Exclusive: Interview with Gil McKinney About His Album, Kings of Con, Conventions & More!
We recently had the chance to ask Gil McKinney a few questions about his past projects, music, conventions, and more.
If you don’t know Gil, he’s most known for a few roles. In the ABC show Once Upon A Time, Gil played Prince Eric, one of Disney’s most iconic princes, alongside Joanna Garcia as Ariel. He was a perfect fit for the character, really bringing the character to life.
Fans also know Gil from the CW’s Supernatural as Henry Winchester, the father of John Winchester and grandfather of Sam and Dean Winchester. Fans of Supernatural also get to see him play Chip, a loveable character on the web series Kings of Con, from fellow Supernatural alum Richard Speight Jr., and Rob Benedict.
Gil has been a staple in both the Supernatural and Once Upon A Time fandoms. He’s appeared at many conventions throughout the world, as well as most recently contributing a chapter to Family Don’t End With Blood, a book about how Supernatural has changed the lives of the cast and the fans. In his chapter, Gil talks about his experience with fandom and Supernatural, giving you a glimpse into his life. He’s always engaging when attending any conventions or events and is great with interacting with fans on social media, which I think makes him a fan favorite among many.Aside from acting, Gil’s a great singer. He’s sung karaoke at conventions, often covering musicals such as The Music of the Night from Phantom of the Opera.
Just this past January, Gil launched a Kickstarter to record his first album with the help of fellow musician Jason Manns. Gil’s original goal was to raise $12,000, but by the time the campaign ended Gil had raised over $31,000. Many fans (including myself) are eagerly awaiting the release, which Gil hopes to be this summer.
Read our interview with Gil below!
Nerds and Beyond: You recently sang “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera at JibCon. What is your favorite musical?
Gil McKinney: I will always have a soft spot for Les Misérables. It was the first Broadway calibre musical I saw as a child and was absolutely blown away. Éponine singing “On My Own” alone center stage with a single spot light is quintessential Broadway and gets me every time.
Nerds and Beyond: Are there any plans to do theater? What would be your dream role?
Gil: I would love to do more theater and still have hopes and dreams of that Broadway show. Though I have come close before, it hasn’t been in the cards for me yet. I’m not sure if I have a dream role, but I would love the opportunity to originate a role in something new and undiscovered.
Nerds and Beyond: You launched a Kickstarter for an album and on June 4 stated that the EP has been sent off for mastering. Can you tell us about the process of recording and when you think we’d be able to hear music from it?
Gil: The post production process has taken a little longer than we had originally anticipated, but I am confident you will be able to hear it by mid to late summer. There are so many moving parts and I am learning as I go. As for the actual recording process, it was both fun and challenging. I had very little experience with studio recording going into this project. It is quite different than performing live, but overall I am very pleased with the results.
Nerds and Beyond: Is there a song from the album that you’re excited for us to hear?
Gil: I actually wrote my first original song for the EP entitled “How Was I To Know.” It is very personal and I am quite proud of it. I hope you like it.
Gil: I want to play a super hero or villain more than anything. I don’t have a particular one in mind but am really hoping to get a shot at that one day!
Nerds and Beyond: With Once Upon A Time going in a new direction next season, do you think you’ll return?
Gil: I certainly hope so, but I would honestly be very surprised if that happened. If they were going to write more for Ariel and Eric, I feel like they would’ve done so by now.
Nerds and Beyond: You were in Kings of Con as Chip and had my favorite part of the entire season: reciting Taylor Swift lyrics at the birthday party. What was being on Kings of Con like for you? What was your favorite scene to film?
Gil: Wow. Thank you very much! I had an absolute blast working on it. Its great when you get the chance to go to work and laugh with friends. Rob and Rich are two of the funniest, most talented guys I know, and it was an absolute joy to watch them bring those hysterical scripts to life. My favorite scene to shoot was definitely the sweet 16 birthday party scene, though watching Josh Meyers repeatedly gorge himself on potatoes au gratin was a fantastic laugh.
Nerds and Beyond: You’re a regular guest at Supernatural and Once Upon A Time conventions. What’s your favorite part about doing conventions?
Gil: There are so many wonderful things about the conventions that its hard to pick a favorite. Though I guess if I had to, it would be the travel. The opportunity to do these shows has literally opened up the world in a way I will be forever grateful.
Nerds and Beyond: You contributed a chapter in the book “Family Doesn’t End With Blood”. Can you share your experience with writing that?
Gil: I was fairly new to the convention circuit when Lynn Zubernis asked me to contribute a chapter. It was a great opportunity for me to open up and reveal a side of myself that I don’t normally share with others. I feel so honored to be a part of it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. The Supernatural family has been so good to me. I feel so lucky to have landed the part of Henry Winchester. It has changed my life in the most amazing and unimaginable ways!
Thank you to Gil for taking the time to answer our questions! Stay tuned for more information on his album, and you can follow Gil on twitter here: @GilMcKinney!