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Exclusive Interview with Supernatural’s Ruth Connell

Photo Credit: David Muller
Photo Credit: David Muller

Ruth Connell plays the witch Rowena on the CW’s cult favorite Supernatural.  One thing that the producers of Supernatural do consistently very well is the casting of their guest stars.  Now in the middle of its eleventh season, Supernatural continues the tradition of featuring well-drawn characters which are then portrayed by talented actors.  Rowena, who was introduced in season 10, is no exception.

Trained as a ballet dancer in Scotland, Ruth likes to teach Creation Entertainment’s convention audiences simple dance moves which she then records with her phone and posts on Twitter.  Ruth has been the voice of Merida (the Disney hero) in couple of video games and as well as in an episode of the Sofia the First.  Supernatural is her first reoccurring guest role on a TV show.

Of course, with the promo trailers that have been released by The CW over the last couple of days, everyone’s excited about the return of Supernatural tonight.  Finally it’s time to see how Sam handles Lucifer.  Ruth was gracious enough to take time to talk to us about episode 10, The Devil in the Details, as well as her experiences on set.

Possible SPOILERS for episode 10 ahead.

You may not be able to reveal anything about The Devil in the Details (episode 9), but at the end of the episode, you – Rowena, looked really pleased with yourself.

It’s going to be a very exciting episode tonight don’t you think?

Definitely! Just how ‘not surprised’ was Rowena when the wards failed on the cage? 

The thing I focused on at that moment in time to be honest… you know I say to Crowley “Come with me”, I think they kept that line in, didn’t they?  So, that might not be what was in focus when the episode stopped, but I thought, ‘that was a (garbled), she was being nice’. But obviously she’s not 100% shocked, let’s put it that’s way.

You looked very self-satisfied.

Totally!  But remember, nothing is ever quite what it seems in Supernatural, so it might not be quite as straight forward as that. (laughs)

You’re right, that’s absolutely true.

You know, Rowena’s like Crowley, she’s always thinking two steps ahead! That’s what we as women have to do, don’t you think? (more laughter)

So, can you hint at what you may be getting up to in the second half of the season.  For instance, are we going to see the “mega coven” come together?

Well, I mean, that to me is a no-brainer.  The rise of the mega coven, even though people did laugh at the name, to me that’s part of my raison d’être to create something like that around myself.  I don’t think Rowena will be quite happy…. I don’t think she’ll rest until she’s built that kind of organization around herself because that’s her source of (power) after she was rejected by the Grand Coven.  So I see it as definitely a super objective for Rowena. 

As to how that unfolds or comes to pass I cannot say.  You know things happen on Supernatural that you have to deal with as they come up and what I will say about this episode – and remember I said this – there’s lots of twists and turns that will be revealed.

You’ve seen the trailer that was released yesterday, yes?

Yes, I have.

They put a few things in there… I put 50 pence on the shot of Misha and I together being in the trailer.  As we were filming it, I was like ‘this is going to be in the trailer!’  I’m not going to say any more about what it is, but there are certain things that the writers…. that you know, they like to play with the fans, so there are certain things you know are going to make an impact and that was a moment for sure.

I have to say that there’s a scene tonight (Wednesday) where Misha comes in and… You’ve seen the pictures of him with his chest?

Yes.

I have to say that I’m very disciplined on set but I could not hold my shit together when Misha (Collins) came around from wardrobe and makeup and showed us what was happening, I just…. yeah, that was the naughtiest thing….it was just too funny that he had ‘I’m coming’ blazoned on his chest. And I’m like, “didn’t you notice this was in the script? I noticed it the minute I was reading it and I thought ‘oh the writers are, you know, enjoying themselves’” and for whatever reason it hadn’t dawned on him, it hadn’t quite occurred to him at that point. 

I sent him an email yesterday saying, ‘I hope your career recovers’.  So we were teasing him about it and he’s just such a good sport.  Misha is such a good sport.

That particular shot on the trailer captured the fandom’s interest as well and there’s been quite a bit of Twitter traffic centered around it.

Oh but wasn’t that bit with Jensen (Ackles) walking in in his sailor suit the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

Oh my gosh, yes and the fangirls are going crazy for him in his sailor hat.

I know the episode it’s in and I know the person who wrote and I’m really excited for that episode to come up this season.

He really was too cute – absolutely adorable.

Cute as button! (laughs) Yeah, cute as a button.

I’m sure he’d die if he heard us referring to him as “cute as a button”. (more laughing)

Nah, I think Jensen could take it. (laughing)

Are you and/or the mega-coven going to be part of the forces that battle the darkness back in her cage?

I mean, it’s really not thought that it would be a benefit to herself (Rowena) if that would happen and also, she’d be intrigued to find out maybe what the darkness actually is and if it could be manipulated or not.  So I think that whatever would happen, Rowena would choose the lesser, you know what would be most beneficial to her.  I was going to say that Rowena would choose the lesser of two evils, but that’s not true, it would probably be the greater of two evils.

It will be interesting.  Tonight (episode 10) I have a plan about what I’m going to do at the end of the episode so I’m really…. Yeah going to come back big.  So you know this episode is really linked to the previous episode, they’re really a pair so things will become clear, after where we left off in the last episode.  I think this is quite a good episode with which to come back.  I’m hoping that this will be quite a big start to the second half of the season.

I think the trailer, the one that was released yesterday is amazing. 

