Changing Channels has returned from its hiatus (hellatus?) with brand-new interviews for you! In this new incarnation, I will be covering Supernatural (of course), The Winchesters, Big Sky, Walker, Walker: Independence and Gotham Knights.
I was in Vancouver for a Supernatural convention recently and was able to touch base with Mike Carpenter, who was the stunt double for Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) for all 15 seasons of Supernatural.
The last time I spoke with Mike was in 2018 (see here), and we covered Seasons 1 through 13. In this interview, we delve into the final two seasons.
IMDBPro has you listed as only performing in Supernatural for up to 2013; this is incorrect, isn’t it?
I haven't updated it myself and the show probably hasn't done it … but yeah, I was there for the run. I was busy so I wasn't there all the time, but I was still there till the end.
Season 15 being the final season of Supernatural was announced in March of 2019; did this decision come as a surprise to you?
I had my suspicions. In years past, Jared and I had a conversation about the show and the series -- I believe it was around season five is my guess, because it was a long time ago. I remember we were walking down the set together and we had a conversation and he said, “Oh man, if this would keep going, I would do 15 seasons if the fans loved it and the producers wanted to keep going.”
So when the 15-season mark came, I kind of figured, well that's probably when it's gonna be time to move on onto separate adventures or new adventures. That's a long time. I know everyone appreciated that series and that job.
To have, as an actor or stunt actor, whomever, to have a steady job that lasts that many years in the film industry is something that's always greatly appreciated, at least in my experience. There are people that maybe don't take gifts like that and just appreciate them for what they are. But let me tell you, the cast and the crew on that show did.
In early 2020, COVID hit and the production was shut down – how did you find out?
When COVID started, when the show shut down, we were out at a spot called Brittania Beach. We were prepping for rehearsing for a fight. We had all the wires and ratchets and everything was set up. We were gonna do this really cool wire gag. Jesse Blue [Jensen Ackles’ stunt double] and I, Rob [Hayter, the stunt co-ordinator) were putting it together.
We had a really fun gag set up and one of us or someone had got a message about such and such a show just got shut down. It was a CW show and we kinda all looked at each other and were like, “Uh, I guess we're gonna be next.” We had just had a funny feeling and sure enough we got the call right when those rehearsals were going that we were getting shut down.
I remember the whole conversation cuz someone said, “Oh, it's just gonna be two weeks.” I looked at Jesse and I was like, “No way this is gonna be two weeks.” That's another moment that sticks in my mind cuz it was just it was just a weird feeling. We all knew that something was not right.
That was gonna be a really fun gag. But when we came back, which we came back a few months later, we changed that whole stunt from the big wire gagging. We used trampolines. It was the second to last episode, I believe. We switched it to a mini tramp. We hit trampolines and went down and into a bank and down towards the water. It was still fun.
When I start reflecting back with things that stood out, it's not always about the stunt, it's about the connections behind the stuff we were filming -- what was happening in our lives. We've done so many that it's like, how do I remember these things? So certain ones stand out. It's not always about the stunt, it's about what I was doing in my life at that time, or, you know, and who was with me.
You were present for the final fight of Supernatural – can you tell us about that?
The final fight was really fun. I loved the final fight that we did in season 15, because it was the final fight of the series. I got to work with a few of my friends. I turned down some shows, some work to come in and do that specifically. Cause I wanted to be there for the final fight. That was emotional and it's meant a lot to be there for that final battle on that series.
Working with Jared and Jensen must have been so much fun.
I miss his [Jared's] laugh. I miss his energy. Him and I always had real good laugh, Jensen was super, super solid individual to be around. He's just a levelheaded good all round person. Can't complain at all.
With regard to Jared's other projects, you also worked with Matt Barr, who plays Hoyt Collins in Walker: Independence, correct?
We crashed into a gate with a car and he was in the car with me, I believe. we had some good laughs. He's a beauty, a great guy. From my time with him spent in those couple days, he's got that same kind of personality as the boys. Easy to be around. Just great attitude, good fun. I really enjoyed my time that I, that I did spend with him.
What are you currently working on?
I just started actually working on a series called Paw Patrol. It's comedy. It's the same people that did, they did that CW series Community. They brought me out as a stunt double. I tell you, I think it's going to be a really, really fun show. Yesterday was the second day of shooting, and it's just think it's one of those good ones.
You can't get much funnier than a bunch of funny people chasing pets that have kind of lost control in the real world. If you go on YouTube, there's all these goofy stories you see with animals. I think they've taken a lot of those stories and made a comedy out of it.
Left to right:
Heidi Ben, Jeff Robinson, Jensen Ackles, Jessie Blue (Dean stunt), Jared Padalecki, Mike Carpenter (Sam stunt), Don Lew, Andrew Chin, fight co-ordinator Kirk Jaques, stunt co-ordinator Rob Hayter
One of the stunts from the final Supernatural fight scene.