Press Tour: The bad boys of the CW debate their bad-ass quotients

The CW brought together a disparate crew for it’s Bad-Ass Boys of the CW panel during press tour — Shane West (“Nikita”), Joseph Morgan (“The Vampire Diaries”), Ed Westwick (“The Gossip Girl”), Jared Padalecki (“Supernatural”), Wilson Bethel (“Hart of Dixie”) and Kristoffer Polaha (“Ringer”) — so maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that the panel became an opportunity for the actors to goof around (and make fun of their bad-ass-ness) rather than talk about what’s coming down the pipeline for their shows. 

“You’re all familiar with the internationally standardized bad-ass test?” joked Padalecki, before adding that his character, Sam, is currently trying to “keep his wheels aligned with the road.”

“I think I’m gonna create a graph of bad ass-ness,” Bethel said. “The other thing that makes you a bad-ass is if you’re the one guy in the room on an HP.” 

Encouraged to name other bad-asses, West picked actor Michael Biehn, while Morgan suggested Gordon Ramsay, which was met with a snort from Padalecki. “Paul Dean’s more bad-ass,” he said. “Our soldiers keeping us safe are bad-ass.” 

Morgan groaned, “Now I feel like an idiot.” 

Asked why co-star Jensen Ackles wasn’t on the panel, Padalecki said, “I think he should [be here],” he said. “I came here today because Jensen is working. We got two People’s Choice Awards we couldn’t get because we were working. He should be here.”
“But in a fight, who would win?” Polaha asked. 
“Since he’s not here, I would,” Padalecki shot back. 
The actors did address the bad-ass-ness (yes, the word was used endlessly and often smirkingly) of their characters. “I worry about them making him softer,” Morgan said of his vampire/werewolf hybrid villain. “I think they can make him more human and relatable without taking away any of his badassness. I think it’s possible to have someone who’s a bit of an antihero who tears out hearts and breaks necks and you can still relate to him. I do worry, but I trust them to keep him as bad-ass as possible.”

Though Polaha claimed to have been “shocked” to be included in the panel, he did admit, “Henry is a little bit of a bad-ass. He cleaned up blood. We’ll see where he goes.”

“The entire show is bad-ass,” said West, before adding, “No more bad-asses, I swear. But the cars, the guns, the stunts. It’s like being a kid again.”

Bethel, when asked about his frequent shirtlessness on “Hart of Dixie,” responded, “Well, I’m pretty confident it will be a bad sign for my career when they tell me to stop taking my shirt off. Thankfully they told me to take the cowboy hat off, I don’t think that was my look. But I’ll know my days at the CW are numbered when they tell me to keep my shirt on.”

“And I’ll stop watching,” Padalecki wisecracked.

Asked about their real-life bad-ass behavior, most of the cast demurred. “I wasn’t wild growing up,” Padalecki said. 

Only Polaha offered up a story of bad behavior, centered around how he got into “a lot of trouble” as an eight-year-old with a gang of other kids, starting a small fire in a backyard and setting off some dismantled firework gunpowder. “The fire chief took us to the firehouse and showed us pictures of people who’d been caught up in fires. I became a reformed bad-ass.”

The panel ended shortly after Bethel was outed as — gasp! — a poetry writer, a revelation that was met with an enormous groan from his fellow CW bad-asses. “I only write it while riding my motorcycle, smoking weed, chasing rattlesnakes,” Bethel said. Well, that’s a relief.