Last weekend, the second edition of the British Supernatural convention took place in Birmingham at the Hilton Metropole Hotel. The event was organized by Starfury Events, a UK-based company who has been producing events for the last 20 years. Previous conventions they’ve held were devoted to Angel, Buffy, Firefly, Xena, Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Glee, Hannibal and Lucifer.
The guest list for Crossroads 2 was headlined by Mark Sheppard (Crowley), Kim Rhodes (Jody Mills), and Ruth Connell (Rowena). Other guests included David Haydn-Jones (Arthur Ketch), Adam Fergus (Mick Davies), Elizabeth Blackmore (Lady Toni Bevell), Erica Cerra (Duma), Teryl Rothery (Olivette), Leah Cairns (Sasha Rawling), and Magda Apanowicz (Sandy).
The convention took place on June 21-23. On Friday, it began with the opening ceremony and the Meet and Greet opportunity reserved for gold ticket holders. I personally didn’t attend the meet and greet this time, but I have at other events. Typically the guests move from table to table to meet the attendees (ten attendees by table). It’s really a fun way to start the weekend and to meet new people.
One of the things I like about the events organized by Starfury is that all of the photo ops are in the morning each day and they aren’t scheduled over the panels. The panels are one of my favorite things at conventions, and I am always happy when I don’t have to miss them.
Sometimes at conventions, it can be stressful queuing for photo ops, because multiple ops are scheduled at the same times in different locations within the venue. At Crossroads, all photo ops were scheduled in two rooms situated next to each other, which made waiting easier as you could always see which photo-session was happening. Stewards were going back and forth between the two sessions to be sure that all attendees got their photo-ops done in time. Autograph sessions were scheduled similarly and also ran very smoothly!
The first panel on Saturday was with Leah Cairns and Magda Apanowicz, and I really enjoyed it. The discussion covered all kinds of things, including Magda telling us she liked to play characters with “issues,” and both Leah and Magda agreeing they would die in the first week of a zombie apocalypse.
An attendee asked Leah what the set of Battlestar Galactica was like. She explained that the show was so dark and heavy that you tended to take things home with you, so between takes the set was really light to help everyone to get through the day. Another audience member wanted to know what Leah and Magda were expecting when they joined the cast of Supernatural. Leah remarked it had a very intense fandom and that Jensen hasn’t changed since Dark Angel. Magda recalled how she had been auditioning for a role since season one and how she was really excited to be cast as a villain. She thinks the cast and crew were really nice people.
Jensen made her a playlist of bands he thought she would like and she still listens to it. Magda also talked a bit about filming her Supernatural episode and how the crew was really good at explaining things to her when she struggled to open her mouth just right so the special effects could be added to add the tentacles.
Leah talked about her experience on the set of Interstellar where she played Lois. She didn’t know at first for what she was auditioning. Christopher Nolan is very secretive, and she auditioned with some scenes that Christopher’s brother wrote at university. When she was cast, she asked her manager for the script, but she didn’t get one. What she got was a page on red paper with her name on it. She still didn’t know which character she was playing so she had to memorize all the lines from all characters in the scene. The day before shooting began, she finally found out what role she was playing!
Another thing she learned about Christopher is that he shoots super fast. Leah was not scheduled before the end of the day, but she had to go early on set because he was ahead of schedule. Just before shooting, she finally learned what the film was about. She sat with Christopher and talked with him about the role. Working with him was amazing.
On the topic of audition anxiety, Magda talked about how she was teaching herself that these auditions don’t define her and that she had people who love her. Her advice is to not overthink it. Leah advised to put in the work to go to the audition and after that to let it go. If you nailed it, let it go. If you didn’t, beat yourself up for five minutes then let it go.
The second panel of the day was with Kim Rhodes and Erica Cerra.
An attendee wanted to know what it was like to play The Empty. Erica told us she didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the role. She played it fairly contained, but would love to come back and play the role as more unhinged. She didn’t watch Misha’s take on it before she filmed it and was told to do what she wanted with the part. Concerning Duma, her role was not planned for that long but she had a lot of fun: “Who doesn’t want to be the boss?”
One person wanted to know what would happen if Jody and Carey Martin, her character from The Suite Life of Zach and Cody, ever met. Kim answered they would probably compare vibrators since they were both very celibate characters. When asked about The Wayward Podcast, specifically how long it was taking to record a podcast. It takes about forty minutes, give or take a few minutes, and they usually record two or three times at one sitting. Their first podcast, they had to cut out a lot.
Her dream guests for the podcast would be Neil Gaiman and David Tennant, even though she said that she would be squealing the whole time.
