“WE FACE THE GHOSTS WHEN OTHERS WILL NOT…!!!”
Empty, the Hilton Metropole NEC Birmingham Hotel looked like a scene from The Shining. Mirrors, marble and acres of patterned carpet lined by doors and deserted, all that was missing was the sound of a squeaking tricycle. However, by 4 PM, Friday afternoon, on the 9th of May, with a flurry of activity, this was all transformed. The foyer buzzed with excited anticipation as registration time approached, and people: American, English, Canadian, Australian, Swedish, all descents, girls, boys, teenagers and oldies, like me, waited in line. Everyone stood together; friends greeting each other, nervous smiles from those alone, hugs, shouts and laughter. Very soon all were sporting badges dangling around their necks displaying that they were a part of Asylum 2008. More shouts and exclamations came from those pouring over the Hunter Journals containing the weekend schedule as it was realised that not only was A. J. Buckley a guest but also his cohort Travis Wester. Yvette, too, squealed like a teenager on that one! YES! The Ghostfacers
The buzz from Friday continued as the auditorium filled with attendees, many discussing the previous night’s Doctors and Nurses Disco. The clock seemed to tick slowly around to 9:15 as the technicians checked microphones, video feed, and the two large screens on either side of the stage. When the moment arrived, cheers and whistles echoed around the large room as, one by one, the guests were called up on stage to say hello, looking remarkably good despite jet lag. First into the hot seats were Jim Beaver and Sterling K. Brown with a short interview by Yvette Kelley, our own Editorin- Chief from Shallow Graves Magazine who was asked to Co- MC the event, followed by an open Question and Answer session from the audience. The revelation here was how lovely these two guys are. Open, friendly and relaxed–and Sterling–what a smile. Jim Beaver is intelligent and funny with a wicked glint in his eye. Samantha Ferris, tired and hot foot from the airplane, then took and commanded the floor with wit and charm. Chad Lindberg who helped warm up the audience and had them hanging on his every word followed her. He is a really sweet guy. Finishing the Question and Answer session for the day was Travis Wester, one half of the dynamic duo, who made up for A.J. Buckley’s delay–because of having to finish filming the CSI: NY finale–by singing the Ghostfacers song to much delight, hilarity and applause. This man is hilarious and should be a stand up comedian in his time off. Asylum 2008 was off to a great start. During breaks we all retreated to the green room where Yvette, Marena (another staff reporter for the magazine), and myself would interview the guests between breaks. Events were happening all over the hotel: photo shoots, merchandising, autograph sessions and, most popular, the Coffee Lounge sessions. Twenty lucky attendees up close to their favorite guest. How cool is that? We were fortunate enough to attend several of these, and it was great listening to anecdotes and tales from the guest’s careers and the most favorite of subjects: filming Supernatural. In between running around trying to experience everything I had a quiet moment when Katie Cassidy found time in the green room to give me an interview about her experiences working on Supernatural, more of which later, but more fun was to be had when helping in the photo-op group session where the guests goofed around during and in between shots. That made every fans picture unique. Jason Manns and Steve Carlson who were there for a concert later on that evening in the main event hall, also AJ, joined them. A.J., had just arrived and was rearing to go. The guests were then whisked away to their hotel while the rest of us, who weren’t too exhausted, enjoyed the concerts and the disco.
Sunday’s highlight had to be the double act of A.J. Buckley and Travis Wester doing the Ghostfacers slow-mo walk on stage and causing chaos in the coffee lounges, getting the participants to bang on the partition walls–eventually joining together for the one big session (thanks to Yvette who was more than happy to keep these two together and out of trouble) as A.J.’s guests appeared carrying their own chairs much to Travis’s delight! They recounted several tales revealing what it was like to be on set with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki with physical demonstrations. Ryan doesn’t even have to think before answering with, “My grandmother was a very big inspiration for me. She’s a fighter.” Sterling gives a long, thoughtful pause before answering simply with, “Jesus.” With that, we take a few pictures at Ryan’s request before heading on out to the main show.
