Harper’s Bazaar China - Jensen Ackles [Translation I]
Jensen Ackles, a man who has brought his sexy charm off the screen and into reality;
capable of handling the toughest situations with his unique composed ease;
just like his role in Supernatural – Dean Winchester.
As an uncommonly long-lasting TV series in Hollywood, Supernatural is about to step into its tenth season this fall. Eleven years, one show and one character – Jensen Ackles has focused all his energy on playing Dean Winchester, the most charming demon hunter in American television history. He has won and been nominated for many awards, so numerous that it is far too easy to forget the tumultuous journey it is to walk a path so long that it’s measured in years. It is akin to being in battle – to face all kinds of temptations, doubts and uncertainty. It is hence essential to overcome not only external temptations, but also the internal struggles. Onscreen and off-screen, Jensen Ackles garners as much respect/reverence as he does, because he has accomplished the extraordinary.
Effortless grace and ease in strenuous times
At our first meeting, Jensen Ackles approaches us wearing a simple denim shirt, a pair of casual cream-coloured pants, and a smile on his face, greeting the staff like old friends. Chatting easily about the refreshing jog he had in the morning and the exciting match the night before, there is no mistaking the Californian sunniness in his demeanour. Ten minutes was all it took for him to prepare for the photoshoot – and for the artists to bring out the perfection in this demon hunter. There was no way around it – Jensen Ackles is a born beauty, astounding as it is that such a phrase can fit so perfectly on a man.
Some pursue success with zeal and fervour, even aggression, with unrelenting vigilance and unwavering ambition – like cheetahs stalking prey, holding their breath for that one coveted opportunity. Some achieve success simply because the opportunity was, often quite unexpectedly, offered to them. Jensen Ackles fits in neither category – he certainly doesn’t possess the dogged determination and ambition of the former, but neither is he simply waiting for success to call. To Jensen, his key to success is a self-possessed ease, a wisdom that allows him to tread through the most strenuous times with effortless grace. [Not translated here: brief discography of Jensen Ackles.]
Jensen has lived an extraordinary life, but the remarkable thing about this man is that he wears this glory lightly – it’s a kind of superpower as well, that lies not in beating the crap out of bad guys but living all the ups and downs in his life with such extraordinary ease.
When asked about the reason why he was selected in Supernatural eleven years ago, Jensen gave us the simplest answer instead of a story full of twists and turns we had expected to be thrown at. “I worked with the director before, he knew what kind of character and performance he wanted, and found me suitable. And I trusted him enough to know that I’d have a pleasant journey if we work together again, so I just went for the audition – twice – then I was chosen.” What he didn’t tell us there was that the role he first auditioned for was the younger brother Sam, but later he was asked to do another audition for the older brother Dean as well. “This character has something that just made me want to give it a try. Then they told me: this role is yours.”
Jensen Ackles has been playing the charming hunter for almost 11 years. With his subtle and convincing acting, the audience sometimes couldn’t tell the character from the actor himself. He admitted to us that in the early shooting of the show, he did think himself holds a resemblance with Dean. “I didn’t know who he was at that time, so he’s the screen version of me.” Now that 11 years has passed, looking back, Jensen said that he now can feel a lot more differences between Dean and him. “It often surprises me that how much Dean has changed – the way he talks or the way his mind works – compared to both Dean back in the first season and me at this present moment. The relationship between us also shifted so much and it amazes me. I guess that’s why I love acting.”
“You’ve been at the same show for more than a decade now, haven’t you ever want to leave to go for some opportunities that were, say, particularly tempting?” I asked him closely, “Don’t you ever feel even the slightest struggle about whether take these chances or not?” “I don’t know if there are any ‘tempting opportunities’; what I do know is I have had a great deal of fun making this show and I enjoy my current job. So I never bother to learn if there’s any better chances out there. I’ve told my manager that, there’s no need to inform me of job opportunities I miss due to scheduling conflicts. All I need to know is what I’m supposed to do at this very moment, and be happy with it. That’s enough for me.”
If he had to give up one of his roles among father, husband and actor, Jensen Ackles would choose to keep up with the former two. Needless to say, he always aspires to be a good actor and certainly is indeed a good actor, but according to his philosophy regarding success, the highest praise to a man is being a good father and husband.
Jensen has a good father himself, who is also an actor. In fact, it was his father who led him on the road of acting. “Like father, like son. I acted in high school; a scout convinced me to go to L.A and I got a part in a show almost immediately; that’s when I fell in love with acting, you know, gradually. I’ve never consider it as some destiny. I just stumbled into a series of opportunities.”
Jensen’s father – the idol of his lifetime, has been there through Jensen’s life with his simplest philosophy of happiness. “Sometime I really stepped into the wrong path, but he’d never tell me to just quit it. He’d tell me it’s OK, tell me to go for it all the same.” This stress-free environment Jensen grew up with has infused in his blood the life philosophy of taking all the greatness with peacefulness.
Jensen also applies this philosophy into his job: “It’s a lot of work. I don’t think there’s any show out there just has two leading characters to support the whole series like ours do. Heroes has 20 leading characters so they only have to work 2 days a week, and spend the rest of the week on vacation. Jared and I work 16 hours a day in Vancouver. The house is just a sleeping box. We lie down on our beds for a couple of hours and we go back to work again. I spent most of my time on set and in my trailer. ”
When faced a topic as weighty as “success”, Jensen can give us his answer with an air of ease. It almost makes you wonder if it’s us take things too seriously, worrying about sophistication. We insist that happiness is all that matters, but few people actually live up to it. Perhaps, that’s why Jensen is successful.
Speaking of the near future, there’s one thing can bring the Supernatural fandom some relief: the tenth season has already started filming. In other words, the brothers will take on one more journey with us for another while. As for the real ending of the story, even our lead actor doesn’t have a clue. How far the show and the brothers will take on remains unknown. “I don’t want the show to reduce itself into a meaningless cliché; but it’s also hard to abandon a steady job and substantial pay-checks, especially in such a quicksilver business like entertainment industry.”
After a lengthy hiatus, beginning January 2015, Chapped Ass Monkeys Fan Fiction Challenge is coming back!!
What is the Chapped Ass Monkeys Fan Fiction Challenge?
Each week, two authors are given one prompt and one week to complete a 500 to 3k word ficlet. Each Wednesday, their ficlets will be posted and all of Tumblr will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite entry!
I saw a text post. Something about Dean never picking Sam up from Stanford, never being reunited until one day, Dean is arrested and Sam is a hot shot lawyer… well and then this fic happened. I would link you to the text post if I knew where it was…
“Well, well, well. What are the chances?” Dean drawls. “Do you believe in coincidences?”
Sam glares as he pulls out his chair and takes a seat across from his brother.
“No,” Sam says in a voice deeper than Dean remembers it being.
Dean shrugs, “Well, you know, crazier things have happened. Like you. Look at you man, hot shot lawyer?!”
He taps his fingers against the cold formica tabletop.
“It’s like destiny. Or something. You try to run from it,” from me, he doesn’t say, “but look at us man,” He grins. It doesn’t reach his eyes. "Look at us.“
"Yeah, look at us. Me, a lawyer, you wearing orange. Destiny, right?”
that moment when you realize your favorite character is really gone. No more smiles, no more sweet sarcasm you loved, no more protective instinct over his brother. They’re gone for good, and you are left with the biggest hole in the chest.