Interview with Jim Beaver

myFanbase got the opportunity to ask actor, biographer and writer Jim Beaver, who starred in shows like "Deadwood" and can now be seen as Bobby Singer on "Supernatural", a few questions about his former and recent projects, his other activities and the relationship with the two boys of "Supernatural".


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1. Your ancestors come from many different countries. Which languages do you speak?

I speak a fair amount of German, although I've had very little practice in the past thirty years. My great-grandfather was German and I studied it so I could talk to him. I've also studied Japanese and French, and I've had some practical experience with Italian and Spanish. But I'm not fluent in anything but English. Most of my ancestors came to the U.S. a very, very long time ago. Aside from my great-grandfather, my ancestors spoke English
pretty much exclusively for the past several generations.

2. You're working on a biography about the former "Superman" George Reeves. What can you tell us about it?

I've been working on a biography of George Reeves for many years. It's the reason I first came out to Hollywood, but my research was sidetracked by my success as a TV writer and as an actor. While I have amassed a great deal of information, it is very difficult these days to give much time to that project. But I persevere, and eventually I'll finish it. It's a full-scale biography of Reeves, with more detail and information than has ever been published about him. I deal, of course, with his unusual death circumstances, but that is not at all the focal point of the book.

3. There are many people who believe in something like a "Superman Curse" since there happened (more or less) terrible things to many of the Superman stars, George included. Do you believe in something like that?

I don't believe in a "Superman Curse." I don't believe in curses at all. What people think of as a "curse" on the Superman cast just doesn't add up if you look at all the facts. Most of the people involved in the various Superman shows and movies have lived long, healthy, productive lives afterwards. All but four or five of the hundreds of cast members of the various incarnations are still alive! It would be like believing in a "BMW Curse" because a lot of people have died driving BMWs. It's just hype and coincidence and a failure to look at the overall picture.

4. Many years ago, in 1993, you had something else to do with the Superman franchise... You starred in an episode of "Lois & Clark"'s second season! What kind of an experience was that and can you imagine doing other "Superman"-related things?

I was actually in the first season of "Lois & Clark," an episode called "I'm Looking Through You." It was the third episode filmed [editor's note: it always aired as #1.04], and I was the first villain to bounce bullets off Superman's chest in that show. It was a lot of fun doing it, a dream come true in some ways. The special effects work was tedious, with lots of invisibility effects to contend with. That part of a show is rarely any fun, as the special effects are incredibly time-consuming and difficult. Not that I would have minded wearing the suit and smashing through a wall just once!

5. You wrote about the Vietnam war for two TV shows. How did your experiences in Vietnam help you with the writing?

My Vietnam experiences gave me insight into the daily life of a soldier or Marine in a combat zone. One of the things I tried to bring out in my stories for "Tour of Duty" and "Vietnam War Story" was the incredible boredom that afflicts those who are there. It's deadly, and while no one wants the interruption of sudden combat, at least it's a break from the boredom. Also, I was able to shed some light, I hope, on how warfare callouses young men and women, how it makes them harder and less sensitive than they ought to be, how it robs them of youthful idealism. I hope I was able to use my own experiences to help people better understand what life in combat is like.

6. When and why did you then decide to become an actor and not a writer?

I wanted to be a writer from my late high-school days, and I've never given up on that. So there is no point at which I decided NOT to be a writer. In college I discovered acting and knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do as my primary occupation for the rest of my life. That has not changed. Writing was always something I felt compelled by my own expressive urges to do, but it's very hard work and while I made a pretty good living at it for a time, it really doesn't suit my naturally lazy approach to life. Acting on the other hand is such a joy, such an immense pleasure, that I never really think of it as work, even when it's strenuous and difficult. I will always write, but I will always choose acting first.

Spoiler! 7.) You star again in the third season of "Supernatural". Is there anything you can tell us about this season?

We're shooting our tenth episode of season three as I write this. The episode is called "Dream a Little Dream of Me," and in it viewers will learn a little more about Bobby's past and how he became a hunter. It's a very different episode for me, with lots of emotional stuff and Bobby's weak and vulnerable side coming out a little. The boys, of course, are in the long process of fighting the war that started with the opening of the Devil's Gate, and we're finding out more and more about these troublemakers Ruby and Bela. There's a lot of Bobby at the first of season three, but then he disappears for a while, so I hope nobody has a chance to get sick of him! As to where the show will go in season three, I have no idea. I don't know anything that happens past the episode we're currently filming. And of course the likelihood of a writers strike in Hollywood may have a huge impact on whether the show goes anywhere for a while.

8. What would you like to see happen to your character Bobby?

I'd like to see him fall in love with some spectacular and attractive woman, even if it turns out badly for him. And I'd like to see the boys help him out every so often, instead of the other way around. But there's actually some of that on the way. Sam and Dean come to Bobby's rescue in one episode, and it's great to see the shoe on the other foot, as we say here.

9. What can you tell us about the working relationship with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki?

I love working with the JJs. We get along great, lots and lots of laughs, and, I think, a mutual respect. I don't think they look up to me the way Sam and Dean look up to Bobby. We don't have that kind of relationship. We're just three Texas boys -- one of them a little older -- and we're friends. I absolutely love being around them. It's pretty easy to forget how many years I've got on them.

10. In "Supernatural" there happen a lot of unexplainable things. Do you believe in any of these things or the means the brothers use?

I'm not a believer in supernatural phenomena, per se. Oh, certainly there are things we don't understand and will perhaps never understand. But demons and charms and magic are all great tools for storytelling to me, nothing more.

11. Are there any other projects you're working on and would like to tell us about?

I've just pitched a miniseries idea to HBO that I hope to write. And I recently sold a book to a major publishing house. It's a memoir of the year after my wife Cecily Adams ("Ishka/Moogie" on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") was diagnosed with cancer. It will be out in early 2009.

12. Since myFanbase is a website dedicated to TV shows, do you have a favorite show?

Well, my favorite show ever is one I was on, "Deadwood." Nothing I've ever done has matched the experience of being on or watching that one.

Elsa Claus - myFanbase

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