Thanks to Misty, one of Travis’ top supporters from social media, I got the opportunity to chat with the lovely Travis Aaron Wade, aka Cole Trenton from Supernatural Season 10, about the show, the “SPNFamily” and how he got into acting.
Travis Aaron Wade is a 39 year old actor, born in Los Angeles and raised in Glendora CA. Travis is a mix of Irish, English and French descent; but most of his family are English from Newcastle, Liverpool and Manchester. He was a former High school football Captain and US Marine before getting into a career in acting which led him to play the role of Cole Trenton in three episodes (so far) of Supernatural Season 10. He appeared in the first episode of Season 10 10.01 Black, as a man seeking revenge on the person that murdered his father when he was a child.
“I am coming back when they ask me to come back. I’d be very open to coming back, look I’m not dead, but we know that they are not going to do a spin off on Cole and his family sitting around eating cheerio’s and waiting on faxes. But I’d love to see where they would go with Cole.”
– , Travis Aaron Wade
Lucy: Your fans in the Supernatural fandom have adopted the name TWadesters or the OTW’s (Original TWadesters), is it true that some of these fans got to know you before your episode even aired.
Travis: Yes, that is correct. When I was cast we were asked to keep everything quiet until it was officially announced. I don’t know how some of the fans get the information that they do, It’s highly impressive; they should probably work for our government, they are so good!
The reason TWadesters came about was I had the chance to speak with Jared and Jensen about how it’s extremely overwhelming; the amount of people that come into your life through social media and how as your success grows and your social media profile grows, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with all of it. It’s impossible to track and keep up with notifications. As my fans numbers steadily grew I felt that I wanted to establish something special for the people that were with me from the start, as a reward for those that jumped on board before it really got going. Those are some of your true fans, the ones that have looked into your life and done the research before the episode even aired. Supporting you prior to everyone else.
Lucy: You went straight into the Military after High School; how did you then make the transition from being in the Military to being an Actor?
Travis: When we get out of the military, a lot of us, we are traumatized. We didn’t know how to function in the civilian world. We don’t know what jobs to do; a lot of us try to be firemen or police officers, some kind of public servant, but essentially the civilian world and the military world are two very different worlds.
When I got out of the military I was really lost. I didn’t know what I was going to do in the civilian world. It’s really hard to really get back to the civilian way of life when you’ve gone through some of the traumatic things you’ve gone through in the military. I just remember going to my mom and saying “I don’t like the way I feel anymore. I don’t feel, I don’t have any emotions.” And she said “What is it that you love? Like what is the one thing in your life that you can right now say that makes you feel?” Well the last time I ever had any emotion or feeling was watching a movie, Braveheart specifically, as a senior in high school. It was 1994 and a bunch of us got together in my living room and put on Braveheart, and that movie just touched me on so many different levels. Its about sacrifice of life, of being a warrior and fighting for what you believe in. There’s just something about that movie that touched my soul. Its just one of those films. It’s one of the reasons why movies are made – it changes your life and makes you see things differently. She suggested that I go and work for the movie business. I asked what I could do in the movie business and she said “Well you know how to work hard, you could do lighting or grip work or building sets.”
So I went to an actress friend and asked for some advice. Her advice was to take an acting class. I took her advice and joined an acting class, where I got to watch some incredible, but not yet recognized actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, Toby Maguire & Jessica Biel to name a few. I watched them perform on stage and create these worlds out of nothing, using the scripts to connect to one and other and it just touched me. I found that you can create an emotional connection through theater and the arts, so I dove right in. I started studying acting, Shakespeare, taking dramatics in college, started taking drama courses and auditioning for plays. I did about eight plays. I went to citrus college and studied in their theater department. At the time I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to be on television or a movie actor, I just wanted to study acting.
Lucy: To start with you just wanted the theater and emotional side of acting?
Travis: If you go down the list of top ten actors they are all theater trained, so I knew that was where I needed to start. I did everything I possibly could; I read every play, I read all the greats, Shakespeare, Simon & Sheppard, fantastic playwrights, and I took a trip to New York and saw plays on Broadway. I was just transported into a whole other world of something that I completely ignored in my youth because I was an athlete, I was a jock, I wasn’t open to this world of the arts and theater.
Lucy: How did you prepare to play your character Cole?
