Supernatural explored the nature of a monster in it’s 15-season run; The Winchesters is no different, starting with the character of Tony, a half Djinn/half human. I had the chance to speak with Tyler Lofton about his role.
Please tell us about your role on the Winchesters.
I play the role of Tony, Ada's son, and I'm half Djinn/half human. My mom kept that secret from me and when I was 15 I discovered I had Djinn markings. I saw that my mother was fearful of me, so I ran away and ended up discovering who I was on my own.
I got lost in dreams, I was scared, and didn't want to feed off other humans, so I felt I had to run away. It was the only way for me to survive.
Tony at heart is not a monster, so anytime he feeds it's only enough to get by, never enough to do any damage. It took me a while to come to terms with my identity, but in an effort to prove my mom wrong, I only use my powers for good.
How were you cast?
I did an audition from my house, sent in my tape, and a few days later booked the role and flew out to New Orleans that next morning. It was kind of hectic because I started moving into a new house the day I found out I booked. Between packing and moving all of my stuff, unpacking so I can pack a suitcase, calls with production, reading the script, developing my character, and the endless amounts of euphoric excitement I had, I barely got any sleep. But it's the best experience I could've ever lost sleep for!
Were you familiar with Supernatural before you were cast?
I was. I hadn't watched the whole thing. But I've seen a few episodes, and was very familiar with the fandom that surrounds the show.
Please tell us about your experience on set. What was it like?
I really don't even know where to begin. It was so surreal! I felt like I was living a movie. It was my first time ever working on a fantasy project, and it was much more engaging than most other projects I've worked on. It makes you feel like you're a kid in a candy shop!
When I got to work the first day we hit the ground running, which is something I live for! The cast is young, fun, and extremely talented. They were so quick to invite me in, share stories, and make me feel like I've been part of the cast since day one. I got to have some one-on-one time with Demetria McKinney, who plays my mom in the show, and we built our mother/son relationship together. She made it so easy for me, it never felt like I was working. There was something about our initial chemistry that just clicked.
I also had a great conversation with the writer Sehaj Sethi on my first day. Sehaj helped me understand a little more about my unwritten backstory, and eased me into my character. I was also able to share many conversations with Lisa Soper, the director, over the course of filming, and my god, this talented, excited and hard working woman really helped me play it. We would talk a little bit about what's going on, she'd share her thoughts and her vision, and then she'd give me a word. That word is how I would play in the scene. I remember the one of the first times she gave me a word it was "wounded" and just having that one word really changed how I played everything.
Between the chemistry the cast shared, the connection I had with the production and crew, and the ease I had playing this character, I would most certainly re-live this dream of an experience over and over again! They truly made it feel like I was living in a new world, a world I never want to leave.
Do you have any behind the scenes stories you can share?
Not really, other than me and Demitria helping me find my voice haha, she's a singer...a GREAT singer. She and I would sing and she taught me how to be comfortable challenging myself to sing in public, and reach to achieve more.
There was another moment when Nida Khurshid, who plays Latika, and I were talking and I asked if she could do an American accent, and she started cracking up. I didn't understand what was going on...until she told me she is American and the accent is only for the show. We both shared a laugh together and I joined her in an accent every once in a while off camera.
I tend to pick up accents that I hear around me, and most of the time it happens uncontrollably, and whenever it slips out I always have to apologize in case it came off as rude or as if I was mocking the other person. I'm glad that wasn't the case here!
How did you prepare for your role?
I really didn't have much time to prepare, but most of the preparation came from discussions and conversations I had with the cast, or Lisa and Sahaj.
There was a day though, where I walked around New Orleans in the mindset and embodiment of Tony, which helped bring my character to life.
What did you enjoy most about The Winchesters?
The genuine connection that was shared between everyone involved. Sounds a little corny but that's what truly keeps me going!
Do you think Tony will ever reconcile with his mom?
By the end of the episode "Legend of a Mind" we have already started to reconcile. She pleads her case early on, has a genuine apology, and at the end offers to give me a ride out of town. In that moment of us driving away the relationship is one again, it's a relationship that is stronger than it was in the beginning of the episode. I think after saving someone's life there is an uncontrollable bond that starts to form. We start to see that bond bloom between Mary and John as well.
Tony is a very believable and likable monster (congrats on that). His storyline lends credence to the idea that not all monsters are bad -- what sort of decisions did you make with regard to Tony's mannerisms to convey that likability?
Thank you! One decision in episode 5 was slowly allowing myself to gain trust and open up. By the end of the episode I'm very light hearted and comfortable with Ada and Latika. Early on in the episode I show up in Ada's dream, I give a little smirk before turning around and talking to her. That was a decision made after talking to Lisa about the vibes and the feels for this scene. Tony knows he's in her dream but Ada has no clue, it seems and feels so real to her. This moment is a significant moment in showing the "monster" side of me. Even when Tony is running and flipping through the warehouse he shows a more monstrous side (shout out to the parkour legend himself, Didi Alaoui, for doing all the stunt work for me! This man is incredibly talented and a RedBull Art of Motion, and Best Trick winner).
Another Decision made was when Ada came to ask Tony for help on the bus. That scene could've played out in many ways but Tony, in a way, doesn't want to be alone anymore, he wants a relationship with his mother. The bond a mother and child have is one stronger than any other bond, he feels that even though they've been separated for several years. Although he doesn't show it or say it, he is happy that his mom came around and asked him to help. He realizes that he is seen for who he is and respected as such.