The loveable Samandriel, played by Tyler Johnston, first graced our Supernatural TV screens back in Season 8, Episode 2; however, Tyler may look familiar as he was also a guest star in Season 1, Episode 8 – Bugs. Here Tyler talks about everything Supernatural, from Jared’s pranks to why the show is so loved.
What was the difference in your experience from being in Season 1 to Season 8? Was anything the same?
The experiences were certainly two different experiences for me. The first one I was 17 years old, relatively new into the acting industry, I was super happy to be there. It was my second or third guest star role. If anything was the same, I’d say it was the boys’ personalities as far as their generosity. You hear about it all the time; they have this ability to really make everyone on set feel a part of the team. That didn’t change from Season 1 to Season 8. Personally though, the next couple of years in my career I got to a few different TV shows, one of which took me to France for half of a year when I was 19 years old, which was a life-changing experience. I had done my first feature film that went to TIFF [Toronto International Film Festival], so for me personally as an actor I had come a long way in those years. I was just excited to be going back in Season 8; I can tell you that much.
What was your favorite scene to film?
It would have to be the torture scene. Y’know, it was excruciating, and it was exhausting, but it’s a lot of fun – it sounds so ridiculous – putting yourself in those situations, where Crowley’s poking at me and prodding me, and I’m losing my mind. It really paid off when I watched the scene. It was kind of scary and a lot darker and more violent than I anticipated it being.
Which one was the most difficult?
Probably that scene as well. I had to learn Enochian, and I had this crown on my head digging into my temple for the entire day. I was actually strapped into that chair – I don’t want to make it sound like I was being tortured, but it certainly helped put me in the mood. It was funny – they yelled, “cut” and people would go on doing what they were doing and resetting for the next shot; I would be sitting there with this – I like to say crown – digging into my head and my arms strapped to a chair. So that scene was the most rewarding.
What did you enjoy most about working on Supernatural?
You know what, if you asked me that question while I was on set I’d probably have a different answer than I do now. Now I can safely say it would be the Supernatural fandom, the #SPNFamily. When you asked me to do this interview I jumped on it, although it took me a couple of days, but here we are. I love the #SPNFamily, it’s all about inclusion and love, compassion … when I went to my first convention I really learned that, quickly. The best thing that came out of it was being a part of the #SPNFamily. It certainly is a crazy experience going to one of those conventions and seeing the hundreds of people, all like-minded individuals, also very different individuals.
Have you been keeping up with the series?
I have not been keeping up with the series, I’ve got about four other series that I’m currently watching. I got pretty good into the early couple of seasons. I have friends of mine that still watch the show, so they keep me posted. I follow them on Twitter and stuff as well, so I’ve got my ear to the Supernatural street, but I’m not watching the current episodes.
Being that you were in both Season 1 and Season 8, you’ve seen the show grow and evolve; why do you think Supernatural strikes a chord with so many people and creates such loyal fans?
[Two beats of silence] … Y’know, that’s a very good question. [More silence] … Why they’ve garnered such a strong core and such loyal fans. Man, I mean, that’s a very good question. I don’t know the answer … I don’t know if anyone knows the real answer. But I think you can tell that the show is made with the fans in mind. I think that’s something that Supernatural does very well. Oftentimes the creator and the writers listen, which I think is quite unique for television these days. I think having Jared and Jensen as one and two doesn’t hurt things either; y’know, they’re not bad on the eyes, they are Southern gentlemen. Like I’ve mentioned before, that trickles down all the way through the cast and the crew, when the two leads are professional and courteous. As far as garnering that nucleus fan base, really, I don’t know. The story just keeps on getting deeper, and the fans just keep on getting deeper with it. It’s really, really amazing.
Looking back on filming in Season 8, is there something that still makes you laugh when you think about it?
I’ve told this story at a con or two; this is just a personal story, so not necessarily the show itself. In my hot dog vendor attire, in the middle of a take I was walking around the Gastown area in Vancouver. I went outside to catch some sun, it was a beautiful sunny day, I was just relaxing. A couple of relatively cute girls walk by me and they were smiling at me. I thought, well, that’s really nice … I smiled back of course, and they continued walking. I turned around and saw my reflection in the storefront window, and realized I was still wearing my hot dog red and white striped uniform. I thought maybe they weren’t necessarily smiling at me … so that definitely stuck with me.
Another moment that was great, during the fight scene when they come to break me out of there, and Jared, during the stage fight he faked an injury, scared the hell out of the crew. He was perfectly fine, just that he faked that he hurt his shoulder. If you want to see a group of 50-plus panic, have Jared pull a prank like that. It was panic mode.
Did you do any research/prep for the Samandriel role?
I looked into the other angels that appear on the show, and I spent most of my time learning angel tongue. I remember that being a big chunk of a monologue of a language that I had never spoken before so I was sort of forced to really buckle down on that because the last thing I wanted to do was show up on the day, be strapped into a chair and struggle with this foreign tongue. Other than that, I looked into some of the mythology of the show and then showed up on the day. I didn’t know that Samandriel was going to be quite a big of a character as he was.
Do you have any current projects to share?
I have a show coming out on Hulu in December, and it’s called Shut Eye. It’s the same executive producers as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul; I have a nice reoccurring role on that. I actually just came from doing the ADR for it. I’m also doing a movie right now, Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut, with Kevin Bacon as one of the leads; I just wrapped last night that movie, called Story of a Girl. I have another show on Crave TV here in Canada, Letterkenny; Season 2 airs in December as well, actually, and I go back and film Season 3 in February. Fortunate that I’ve had a busy year and a half here, and I hope to keep the ball rolling.
Definitely. As we all know, people always come back on Supernatural, so maybe we’ll see you there again too.
That would be so cool … everyone kept saying they didn’t see the wings when I was stabbed, so you never know. I would love the opportunity to do that, I would get a kick out of that.