Travis: You have very little time in television. You go in for the audition and you are lucky if you get another audition. You have no idea if you’re going to read again for something, so you go in and read and then you forget about it. But with this the breakdown was simple; ‘we’re looking for a US military type, Jeremy Renner type actor’. I knew that there were very few people in this business that fit that role. I knew Renner wasn’t available, so I had a really good shot at getting the part. I only got part of a script, which was the torture scene between me and Sam. So we simply break it down as a guy seeking revenge; he’s not bad he’s not good, he just simply wants justice and the only way he knows how to get it is through this individual. This is what he needs to do to be able to get on with his life.
Lucy: Did you add anything of yourself into the character or did you just portray it as what was written?
Travis: 99.9% of this character was exactly what was written. I just really related to this material at this stage in my life and that was a combination of great writing and great casting. I come in and say the words and through that process I discovered nicknames [for the boys] that weren’t written.
Lucy: Was that where you said ‘Sammy Boy and Dean-o’? How did Jared and Jensen react to you saying those nicknames?
Travis: Yes Deano and Sammy boy *laughs* I think I caught Jared off a little bit and it kinda aggravated him in the sense of like, ‘You don’t know me! Why are you calling me these names and acting like you know me?’ And my thought process behind it was, well, anybody who had been stalking like [Cole] has, they are going to essentially believe that they know these people. When you get to know somebody it’s human nature to come up with an association name. I always felt that ‘ah well when I get a hold of Sammy boy then maybe I’ll get a hold of Deano’. I felt like I knew these guys. I felt I really had to really let the director & writers understand my purpose for such nicknames because I think it really made sense for the character.
Lucy: Because it added something more personal to the character?
Travis: Yes, I kinda started off saying it on twitter before it was aired and got warned that I should be careful. I don’t think they knew where I was coming from, but I think they have an idea now of where he got that from. I know it’s a risk and is going a bit outside the lines, but I think as actors we have to make something ours, we have to make sense of it.
Lucy: What was it like working with the cast and crew of supernatural?
Travis: I live in an independent world and I’ve worked in an independent world for 15 years and the hardest thing is that just as you start to get going the project is wrapped. Just as everybody starts to learn their job the project is wrapped, that’s the hard part about independent filmmaking. This production is beyond a well oiled machine. To step onto a set where everybody knows each other, not just each other work-wise but also personally. They know each others families, their kids, they know how each other prepares; they know that Jensen will only need two takes for that scene or that he’ll get that [scene] done in one. These boys they come in and boom it’s done. Even with the fight scenes, Jensen could practically choreograph them himself! He comes in and we have the wonderful stunt coordinator “BIG Lou” who choreographs the fight. But he says “just let Jensen do this because he knows what he’s doing.” So Jensen comes in and he’s like boom boom boom and you’re like holy S#@t…
Lucy: Like the alleyway fight scene where Dean throws Cole through the window.
Travis: All of the fight scenes. Jensen, after 10 years doing this, is just so good at this stage fighting. You can be a professional boxer but that doesn’t mean you know how to camera fight. I think I’m four years older than Jensen but I felt like he was a senior in high school and I was a freshmen. Like he could have said ‘Ok kid I’m gonna show you how it works around here!’ He didn’t say that, he’s super sweet, but it’s like walking on campus for the first time as a freshman. He could put his arm around you and tell you how it is. I really looked up to him and I could not have been taught by anybody better. It was probably the best three fight scenes of my life where it came off great, looked good, acting was done well and nobody got injured.
Lucy: I thought the scene in the alleyway was fantastic; the violence of the fight leading into the emotional discussion afterwards.
Travis: *laughs* I hope you get to see the outtakes for season ten and I believe they’ll use this; the scene where I throw the holy water at Dean in “10.07 Girls, Girls, Girls”, they originally gave me an entire jug of water and I was like ‘would Cole really be carrying around this jug of water? Don’t I need like a flask?’ But that was all they had. It was this huge container of water and they drilled a small hole in the top of it, so on the first take when I first tried to do the splash barely any water came out. So they drilled this huge hole and on top of that they didn’t fasten the top very well. So in the next take, we’re doing it, and I throw the water and the entire thing of water came out and up in Jensen’s face and up his nose. He was saturated. In my entire 15 year career I have never laughed so hard. And I felt so bad for laughing because it was genuinely not the funnest to get a jug of water up his nostrils, but he handled it well and even managed to stay in character. And managed to say his line afterwards. If they were to use that in the actual take it would have been like a comedy! I hope people get to see it. A day later I walked up to him and said, “Dude you’re the star of the show and I did not make that happen, I hope you know that, I would never do that.” He was kind about it but in the back of my mind after that, any scenes with Jensen I was thinking, ‘he is going to get me back’.
