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Loretta Devine on playing a villain in Spell and saying goodbye to Supernatural - Exclusive interview

Loretta Devine has been making fans fall in love with her TV appearances since the '80s, lending her unique voice to every character she takes on. From stints on shows like Boston PublicEverybody Hates Chris, and her long-running roles on Grey's Anatomy and The Client List, Devine has been a TV staple for years. Yet even in series with smaller parts, Devine has made her mark on fandoms like Supernatural and Psych — each known for cycling through a slew of characters and guest stars.

Now Devine has stepped into the villainous spotlight with Paramount's new spooky film, Spell — in which she plays Eloise, a 187-year-old witch who spends her spare time sacrificing people (and animals). Devine is no stranger to the witchy world, as she played psychic Missouri Moseley in seasons 1 and 13 of the long-running CW series Supernatural. But where Missouri is sweet and stern, Eloise is evil and... evil.

Looper spoke to Devine in an exclusive interview during which she dished on stepping into the villainous role of Eloise and reminisced about her short but impactful time on SupernaturalSpoilers follow.

Finding your inner villain

In Spell, you got to play a really twisted character. What was it like taking on the role of a villain, and what did you do to prepare?

It was so much fun being a villain. I think everyone should be... I did a lot of studying, and it was fun to be a villain. I usually play the sweet, sweet, sweet [character], but I'm going to be reaching for the villain from now on! That was so much fun. I just think everybody's going to be scared of me now. So that'd be fun too.

It would be hard to be scared of you in real life.

Well, my good friend said she was already scared of me, so I don't know. But it was exciting to do. I can say that. I'm so glad that the director picked me out of the whole world to do it.

What was the most challenging aspect of playing Eloise?

Eloise had a lot of monologues, a lot of, lot of, lot of, lot of monologues [laughs]. That was challenging. But you can tell I'm a little tired already, so my answers are going to be crazy. I'm sorry. I guess that was very challenging. We did the movie in Cape Town, South Africa. It was my second time going there, but it was still a little scary. You had to get accustomed... They were doing the shedding with turning the lights on and off. It was a lot of travel involved. [There are] just a few creepy things like "don't go to the marketplace by yourself because you may be kidnapped." There were those kinds of things that were going on that were also scary at that time. So it was just the whole idea of it was a little scary.

So, the next question you sort of answered a little bit, but is there anything else you can tell us about working in South Africa?

We were like an hour's drive to the location. You may see 3000 giraffes just running across the field, or things happened. It was a lot to take in on top of the movie. So that part of it was exciting. Then looking at the culture and the way things were there was really different or trying to deal with all the differences. I enjoyed the food. I enjoyed the people. They had beautiful people there. We went on a lot of tours. We saw the flat-topped mountain [Table Mountain] and all of that, so all of that added to it to make it an exciting experience. We had to go meet the animals that we were going to use in the show, whew! The goat tried to kill me while we were doing the show. The tamer couldn't catch him, and I think the goat saw what we did to the cat and was trying to get away. But it was exciting, so that kind of stuff was happening.

Kids, don't try this at home

So fun. Did you get to meet with anyone who practices any of the cultural aspects you touched on in the film?

No, I didn't meet with anyone, but the director sent me a bible of information about what voodoo really was and how it's used in the Appalachian Mountains by the few Black people or of the community of Black people that lived there. I didn't know there was such a place and that these kinds of things are going on now — but it explained to me what rootwork really is, and how it's American magic, and not voodoo or Haitian magic. So I learned those things. I think the movie teaches a lot of stuff because the speeches that Eloise has throughout the movie are actual truths that people can observe and learn about if they want to learn more about it on the internet. They don't need to learn more about it because they don't need to be practicing no roots or nothing on nobody, but they could if they really wanted to. The information does exist. [Laughs]

The ending of the film is a little open-ended. Do you think there's a possibility for a sequel, and would you be game to come back?

I think so because they show her bugatti [root work doll], they show where he had her bugatti, and that's the only reason I think that. But what people don't realize when they watch the movie is that Eloise is 187 years old in the movie. I'm glad they told me that after I did the movie. No, they told me before. [Laughs] She's old already, but I think she could come back. I think that would be fun.

Shaping the Winchester history

You guest-starred in one of the most pivotal early episodes of Supernatural, helping to shape much of the vibe and the backstory of the show. What was it like working on the first season of the show compared to when you came back 13 years later?

That was at the start of my career. I got that job on Supernatural, and I have never been so afraid in my life. It was raining in Toronto. It rained the whole time I was there. They had dresses flying across the room at you, and things were on fire. It just seemed too real. It was so scary. I asked my agent to get out of it. I shouldn't say that they've been going with 15 years. I would never have had to look for a job again as long as I lived. [Laughs] See, you just don't know. There's no way to know. When I went back, I think they were trying to set up a spinoff for my granddaughter because she's supposed to go and blah, blah, blah, am I telling a secret? I hope not. Anyway, I don't know if they spin her off or not — but with the whole death of the grandmother, I could appear with her in the spinoff if I had to as a spirit later. But they killed me, honey, they stuck a wraith spike through my head. Did you see that?

