‘The Winchesters’: Bianca Kajlich on Millie’s New Role & Working With a ‘Force of Nature’

Bianca Kajlich in 'The Winchesters'
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[Warning: The following contains plot points from The Winchesters Season 1 Episode 4, “Masters of War.” So if you don’t want to be spoiled, maybe there’s a support group for ya?]

War is hell, and it wreaked havoc on John Winchester (Drake Rodger) this week as our newbie demon hunter was drawn into a case involving former military members being preyed upon by an evil force. After he and Carlos (Jojo Fleites) went undercover in an experimental support group for veterans, the emotional trauma John has been carrying since Vietnam began to resurface, leading to an hour that messed with his head…and our hearts.

Because while John and Los each battled with demons — inner and outer — we got more insight into how John’s mother Millie (Bianca Kajlich) was actually handling her son’s clearly shattered psyche. The episode also sorta welcomed Mama Winchester into the world her son has been dabbling in and opened the door for her to play a bigger role in the Supernatural of it all.

Here, Sam and Dean’s grandmother (!!!) discusses the road ahead for everyone’s favorite mechanic and her own reaction to a deeply emotional scene we won’t soon forget.

Full disclosure, I talked to showrunner Robbie Thompson last week and told him that we’re asking for more Bianca.

Bianca Kajlich: Oh, I love that! [Laughs]

Well, I love Millie. I love seeing you in this role. Although I’m having a very hard time accepting that we live in a world where you are playing the mother of a grown man.

I mean, it’s crazy. Yeah. I mean, I’m playing Jensen Ackles‘s grandmother. Like, what the…?!

It feels like a minute ago you were doing Undateable, right?

Exactly!

But I was so happy when he said that Millie gets pulled into the story a bit more. Because boy, did you this week.

Yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s fun. And as we go forward, from now on, she does get to get her hands dirty more and more. So who knows where it’s gonna end up.

Aside from playing into the monster-of-the-week storyline, we also got this beautiful development in the relationship between Millie and John. I tweeted out that your final scene was gonna break hearts. John crying in the bathtub and Millie just being there for him, gut-wrenching.

Oh, I know it. I actually cried while watching it and I always find that so funny when it’s yourself. [Laughs] I think that she knew he was really broken. I mean, as a parent, we all know our kids well enough to know when something’s off and sometimes we can shield ourselves to it to just avoid facing that heartbreaking truth, right? So I think that as Millie is adamantly trying to strong-arm her son out of this life, she’s almost in a way, inadvertently pushing him more into it. And I think this episode, she has that come to Jesus moment where it’s like, “I can’t fix this.” And Millie can fix a lot of things, so yeah, it’s heartbreaking.

The Winchesters - Bianca Kajlich + Nida Khurshid + Meg Donnelly

Elliot Brasseaux/The CW

So now, how is her entry into this world of demon-hunting going?

I’ll just say that in Episode 107, she really, really comes into it, OK? [Laughs] Like, she knew that there was a world that her husband was part of, but how much of that did she actually think was real? And that’s a really tricky challenge, to mentally wrap her head around that. Like, she hasn’t seen monsters or ghosts [before], so how do we grasp that?

As much as we don’t wanna think about the last couple years and what has happened, I did think about how quickly we all accepted something that had never before existed in our experience. How quickly did we all just lock ourselves in our houses and go, “No, I’m not, we’re not going, I’m not doing anything”? And so that really kind of helped me to address Millie going into this world. I think we underestimate, as human beings, how quickly we can come around to the idea of a threat if it’s big enough. So when Millie learns what we’re really up against, there isn’t really time to really think about the semantics. [Laughs]

How is it filming down in New Orleans?

Oh god, it is such a joy. Honestly, the city itself is so precious and has such a unique spirit to it. And I hate to call ’em kids because I feel really old when I say that and they’re not really kids at all, but this cast is so lovely and so mature for where they’re at in their lives. I mean, God, I wish I could have been that way at their age. They’re not jaded, there’s no cynicism. They’re so eager and it reminds me of when I first got started in the business and it’s allowed me to transport myself back to that time and to just play. It really has been a dream job.

And I also think that’s it genetic, right? It comes down from the mothership. Jensen and Jared, they created that atmosphere for themselves on Supernatural and so it exists in our world as well.

The way the fans have reacted has been tremendous.

Tremendous. We just are pinching ourselves. The more that I work in this business, I realize it’s the captain of the ship who really does dictate the direction of the boat. And to have people like Robbie Thompson and Jensen, who played this character for 15 years — I mean, can I tell you, I know projects I worked on for two years that I was like, “Never again! No!” [Laughs] And so the fact that he cares about this means so much. I have tremendous respect for Jensen and his passion and it has absolutely influenced every single one of us. And then Robbie is just, you know, he’s a unicorn. People like him just don’t exist.

Nice. Now, without spoiling anything going forward, have you gotten to work on other sets aside from the garage? Have they gotten you out in the swampy bayou heat?

Um, yes I did. For this episode, we worked at a hospital that was super spooky… I mean, the locations in New Orleans are something spectacular. And I’m praying that because I didn’t go to Vietnam, I will not have to do any of the jungle work. Because we don’t need that. [Laughs]

But I love the garage. In my opinion, and I’m biased, it’s the best set because it’s an actual location. My eight-year-old daughter visited me last week and we drove by it and she was like, “Oh, like there’s something so cool about it.” And they leave that Winchester up all the time.

Oh so now fans can go drive by and take the pictures? It’s now a real spot!

It’s a spot. Yeah. It’s like the Peach Pit, right? Yes. [Laughs]

Oh my God, you’re speaking my language. Last week, Robbie mentioned how easily you and Drake formed this chemistry. What was it like when you first met him? Did you immediately feel maternal?

Ok, so the funniest thing is — and Jojo always loves to tell this story — the first night [of production], we all went out to dinner and then we walked around New Orleans for hours. When we got back to our hotel, Drake was like, “I’m so hungry still.” And I was like, “I’ll make you a tuna fish sandwich … Seriously, I have everything in my room because room service is closed.” And so we have pictures of me like kissing him on his head and giving him a sandwich. Like we played it out. [Laughs]

And you know, his actual biological mother and I have the same birthday. It’s all very weird. We’re also very close in age. I’m basically his mother!

The Winchesters - Drake Rodger + Meg Donnelly

The CW

Well, ya both done good, because he’s a wonderful guy. And the work you two do on screen is so natural, it feels organic.

Thank you so much for the compliment, but also Drake is phenomenal. He is a force to be reckoned with and I love working with him. He is a scene partner’s dream and we just have a lot of fun together. It’s really been delightful.

The Winchesters, Tuesdays, 8/7c, The CW