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Mark Sheppard is no stranger to Australian shores, but fans were delighted to welcome him back as he ascended the stage at Sydnova.
Sheppard started the panel off by reminding the audience how “it’s lovely to be back, finally.” He continued, “Well, I’m just happy to be here. I love coming here…”
“I’ve done this for a long time,” Sheppard said as he was recounting the fan favourites he had worked on over the years such as Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, Firefly and The X-Files. Then he paused to announce, “I only just realised recently, I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. And the fun of that is, if you really think about it – the stuff that you guys like the most, tends to be the stuff that I’ve enjoyed the most.”
Fans that were most present in the audience were that of the show Supernatural. One eager fan asked Sheppard what his favourite highlights of being Crowley on Supernatural was. Sheppard did not even need a second to think of his answer.
“My favourite thing is, I think – and you’ll know if you’ve seen me before – is the end of season eight.” Sheppard continued, “Jeremy came back in at season eight and it all went back to angels and demons. It became just this magical thing. The end of season eight was the most fun all of us ever had working together – especially the stuff in the church, which we did over the course of about three days. I think the consensus for most of us is that – that was the most fun time – to be on Supernatural.”
As the show Supernatural ran for 15 seasons, there are a lot of inside jokes and anecdotes that fans have become familiar with. Sheppard shared how fellow actors, Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, were given the nicknames Moose and Squirrel on the show.
“We were trying to find insults for Jared for the whole of season five and six. Right? So, it was like Gigantor, Mopheaded Lumberjack, Giraffe, there were loads of them. Loads of really weird ones. Then, there’s this amazing scene where I’m in the weird burnt-out mansion – I look at Dean and I go like, ‘Where’s your moose?’
“It was like automatic – it was like it made total sense and it stuck. And the reason why, is that Jared is a man with unbelievable upper body strength. The guy flips, you know, 200 kilo tractor tires all day. But as far as I’m concerned – he’s got skinny legs. So, if you think of what a moose is – which is basically two tonnes of killing machine on sticks…”
Sheppard continued, “When you’ve got moose, you gotta have squirrel.” – which is in reference to the popular 1950s cartoon The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Friends.
Sheppard then leads on to an anecdote where those nicknames really just became prevalent while filming the show.
“The most fun part was when we did one of the episodes later on, and it was when I was supposed to be on a date with Kim Rhode’s character – Sheriff Jody Mills. The great thing about that… the only person in the restaurant that doesn’t know what I am and what I do, is her.
“There’s this lovely date and the phone rings – and you know, when you’re shooting a TV show – the phone doesn’t ring on set. It’s just someone who says ‘ring, ring’ from the distance so you know the phone’s ringing. I saw the phone and said, ‘This is the king.’ When you shoot television, you don’t always shoot the shots of the inserts of the phone and the close-ups.
“Months later it comes out, and first of all, they put a ringtone on my phone. If anyone remembers it – “I like big butts and I cannot lie.” I look down at the insert of the phone, and the phone says ‘Not Moose’. It was brilliant, it was the best thing I’d ever seen.”
Sheppard paced the panel floor, noticed a fan dressed as Castiel and reflected upon long days of doing press coverage with co-star, Misha Collins, who plays that character.
“My favourite moment I ever had, Misha and I were doing one of the press days in San Diego and we were so bored. I mean we were – look there’s only so many things you can do over and over again for eight years. At some point, by accident, they gave us questions for The Vampire Diaries. Everything we said on camera is absolutely unreleasable.
“They gave us our questions. Use five words to describe each other’s characters. Then, of course, Misha went first, he’s trying to be really nice like ‘svelte’, like who says svelte? ‘Charming.’ It gave me just enough time to figure out what I wanted to say. ‘Baby. In. A. Trench. Coat.’”
Actress Ruth Connell played the role of a motherly figure to Sheppard’s character on Supernatural. Sheppard was asked to discuss reactions to the progression of that character after his arc had finished. Sheppard expressed that he would’ve preferred a different trajectory altogether over a mother-son relationship. “If Ruth’s character, Rowena, would’ve been my ex-wife in the show it would’ve been the most extraordinary relationship. Can you imagine a 400-year divorce?”
Sheppard went on to explain just how much he values the good television series he’s gotten to be a part of.
“There’s a passion that goes into it, that is just unstoppable,” he said. “You can tell when something’s made out of cynicism, and you can tell when something’s made out of love.”
The actor would not pass up a single opportunity to express his renowned love for his latest television escapade, DC’s Doom Patrol.
Sheppard asked the audience, “How many of you have seen Doom Patrol?”, and was disappointed at the response. Sheppard stated that Doom Patrol was “one of the best television shows ever made.”
“You want to look for things that are made from passion and love? Go watch Doom Patrol. It’s fantastic.”
Sheppard was insistent on getting his audience to watch the show. “Steal it, we don’t care. You’ll end up buying it anyway. It’s the only show I’ve been in apart from Battlestar that you can’t binge. It’s got too much in it.”
Sheppard gazes upon his audience and announces, “Guess who runs the show? Jeremy Carver.” It’s important to note that Carver worked on Supernatural throughout the years of 2007 to 2015.
When one familiar fan asked what it was like working with the Doom Patrol cast, Sheppard was delighted to answer. “It’s just a big ol’ love fest.” Sheppard continued, “good people, really good people.”
Before the panel ended, Sheppard wanted to reiterate just how much he appreciated being at Supanova and the effort it took to organise it over the last few years.
Sheppard left Sydnova fans with the heartfelt statement, “Thank you for my life.”
Lead Image: Mark Sheppard at Supanova 2022 – Sydney. Photo by Ewan Ly