Interview: Samantha Smith Talks ‘Supernatural’ Conventions, Mary Winchester, and More!

Courtesy of Co-director, Lindsey.

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Ahead of Samantha Smith’s exciting upcoming Virtual Fan Experiences Q&A and meet and greet events, Nerds and Beyond had a chance to catch up with her in an interview courtesy of Creation Entertainment!

Smith is best known for her role as Mary Winchester on The CW’s Supernatural, a character whose untimely death in the show’s pilot episode was the catalyst for the harrowing events that unfolded in the lives of John, Dean, and Sam Winchester. Mary then eventually made a triumphant and emotional return to the show at the end of season 11.

Check out the interview below!

Nerds and Beyond: You have some pretty cool events coming up with Creation soon. You’ve got one on the weekend, one next week. I think it’s really awesome that they’re doing kind of a virtual version of the Mornings with Mary. So what do you think of those, are you excited?

Smith: I’m so excited. My biggest concern is that I’m going to mess up the Zoom. I have to figure out the technology of it all. But I think it’s a great idea. I was just saying to my friend yesterday that I really miss the conventions. I miss seeing the fans, I miss seeing my friends, I miss being out amongst the people and sharing that interaction. So this is a nice sort of “the best we can” substitute.

Nerds and Beyond: What was your experience like attending Supernatural conventions before 2016, and then after once Mary returned?

Smith: There was definitely a shift. I think, before that, Mary was largely almost metaphorical. A canonized version of a parent. Then afterward, there was a lot of surprise and happiness and excitement that Mary was back. But I think what surprised me was also the negative reaction to Mary, and with a little distance I can see why. But I was so emotionally attached to Mary that I almost took it personally. Now I understand much better, but that took me by surprise. The universal reaction to me personally was lovely. They were all very happy I was back, but there was a bunch of, “No offense, but I don’t like Mary.” But definitely I felt that Mary was much more current and alive in the whole Supernatural world.

Nerds and Beyond: What’s one of the fondest memories that comes to mind when you think back on the conventions that you have been to? Is there a specific event… a specific night in one city?

Smith: I think New Orleans about a year and a half ago. The whole day of Sunday… the whole convention from the moment I arrived in the city was sort of magical. But Sunday was this weird day of perfect fan interactions, real closeness among the cast and the people from Creation, and it was one of those days that just rolled out perfectly. From photos, to the Q&As, to meeting people at the autograph table. It was like the whole weekend was sprinkled with fairy dust.

Courtesy of Staff Photographer, Kayla.

Nerds and Beyond: What would you say was one of your favorite episodes of Supernatural to film?

Smith: There were so many moments among the many, I sometimes see photos from episodes, and I have not forgotten, but I don’t think about it until I see and I’m like, “Oh yeah, I forgot about that!” I really look back to season 12, the episode called “The Raid.” Because it was a transition for the character of Mary. I had a moment as me playing the character, and as the character, where I suddenly felt solid on my feet. Until then, Mary was chasing her reality of being back alive and I was chasing Mary’s rapid transition through her life. In that episode, she took charge, she was in command and comfortable and determined and it all came together for me in that moment. There was so much fighting, and there was so much going, and a culmination of lots of storylines, that it felt really transitional for me.

I had a moment in my boots where I thought, “I’m actually grounded now,” as me, as the actress, and as Mary the character. That’s why she was in charge of the raid, she was in command of everything, and everything went sideways, but she was still a commanding presence. There were so many resolutions of the sons and all this other stuff.

And of course, toward the end of Mary’s tenure on the show, I loved so much … it was bittersweet, but I loved filming that very last episode. Because I had really special moments with each one of the characters that I had been playing back and forth with all this time. Both positive and negative feelings toward Mary … there were fights, there was love … and those last three scenes, I felt like they shined a light on all the best that Mary was. I really enjoyed spending those few moments with each of the actors that I had had such story arcs with

Nerds and Beyond: If you had been given free reign to write a Mary-centric “Monster of the Week” side episode, what would her adventure have looked like?

Smith: Wow… I never thought about that. Because they kind of gave me all that stuff, I had ghosts, I had vampires… I did a lot of vampires, even in side stories. I had a rugaru, I had all kinds of things. We got to kill the original alpha vampire… I mean I didn’t get to do it, but I helped. I was a  participant!

I feel like they gave it to me already, “The Raid” kind of was that, it was vampires coming from all sides and just fighting in tandem with Sam, because Dean… we were still in a fight. And it was just the epitome of a modern hunter, I thought.

There was an early episode that had a flashback of younger Mary chasing a werewolf through the woods, the werewolf was chasing a boy and Mary saved a boy — “Celebrating the Life of Asa Fox.” Those little glimpses you have into her life… there’s an episode where Castiel has found Sam and Dean after they escaped from jail. He called Mary as she’s getting into her car, and you see as she’s walking to her car she’s got a bloody machete and vampire heads on the ground. She never stops hunting, it’s constant. I loved that, she got to kill everything to save everybody. I got to kill Ketch.

I feel like there was far outweighed any thought of I wish I could X, Y and Z, there were many more times where I was like, “I can’t believe they’re letting me do this. Like wow, I get to … WHAT?” So it was constant. They’re trusting me to learn how to do this, they’re letting me fire guns. “This is your machete.” Just the amount of trust and freedom they gave me was amazing.

Courtesy of Staff Photographer, Anna.

Nerds and Beyond: In general, how has being a part of the world of Supernatural as a whole affected or changed your life, looking back on it now so many years later?

Smith: I think, like a lot of life-changing events, you don’t always know it’s happening at the time. I remember booking the pilot and there were a lot of pilots and shows where you come in and do one scene. And half of them I don’t even remember anymore. You know… vaguely if somebody reminds me I’m like, “Oh yeah.” But at the time, who knew what it was going to become? I remember being invited to my first convention in 2008 and thinking, “I can’t believe they have enough fans to make a convention just for this show.” And getting there, I’ll never forget. My son was like 4 months old. It was the first time that I had been away from him. The convention was a Creation convention in Chicago. I got there and I had never seen anything like it. I kept looking at my handler and saying, “What is happening? Who are all of these people?”

The sheer excitement and love of something that I had been, even at that point a very small part of, but something that was so important to so many fans… was something that I don’t know how many actors experience that who aren’t on sort of a cult favorite sci-fi show. And when you’re a huge movie star, you get that. But just as sort of a somewhat minor character on this “little show that could,” is a really unique experience. I used to tell my friends, I’d say, “When you’re in the building you’re Elvis. And when you’re out of the building you’re just a normal person.” That people treat with respect… but when you’re in the building it’s like screaming and taking your picture and yelling your name and… it’s phenomenal. And meeting the fans, being able to hear firsthand the thousand reasons why this show means something to them. From, “It’s something I watched with my family,” to “Jared’s AKF campaign literally saved my life,” to, “I went through a depression and watching the show made me understand how important family is.” There’s a million reasons, but to be able to hear them firsthand… there’s no substitute for that.

It’s lightning in a bottle, really.

Nerds and Beyond: If you could step into any episode and give Mary advice, looking back from the outside, what would that be?

Smith: I think Mary at the end would go back and tell Mary at the beginning of Season 12 to trust. To trust in her boys and not be so guarded. I think she did the best she could with the tools she had, but she wasted a lot of time. Because, in truth, she didn’t have that much in the end. But that had to be hard, being gone for 30 years.

I had a conversation with Phil [Sgriccia] early on, and we talked about it, and he was like, “You’ve got homework. You have to think about it and write it down if you want, about what’s different for her. What are the main differences? What is she feeling? How do you adjust to this? Like you really have to sit down and think about what is going on in her head because there’s nothing to compare it to.” And I remember thinking that. There’s no show, there’s no movie, there’s no book that I know that I can go back and say, “Well this person did it this way.” I literally had to just try to come up with it myself, which is fine, but then every script changed the parameters because she was growing and changing and then by episode 3 of that year she’s like, “I’m pulling the rip cord and I’m taking a break.” So it was constantly chasing the changes. But had she asked for help… in addition to trust, she needed to ask for help because it was too much for one person to do by herself.

Courtesy of Staff Photographer, Emma.

As previously mentioned, Creation Entertainment has a solution in the interim for fans that are missing conventions, in the form of their brand new Virtual Fan Experiences.

This Saturday, May 16 at 12 p.m. PDT, Creation Entertainment will be hosting a Q&A with Smith on Stageit, and tickets can be obtained here. Don’t miss out on the top supporter prizes that are available!

In lieu of the special Samantha Smith meet and greet event that is typically held at conventions she attends, fans can also bid on a “Morning With Mary” Zoom session, which is limited to 10 virtual attendees. The chat will take place on Tuesday, May 19 at 12 p.m. PDT. Tickets for this event are being auctioned off, so get your bids in here! (Please note that the auction will close May 18 at 9 a.m. PDT.)

Click here to view all of the Virtual Fan Experiences events that Creation Entertainment is currently offering!

Lindsey

Written by

Lindsey joined the Nerds and Beyond team in 2018. She has spent a large portion of her life dedicated to her first love, photography. When she's not behind the camera, you can find her reading books and comics and dabbling in creative writing. Lindsey’s favourite fandoms are Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Marvel. You can find her on Twitter at @lindyysolo. Contact: directors@nerdsandbeyond.com

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