. For somebody who's seen what he's seen to really be losing it, it kind of gives me chills."
Producer Ben Edlund says that while the writers always try to increase the horror aspect of the show, it's becoming more difficult. This season, as the "Supernatural" team does their best to scare us, we may also find that the tone of the show becomes simultaneously lighter.
"We'll turn up the scary but in doing so it's naturally -- and this is something that we're all actually worried about -- it's going to evolve somewhat into almost a B-movie thing," he says. "Seven seasons of these characters going through all this stuff, at this point -- it's not camp, but you know, it's going to be a little funnier, because how many times have they died? How many times have they been to hell, both? They've been through so much that I think this show will evolve and grow. It's going to be scarier and in a weird way lighter, because they've been through so many different pitfalls and valleys and shadows of many deaths. It'll be scary and fun. We're going to turn all the dials up and see what happens. Hopefully the machine doesn't explode."
For Sam, specifically, the terror comes from within. Castiel (Misha Collins) brought down the protective wall in Sam's head that protects him from his memories of hell, and now Padalecki finds himself faced with the unique challenge of depicting a man who has endured over 100 years of unimaginable torture. It doesn't exactly make acting easy, because it's... well, unimaginable. He tells us that it helps to focus on the specifics of Sam's time in hell -- detailed forms of torture that he's discussed with executive producer Sera Gamble.
"I'm still figuring it out. It's difficult to understand," he says. "When you tell somebody '6 million people died between the years, blah blah blah,' you're kind of like, 'Whoa,' but you can't grasp it. If you then say, 'One person had every nail pulled out and his nose cut off, and salt poured in' ... thinking about specifics, that's where you can go."
As the "Supernatural" cast and crew do often, Padalecki recalls Kim Manners, director and executive producer who passed away in 2009. "There are things I've talked about with Sera that might have happened or did happen in the cage, so I try to put myself there, as opposed to just thinking about lots of bad stuff, I try to think about the minutiae, to use a Kim Manners word," he says. "The minutiae. Not like, hey, you love this person, but hey, when this person has a booger sticking out, you pick it. The specifics."
Only Jared Padalecki would use an example like that to describe his character's experience in hell. He laughs. "That's probably a really terrible way to answer that. 'So, I think about the boogers. I'd pull your booger out for you.' That should be the quote. 'How do you think about hell? I pull the booger out.'"
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