It was so upsetting. You were a fan-favorite guest star, and they let you live for 13 years, and then they kill you!

You know what was amazing? When I came back, they still had people standing across the street, just fans. They'd been coming for years, I guess. That was amazing to me. They were standing just to watch, to watch them film and stuff. That was just... And those little boys grew up on that show. They were babies. Now they have grown, well, not grown kids, but growing kids. They met their wives on the show and everything, that is just so wonderful, in a way.

The OG Winchester guru

That's amazing. It's a running joke that Supernatural kills off every guest star eventually, but Missouri managed to be the only major guest star with a connection to the Winchesters from season 1 to survive for so long.

Oh my God!

So how do you feel about the ending she was given, and would you have liked to see her come back for the final season in some capacity?

Well, they can still bring her back. They can bring a ghost on anytime they want. They should bring all the guests on as ghosts.

Yeah, definitely.

Except they wouldn't let us into Canada. We can't get in.

Yeah, sadly, they filmed the last episode, but fans were hoping a lot of people would come back.

Wouldn't that have been great?

It would have been so cool for Missouri to be their guru in heaven. That would have been epic.

Oh my God!

She's their first guru on Earth — have her be their guru in heaven.

You need to write. That's what that is. You need to write you some shows, girl! [Laughs]

Sassing Dean Winchester

Dean Winchester has faced off demons and Lucifer himself, but Missouri is the only character to sass Dean into silence — and John for that matter. What was it like working with Jensen Ackles and developing that comedic dynamic, and then also Jeffrey Dean Morgan during the final few heartbreaking minutes of "Home"?

Oh my God, it was just a great experience. That's all I can say. It seemed like it happened in another world. It's been so long ago, in a way, with everything else that's going on here in 2020. That was just, what, 2017 that we did the remake thing? Yeah.

You had a fun role in a flashback episode of Psych. Do you have any fun memories from that set?

Oh my God, what year was that? Psych! Oh, you know what? The fun thing that happened on that is everybody sung me happy birthday, and I don't think it was my birthday. It was like the whole crew. I think I have a tape of it that I put on the internet every now and then when someone has a birthday. That had never happened to me. They were so together over there at Psych, it was like so much fun over there too.

That's so funny. So you've played Missouri Moseley, and now you've played Eloise. Have you ever been to a medium yourself or experienced anything paranormal?

Well, when I was in New York, starting out, I was into astrology. I would go to an astrologist, and she would tell me what my future was going to be. They were usually right, it seemed to me. Because they were so very positive when I think back on it, they just were very positive. They'd tell you that you got to do very well, blah, blah, blah. When in truth, they could have been just taking my money. I think we paid like $35 a pop for that. I don't remember, but you always had to pay for it. You don't go to a psychic for free, especially in New York. I've been to psychics before. I don't know how much truth it is, but I have had miracles happen in my life where you don't know how this came about. Some of it is getting work — I know that to be true.

But I can remember one time being in New York. I went to the mailbox to get my check, and it was gone. I went home, I was lying on the bed, but I don't know what I'm going to do, a voice said, "go cash your check." I'm going, "I don't have a check," "go cash your check." I went over to the check-cashing place, and he had my check already.

Somebody tried to bring it in and cash it. He took it from him and kept it. If I hadn't heard that voice in my head, I wouldn't have known to go over there. So I think things like that happen, and that's not a normal thing to happen, but I think things happen to people that are otherworldly, I guess you can call it.

COVID-19: Finding love in the toilet paper aisle (in theaters never)

Definitely. Is there any type of role that you would like to take on in the future?

I used to love romantic comedies. I used to always say I wanted to do that, but nowadays, you can't get close to anybody. You got to stay six feet away, so how are you going to do a romantic comedy? [Laughs]

Hopefully, that'll be done soon when it's safe.

I don't know! So it's a new normal, okay. I have to wish for something else, I guess. That used to be a wish of mine because I always thought they were so hip. You could do stuff with gowns, and fur coats, and just be romantic, that kind of thing. Girl falls in love and all that, but nah.

We've got to do a 2020 romantic comedy during COVID. Call it Online Dating.

I don't know. I don't know what they're going to do now.

Is there anything else you'd like to add about the film?

I just think everybody should watch it at Halloween and really enjoy themselves. Just get not too young of kids should see it, I think. It's gonna be on all of the media outlets, VOD, and that everybody can see it. They can watch it twice if they want to. [Laughs] I think that would be great.

Spell is available on VOD now, and the final episode of Supernatural is ready to stream on the CW. 

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