"Cas isn’t a dramatically different personality when we first see him at the beginning of season nine. He’s still Castiel. In fact, he doesn’t even initially know that he’s powerless or that he’s human, so he’s gradually experiencing that humanness and sort of folding it into his personality," Collins said when LA TV Insider Examiner caught up with him in Los Angeles.
"Castiel has been a fish out of water for a long time and has provided a sense of comedic relief because of that aspect of his personality, but I feel like this season, the stuff I’ve read so far Castiel’s fish out of water-ness-- which is now a new word by the way-- there’s moments of real comedy there, but it feels much more grounded in the reality of what’s going on and more out of truth in the story than it has at times in the past."
As a performer, getting to play with different layers and colors to Castiel is what excites Collins most, but he's not "just" a performer these days, and Supernatural is taking advantage of that. Like Jensen Ackles before him, Collins will be sliding into the director's chair in this ninth season, but it is not the first time he has held that all-important position in general. To ensure that he is not a complete fish out of water behind-the-scenes (and because he has genuine interest in directing in general), Collins has already held that title on a series of online shorts-- perhaps most notably his "Cooking Fast and Fresh with West" instructional series.
"I was amazed by how much you have to think about as a director. As an actor you don’t have to think about much at all, as it turns out. It’s very easy. And then when you step into the director’s role, there’s this whole universe of stuff that you have to pay attention to that’s amazing to me. I’ve been on sets for 13 years, and there was so much stuff that I never knew about," Collins said.
Collins shared that casting gave him the most trouble because he probably went easier on people than he should have in the audition room. Perhaps that comes from years of being on the other side and therefore being sympathetic to the actor's plight? Either way, much of the hardest casting has already been done for him on Supernatural, so the challenge instead, Collins noted, will be to make sure he has time to shadow directors all season long to learn the intricacies to his specific show before being in charge of episode 17.
"Jensen’s been directing early in the season because he can prep the week before we start shooting, but that’s because he’s in every episode so heavily. With me they don’t give a shit because I’m not in every episode, and some episodes I’m in, I’m not that heavy, so they know they can sort of juggle the storyline and accommodate a more mid-season directorial debut for me," Collins said.
Collins was glad to have a sort of "middle run" episode-- one that he was sure would be "filler"-- but he noted that he isn't worried about having to direct himself regardless of the specific storyline, tone, or style of the episode he ends up getting.
"I think that the sort of consensus is it’s better to make the actor light in the episode previous so that they can prepare because that’s a lot of work. When you’re directing you can sort of pop in and say your lines and pop back out again. It’s your call. Are you going to tell yourself you were that bad?" Collins laughed.
And in addition to shadowing Supernatural directors, Collins hopes to get another episode of Cooking Fast and Fresh with West under his belt a.s.a.p.
"I’m hoping to do another episode this month. He’s getting very talky now. Now he says things like ‘I want to cook X’ and he’ll say something very bizarre. So that’s what we’re going to do. We’ll go make that specific thing that he’s said. It will be fun," Collins said.