Meet The Winchesters! Jensen Ackles and Co. Preview The New Series at NYCC Press Room

It was a whirlwind weekend in New York City, and for me – a long time passionate Supernatural fan – the most exciting part of the weekend was getting a chance to ask a few questions to the cast, showrunner and executive producers of the Supernatural prequel series ‘The Winchesters’ which premieres tonight on the CW! I spoke to producers Jensen and Danneel Ackles, showrunner Robbie Thompson, and series stars Meg Donnelly and Drake Rodger on Sunday at New York Comic Con.

Press rooms are always a combination of highly stressful (will I have time for this one or have to run to the next one…) and highly enjoyable (especially when it’s a cast and a show you really care about, like this one is for me). A big thank you to the publicity team who organized this one, because they kept everyone on schedule, despite it sometimes inevitably being like herding cats, and made sure we all got a chance to meet with all the talent. For me, this press room was also a Supernatural mini-reunion, and I was thrilled to get the chance to see some fellow journalists who are also long-time SPN fans in the room.

Executive producers Jensen and Danneel Ackles came with daughter JJ, who patiently waited for her parents to walk the carpet and make the rounds to each press table.

It’s always wonderful to see Jensen, whose hugs are exuberant (and whose green velvet jacket, I can happily report, was just as soft and cuddly as it looked when squished against it). It was extra wonderful to see Danneel, who I haven’t had the pleasure of saying hello to in far too long – her hugs are also wonderful, as was her 70s inspired outfit. Gorgeous!

I’ve been lucky enough to have some in depth conversations with showrunner and writer Robbie Thompson over the years, but it’s been a while, so seeing him again was also a thrill. His episodes of Supernatural are some of my favorites, so I’m ecstatic to have him helming The Winchesters.

Jensen and Danneel, with their years of experience doing red carpets and press lines, made sure he took off his lanyard before the cameras snapped – just like any family would!

Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly are brand new to me, so I was happy to get a chance to talk to them about taking on the iconic roles of John and Mary Winchester – and by the time they left our table, I was even more excited to see them do just that! Drake has been a Supernatural fan for a long time, and clearly cares about the show and its canon just as all of us fans do. Meg is new to the show, but its history and importance are something she’s clearly already absorbed and understood.

Here are a few highlights of our conversation, which is included in its entirety in the yotube video linked here.

My question for them kicked off our table’s chat.

Lynn: The fandom was both excited and nervous about a prequel for Supernatural. One of the things that has been reassuring for me is to hear how you both talk about the show – Drake, you’ve been a fan long before this new show came along, and Meg, you talk about it in a way that suggests you really ‘get it’.

Fifteen Seasons and It Was So Good, How Could It Be Better?

Drake: I resonate with you, because when I saw the prequel come along, I was like oh come on, there’s no way, 15 seasons and it was so good as what it was, how could it be better? And then I read the script and was like, that’s how!  They have something here, this is not just to put product out – the series means so much more to them (the creative team).  For Jensen, after 15  years, it’s not about product, it’s about story. He had a story that he really wanted to tell for characters that he loved, John and Mary.

Meg said at the time it aired, it was too scary for her (and sometimes this one is too).

Meg: Watching it now, especially the John and Mary scenes for context, it’s such a beautiful show. And learning about it from Jensen and from Jared (Padalecki), it was such an honor learning about the show. We constantly think about the fans and their expectations and keep asking how can we make it better.

Lynn: Well your passion for this really helps!

Meg talked about taking inspiration from shows like Buffy – and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Drake: That’s the vibe!

She’s not used to playing a character that’s so closed off, Meg said, but it sounds like she’s enjoying that challenge too.  Drake is finding all the Latin a challenge, just like Jensen and Jared did years ago.

Meg shared with a laugh that Jensen gave her the advice not to ever sink on her heel when standing next to Drake, since that will make you look even shorter – something he had to learn from all those years of standing next to Jared Padalecki!

Jensen also gave Drake the advice that, when it’s not your coverage, make sure you make the other people pay for it – as in, making faces to crack them up! A Supernatural tradition for sure.