Kim said Jody should die in Sam’s arms since she entrusted her son to him. She was also asked which kind of scenes she doesn’t really like. She doesn’t like scenes where she is there to relay information. Erica joked, that’s basically what Duma does.
When asked what they would take from the Supernatural set, Erica said she would take Heaven’s throne and would never leave it. Kim would take a melted angel blade from the “Wayward Sisters” pilot episode.
Speaking of Wayward Sisters, Kim told us than the show is dead but the community is not and that she and Briana will continue to be present as long as we are here.
As far as season 15 is concerned, Kim hasn’t been called as of yet, though when asked about Jody’s ending on the show, Kim said she sees it like this: Mary is on the phone, Sam and Dean are little and playing on the floor. Camera zooms out and we see Crowley and Castiel looking at them from up in a tree.
During the panel with Mark, Ruth, and Teryl, when asked about conventions, Ruth answered she loves to do conventions in Europe because it feels like she is coming home. She went recently to Sao Paulo in Brazil, and her character is really liked there, so she was recognized a lot. Mark also talked about conventions as places for coming together and how it is a “magical force of good in a dark world.”
When asked what things they would steal from set, Ruth answered Jensen Ackles and the Agent Provocateur’s shoes she got to wear in one episode. Teryl would take the staff that killed her character.
The last panel of the day was a British Men of Letters (BMoL) special panel with David, Elizabeth, and Adam.
Adam was asked what it was like to be part of the BMoL. Adam joked it was short-lived, but it was great fun and he was surrounded by great people. He wishes to have been able to do more with his character.
Each of them talked about their favorite scenes; for Elizabeth, it was her scene with Samantha Smith; for David, it was all the fight scenes; and Adam loved every scene. When asked which other character of the show they would have liked to play, Adam answered Lucifer, David would have liked to play Crowley in Ketch’s body and Elizabeth said Dean because he gets to drive the car!
Finally someone asked the question everyone wants to know: pineapple on pizza? Yes or no? All of them said yes. Adam also likes sweet corn on his. One particularly interesting question was asked about Kendrick. Which person do you think your character killed as a rite of passage before becoming part of the BMoL? David said he thinks, it’s not canon, that Arthur really had a twin brother named Alexander and that he killed him. For Elizabeth, her character probably killed the person who had the top spot at Kendrick.
Regarding the ending of the show, Adam told us he doesn’t know how it should end but that it is a good thing to end it on its own terms. David thinks it would be nice for the fandom to leave the end open to the possibility of a movie.
One of the unique things about the Starfury conventions are the parties every night. Each night has a different theme. This year, the themes were Urban Myths, Scoobynatural and Heaven and Hell. Just before the Saturday evening party, the cosplay competition took place! Being a Supernatural convention, most of the costumes were centered on the series, with the exception of someone cosplaying Racetrack from Battlestar Galactica. Special mentions to Apocalypse Velma (complete with a Scoobydoo skin) and Lady Dean, a wonderful victorian cosplay of Dean Winchester. My personal favorite was entitled “the crossover nobody asked for,” a crossover between Sailor Moon and Supernatural.
On Sunday morning, the photo ops took place in the same fashion as on Saturday, with the queues being a little lighter.
First panel of the day was with Leah, Teryl, and Magda. They kicked off with the strangest experience they have had on a set. Leah recalled her first movie where she was a scientist who was contaminated by a disease. She had black contacts and couldn’t see anything. She also had prosthetics on her body to seem like she had bugs crawling under her skin. She was shot in the scene and she reacted too strongly to the first explosion, and when the explosion to mimic her being shot in the back went off, it directed all the fake blood into her hair. Apparently she had to walk around like that for a while.
For Magda, it was while shooting Green Inferno. They shot the movie in a very isolated town without electricity or running water. It was incredible to her that the people in the town had never seen ice or had electricity. For Teryl, it’s sex scenes; it’s always strange especially when you don’t know the actor.
The three actresses all worked on Kyle XY and they loved it. Teryl really loved playing her character because she was uptight and prissy. Madga told us it was one of her favorite sets, and she felt like she won the lottery. The cast, the crew and the writing were amazing. She was nervous about playing a character with cancer, and she was sad that the show didn’t keep going.
An attendee asked them which show they would most like to guest star on. Teryl loves New Amsterdam and would like to be on it because it’s a show about giving. Magda really wanted to be on You and she just got cast on it. Leah would love to be on Glow.