“Ghostfacers” A.J. Buckley (Ed Zeddmore) & Travis Wester (Harry Spangler)
Can I tell you all right now that sitting down and interviewing both AJ Buckley and Travis Wester was the highlight of my whole weekend. These two guys are magic when they are together both on-screen and off. Never mind the fact that when I first saw AJ on the Asylum site I knew my trip would definitely be worth it, but to see Travis in the pamphlet once I arrived, I squealed like a teenager because I was so excited. Steffs, my fellow reporter, literally had to tell me to calm down. These two gentlemen were incredible all weekend, and when I was finally able to catch up with them they had just finished a quick lunch and were moments away from heading to an autograph signing session. I started with AJ first. Now, mind you, these two are about as easy going as two guys get. I hand the mike over and let them at it. “How did you get your start?” “Well,” AJ replied with a grin on his face, “I basically told my dad I wanted to be an actress, cause that’s what I thought they were called, and he told me I needed to play sports. I remember the first time I was in a theatre and heard laughter in my ear. I wanted to be up there doing that. I wanted that feeling.” Then, we migrated to Canada where I auditioned and got my first part on The Odyssey. My first big role came in Disturbing Behavior playing the part of Charles Roman.” From there he moved to L.A. and started acting pretty regularly. Now, what I found amazing was that when the casting call came out for Supernatural they actually did not want to see him. They did not think he was right for the role. David Nutter, who AJ considers a mentor, gave him a call and got him into see the casting director, and as we know, the rest is history. Ed Zeddmore was born. “Now, how about you and Travis?” I ask. “You two have amazing chemistry. Did you know each other before?” “Nope. We met on set, and we didn’t really even rehearse. After the first take we looked at each other and were like that was pretty good.” Travis pipes in at this point and agrees. That’s it. All hell breaks loose with the two of them, and they start goofing around. I just sat back and laughed. They’re calling each other names, upstaging each other, just ribbing each other back and forth. Mind you, Travis’s brother is there also and sitting back also enjoying the scene unfolding, as are Steffs and I. Finally, it’s time to rein it back in, as much as I enjoy watching them go. “So, the chemistry was instantaneous? Is this why you guys ended up with “The Ghostfacers” episode?” “The network was actually afraid of what they were about to do because it was unconventional, and it something that they have never tried before, like how to film it, the style and how it was going to come off. Phil said in the twelve years of being a director that he had never gotten a call from the network to say this looks amazing keep going.” “Are you kidding?” I had to interject. “I screamed when I saw the opening scene. I was so excited. I told Travis, yesterday, that the episode could have just contained the two of you, and I would have been happy.” “By the third or fourth day everyone kept saying this is its own show.” AJ went onto say though, “There’s something about us as a group when we are together that I have never experienced. As an actor, to show up with complete strangers and have a vibe. No egos, except for Travis, cause he’s a, well, I’ll leave that to your imagination.” (Which got everyone laughing at the table again at how these two just get along). AJ stops for a moment and blames it on his inner voice. I was just thankful I had just swallowed my drink at that point. I complimented on the new cast members brought in, and they immediately go off into an Ishy boshy chant over the girl who played Maggie (Brittany), how she was so short and Jared and Jensen were so tall that they nicknamed her “Ceiling”. That poor girl had to carry the camcorder she was holding straight armed for the whole time she shot because every time she would try to shoot Jared and Jensen she was so short compared to them that she would get the ceiling of the soundstage too. The times I wish I had a camcorder is the boys give the description of Jared and how tall he is. They are unanimous in the decision that he should be an action hero. Hear that Jared?
