‘Supernatural’s’ Misha Collins On Playing ‘Lustiel,’ Giving Back

Still unbeknownst to “Supernatural’s” Winchester brothers, Lucifer is out of his cage and in the vessel of Castiel. 

And Misha Collins has been having a blast playing “Lustiel” (as he’s calling his character-within-a-character).  

“It’s been really fun for me,” he told Access Hollywood, when we hopped on the phone with him on Tuesday to get his thoughts on why the Winchesters haven’t figured out the secret, and for hints at what’s going to happen when Lustiel/Casifer and Sam spend a little quality time together in this week’s episode.

Jared Padalecki as Sam and Misha Collins as Castiel in ‘Supernatural’ Season 11, Episode 14 — ‘The Vessel’
(The CW)

Wednesday happens to be National Random Acts of Kindness Day, but for Misha, who co-founded and is Board President for the non-profit Random Acts, he’s committed to doing good works throughout the year. And now, he’s launching – with Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) — the #SPNFamily Crisis Support Network, which later this year is expected to be up and running as a crisis support network made up of fan volunteers, who will serve as crisis responders for others in the community. Misha talked about the show, and the initiative with Access.

AccessHollywood.com: You’re playing two characters now. Is there any chance we’re going to be checking in with the real Cas any time soon?
Misha Collins: Yes, you will be checking in with the real Cas sometime soon. … Yes, we’ll see what’s going on with him in a few episodes.

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Access: Do you think he’s been able to do anything while he’s been [suppressed in there]? Maybe he took up needlepoint? 
Misha: I think Cas has been boning up on his daytime television. I don’t think he’s really picking up any new skill sets. Unfortunately, I feel like he’s kind of squandering his time. 

Access: I’m curious why you think the Winchesters haven’t yet realized Cas isn’t Cas.
Misha: I think that everybody is a little distracted with the task at hand right now. They’re preoccupied with taking on the darkness and haven’t been spending a whole lot of intimate time with one another. I think if they were spending a lot time together, the hairs on their necks would be standing up a little more and they’d probably be figuring out what was going on. But just the way things have been going, I think that Lustiel has been careful about not tipping his hat. 

Access: How much fun are you having doing this? Has it just been a blast, and did you and Mark Pellegrino spend more time together before you had to [do this]?
Misha: Yeah, I actually went over to Mark’s house and asked him to tutor me in Lucifer behavioral mannerisms (laughs), and I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun playing with this character and trying to emulate some of Mark Pellegrino’s mannerisms without making a pure act of mimicry. And yeah, it’s been really fun for me.

Access: Have you had a chance to sort of talk with him about it since the episodes have started rolling out, where he’s made any sort of comments or [said] like, ‘I didn’t know I did that,’ type of thing?
Misha: No, I haven’t talked to him about it. I did see him [recently] and he didn’t say anything. I assume that that means that he thinks I’m doing a sh***y job. 

Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer and Misha Collins as Castiel in ‘Supernatural’
Mark Pellegrino as Lucifer and Misha Collins as Castiel in ‘Supernatural’ (The CW)

Access: Awww! I’m sure that’s not the case! So… give us a little hint at what the interactions are going to be like [in this week’s episode]. Dean’s going to be going back in time, but Sam and your character get to spend some time together, so that should be fun.
Misha: Yeah, it should be. It will be. It’s a funny thing playing a character pretending to be another character. There are many layers to it. … I’m curious to see how it works out. I’m really excited about this episode. It’s totally bizarre. We built this amazing submarine set, there’s time travel, Dean is dressed as a World War II sailor and I think it’s going be a really bizarre and awesome ‘Supernatural’ episode. 

Access: So let’s talk about the You Are Not Alone campaign, which just recently launched in the last couple of days. What’s been the reaction since you guys launched it? 
Misha: It seems to be getting a really warm response so far. More than 10,000 people have contributed and 1,500 people have signed up to be volunteers for the crisis support network. Those people need to be vetted to see if they’re qualified and then they would need to be trained, so not all of them are going to end up being volunteers, but it’s just awesome to see this outpouring of interest in the program and I’m really excited to see it unfold. We have this amazingly interactive fandom that seems game to undertake projects with us and it’s been enormously creatively gratifying to work with this fandom for me. We’ve done everything from starting this charity Random Acts together, where we built schools and orphanages, to having the world’s largest scavenger hunt. …. We’ve broken eight Guinness World Records and done amazing art projects and now we’re doing this You Are Not Alone project, which is a crisis support hotline that is going to manned by members of the fandom, and it’s going to be servicing people in crisis who are members of the fandom. … I feel lucky to be a part of this fandom in the way that I am and I think that me and Jensen [Ackles] and Jared [Padalecki] are really looking forward to helping set up this program, because we see a lot of people in the fandom who are struggling with various different issues like depression and addiction and self harm and this network will hopefully help people in the time of need. 

Access: When are you hoping to launch it? I don’t know if there’s any sort of timeline?
Misha: Yeah, there is a timeline. We hope to actually have it operational in May. We already have a few people who are in the training program. We have a couple of people who have finished the training program. We have the basic infrastructure for the program set up already and now we’re gearing up to vet – literally, it’ll be a few thousand people, to see if they’re qualified to then take on the training program, but we’re scaling it up and with the funds from this campaign, we’ll be able to accelerate the process and get the whole thing running, but our objective is to have the website functional by May.

Access: Have you ever been involved in any kind of crisis counseling or had any talks in how to help people out? I imagine, you probably get people coming up to you with stories.
Misha: I have had a little bit because — actually, because I’ve sought it out. I’ve actually just been communicating with a psychologist about this very issue because at pretty much every convention, a few people will come up to me and share stories about attempted suicides or really, really difficult things that they’ve had in their lives. So I have consulted with a couple of psychologists about that so that I kind of know roughly what I should be saying and [to] make sure I’m not causing damage, but it’s not something that I have a lot of personal experience with. And with this program, [we] have partnered with an organization called I Am Alive, which has been running crisis support hotlines for many years and they have a tremendous amount of expertise in this field. So we’re bringing their expertise to bear in setting up this program, so it’s not like we’re trying to start from scratch. And then we are also consulting with psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists to make sure that were not missing anything and then we’re also partnering with To Write Love On Her Arms, which is another organization that will help us find resources for people that reach out to the hotlines in their communities so that they can get the help that they need. So, we are relying on the expertise of others to make this work. 

Access: You and Jensen have [a T-shirt fundraising campaign] going on right now. Are there future fundraising efforts you’re going to do?
Misha: Yeah, we will. And also, Jared is participating as well coming up. We’re all working together on this particular project. 

“Supernatural” airs Wednesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

Jolie Lash

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