Supernatural’s Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) has had many memorable run-ins with the Grim Reaper, both of the literal and metaphorical variety. The most haunting and harrowing of the literal encounters were the ones that brought him face to face with Tessa (Lindsey McKeon), a reaper who claimed souls for the physical embodiment of Death.
They first crossed paths in season two of Supernatural when Tessa tried to claim a comatose Dean’s soul. Their subsequent encounters in seasons four and six reminded Dean that the natural order of the universe was complicated and ugly, but necessary. Tessa came to feel the pain of the natural order herself in season nine thanks to the Angel Metatron’s machinations and their impact on the afterlife. The fatefully intertwined Dean and Tessa had their final run-in during the penultimate episode of season nine, with Tessa drawing their saga to a close using the elder Winchester brother to take her own life. SPINOFF ONLINE spoke with Lindsey McKeon about her time on the longrunning The CW series as well as the comedy and horror feature films currently keeping her busy.
Spinoff Online: Lindsey, most know you from your work as Tessa the reaper on Supernatural, who met her untimely end this season. How did it feel to portray Tessa that final time? What did the character come to mean to you?
Lindsey McKeon: Tessa will forever be one of my favorite characters. She’s strong and no-nonsense but has this incredibly soft, in touch with her feelings side as well. We got to experience that in this last episode especially, and I think it’s a brilliant end to an evolved character. Every being has flaws; the potential is always there to connect to the light or to darkness.
Of the Supernatural episodes you were involved with, do you have a favorite?
The last two. This one because of what I mentioned above and the one prior because Tessa got to enlighten Dean about the laws of life and death, how important and with purpose they are; there is an order.
You spent most of your scenes in Supernatural interacting with Jensen Ackles’ Dean Winchester. Tessa made her debut trying to reap Dean; helped him and Sam stop the demon Alastair in season four; was his guide when he played Death in season six; and he was her killer this season when he discovered she had become an angelic suicide bomber. What was it like acting with Jensen? And what was your sense of the dynamic between Dean and Tessa? What do you think Dean meant to her?
I love working with Jensen. These two characters play so well off of one another. They are each strong willed and believe whole hearted in what they do. I feel there is a mutual respect between them, even when they see the other as wrong. I love to watch them battle.
When you first took the role of Tessa did you have any inkling that you would return to play the character three more times or that Supernatural would become as big as it has? Why do you think it’s resonated with people and captured the imagination of such a devoted fan base?
I had no idea this character would turn into a recurring role but I am grateful. Each episode we see a new evolution, I believe, that resonates with fans. I also think they love that Dean has a strong match in Tessa, she challenges him and that is interesting to watch. There has also been the fear factor of Tessa’s visits that both excites fans and makes them extremely uneasy.
Tessa is currently dead, but that hasn’t stopped characters from returning to Supernatural in the past. If the opportunity presents itself would you be interested in returning to the role?
Let’s move away from Supernatural and into some of your current film projects. It feels like fans of your work on the show would be especially interested in Indigenous, which was recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. What can you tell us about the movie? The trailer suggests a fun, scary slasher/monster movie involving the legendary Chupacabra. Is that correct?
That is correct. Indigenous is a bit of a gory thriller film that’s centered around five best friends who take a vacation to Panama. They are enticed into the forbidden jungle by a local Panamanian, and are being hunted by an indigenous creature — the legendary Chupacabra.
What drew you to the role of Steph, the female lead in Indigenous? What did you find most interesting about the character and playing the lead in a horror film?
I had known about the Chupacabra for many years so to be a part of a film with the animal was extremely exciting. The character of Steph is a lead that is very supportive of her boyfriend, she puts her trust and faith in him continually in extremely dangerous situations, and that kind of support in a relationship is important to me.
You’re not just doing horror movies these days. You’re also in some comedies like The 420 Movie: Mary and Jane where you and Kelley Jakle play the titular characters. That seems especially interesting because in my experience stoner comedies usually feature one or two male protagonists. What can you tell us about it?
I suppose that is true! Females can have fun in stoner movies, too. 420 is a comedy starring two sisters that couldn’t be more different but have to come together to save their father’s business from Tito the Terrible, played by Verne Troyer.
How hard is comedic acting for you compared to some of the more serious and dramatic roles you’ve done?
It’s both easier and more difficult. Everything is a bit lighter and more playful, however I feel more easily connected to intense characters and situations.
Finally, your other comedy currently in production is Flock of Dudes which stars Chris Delia, Hillary Duff, Hannah Simone and a long list of funny people like Jeffrey Ross, Hannibal Buress, Marc Maron, Eric Andre and Kumail Nanjani. What’s the tone of that film and how would you describe your character?
My character is the girlfriend of one of the main characters, she is a mother and one of the “dudes” comes into her life and treats her and her son very well, they have lots of fun together exploring this new relationship. It was loads of fun being a part of this huge cast, lots of jokes constantly going on around set, there was never a dull moment. I think audiences will really enjoy this one!