Lucy: If Cole was to return what would you like to see happen with his character?
Travis: I think what could happen to him is pretty tragic. He goes home to his wife and kid and tries to mend the marriage and rebuild the time he’s spent on Dean and revenging his father’s death. I think it wouldn’t go well and would be tragic, then that would lead him back to Sam and Dean as he’d have nothing left back home.
Lucy: Now that Cole knows what is out there, that creatures are real, it would be difficult to ignore that and go back to a normal life?
Travis: I think as a father he’d try to teach his kid that the world’s not evil and that you’re safe, but once he’s experienced this he’d want to try and make the world a safer place for his son. And I don’t think he can go back to his day job knowing what’s out there. He’s obviously got experience with special forces, perhaps he could recruit some of them. I’ve always thought It would be great if they had an Avengers slash Supernatural. You gather some really great talented people to play some really kick butt roles and now these guys have gotta join forces and really do some damage to the world. It’s not just Sam and Dean out their on their own. I think that would be fun.
Lucy: Have you seen the fan campaigns for Cole to be the story for the spin-off series?
Travis: I have and that’s exciting. My buddy Sean Faris did the spin-off bloodlines, and I went in and read for one of the roles for that. I didn’t get it, thankfully, as I wouldn’t have gotten the role of Cole. The only spin off that would really work was one that Bob Singer, Jared and Jensen all signed off on it and wanted to be a part of it on some level, they’d have to come in an out and support the spin off. If they come in and just do a one off, I don’t think that would work. I think you need them as recurring characters on a spin off, and I wouldn’t want to do a spin off without their support.
Lucy: You had some fans come and find you while filming supernatural on location, what was that like and had you experienced that before?
Travis: Being part of a movie, being out and about you always get people come over because they think ‘oh he must be an he must be an actor or he looks like an actor.’ They’re filming and someone’s saying action and he’s the one saying the lines. So throughout my 15 years career people have always come over and been like ‘are you an actor on this movie?’ And you say yes and they ask you to sign something, but they have no idea who you are. So this experience was different. I would be sitting there and I would hear my name being called out “TRAVIS!” and it was the first time I’d had my actual name shouted out on a movie set or TV set because now they knew who I was.
Lucy: Just wait until you get to a Supernatural convention! Actually haven’t you just announced the Las Vegas convention in March?
Travis: Oh I’m really looking forward to the conventions. Creation have to see how you respond and how you deal with things, it’s understandable. I know the fans have been asking for me to be signed up to all of them, but truth be told, these cost a lot of money and they want to make sure that you are prepared for the work. I could do Vegas and be like “whoa that was not easy or that was difficult.” You never know how you’re gonna respond. You don’t want to be signed up for 10 more if you don’t really enjoy the process.
Lucy: I asked the fans if they had any questions for you and many of them asked “When will you be back on Supernatural?”
Travis: I am coming back when they ask me to come back. I’d be very open to coming back, look I’m not dead, but we know that they are not going to do a spin off on Cole and his family sitting around eating cheerio’s and waiting on faxes. But I’d love to see where they would go with Cole. I’d be just as excited as the fans would be to read that script, because I don’t know what’s in their mind and won’t until I’m given a script, which would be about two days before shooting.
Lucy: Do you use an official Facebook page?
Travis: ‘Travis Aaron Wade’ Facebook is run by Lenamarie; she’s a great young fan whom I’ve known for several years. Lenamarie is doing her best to run this page and answer questions, people have gotten confused and thought they were talking to me, but she has tried to let them know that it’s a fan-page run by her and that we only oversee it. The best way, the way to know it’s 100% me is on twitter.
Interview by Lucy Schneider, @SpnUK
- Many thanks to Travis for her generosity in doing this interview.
- Special thanks to Misty for arranging the interview.
- Thanks to all the SPNFamily that submitted questions.
You can find Travis on: