Interview: Erica Carroll
Erica Carroll plays Hannah, an angel, who first appeared in the season 9 episode 9.18 Meta Fiction. Her role followed Hannah's journey as a fallen angel as she tries to get Heaven operational again. I spoke to Erica after the airing of 10.03 Soul Survivor. For more work by Erica, you can see her on the Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart where she plays Dottie Ramsey, the busybody wife of the town mayor. The second season begins filming in mid November 2014. She’ll also be in The Haunting Hour episode “Spores” airing in the late fall (November 22/14), as well as Feed the Gods on VOD on November 25, 2014 coming out on DVD January 27th, 2015. It also features Emily Tennant who played Tasha in “Paper Moon.”
Hannah is a soldier who focused on her mission, who is initially not distracted by shiny things ... she has the vulnerability that comes from not fully comprehending her surroundings.
– Erica Carroll,
Jules: Before being cast as Hannah in season nine, you had actually appeared in Supernatural back in season one in the episodes “Faith” and “Something Wicked.” What do you remember of your experience back then?
Erica: Honestly, when I saw the fan pics of my first episode “Faith” where I was a nurse, I was surprised! I had completely forgotten about that role, not to mention that to me, I look like a baby. As for the second role in “Something Wicked,” the gents were focused and the set was professional.
Jules: What differences did you notice when you returned to the show, so many seasons later?
Erica: The focus and professionalism of working on the show is still present but there is a more relaxed tone being on set. After years of working together you can see the crew is a well oiled machine now and they are a close knit family. It’s evident that after 200+ episodes Jensen and Jared have grown creatively and they have incredible ease when performing. Oh, there is also the goofing around, pranks and Misha... he wasn’t around back then.
Jules: Was Hannah meant to be a recurring character, or did it just start off as a 1-2 episode part?
Erica: I wasn’t privy to what the scoop was behind the scenes, so I can’t speak to the specifics of this question. As far as I knew from my audition, it had the “potential to recur.” As an actor you never get your hopes up, you just go in for your few days and give it your all. When I was called for a second and third episode, I was delighted.
Jules: How did you get into the role of Hannah – did you work based off her actions/interactions from the script, and/or did you build your own profile and back story for her?
Erica: It was a bit tricky because I was never sure if I would be doing more episodes so I didn’t have a clear sense of what Hannah’s arc would be. I certainly did my own back story for Hannah right off the top and referred to it when new episodes were offered to me. I would reflect on Hannah’s back story when trying to justify her propensity to follow what she believed was right...even though that choice wasn’t a popular one. I like that Hannah is a soldier who focused on her mission, who is initially not distracted by shiny things but also that she has the vulnerability that comes from not fully comprehending her surroundings. I was inspired by another sci-fi character that I have admired for a long time who, although not an angel, had an endearing innocence and curiosity and I allowed that to color my choices. I felt those qualities would serve well for Hannah’s interaction with the humans and add dimension to a character who could have otherwise been simply a soldier from Heaven with strong opinions and values. Luckily for me, the fantastic writers of Supernatural started moving in that direction with her.
Jules: How did you approach playing an angel – especially the "otherwordly" qualities she has? Did you watch any of the other angels played on Supernatural?
Erica: Viewing earth from what I can only imagine would be the angelic perspective, certainly helped to influence my execution of Hannah’s “otherworldly” qualities. I watched several of the other angels, but I didn’t consciously base my performance or actions off of their choices, even though in the end there were some similarities.
Jules: Supernatural is show with a lot of visual effects. What's it like working with the VFX guys on a scene, and acting with what is often not there when you film?
Erica: To be totally honest, I have ease working with nothing but my very vivid imagination. So as far as my brain is concerned that effect is there. There can be a lot of start and stop to get the arm in the right position or the light hitting the precise spot, that requires patience and precision, which is fine with me. I really enjoy seeing the finished product of what the VFX team pulls off. It’s wonderful.
Jules: In the season ten premiere “Black” you had a fight scene, how did you find working with the fight/stunt team?
Erica: Lou Bollo the stunt coordinator is an absolute gentleman and my stunt double Devon Slack was a trouper. Lou was vigilant to make sure I was always safe and comfortable. Devon was willing and able to throw her body around so I didn’t have to. I’m so grateful for all the stunt performers and the sacrifices they make.
Jules: Can you tell us about a less common hazard I believe you faced - being attacked by mosquitoes?
Erica: Luckily I only had one short scene during mosquito hell day! It was quite something. Normally mosquitos don’t tend to like me but even I was ripe for the feeding that day. Those little buggers were piercing through several layers and you didn’t want to be wearing layers because it was also incredibly hot that day. Our makeup artist had to cover welts on my face after every take. I’m sure I ruined a take or two swatting myself in the face while we were rolling.
Jules: How has it been working with Misha?
Erica: Misha’s a sweet man... except when he is texting on his phone during my coverage. Otherwise, he’s alright. I JEST! Misha’s a doll. Confession; during one take when I turned to make eye contact with him, I got totally distracted by how blue his eyes were … completely fell out of the scene … seriously. Super unprofessional to have such blue eyes, otherwise, he’s a good scene partner.
Jules: Supernatural has a fandom that is very engaged on social media. What has your experiences on Twitter been?
Erica: Yes, it certainly does! I have had a Twitter account for years and never really used it. It exploded with Supernatural! I was pretty overwhelmed at first. It’s been lovely to see people respond positively and critically; it means I’m doing my job as a storyteller. I enjoy the fan art and the passion that the Supernatural family has for the show. I still haven’t mastered Twitter, as I’m sure is evident in some of my posts... baby steps.
Jules: In the last episode we saw you in “Soul Survivor,” Jensen was the director. How was it working with him?
Erica: Jensen is a kind and giving director. I was looking forward to see what he’d be like on the other side of the camera and he didn’t disappoint. The way he handled the workload was really inspiring.
- Interview by Jules Wilkinson, Supernatural Wiki Admin.
- Many thanks to Erica for her generosity in doing this interview.