Sunday, December 4, 2022

Interview: Jake Abel on Joining ‘Walker’ [EXCLUSIVE]

INTERVIEWSInterview: Jake Abel on Joining 'Walker'

Jake Abel is joining the cast of The CW’s Walker and reuniting with Supernatural co-star Jared Padalecki. The news was announced yesterday at Rhode Island Comic Con, as Abel joined the Walker panel onstage.

We got the chance to talk to Abel all about his new role, how it came about, joining the Walker family, and more.

Nerds & Beyond: Welcome to the Walker Family! How did joining the show come about?

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Jake Abel: It really came about when I texted Jared one day asking if I could come to set and shadow one of the directors on an episode, as I’ve always had my sights set on directing in the future and finally figured there was no time like the present. He was immediately responsive to the idea but said that it would be difficult because of COVID protocols; however, he countered saying, “What I’d really like is for you to come onto the show as an actor, then you can shadow whomever you want because you’ll be in the testing cycle.” I said great let me know, assuming it might happen in the future, or most likely never at all. What I didn’t know was that he already knew the character he wanted me to play and had been pitching me to the network for a few weeks. So to my surprise, he called not even four days later as was like, “Hey, remember when I said I wanted you to be on the show…?” Not only did the character sound wildly interesting and complex, but having just moved my family to Austin (where the show films) coupled with the opportunity to shadow someone like Steve Robin, exec producer, and beloved director, it was really a no-brainer.

Nerds & Beyond: You recently moved to Austin, as you said, and obviously, Walker shoots in Austin. What has the experience been like for you so far? How are you liking Austin?

Abel: I lived in Los Angeles going on twenty years before moving with my family to Austin, and I feel like I barely ever shot anything there anymore. Having only been here five months, commuting to work every day has been a great way to get [to] know the city and highways. As far as Austin goes I’m still getting to know it. Up until now it’s been too hot to exist outside, so I’m looking forward to exploring in “cooler” temperatures.

Nerds & Beyond: I know you can’t say much due to spoilers, but what can you tease or tell us about your role on Walker?

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Abel: I’m playing Kevin Golden, the mayor of Austin’s Chief of Staff. I’d say he’s an ambitious politician with a heart of gold. Two things that are usually mutually exclusive, but he’s got a lot of dimensions to him. He’s even a bit of a romantic, which reveals itself pretty quickly into his introduction to the Walker world.

Nerds & Beyond: You previously worked with Jared on Supernatural, and you’re often doing the convention circuit together as well. What is it like working with him again on Walker?

Abel: We were filming a massive dinner scene the other week, and by massive I mean it was a Thanksgiving meal with almost every actor on the show sitting around the table, and Jared asked me when I first appeared on Supernatural. I said it was season three and he goes, “We’ve known each other fifteen years?” It’s wild to think about, time really does fly. He’s just a perfect partner in crime. He’s one of the busiest people I know, starring in one show, producing two, and developing who knows what else, yet he never seems to lose his patience or energy. He’s still the energetic giant puppy from the early Supernatural days.

Nerds & Beyond: Is there a different dynamic working with Jared with him being an executive producer as well?

Abel: What’s funny is I guess technically he’s not only my co-star but he’s my boss also. But don’t worry I would never, ever, in a million years treat him like one. Honestly, there isn’t any difference. He wears both hats simultaneously but they both serve the same purpose, to create a great show while enjoying the process of making it.

Nerds & Beyond: In what ways has this role challenged you, if at all, compared to previous roles? Is there something you’re getting to do maybe that you haven’t done before?

Abel: Honestly, the best challenge so far was shadowing Steve Robin while he was directing an episode I [was] also starring in. I may have taken the term “shadowing” a little literally. On my days off I would meet him on set an hour and a half before crew call to get ready for the day’s work. I’d be right on his heels every step of the way. I even sat in on preproduction meetings the week before. Then one day I was on set with him and one of the assistant directors came up and whisked me away to get into wardrobe and hair and make-up before the next scene, which I was to be in with Ashley Reyes who plays Cassie. I enjoy that though, it’s fun to be a part [of] making the entire sausage. It’s also nice to come home mentally and physically drained after a good day of work.

Staff Photographer – Mandi Lea Photography

Nerds & Beyond: How did shadowing go?

Abel:  I will add that it takes an entirely different kind of focus when it comes to directing. There [are] so many balls in play and you’ve to keep tabs on as many of them as you can. Especially since they use three cameras to shoot each scene. Watching three monitors at once while trying to keep an eye on framing, cues, and performances is an entirely new muscle to work out.

Nerds & Beyond: Have you always had an interest in directing?

Abel: I’ve been writing, shooting, editing as long as I’ve been acting really. I’ve always admired actors like Robert Redford, Kevin Costner, Ethan Hawke. Acting is my first love, but it’s never been enough. We show up late to the party and are sent to bed early while the adults get to continue piecing and shaping the film or show. I want to be a part of all of it, start to finish.

Nerds & Beyond: Have there been further talks about you potentially directing an episode of Walker further down the line?

Abel: This has been my first shadowing experience, even though I’ve always been engaged with my directors, asking questions, watching them work. When I signed on to do the show there was an understanding that I had intentions to direct, so hopefully, that will happen sooner than later.

Nerds & Beyond: Walker sometimes has some pretty cool stunts and horse riding. Are there any stunts or anything you’ve done yet on set that you can talk about?

Abel: I haven’t done any stunts yet, but I did start going to the gym again the day after we closed the deal just in case. Haha. Not even out of vanity, but just in an effort to avoid potential injury.

Nerds & Beyond: Walker boasts an incredible cast, and they often talk about how wonderful the culture is on set. How has the set atmosphere been for you? Have you bonded with any of the other cast?

Abel: First off the Walker crew is a dream team. They’re a band of total kind-hearted badasses. In fact, I’ve heard it said that other crews in town refer [to] the Walker set as “Disneyland.” I see why. Everyone is friendly, fun, and the best part is we’re usually wrapped and home in time for dinner. That literally never happens on any other show. None that I’ve ever been a part of anyway.

Nerds & Beyond: What’s most exciting for you about joining the Walker family?

Abel: Besides working with the best and most moose-like boss in showbiz I’m really looking forward to hopefully directing a Walker episode of my own. I’m not sure what the process will look like, but I’m doing everything I can to earn a spot.

Nerds & Beyond: What are you most excited for fans to see?

Abel: I’m excited for fans to get the see all of the things I can’t talk about yet. My character is a bit of an iceberg; you think you’ve got him figured out on top, Cassie certainly does, but there’s still a whole lot to discover underneath those enthusiastic waters.

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