Lindsey McKeon stepped into Supernatural as Tessa the Reaper beginning in Season 2, when Dean finds himself in a coma after the crash that ended Season 1. Lindsey’s character appeared in three other episodes throughout the years, with the last one being in Season 9. As a fan, it’s been interesting watching Tessa and Dean’s interactions throughout, which as Lindsey says, have grown into a mutual respect.
How did you get the role of Tessa?
The old fashioned way, auditioning for the part :)
In episode 2.01 (In My Time of Dying) Tessa is quiet and reserved; through episode 4.15 (Death Takes a Holiday), 6.11 (Appointment in Samarra) and 9.22 (Stairway to Heaven) Tessa becomes more and more outspoken, even rebellious. How much of Tessa’s character was written and how much how you played her?
Hmm, interesting question. I’ve never had someone say Tessa was reserved before but I suppose In My Time of Dying Tessa was trying not to frighten Dean and took a more subdued, gentle, feminine role to get what she needed. I can’t answer for the writers but I do know that each time I play Tessa I’m a little bit different of a person — more grown up, more life lessons under my belt — so for me, so much of how Tessa comes through is how I experience the words I’m reading on the page at that moment in time. You’re getting what is real and pertinent to me at that exact point in my life, which is why it’s been so extraordinary for me to play her over the course of so many years, I really get to see her (my) journey.
What was your favorite scene to film? Which one was the most difficult?
Any scene where we go toe-to-toe with each other duking out our opposing beliefs is the most fun.
The most physically challenging scene was when I had to have the yellow demon contacts in (which I couldn’t see through at all) and try to turn around, hit a mark, and touch Jensen’s face (watch gag reel fail!).
What was your reaction when you were asked back for following episodes? (After season 2.)
Grateful and excited. Working on the show, with Jensen, and getting to stay in beautiful Vancouver (close to where my little sis lives) — is always a joy.
Were you familiar with Supernatural before you were cast?
Honestly, it’s been so long now I can’t even remember. I think I had heard of it but never actually seen it.
What was it like coming back to film with everyone after being away for so long?
It’s always easy, smooth. I met Jensen a million years ago when I was on Saved by the Bell The New Class, and he was on Days of Our Lives; our shows filmed on the same lot. It makes for an easy reunion.
In 6.11 Tessa was very much the follower (everyone has their time, there’s an order to things) yet in 9.22, Tessa essentially tries to turn herself into an angel/reaper bomber and then commits suicide; what do you think changed her mind?
I don’t know that Tessa was really a follower so much as she truly believed there was a right order to things and that that order needed to be strictly followed or else there would be dire consequences — she really felt she was working for everyone’s best interest. In 9.22 there was so much unrest, the order that she knew and felt comfortable with had diminished, now (maybe for the first time ever) she had to make a bold choice on her own — no Death around to support her judgement. Whether the right or wrong choice — this was the beginning of Tessa making a bold stand for herself, by herself. I think no matter what that shows guts. We can only imagine, or the writers could write, what happened to her next…
Do you have any interesting or funny behind the scenes stories to share?
You know, so many people have asked if I got pranked … I’m starting to feel left out! All has been smooth sailing for me.
What do you think Tessa’s opinion of Dean was? We know she always said he was the “one that got away” but did it go deeper than that?
Certainly. I think there’s a part of Tessa that feels deeply connected to Dean, she maybe even loves him, but they reside in two very different worlds. What has grown instead is a mutual respect for the other’s perspective and steadfast beliefs. Plus, life is always a little more fun when there’s someone on the other end challenging us — I think Tessa and Dean rather enjoy the back and forth, it gives them a game to play in between all the hard work.
Do you have any current projects that you are working on that you can share?
I have a Christmas movie coming out on UPTV, called Girlfriends of Christmas Past. I’ll be in the upcoming Training Day pilot on CBS. I have a few other projects that are in the works, some that I’m creating, stay tuned. And you can find out more about the way I live and see the world on my blog lindseymckeonblog.com, soon to be re-emerging as EvolvebyLindsey.com. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram.