Supernatural's Jim Beaver on Bobby's Ghost Powers and Taking the Fight to Dick Roman
It’s hard out there for a ghost on Supernatural. Just ask formerly living hunter Bobby, who now “haunts” his surrogate sons, Dean and Sam, while trying to figure out a way to communicate with them (to no avail). But it’s not all terrible.
“Bobby’s going to find there are certain advantages to being a ghost,” his portrayer, Jim Beaver, tells TVLine. He’ll even meet up with a fellow hunter on the otherworldly plane in this Friday’s episode (The CW, 9/8c). And his new skills — once he masters them — will come in quite handy when going up against Leviathan boss Dick Roman, hints the actor.
TVLINE | I’m impressed that you managed to keep your appearance in the last episode a secret. Did you have to employ any special, extreme measures to keep it hidden?
Mainly just lies. I had a lot of fun creating various fictions about what I was actually doing and making excuses in case anybody spotted me in Vancouver [where Supernatural films]. I had a lot of fun with it. The last few years, I’ve had quite a number of secrets I had to keep on various shows, usually involving my character’s demise. I got killed on Deadwood in February  and couldn’t tell anybody about it until it aired that August.
TVLINE | What was the best lie you came up with?
I think my whole, “I’m making a movie about the abominable snowman” [story]. It was a pretty fun little fiction to create. As I went along, I kept adding little details to the story and sinking the hook a little deeper in everybody’s mouth. … I had to do a fair amount of hiding and disguising myself when we were on location.
TVLINE | What’s Bobby up to in this week’s episode?
Initially, a lot of what we’ll see is Bobby trying to get his feet under him in this new condition. Bobby’s trying pretty hard to hang on to being a hunter even though he’s in this new state. But a lot of his old hunter skills don’t work anymore. When you’re a ghost, you can’t do all the things you could do when you weren’t a ghost. A lot of this stuff is really tough for him to figure out. But it’s going to be some of the fun, seeing how he grows as an effective ghost and a lot of the frustrations that he experiences.
TVLINE | Are there any special methods he’s using to “communicate,” so to speak, with Sam and Dean?
He eventually figures out that ghosts do have certain skills, but they don’t come easily. And they’re not always reliable. That’s tricky. He eventually does find that there are certain things that he can do. [However], Bobby gets really upset at the inconsistency and the unreliability of some of the tricks that he picks up. But it’s fun, too, because the audience will never know for sure whether Bobby can pull off what he sets out to pull off.
TVLINE | On the show, spirits who linger too long start to become angry and violent, and Bobby was already a bit of a surly guy. Is he struggling with that?
Yeah, very much. He’s well aware of what happens to lingering spirits. He’s convinced that because he knows [about] that he can head it off and outsmart destiny, I guess. That is going to play a substantial role in his immediate future, trying to head off what fate seems to decree for ghosts. Maybe he’ll be successful.
TVLINE | So he doesn’t regret his decision to not move on?
What we first run into with Bobby is he’s thrust immediately into a situation that demands all his concentration and his skills. I don’t think he’s giving a lot of thought to whether he made the right decision or not. … He’s neck-deep in a specific adventure that’s not going to give him a lot of time to ruminate on whether or not he made the right decision.
TVLINE | You have to imagine that his decision was motivated a lot by wanting to stick around and aid Dean and Sam as much as he can. So how will he help them in the battle against Dick Roman from his ghostly plane?
At first, it will be in little ways like we’ve seen – getting messages or weapons to the boys when they need them. As he becomes more in command of his abilities as a ghost, he gets more and more effective in helping the boys and, to a certain extent, taking the battle to Dick and the Leviathan himself. It won’t be entirely just Bobby helping the boys fight Dick. Bobby’s got some fight left in him.