Let’s face it, female characters on “Supernatural” with eyes for either of our beloved Winchester brothers do not fare well with fans…normally. For me, there is one exception to that rule, and that is Cindy Sampson’s character Lisa Braeden, Dean’s love interest in season three and his one and only attempt at a normal life in season 6.
With the kind of history that has befallen other female guest stars of ‘Supernatural”, it wasn’t a big surprise to hear that Cindy expected early on that her character would be one of the most hated in the series, but that is not the way things worked out. In fact, many viewers found themselves defending Lisa Braeden. The group of fans at Jensen Ackles' Q&A session I attended last October told Jensen Cindy’s performance was brilliant; and I have seen and heard many similar compliments in articles, blogs and on message boards since then.
As much as some fans may have wanted it, a serious level of animosity just did not happen. Cindy Sampson convinced a large part of the female audience that Lisa might not be a bad idea for their favorite male character and that is no small feat with this cult fandom. In fact, many found themselves hoping for the couple to make it.
While that was not in the cards for them, TPTB couldn’t bring themselves to kill Lisa off either, and that should speak volumes to the acting talent of Cindy Sampson. But that was only a part of what she brought to the screen. You have to also attribute Cindy’s charm to her gentle nature, her own independence and strength, and her sense of humor, all of which can be seen beautifully in this interview.
If you are still not convinced of her tremendous acting ability, check out any of her 31 other acting appearances in television and on the silver screen. This is one busy lady and we thank her tremendously for taking the time to do this interview with us which is a fascinating look inside one Lisa Braeden, and one Cindy Sampson. Enjoy!
How did you originally get into acting? Was it something you always wanted to do?
No….I wanted to be a lawyer or an archaeologist-ha. My mom thought I was “dramatic” and forced me to go to an audition. I think I cried…however, I ended up getting the part on a kids consumer show in Canada called Street Cents. I was 16…I made money and had a ton of fun. Ruined me for life (Smile)
You originally auditioned for the role of Bela Talbot on “Supernatural,” but a few weeks later, you were offered the role of Lisa Braden. Are you happy you got the part of Lisa instead of Bela or would you have preferred the role of Bela?
I was happy to be a part of Supernatural in any capacity…..the icing on the cake was when they brought me back for season 5 and 6. I used to jokingly ask when I would get to be evil….and then I read the season 6 finale and jumped for joy. I wouldn’t trade playing Lisa for anything. Well, maybe for Lucifer.
Were you familiar with the series before you auditioned? And if so, did you like it?
That is the coolest part about being on SPN….my friends and I used to watch it! I love horror/supernatural thrillers. I started watching SPN from episode one because it was an hour long scary movie every week…I loved it. The downside is that I don’t watch it anymore because I’m in it-ha
I was at Jensen Ackles’ Q&A in Chicago last October, and the group told him we thought your portrayal of Lisa was brilliant, that you played her like a military wife. It was a surprise to Jensen as he thought Lisa would be disliked. We asked him to pass the compliment on to you, so in case he didn’t, compliment passed! That said, you mentioned in a past interview that you felt Lisa was “going to be the most hated character” eventually. Do you feel that came to pass?
For the record he DID NOT pass on the compliment! Shame Jensen. SHAME!!! When I found out Lisa was coming back I expected everyone to hate her, however, that perception gave me freedom. From a fan/viewer perspective I completely understood and yet I never felt pressure to win anyone over. But it happened…people started defending Lisa….it was so awesome!
Is a “military wife” the concept you felt best fit Lisa’s character? If not, what approach do you think best fits her?
It wasn’t my approach, but it is definitely relatable. Trust, love, distance, duty. In retrospect Lisa was definitely a military wife.
Lisa took Dean in during a very tumultuous time in his life and tried to give him the most normal life she could. However, she knew how he'd lived all his life, moving from one place to the next and never really settling down. Do you think Lisa hoped for a long-term relationship with Dean or did she know it was just a matter of time and circumstance before he would leave again?
I think it was timing and circumstance. I think Lisa reached a point where Dean made sense. He saved Ben…there was gratitude history and understanding. I think she took him in, but benefitted the most from “playing house”. It was an unorthodox pairing, but it worked for both of them in their own way.
Some fans feel Ben is really Dean’s son, especially since it was mentioned again in “Let it Bleed.” It seems like the show has some reason for keeping that in the forefront of fans’ minds. Knowing Lisa like you do, would there ever be a reason she would feel it necessary to keep that fact from Dean?
This may be an unexpected statement from me-haha, but I like to think Ben is not Dean’s. I feel it adds more to their story. He loves Ben because he loves Ben…that’s it.
The season spent a great deal of time showing how Lisa and Ben were Dean’s only link to a normal life. But a relationship has two parts. What do you think Dean brought to the lives of Lisa and Ben?
I believe Lisa is a strong, secure, independent woman. I also believe she has a soft spot for Dean and loved having a family unit. Until he turned into a vampire and tried to eat us of course.
You got to play a demon complete with black eyes and everything in “Let it Bleed.” Was that a fun part to play? Was it a difficult transition for you from ‘sweetheart’ Lisa to ‘cold-blooded’ Demon Lisa?
Not at all. I have played the nice girl next door for so long. It was SO easy and SO refreshing to be evil. Just ask my ex-boyfriends. I’m really good at it.
You were able to exit the show alive, a rarity in “Supernatural.” Do you think Dean did the right thing in having Castiel wipe Lisa and Ben’s memories of him? And do you think that will keep them safe from future demon harm? Are you happy with the way Lisa and Ben’s storyline ended?
I emailed Sera Gamble immediately. I thought it was brilliant and heart breaking. I was blown away by that script…it was genius. I’m not sure if it will keep them safe, but HEY!!!! I’M ALIVE!!!!!! Not many other characters can say that-hahaha.
You were in a total of eleven episodes of “Supernatural,” albeit some were very small segments. Of the all the episodes you were in, which was your favorite, and which was the most difficult for you?
My fave? COME ON! Demon Lisa for sure. Most difficult? The one where I had to load the gun. You know when you see girls loading guns and shooting things with complete super power ease? Not possible. Not possible with real guns….they are difficult and they don’t cooperate well.
It’s always fun for fans to hear about behind-the-scenes antics and tidbits about the cast and crew that we'd be surprised to learn. Do you have any you would be willing to share or any special moments on the set you can tell us about?
Jensen and Jared cry a lot. A LOT.
You were also on Syfy’s new “Being Human” series as Cindy Lanham, another single-mom role. Do you perceive returning to that series next year?
I wish. I am so proud of that role…I watched the UK Being Human and thought that role was so poignant….and then I got it! True story.
Whether or not we see Cindy Sampson on “Supernatural” again, she can take comfort in the knowledge that her female character is one of the few that survived the show...and not only the show, but the fandom as well.
I and all here at The Winchester Family Business wish to send a special thank you to Cindy Sampson for taking the time from her busy schedule to participate in our interview series.
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