Karen Khunkhun is quite the local celebrity in Vancouver – she is a radio deejay for the CFOX morning show, called the Jeff O’Neill Show. (CFOX is an alternative music station in Vancouver.) Having been a CFOX listener for years, it was quite the thrill for me to chat with Karen after her recent appearance on Supernatural. Karen has also been in Bates Motel, Travelers, and many other productions.
Did you meet the boys?
Sadly, no. I know, very, very sadly, no, but I have to tell you – it was so crazy. When I got on set it was a night shoot; it was in New West and the set was amazing. We were filming right in front of what was a psychic shop – but it’s a real psychic shop that’s down in New West, but it worked into the plot as well. It was an awesome set, with smoke machines, police cars, and the whole thing. There was a whole bunch of people on the street. So I said as I was getting out, to the transport driver, “Oh, are these background performers?” He said, “No, actually, these are people that come to get a glimpse of the guys. They are huge fans of the show, always know where they’re filming, that always show up. I mean, it wasn’t just me that was looking forward to seeing them – the streets were lined – I was surprised, this was at like 9:30 at night, dark, it was cold – and there they are, waiting to see them. I said to the guy that was driving, I’m like, “I don’t even want to get out of the van! They’re totally hoping and expecting it to be one of them, not me.” They were so nice, but they were definitely there for Jared and Jensen.
The funny thing is, I was actually there earlier that day.
Oh that’s amazing!
That was just right after the Supernatural convention – I was there with a few of my girlfriends that weekend, and was able to catch some filming. I got a glimpse of Jensen, but that was it.
He was there earlier that day – he’s obviously in that episode, but I missed him, sadly. It’s funny though, I’ve worked on other shows – I’ve never seen people out watching while you’re filming. That’s how awesome this show is. You know what I mean?
Oh, I know.
I’ve never seen that before, that’s why I thought this must’ve been part of production – but they were people who were there to check out the guys, to see what’s going on. That really does speak to the show.
I don’t know if you’ve been welcomed to the #SPNFamily as of yet …
Not officially …
Well, you are now.
So the SPNFamily is basically all of the Supernatural fans – we are quite active on Twitter and on Facebook – for example, my two girlfriends that I was speaking about earlier – I first started talking to them on-line in December of last year, and was finally able to meet them in August – that weekend of the convention.
That is amazing. It’s so funny how things can unite you, right? It’s such a cool thing to have – such a cool interest to have and the fact that it’s local, and it’s been here for so long … I just don’t want it to end. I know there were rumours about it – the guys were joking about it – I hope that’s not true.
As far as I know, the network has said that as long as the boys are enjoying themselves and the ratings are there; it’s going to continue. You know about the Wayward Sisters spin-off, right?
Yes, I did hear about that.
What my guess is – and this is my opinion – my guess is that Supernatural will have a shorter season and it’ll be combined with Wayward Sisters. Like each have a half season; maybe have one week Supernatural, the next Wayward?
Oh, that would be kind of cool … I still think people will riot if there is no Supernatural.
Yes! The thing is I’m sure there will be a warning when – Chuck forbid – it ever ends. I don’t think they’re going to announce, “Oh, we didn’t get picked up …” It’ll be, “Yes, we got picked up, but this’ll be the last season.”I doubt that’s going to happen anytime soon though – I truly think the boys are having too much fun telling stories. That’s my hope, anyway.
Being on set – from the first day, you have to go on for costuming first, obviously – it’s funny, because you meet so many people doing that kind of stuff. It was like, okay, they’ve got a schedule, they have to get to it and it’s a quick process. I said to the girls working in costuming for Supernatural, “This is honestly the best fitting that I’ve ever had. First of all, the choices that they had were unbelievable; they were so nice, so many different options.” They were all so nice – the makeup, the hair, the costuming people, the transport, the crew – everyone was freaking awesome – you don’t often see that. Sometimes there’ll be a little attitude, or they’re tired, or whatever – but everyone was so freaking nice … it was just like, wow. This is unbelievable. It is just one of those things where it starts from the top – are your actors awesome, are they super nice? That’s going to filter down to everyone – the way that they treat everyone, it’s just that ripple effect.
I’ve definitely heard that before. All of the guest stars I’ve spoken to have talked about the atmosphere at Supernatural.
