Next up in our Supernatural Spring Break celebration, the There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done book club also chatted with Julie McNiven, Supernatural’s Anna and another contributor to the book. I love what her chapter has to say about how Anna inspired her and how the show and the fandom have done the same. She also had some heartwarming things to say in her chapter about filming Anna and Dean’s love scene in the Impala’s backseat, and how Jensen Ackles helped her ‘find her light’.
Here are some excerpts from the book club discussion. I neglected to explain to her that the book club was on Discord, so Julie was laughing as she sat there with her ring light ready – sorry, Julie!
JMN: Hi Everyone!
BC: The chapter was beautiful.
Lynn: Julie, you wrote your chapter more than a year ago (unbelievably) – how does it feel now to have Supernatural for real coming to an end?
JMN: Sad…but it’s been over for me for a looooong time so it feels almost unbelievable that it’s still on. It really goes to show how great this cast and fandom is!!! I’m also excited to see what my talented group of SPN friends will do next!!
BC: It’s a recurrent theme that this cast and show and set have been so different than all others.
BC: Did you ever expect for the fandom to still care about you or your character even years after her last appearance? What is the most surprising thing about that??
JMN: I NEVER expected for Fandom to care about me after my death!!! That has been the gift that keeps on giving. I’m so grateful that y’all tune in to Doom Patrol and cheesy Christmas movies to support me!!!!
BC: Anna was a complex character. Did you enjoy the challenge of playing a character that went from lost to (being) such a badass? (In response to the Christmas movie comment:) I’ve loved Matt Bomer since White Collar!
[I mean, what’s not to like about Matt Bomer? Also Doom Patrol is a great show]
JMN: This was my favorite part about playing Anna and I’d be lying if I said I was totally fine not getting one more chance to portray her…I wonder how the Empty changed her? Matt (Bomer) is a dream. So kind and an incredible acting partner.
BC: The behind-the-scenes glimpse of the how-to of intimate scenes in your chapter was eye-opening. [In which Julie writes about the challenges of the backseat scene with Jensen Ackles] I’m so glad you had a positive experience on the SPN set. Have you been able to maintain that control and self-agency on sets after that, or is it still a challenge? I would like to think we’re all moving forward along those lines, but sometimes the pace seem glacial.
JMN: I’ve been able to maintain that control but it definitely helps when the co-star is supportive and protective! They have “intimacy directors” on set now…this is new and I have yet to experience it but I think that it’s a great move.
BC: I think that a lot of people who find someone like Jensen incredibly attractive would find it easy to do this type of scene, but I think it would be so difficult and terrifying. I love that you told your story so that we see a positive way that it can be done, while highlighting that it’s not the fantasy some might have about this.
JMN: Truly, that’s the LAST thing on an actor’s mind…it’s very choreographed and does not FEEL sexy or anything.
BC: I’d definitely feel awkward faced with that type of situation.
JMN: Awkward for sure…but it’s part of the job…someone’s gotta do it. HA!
BC: I think it’d be so hard to be in character while kissing someone all while knowing 50 people are just watching.
JMN: Yup…very weird!
BC: Like, why can’t they get under a bluff (behind a blind??) like the nature filmers do when they’re watching bears or something?
JMN: HA HA!
Lynn: Julie, do you think the respectful tone of the SPN set was something that came from producers, directors, or was influenced by the leads and the tone they wanted to set?
JMN: 100 percent came from the boys…they set the tone for the crew. And of course the crew was great too…but it’s up to them to lead by example.
BC: It’s been their playground for so long. I’m always inspired by what wonderful people the SPN cast & crew are.
JMN: ME TOO!!!!
BC: It always amazes me that there are nightmare sets where the leads are just totally self-centered or bullying. Like, how does that show stay on the air if no one wants to work there???
JMN: Many times those shows don’t last long…and if they do….that’s probably MORE miserable.
Lynn: It’s clear from your chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done that your experience on Supernatural had an impact on you. Has your experience with the Supernatural fandom had an impact also? Do you think differently about fans after being part of this SPN Family?
JMN: Yes! I never even really knew fandoms existed!!! Now I feel so lucky that you guys will watch my smaller-budget passion projects…it’s a whole new world.
BC: I thought what you said in your chapter about wanting to be seen as “easy to work with” – I think that’s common in a lot of workplaces, but with acting in particular, with a higher ratio of men vs. women in leadership positions such as producing, directing, leads (gap seems to be closing a little, but we’re not there yet), do you feel there is more pressure on women to want to appear that way, or is it pretty equal?
JMN: Hmmmmm…hard to say, but I would lean to “yes”…
And with that, Julie had to run. She launched a campaign with Stands shortly after we chatted, an ‘Angel radio’ charm benefiting @KIF1A to raise funds to fight a rare neurodegenerative disease. Hopefully they’ll bring it back at some point! And she supported her friend Gen Padalecki by modeling some cute NowandGen styles too.
Lynn: Thanks, Julie. So glad you’re part of There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done as it continues to benefit Random Acts and SPN Survivors.
JMN: Thanks so much everyone!!! Love you all!!!! Bye everyone!!!
I’m looking forward to the Anna episodes as we do our Supernatural From the Start Rewatch, and looking forward to Julie’s upcoming projects too. And if you haven’t read Julie’s chapter in the book, it’s inspiring and a great example of the things that make Supernatural so unique, in such a good way.
Stay tuned for more interviews, reviews and articles as our Supernatural Spring Break week goes on a little bit longer. We’re having too much fun celebrating Supernatural to stop quite yet!
You can read Julie’s chapter along with the
other Supernatural actors’ chapters in There’ll
Be Peace When You Are Done and Family
Don’t End With Blood. Links on the home page
or at peacewhenyouaredone.com
4 thoughts on “Julie McNiven on Supernatural, Anna, and That Scene with Dean”
Don’t get me wrong. I love Julie and Anna. Buts it’s my opinion that Dean slept with the wrong Angel. Happy Spring Break everyone
Julie is a delight, so much fun. Her character was memorable and brave, offering hope to Dean at a very difficult time, her relationship with him was complex and beautiful. Anna gave Dean comfort and compassion when he most needed it, it went deeper than the physical relationship, Anna did something no one else could at that time, she made him feel loved and less hideous, less alone, enabling Dean to be able to reach out to his brother. Anna’s presence was a turning point in Dean’s life that made a huge difference to him being able to face up to his time in Hell.
Julie was awesome as Anna, and when I first watched the show I was disappointed that they killed her off so soon. Her storyline was really cool, and I still consider her one of my favorite characters.