The panel wrapped up with a question about their thoughts on the #MeToo movement. They all think it is changing. Leah remarked than the key for change in the industry is to have more women as producers and directors, adding that Canada just decided to give more funding to productions with women directors.
The second panel of the day was with Mark and Erica. Erica told us she would love to come back to Supernatural as the Empty. When Mark was asked about his new show Doom Patrol, he shared that he thinks it’s a great, funny show – a superhero show about mental issues. For Mark, season eight of Supernatural is the best because it was a return to angels and demons with the angels falling at the end.
Mark also shared a great anecdote about the actor who plays the non-speaking Morn on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This guy is named Mark Allen Shepherd so apparently at a comic-con he was attending, the organizers made a mistake and used a photo of Mark to put behind the Star Trek actor. Awkward.
Next up, the always entertaining David and Adam. They talked a bit about supernatural experiences. David told us he is a man of science, but with a spiritual side. He likes the idea of ghosts being ripples in time. Adam recalled something that happened while he was staying in a flat with his girlfriend. She left her ring on a table and when they came back, they couldn’t find it anywhere. They thought it was lost when they finally found it in a bin in the bathroom.
David found out that he was coming back on the show in season 13, because Richard Speight Jr. told him. He really thought he was dead for good. David would like to come back in season 15, and he thinks Ketch would be a great ally during the Apocalypse. Someone asked him how Ketch would feel about Mary’s death. He felt Ketch would be sad and would probably go dark – bad ass and vengeful. He hopes we get to see his reaction on screen.
A really interesting question was, “What would be their character’s social media presence?” Adam joked it would be like a diary. “Still dead.” David doesn’t think social media is Ketch’s style, but at the same time, he is a mean girl at heart.
Another fan asked David what his favorite moment was while on Buffy. He joked that just being on Buffy was great because it was a hit show. He also liked talking with the actor who played the headwatcher, Harris Yulin, about acting and listening to his war stories. It was very important to him as a young actor.
When David came to Supernatural, his social media presence changed. He likes to boost artists and to create a special place for artists to share their work. The fact that people help him raise thousands of dollars is a wonderful thing. It has added an emotional value to a great show and characters.
Last panel for the day was one with Kim, Ruth, and Elizabeth. A question was posed about funny stories about jobs they had before being actresses. Elizabeth recalled a job she had at a cinema in Australia. She left the job to go film a movie. When she went back to the job after filming and the movie was played while she was working there, nobody recognized her.
Ruth talked about how she used to work events at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham and that when she went to her first Asylum convention, she recognized the place. She is proud of every job she did because it gives you “muscles.”
Kim shared her experience working in a bodega in New York and how people were pissed, because she kept getting them the wrong coffee. Turns out that regular coffee in New York is one cream one sugar — in Oregon it’s black coffee.
Someone wanted to know what they always take with them when they travel. Kim always has a speaker, Ruth takes chocolates or fake tan, and Elizabeth brings books. An attendee wanted to know which book they would recommend. For Kim, it’s Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett; Ruth suggested Why Men Love Bitches by Sherry Argov; and Elizabeth offered anything by Tim Winton.
Wayward Sisters came up when someone asked if they would consider expanding the show into books. Kim told us than it’s not possible since they don’t have the rights, but that we can create our own stories in fan fiction. They will never shut up and will stay present, because the spirit of the product is more important than the product.
Someone asked again if their characters had social media, what would it look like? Elizabeth joked that Lady Toni would probably share torture videos, and Ruth joked that Rowena would post pictures of herself and make-up tips. Finally, Kim said that Jody would share cats and otters videos.
When asked which character on Good Omens she would like to hang out with, Kim answered Madame Tracy.
At the end of the panel, Kim recalled the previous edition of Crossroads. At the time, they were still hoping that Wayward Sisters was going to be picked up by another network. And Sean, who runs Crossroads, talked about doing a Wayward convention. Kim thanked him for inviting so many women to Crossroads 2 at a time when a lot of people think the women don’t sell and can’t headline conventions.
After Sunday’s autograph session, it was time for the closing ceremony. Sean took time to thank every member of the staff and also the stewards. Each guest came on stage to say goodbye to the audience. The most emotional moment was during Kim’s turn. She is definitely a favorite for the Starfury audience. Kim got a standing ovation, and she was really touched by it. I’m not gonna lie, I teared up too at that moment. Sean closed up the day by thanking the attendees and making a speech about inclusiveness and how conventions are a place where everyone is welcome.
A third and last edition of Crossroads has already been announced. It will take place on October 16-20 at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in Birmingham. Gold tickets are sold out, but regular tickets are available here.