I was very happy to see showrunner Robbie Thompson in person after a long time, and we all were excited to get to ask him some questions. I asked him about the character of Carlos, after his history of writing some of the most beloved original characters in Supernatural like Charlie, who was important to fans in terms of representation.

Robbie: When I’m creating characters, I don’t really think about that. I know that Charlie is a character who has really endured – someone just thanked me for her and I said thank Felicia (Day)! It’s hard for me to separate coming up with the idea and the collaboration with the actor. JoJo is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, and they are such a national treasure and a delightful energy. So what they’re bringing, I’m excited to have that connect with the audience. But you just never know. For Charlie, I had said, we need a Felicia Day type and Sera Gamble was like well, how about Felicia? And I was like, we can just do that?!  But it’s a real credit to JoJo and also to Robert Ulrich, our casting director, and his team.  They cast Supernatural too. Carlos was probably harder to cast, since it’s a very fun character who had a very dramatic entrance as you’ll soon see. I’m really excited for people to meet these characters, they’re amazing and it’s been such a collaboration with this cast. You can’t recreate Jared and this guy (pointing to Jensen), you just can’t, but what we wanted to do was find the type of fun atmosphere that we had and I think we’ve done a good job.

Someone else asked how he made sure that everything will align with Supernatural (adding that otherwise the fans will be coming for you!)

Robbie: And they should! I was the first to ask that question. The great thing about working on Supernatural was we always pushed the boundaries and could think outside the box, and that takes two to tango, a great cast which we had and a great audience who’s willing to go there with you…. We do not want to one thing that will undo one moment of Supernatural. So for anyone who thinks this will change things or change the ending, no. How we get there? That might be a surprise, but we will reveal it in episode 13, I promise. Now if you’re someone who’s seen 15 seasons of Supernatural (stares at Lynn meaningfully…) you’ll probably have a good solid guess about what’s going on in a couple directions. I’m sure fans have theories already and that’s good. But we have no interest in control alt deleting Supernatural. We want a show that can live on its own and be its own thing, and because we have the ability to do these out of the box things, we have a creative solution for it.

Robbie said that it was equal parts terrifying and exciting to tackle this prequel. I didn’t get video of the rest of Robbie’s chat with us, so I’m including here most of the rest of his interview because it was all equally fascinating!

Supernatural Didn’t End, We’re Just Pausing It

Robbie: When we did the 200th episode of Supernatural, it wasn’t my idea, but they said we’re doing a musical episode, and I was like, that’s terrifying – I wanna write it! When we were in that scary space, that was the sweet spot. Jensen says it all the time, Supernatural did not end, we’re just pausing it. It is my firm hope that he and the taller one put the boots back on someday and get back in that Impala, and we spoke very explicitly about not doing anything that would impede that or undo anything that fans have loved over the seasons.

He said he went back and watched ‘In The Beginning’, the episode where Matt Cohen and Amy Gumenick played John and Mary.

Robbie: the thing that struck me about it on the rewatch was the thing that struck me originally, which was who is this guy? That’s not Jeffrey Dean Morgan! Obviously a different actor, but the performance was so wonderful and so layered and interesting, I was like, something else was going on in this kid that predates Mary dying. The fact that she dies obviously is horrifying and traumatic, and there’s the Viet Nam trauma as well, but it sort of created a lane to be in. When I left Supernatural, Mary was being brought back, and it was the only thing that might have pulled me back in because I love the character and Samantha Smith is a great actress. And that was another character who someone put a knife in her hand at four. That’s a character I wanted to explore more of. I want to show the audience why they made some of the choices they made. She’s already decided to leave hunting in that episode, and that’s like a superhero life, it blew my mind when I saw it. But the decision tree that led to that seemed like a lane for us to explore. We have a great group of writers, David H. Goodman, and we all got excited about how do we find our lane from what existed and both amplify and shed new light on things the audience didn’t know about.

He also said Millie is another character through which they do that exploration, and talked a bit about the casting process for John and Mary, acknowledging that Jeffrey Dean Morgan really put his stamp on the character.

