“Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets” is not only the Supernatural episode where we meet Castiel with a female vessel but also Akobel, played by the lovely Nils Hognestad. I have to say I agree with Nils here – the hair and makeup they used for him is absolutely wonderful! Nils has also appeared in Season 4 of Once Upon a Time as Franz, and as he mentions, is another repeat guest star for Supernatural, as he played Chris in Season 7’s “Shut Up, Dr. Phil.”
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Tell us about your character, Akobel.
Akobel is an angel, who in the early 1900’s, falls in love with Lily Sunder, who’s believed to have given birth to a nephilim, a being who is half angel and half human, which is completely illegal in the angel world and results in death. I’d describe him as being strong, loving, caring, protective, and humble.
How were you cast?
I got an email from my agent saying I had an audition for Supernatural season 12. I had to call my agent to confirm I could do the audition, considering I played Chris, the hairdresser in season 5. I auditioned, originally for the role of the video game shop owner in ‘Lily Sunder Has Some Regrets,’ then that evening got a call asking me to come in the next day to read for the role of Akobel, which I soon found out I’d booked!
Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories to share?
Well, the unique facial hair you see in this episode was a result of a discussion I had with the hair & makeup department. I had expressed my concerns about playing two different characters on the show, and wanted to be sure they were visually different enough. So that one missing patch of hair was the final look we chose. I definitely look different enough, but my chin was cold for weeks…
What do you enjoy most about being an actor, and do you have any pearls of wisdom for those looking to get into acting?
What I enjoy most about acting is the act of acting. The publicity, parties, photos and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with it is fun, but the work is what I love. Being on set — whether it be on location or in the studio — is always thrilling with the multitude of people in both cast and crew, bustling by with costumes and tape and equipment and anything you can possibly imagine. And then you hear ‘rolling!’ And you have to ignore all of that and just focus on your scene. It’s in this moment of serenity where everything goes silent, and magic happens. My advice to prospective actors is if you have doubts about doing it, quit. This profession offers very little security, and if you’re having doubts now, you’ll likely end up quitting later on. Best to just focus on monetary security and pursue acting as a hobby. And for those who said, ‘quit?! I’ll never quit’, then, in the words of George Michael, ‘you gotta have faith, faith, faith.’ The peaks and valleys of this industry are great, and you have to have something reliable to turn to when you’re in the valleys in order to sustain your passion. The faith and belief that you will be successful is sometimes the only thing that will keep you going.
Were you a fan of the show before appearing as a guest star?
Prior to appearing as a guest star, I did have a principal role in season 5 as the hairdresser, Chris, in ‘shut up, Dr. Phil’, and anytime I audition for a show, I always watch an episode or two to understand the style. So, I’d seen a couple of episodes, but I had to stop because I saw myself becoming addicted…
Do you have any upcoming roles that you’d like to share?
Yes! I will be guest starring on another CW show as King Arthur in DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on Valentine’s Day in the episode ‘Camelot 3000’. I’m looking very forward to that episode! With all the fight sequences, costumes, and love stories, it’s going to be a treat for the eyes!