Now you know you’ve lived every fangirl’s dream, so please tell the us the truth…. how much fun was it to ride in the backseat of Baby with Jensen (Ackles) and Jared (Padalecki)?

This is not a popular thing to say, but it was a bit uncomfortable!  I know a lot of women have fantasies about being the back seat of Baby, but I have to say that it wasn’t the softest.  Even though the seat was hard, it still was a real magic moment for me because we were filming outside on the streets of Vancouver and there were lots of fans there watching us and to see the fans’ reactions to the boys, the rock stars sitting in front.  I mean, I was never the cool girl in school, sitting in the cool car, with the cool boys.  That wasn’t me so to be in the back of the coolest car with the coolest boys was an…. really was exciting and fun. 

I’m very aware all the time of how lucky I am.  I’m like…I’m a fangirl of the boys like at the conventions.  I like nothing better than being around them and having them do stupid shit to me.  I love it and I think the fans know it and I hope they can live a little bit vicariously through me.  I try to share as much of it as possible with you.

When you got the call to audition for Rowena, what went through your mind and what did you do to prepare for your audition?

I, um, really I hadn’t had a TV audition in America in two years and I…when I saw the breakdown I said to my friend, “if I can’t get seen for this there’s no point in being in America.” Now I’d been busy, I wasn’t idle but I hadn’t been getting the type of TV opportunities that I came to America for and…TV and film…that’s what I came to America for.  So when the audition came through and I got the sides – you know, the pages, we call them sides – what happened was I went to the last page and saw the line that said ‘Now you understand why it breaks my heart to see what a colossal pussy you’ve become’ and I laughed.  I thought that one line gave me so much of the character of Rowena that Bob Berens wrote. 

So then I cleared my diary – I had quite a lot planned – but I cleared my diary and I watched I think fourteen episodes (of Supernatural) in two days, learned the pages and I…. I really wanted to nail it to the wall.  I didn’t want to…. I wanted to go in absolutely giving my quintessential Rowena to the utmost of my abilities.  So that way if I didn’t get the job, I knew that I had done everything in my power to make it my best and if I didn’t get it having done that, then there’s nothing you can do. 

Really it was…. I didn’t understand the fandom, of course I had no idea, about the whole thing with the fandom, the conventions.  Everything else that has happened since is really amazing and I’m sort of glad that I didn’t understand (prior to the audition) because I think I would have been overwhelmed.  I was enough to just have a TV audition for a really good role – that was enough at the time.  Everything else that has happened since has been really life changing and fantastic.  I’m so grateful, so, so grateful for the fandom, the Supernatural fandom is amazing and has changed my life.

I have to say that I can’t honestly imagine anyone else in the role, but that’s easy to say when one person comes in and makes it their own.  One person who has the power of personality that you have.  You certainly give Rowena the amount of haughtiness and self-importance that that particular role needs and it comes across very well. (laughter)

It’s so much fun to play somebody who’s so unapologetic!  You know women, and especially the British, are always like, ‘sorry, sorry, sorry’ and it is so fun to be the least apologetic person…this is the least apologetic character I’ve ever played.  I’ve played a couple of (garbled) and its opposite of how I feel a lot of times, so it’s a real pleasure to be given permission…. You know what I mean?  It’s really fun – really, really fun.  So, the writers – I love the one liners I get and I love what the producers and the writers created with Rowena.  I, she, seems to get better and better and grow and grow.

I’ve heard it say before that it is generally more fun to play the bad girl, the evil character because their actions are less predictable.

For me it’s not really about good and bad, it’s the fact that there’s a quite strong characteristic and there are layers.  She’s not just evil, evil, evil…. you find out more tonight (episode 10) about why she’s…. the way she feels about certain things because there are depths to her.  That’s the thing that we’re looking for as actors.  We’re looking for roles that are not just ‘the wife’.  I mean, I’m a mother, but I’m the mother of the Kind of Hell and I’m very much my own person.  It’s a great role for those reasons.

And you have the absolute best dresses!

I do, don’t I?  They’re getting wilder and wilder.  I tried on some other ones not too long ago, but who knows if I’ll ever get to wear them, who knows what will happen.  I tried on some corkers and I’m excited to see…. I think I’m on the ways up, I don’t think they’re going to get tamer.

I and I think a good portion of the fandom are envious of your dresses.  Not that I’d have anywhere to wear one…

Well, you know Rowena just wears them to go to the shops, you know what I mean? (laughs)

You’ve done a number of Supernatural conventions over the last year.  I love the little gifts you bring for the people who ask questions, what prompted that?

What happened was, I was at a con with Erica Carroll who’s a really good friend – you know she plays Hannah.  We agreed that we’d crash each other’s panels and make it more fun for each other and the band and so she turned up with these three handmade beautiful Supernatural cupcakes as gifts or rewards.  I was like, ‘oh my God, you’ve put me to shame’ and I didn’t have time to get anything.  So I saw these hotel toiletries by the sink in the bathroom and I was like, ‘I’m going to steal the hotel toiletries’! (laughs)

I did it tongue in cheek and I thought ‘will the fans be…will they think I’m being rude’.  Then here I am offering them these things and it was just hilarious.  They got into the spirit of the silliness of the gifts.  I think it’s nice to give somebody a little memento if they’re brave enough to ask a question.  You know because it takes a bit of gumption – you what it’s like talking to the whole room, so it’s nice to give them something so they can remember.

 

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  1. I loved this interview and how Ruth made sure to tell you to remember that she said this episode would contain twists and turns. Ha! Such a great actress for such a great role.

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