As Christian Campbell on the CW’s Supernatural, Corin Nemec plays a hunter in the Campbell clan – truly one of the few “blood” relatives to Sam and Dean, appearing in four episodes in Season 6. From the beginning, it’s fairly obvious that Dean and Christian butt heads – but it isn’t until the last episode that we discover that Christian is actually a demon.
I was able to catch up with Corin and discuss his role on Supernatural, and how he thinks Christian could return.
How were you chosen for the role of Christian in Supernatural?
I was chosen for the role of Christian Campbell on Supernatural by audition. I had just gone in on a regular audition for it and fortunately won the role. It was a great opportunity to be on a show that I’ve enjoyed for a long time and I think is a really high-quality show and a genre that I’m a big fan of. It was great to be on that series.
So you had watched Supernatural before then?
Yes, I was familiar enough with it. Y’know, I’d seen enough episodes of it that when the audition came up I was certainly excited to have the opportunity to get to be on it. It’s got such a great and sincere following, all over the world, really, and all the cast and crew, everybody on the show itself are really nice, down to earth people. It was a great experience working on it.
Christian and Dean are constantly at odds with each other throughout each of the four episodes you appear in; do you think that is because ultimately Christian is a demon, or because of an underlying reason?
I didn’t know that Christian was a demon – they are very cautious about the release of their scripts or information about the storyline so I didn’t know until I read the script. I wasn’t playing Christian as a demon or having anything like that. I thought that was kind of cool when I thought back on it because I may have made different character choices for Christian had I known he was a demon but I think what’s interesting is that there’s enough edge in the character as it was scripted. Really I think it’s just an alpha male situation – where two guys are butting heads even though they’re on the same team. That’s sort of the way that I played it was that eventually that relationship would come full circle and they would be pals until I read – “Oh, I guess they’re on different sides.” I thought that was a pretty interesting twist to the overall character when you go back and watch the episodes – it kind of plays as if I know the character is a demon the whole time, even though I don’t.
Tell us about the torture scene with Meg (Rachel Miner). How was that like to act?
The way that they shot the torture scene it was really up to the audience – they didn’t show anything, they just showed reactions to what was going on. I find that to be extremely effective because people’s imaginations can tend to be more extreme then what it is that they’re actually showing. I found that to be pretty startling in going to conventions and things like that; people would bring up that torture scene and were like, “It was just so brutal.” If you actually watch it you don’t really see me do anything – all you see is me lower down out of frame with an evil look on my face, and she screams. Y’know what I mean, I could just be tickling her.
What were you actually doing during those scenes?
I was kneeling down out of frame, trying not to be a distraction.
How did filming on Supernatural compared to filming for Stargate? How was it different?
To be honest, there was really a lot more similarity than anything else. In fact, there were some crew people on Supernatural I had known from Stargate – there’s a lot of crossover in Vancouver, especially with the crew. I found that the work environment was very similar in terms of the professionalism and the welcome kind of attitude that everyone has and real laidback at the same time as being efficient. I enjoyed it very much getting the opportunity to work on that show as well as Stargate. There weren’t a whole lot of differences in terms of what the feeling was like working on either of those TV shows. The only big difference was different cast and different environment. The level of intensity of the storylines — that kind of bleeds over. One is obviously more of a sci-fi, the other one is more of a fantasy, but the amount of action and the amount of effects and all of that is pretty identical. There was a lot more similarity than there were differences.
It’s common knowledge that the Supernatural cast has a lot of fun on set; did you participate in any antics during filming?
I, unfortunately, didn’t get an opportunity to participate in any of the antics, but maybe if the character had been on a bit longer and I got to know everybody a bit better I may have chosen to do a little participation and some brevity. The funniest thing to me that I saw while I was on set was Jared and Jensen had these little tiny miniature motorcycles that they would ride around on outside of the set. They would ride from their trailers to the set door which was really only 25 yards; you could’ve almost walked there faster. But they kind of looked like a bears’ circus on these tiny little motorcycles. These two big guys, each one well over six feet and here they are, they’re knees are up to their ears and they’re driving these tiny little motorcycles that look like they’re made for a three-year-old. I thought that was rather amusing.
What was your favorite scene to film and why? What was the most difficult scene to film?
That’s a tough one. I would say that probably one of my favorite scenes was the confrontation scene in the hallway where Christian and Dean have a moment alone that didn’t go so well. I thought that was an exciting scene to play – it generated a lot of tension that was boiling over; that helped it kind of propel the character’s conflict that much more. Even though some people would think, “It wasn’t the torture scene or running around or the fight scene?” Sometimes it’s those moments that are more fun for sure. I really liked that scene work that we did together – I thought that scene was really good.
It shouldn’t have been difficult but getting the dying scene right for the effects, the way that they wanted it, we had to do that one a few times over. Trying not to move too much, don’t scream too much, keep your mouth open. You had to react so specifically for the effects department, and it was kind of unnatural at first. Out of all of the stuff we did, which was maybe one or two takes to move on to the next scene, that was the one scene that took three or four takes in order to get exactly right.
How did you prepare for the role?
It was all well scripted. I didn’t have to do a whole lot of deep character study to figure out who the guy was. The writing team on Supernatural is really solid they do a great job, especially in the stuff the audience doesn’t get to read. They did a good job of describing the character and giving me some ideas about how he reacts and how he responds. That helps develop who this guy is and what is his attitude. I didn’t know he was a demon, so initially was kind of like this guy was just a rough around the edges guy who’s just out there in the field all the time, and is not the friendliest fella in the bar. But he means well and is willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. And then I found out that he was a demon and realized the whole thing was a put-on, but that made it even more interesting.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share with us?
I have a number of things coming out. A film for Syfy channel called Drone Wars, which should be coming out later this year, hopefully within the next couple of months if not early next year. It turned out really cool — it’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi about some robotic-type alien presence that has taken over the world in a sense. I have a kids movie that should be coming out pretty soon called Puppy Love, which is a lighthearted love story, I play the puppy-hating nemesis in that, which is pretty hilarious. I like doing comedy; it’s fun to play those types of roles. I have another one called the Doomsday Device, an adventure film I just finished about a month ago now. That’ll be coming out sometime next year as well. I go to work on a film next month down in Florida, and I’m looking forward to getting back on a series, though.
It’s too bad that you died on Supernatural, it’d be cool to see you on there again.
I would’ve loved if that character lasted too. You know the world of Supernatural, it’s not impossible for that character to come back or for the real Christian to suddenly be introduced. If that was a demon version it could’ve been a shapeshifter or anything else – maybe we haven’t even met the real Christian yet.