Life is twice as nice for fans of Jim Beaver starting this Thursday, when at 9 pm/ET they can find him playing Bobby in fresh episodes of the CW's Supernatural, then at 10 watch him play sheriff on CBS' Harper's Island.
That, however, is far from all Beaver has going on. He has also just released Life's That Way, a novel chronicling his wife's battle with cancer — an ordeal which happened to coincide with their daughter's autism diagnosis. Beaver found time to talk to TVGuide.com about his labors of the small-screen and of the heart.
TVGuide.com: What drew you to Harper's Island? It does have a pretty nifty concept, being a closed-end series.
Jim Beaver: That was certainly an interesting draw. Of course I'm always up for a job, but I was a little reluctant to take this one on. Because of my family situation, I wasn't really excited about moving to Vancouver on a semi-permanent basis. But then they told me it's 13 [episodes] and out, that at the end everybody is either dead or guilty. That made me feel like I could do it.
TVGuide.com: When Harper's killed off Harry Hamlin in the first hour, it seemed to say, "All bets are off."
Beaver: That's why they did it, to let you know that any presumptions might be shattered.
TVGuide.com: What might we learn about the sheriff in coming episodes?
Beaver: Well, thus far nobody has discovered a body yet. But once they realize they're being picked off one by one, that's when the sheriff's work starts, and he becomes much more involved. He also has his daughter Abby, who doesn't see eye to eye with him, and that gets fleshed out in the upcoming episodes. You'll also find out that sheriff Mills has secrets of his own.
TVGuide.com: Turning to Supernatural, I understand an intervention of sorts is coming for Sam....
Beaver: Bobby and Dean will get together to plot out a way to save Sam from himself. Now that he's got this demon blood addiction, that's very troubling to them. But then again, Dean and Bobby don't completely agree on how to handle it, and things get heated between them as well.
TVGuide.com: What's Bobby's take on the brothers' growing rift?
Beaver: I think he shares Dean's concerns about Sam, but Bobby's always had a pretty good insight into Dean as well, about how much guilt Dean carries for not living up to what he thinks his father would have done. You're going to see Bobby try to help Dean with that, even in the midst of trying to resolve things with Sam.
TVGuide.com: Has this proven to be some of the more interesting work you've done on the show?
Beaver: Yeah! They keep giving me great fun stuff to do, and there are some luscious scenes coming up - really strong stuff between me and Jensen [Ackles] in particular. The fans are going to get satisfaction, pretty strongly, from these last few episodes.
TVGuide.com: But to balance out that good, there is buzz that Bobby might meet his maker by season's end. Do you have any words of reassurance for your fans?Beaver: Hmmm... Words of reassurance... Boy, I wish I had some!
TVGuide.com: Maybe, "If Bobby goes down, it won't be without a fight"?
Beaver: Well, nobody takes Bobby down easy!
TVGuide.com: What three words would you use to describe the season finale?
Beaver: Intense ... astonishing ... and intense again. People are going to have some of their expectations toppled.
TVGuide.com: I hear you're getting quite the turnout at your book signings.
Beaver: I figured, if you're going to have a book come out, do it while you're on a hit series. The support for this personal project of mine, particularly from Supernatural fans, has been extraordinary.
TVGuide.com: Life's That Way is a compilation of emails you sent friends and family as your wife battled cancer in 2003. Why release it now? Did you need some time to heal before revisiting it?
Beaver: For one thing, it was a while after that year-long period of emails before I came to terms with the idea that it ought to be a book. And because various TV shows have kept me fairly busy, it was hard finding time to do the work to edit it. I had to cut out about two-thirds of what was actually written.
TVGuide.com: And how is your daughter Maddie doing these days?
Beaver: Maddie is great. She's had a near-miraculous turnaround from where she was when the events of the book began. She's in second grade in a mainstream school, having a pretty good time. I think that any parent who's had a diagnosis for their child as I did would be overjoyed by how far she has come.
Additional reporting by Tina Charles, who recaps Supernatural for TVGuide.com.