They were so welcoming. Especially getting a teeny bit role on a show after 13 seasons – you feel like, oh dear, I’ve seen the show millions of times, I get on there and I don’t know what it’s going to be like, if they’re going to be like, oh, we already know each other so you’re sort of the outsider … They all made me feel like I should be there, I was part of it – that was such a cool feeling.
How long were you on set to film your scene?
It was a night call, so I didn’t get a call until 8 o’clock, which I was so worried about – normally filming goes for 12 hours, and I had to work at the morning show the next day … I actually brought clothes to go straight from Supernatural to work. I thought this might be one of those situations where it was an all-nighter … I rested as much as I could during the day, after practicing for the scene, and then got there. Funny thing – I got there, it was hair and makeup, it was so efficient … I was on set probably an hour and a half after I got there – which is unheard of, it’s usually a lot longer that you have to sit and wait – but they got me on right away – and this has never happened in anything else that I had filmed before – it took one take.
When the director came over – Bobby Singer was the director for that episode – when Bobby came over, he was like, “Okay, we’ll just rehearse it. Show me what you’re going to do.” And so I do it, and goes and sits down. I do it again, and he’s like, “Cut …” He comes over, so I think he’s going to say, okay, this is how we want it … but he’s like, “This is great. That’s all we need. You’ve obviously done this before.” It was probably the best experience. That’s why I was so happy that you wanted to talk – afterward, I couldn’t tell enough people what an awesome experience it was. You never have the one take – I would’ve done it a hundred different times. So I was wrapped – I was done – what a long answer to a question, I’m so sorry – but like 10:30. It was so quick – I’m driving home thinking that I’m actually going to get some sleep before I go off to CFOX the next morning.
What came first – the actress or the deejay?
The deejay. I got my start in radio and then it kind of morphed into a little TV, local TV – after doing a couple of years on CFOX with Larry and Willy, on their morning show – the opportunity arrived, they were looking for a weathercaster on Breakfast TV. That’s when Mike and Fiona were hosting it. So they asked me to come and audition for it and then I got that … so I was with City TV/Breakfast TV for a while. Went back to CFOX, was doing both for quite a while, and then I thought that I was burning myself out, doing both of these things … it was way too much. When I was on City TV an agent approached me and said, “Hey, did you want to do any local acting stuff?” I said, absolutely … I had to take a few acting workshops and courses and kind of do the broadcasting thing and a little auditioning here and there.
How does being an actress affect you as a deejay, and vice versa?
I think it really helps and makes me appreciate both fields so much. Most of the roles that I’ve booked are a newscaster, an anchor, it’s those types of things – I’ve gone for other things as well, and I’m hoping to expand my acting roles, but it really helps because I think you can use both skills – memorization is one thing for acting that you don’t have to do in radio because you have all of your papers in front of you, and then when you’re on TV you have a teleprompter, so you’re words are always in front of you; whereas as an actor, you really have to get out of that mechanical role that you have – you have to get into the role, and actually have to feel it, right? And in radio too … I think they both work nicely together, because you’re performing in both, in some way.
You’ve been on a few other Vancouver filmed shows – Bates Motel, Traveler – are there any other local shows that you’d like to appear on?
Oooh, that’s a good one. I really, really want The Good Doctor. I love Freddy Highmore so much, I think he is such a great actor. I’ve followed him since he was just a little guy on Willy Wonka with Johnny Depp. I really admire his acting, I think he’s just phenomenal. That show is great. Yeah, that’s one of the ones I would love to be on.
Why do you think Supernatural is so popular?
First of all, hello, look at the two guys that start in it. They’re obviously so good-looking, it’s the obvious thing, but they’re also really nice guys. I follow them on-line – they really are good people – they’re not these actors that have attitude, they always have so much time for their fans. I think they’re very good guys – I think that resonates. I don’t think you can be a total jerk and be on a show, and have it be around for so long. It’s definitely those two. And the production, is awesome … it’s a great show, the writing is great, the cinematography is awesome. It’s funny, when you look at these shows that are locally produced – you have to think, holy crap, we have a lot of talent here.
Do you have any upcoming roles?
I’ve been in a couple of little Christmas things that are coming up, and one of them is Sweetest Christmas, which will probably run all throughout the season, but it’s on tonight – on the Hallmark Channel and on W. It’s with Lacey Chabert. The other one, I just shot an Aurora Teagarden mystery movie with Candace Cameron – that’s shot out in Squamish, it should be coming out in 2018.