When "Supernatural" returned for Season 8, showrunner Jeremy Carver introduced an enigmatic new ally for Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) as a remnant of his time in Purgatory -- a vampire named Benny (Ty Olsson).
Viewers haven't learned much about Benny's past so far, but the show's Halloween episode (written by fan-favorite Ben Edlund and directed by Guy Bee) will reportedly shed a lot of light on Dean's fanged friend. HuffPost TV caught up with Olsson earlier this week to preview the episode, discussing his character's surprising evolution; relationships with Dean, Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Castiel (Misha Collins); and how he feels about "Supernatural" fandom so far. Light spoilers ahead.
This week's episode, "Blood Brother," is a pretty big one for Benny; can you describe the broad strokes of the story for us?
Benny’s coming out of Purgatory with a mission in mind. Seeking a little bit of revenge on characters in his past and we get a lot about Benny’s backstory and who he is, how he was turned, how he ended up in Purgatory and why he stopped drinking blood -- a very compelling reason as to why he stopped drinking blood. So, yes, I think you’ve probably seen the pictures out, Benny finds himself in a pickle and gets himself a little torn up and calls Dean to give him a hand and we go from there. We jump right into the episode. It’s a great episode -- a couple of twists and a lot of backstory and a lot of heart and soul. We get to see a little bit of Benny’s soul in this episode and a lot about his inner conflict.
Benny's going after his Maker -- how would you describe their relationship?
Well, I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to kind of put together that there’s not a truckload of vampires who’ve decided to put their bloodlust aside. It’s been a rarity. I happen to have played two characters who’ve done it, but it is a rarity. [Laughs.] It’s not something that we’ve seen in the “Supernatural” world very often, so, chances are that some of the other vampires he’s going to meet don’t agree with his vegetarian lifestyle.
This is also the first time Benny is meeting Sam, and it sounds like it doesn't go very well?
No -- we’re not hugging and all nice together. It comes kind of closer to the end of the episode and there’s a lot of tension in that moment. As you can imagine, it’s the most unlikely of relationships that Benny and Dean have and I think Sam trying to deal with that realization is a very interesting scene with a lot of silence. There’s a lot of silent tension going on.
From Benny's perspective, how does he see Sam? Is he threatened by him?
I think it’s like meeting you girlfriend’s parents. Whether you like them or not, you have to be nice. [Laughs.] Benny realizes what’s going on here and the conflict that Dean’s going through. So, I think he kind of approaches it in a way Benny always does. He smiles, congenial personality, but he’s wary and watching too.
How would you describe his relationship with Dean at this point? There's obviously trust and affection there, but how honest is Benny being with Dean overall?
You know, I haven’t been given any indication and I’m playing that Benny is completely up front with Dean. That these two have such a history together now, being in the trenches together, that there are no secrets. Your soul gets laid bare a little bit, I think, when you’re behind enemy lines in war for so long. These guys have bled for each other and cared for each other and fought back-to-back and I don’t think ... in my mind, there is no deception in that, because it was such a raw connection. You bare everything.
Misha recently told us that Cas is fairly jealous of Benny and Dean's relationship, and Benny didn't seem thrilled about Castiel tagging along with them in Purgatory -- can you expand on their relationship a little more?
Yes, I’ve been describing it as a third wheel kind of thing. Benny and Dean have been in this intense bonding situation and then Castiel shows up and I have a lot of doubt about his motives and his honesty and his reliability and so, Benny really doesn’t care for him that much. And he’s probably right that’s there’s some jealousy there and I think that’s the kind of thing Benny would kind of snicker and laugh at. I don’t think Benny feels threatened by Castiel at all, other than the problems he represented in Purgatory.
Episode 9, "Citizen Fang," is another big one for Benny -- what can you say about that story?
Well, it’s another great episode for Benny. It’s seems in 805 and 809, man, did we get a lot of information about Benny. [Episode] 809 showed a little bit about how he’s trying to adjust to the outside world and we get a lot more about ... you know, he’s kind of settled his score and cleaned his slate and made the decision to start a new path so to speak. And the world just does not want to make it easy for him. It really doesn’t, and I think we see again, a lot about Benny’s conflict about trying to fit in and not really having a place that he belongs … being this predatory vampire who’s trying to deny that urge, but also not being able to fit in with the human population at all.
And so, we see his world briefly expand and as good drama does, we see it briefly expand and we have hope that Benny is going to find some happiness and then we see all these problems arise and we see his world shrink again. And we see him kind of go back into this lone figure again. I think it’s a touching story and I think it’s a heartfelt story. I think we care for Benny by the end of this episode quite a bit. We empathize for his torment, his being torn between worlds. It’s a great episode. I hope it turns out well, because it’s really well written. And I keep saying, if things look good it’s the writers, if things look bad it’s my fault. [Laughs.]
What about Benny's arc further down the line?
We don’t have a lot of information on that. I don’t know if the writers…maybe the writers want to wait and see how the fans like Benny, whether they cut my head off or not. [Laughs.] I haven’t been told anything other than everybody dies eventually.
But it's "Supernatural," so they can also come back ...
I don’t know how many times you can come back, I’ve already been in Purgatory! I’ve come back as a completely different character and then in Purgatory. I’m going to come back as a cat with five more lives. [Laughs.]
I know you've joined Twitter and are interacting with fans there -- are you feeling embraced by fandom at this point?
Yes, I’m really, really enjoying connecting with the fans and it’s like I’m never alone now. [Laughs.] I like it. I love chatting with them. I love razzing them and I’m a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy geek myself and I do really love people and l love quirky people and I love interesting people. And “Supernatural” fans are full of those kinds of people. So, I am kind of in my happy place. It’s great. I’m really looking forward to meeting them and I really hope I don’t say or do something stupid. I’m a bit of a goofball; I don’t have a lot of censors and I don’t have a lot boundaries and I’m trying to remember that the world is watching. I entertain for a living and I role-play for a living and I can’t help but continue to do it. And they’re great. They’re really great.
I told somebody it’s like I have friends around to chat with at all times. I have my own personal IT team. I just get on Twitter and say, “Hey guys, how do I do this? Let me know.” I’ve got my own PR team, it’s great. I love fans. You know what I did the other day? Somebody was telling me over Twitter, “I’m at the Chicago Convention ... I'm in line to see Jensen for an autograph” and I’m like, “Ask Jensen about the trip.” And they’re like “what?” I’m like, “just ask. I'm not going to tell you or anybody else what the question is,” but I love the fact that she tweets back, “He says it’s not good.” I’m like, "love it." I got people to give messages to Jensen while at a convention in Chicago. I’m all giggly and loving it. So, yes, they’re a great, great group and they’re the reason why “Supernatural” obviously has gone on for eight seasons, because these people love and support the show. So, it’s cool to embrace them and just go, “Hey, thanks for having me, for letting me come be on your show and I’m glad you’re liking what I’m doing.”
"Supernatural" airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.
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