Ok, how about CSI: NY, how did you land that?” “Well, CSI: Miami had offered me a job but CSI: NY found out and you can only do one CSI a year, and I was on this list of supposed lab techs they wanted to try out. NY offered me the part of Adam Ross. They said it could be recurring, so my first show (episode titled “Bad Beat”) I only had four lines, and I was terrified wondering how to make four lines work. But, it became what it is, and it worked.” What excited me was the fact that AJ will not only be in the opening credits of CSI: NY next season but will also be moving out of the lab and into the field more. Good for him and good for us. Now, I asked he had any plans for the summer. He, as well as Travis, are both upset over the impending actors strike, but if everything comes together it looks like Supernatural will have its first spin off in Ghostfacers.
I know at least twelve hundred people here who will be crossing their fingers on that one. Next up was Travis, who seriously had me going. The day before he was introduced on stage, he had a deer in the headlights look and to find out he was just playing around was cool. I told him he should have been a standup comic. Lets not forget what a great voice he has. Mind you, as I am talking to him, both he and AJ are sliding everything off the table while I am not looking so when I finally turn my attention back toward the table it is empty, and they are just laughing while I am just sitting there with mymouth open wide and speechless. Even AJ’s manager, Travis’s brother Austin, and Steff’s are laughing at this point. I am yelling at them to stop it, but in the end I am laughing also. “Seriously though,” Travis continues, “I think it came from lying at an early age, telling tall tales. My mom would ask how school was, and I would tell her how I rescued the whole place from terrorists. I’m putting on my ninja suit while I go on with the story.” His brother Austin continued telling a story of Travis beating up everyone in a street fight and how he believed it, nunchucks and all. We are all at the table dying laughing at this point. Austin’s face is just as animated as Travis’s.Travis’s mother, however, decided to put his talents to use and enrolled him in acting classes. From there he did his first commercial and decided he did not want to be an actor. That is until he was working at a restaurant where he liked to fool around with the customers. It was there that everything changed for him. He was approached by a manager who told him he should be an actor. Travis told the guy he had already tried that, and he had a punk rock band that was going good. AJ interrupts and tells him how good he is at it and still is. They, then, high five. When the punk rock band did not pan out he called the manager, and the rest is history. “When it comes to chemistry, did you hit it off as well with anyone as you did with AJ?” I asked. “Once in a very, very great while. We just fell right into it. It wasn’t anything we had to work on or anything we had to plan. It was just there and was found. We put it up to the light, and it was just found, like Indiana Jones and the Arc.” I only had time for one more question. Alas, it was time for them to go sign autographs. “Do you guys ever get to see each other in LA?” AJ answers first, “We SKYPE.” “We make sure we look at each other’s face as much as we can,” Travis adds. “Sometimes I’ll send Travis a message going ‘Are you online?’, and he’ll send one back going, ‘Nope.’ And I’ll go, ‘Bummer.’” “We have each others pictures on our desktops, ” Travis laughs as he says this. AJ states, “My picture says, ‘I just shaved. I’m not Harry.’” Travis starts laughing again, and I’m dying now to hear what his says. He does not disappoint me. “Mine says, ‘I am a rolling Stone,ed.’” “Get it?” “I got it,” I say, smiling. “Get it, got it, good. That’s Ed and Harry for you. But, I’m not Harry,” states AJ. “And, I’m not Ed,” states Travis. “And, together, we are not Harry or Ed.” And, remember, “Say nope to dope. What does D.A.R.E. mean Travis?” “Drug and Resistance Education” Of course, I had to add in mine. “What does MONSTER mean? “Monster.com,” Travis answers. “There’s lots of monsters,” adds AJ. “Nope. Maniacally Obliterating Next Sucker To Enter Room,” I state proudly over my creation. Hey, it’s a damn good one and all mine. Both boys stare at me dumbfounded. For once I have them speechless. Finally, one point for me. “Whoa.” Says A.J. “Wow, now that’s an anachronism,” Travis says. With that and many thanks, they were gone! Autographs waited to be signed. On a finishing note, we can all hope to see more of “Ghostfacers” in the future. If it means seeing more of Harry and Ed all I have to say is, “WE’LL SEE YOU AT THE EAGLE’S NEST!”