Robbie: He showed up and it’s like oh, shit’s going down, dad’s home! Same with Sam, that iconic image of her is seared into your brain, so that was a challenge.

Robbie also said that Drake has a really fantastic perspective on John and his history and is really excited about playing that darkness. The Matt Cohen you meet is oh, I like that guy, then you meet Jeffrey and you’re like oh, that guy’s kinda scary!  Being able to show that journey is fantastic and it’s a similar thing with Meg and Mary.

I’ll Never Be Done With Dean, And He’ll Never Be Done With Me

Our conversation with Jensen and Danneel Ackles started with us asking about his long hair (that he’s now stuck with thanks to his role in Big Sky).

Danneel (smiling) I love it.

Me: So do we!!

Jensen: I may not have a say in this…

I think he lost that battle, like completely.

Someone at our table dared to say ‘just when you thought you were done with Dean….” and Danneel immediately corrected, ‘he’ll never be done with Dean.’ Jensen agreed that he’ll never be done with Dean and “Dean will never be done with me.”

Me: (silently) THANKGOD!

Jensen recalled how in the early days of Supernatural, he didn’t think they’d get more than 3 seasons – and he’d be excited about getting 3 seasons!

Jensen: You get more than three, that’s a runaway success.

Not to mention the show was on multiple networks and survived all those changes.

Jensen: I’m still very proud of every episode we did and every season we completed…. I think all of us ingrained into this world were always looking to expand it.

He also shared the story of coming up with this idea during the Covid break and of wanting there to be a Winchester in it, of following the waypoints of the original story but filling in the blanks in a way that wasn’t suspected.

Jensen: Enter Robbie Thompson!

A Romance Instead of a Bromance

Someone asked what fresh perspective Danneel brings to the table and Jensen laughed.

Jensen: The 70s!

Danneel: That’s what got me excited, I do love that period in time and there are things happening now that are very similar so it’s interesting to watch those parallels. But I also kept driving home the love story of this. Because that’s something that’s been said again and again, Supernatural was not loved because it’s a show about monsters, it’s about the brothers.

Jensen: it was the love story of two brothers, to be honest, it really was.

Danneel: We’re following another love story.

Jensen: This is a romance instead of a bromance.

Danneel: And there are other characters, so when you see those other characters you also see the love between Carlos and Latika and Mary and all those other relationships, which reminded us a lot of Supernatural because we brought in like Castiel and the love that was created there.

Jensen: It’s a team, not only fighting the good fight but fighting for each other.

My question followed along from that discussion.

Lynn: I so agree, Supernatural was a love story, absolutely. It was a love story that was a platonic one, which is so unique and rare, so what’s the difference when you’re conceptualizing this love story, which is a more traditional romantic love story?

Jensen: Well obviously we know where they end up so we know the romance worked, but it is the getting there that we really wanted to mess with. And that’s where Robbie came in and said it should be not necessarily a forbidden love, but it should be a love that is fought against. It should be something that is, I can’t do this because it means that I’m gonna have to do this. I can’t bring you in, I can’t get too close to you, so it’s that friction, that resistance, but ultimately they can’t help wanting to fight for each other or wanting to fight for that love. And I think that resistance and struggle gives us great story and great character drive and motivation, not only individually but also together.

Danneel: And the sacrifices people do for that kind of love, I mean you do in all love, but the kind of sacrifices you’ll make for your children.

Jensen: It’s a different kind of love.

Danneel: If you have children or even a dog, because Jensen would have laid down his life for our dog just the same – everyone who’s a parent knows.

Jensen: That unconditional love, yeah.

Lynn: That’s a pretty good parallel, that was a great answer!

Jensen: (triumphantly) Hah!

(I don’t have an update on the Ackles family dog Icarus, but I can certainly vouch for the love they have for him – and him for them! I had the pleasure of meeting him when he was a pretty new fluffy puppy fifteen years ago and he was already besotted with Jensen, wriggling with joy as soon as he came offstage.)

Having a chance to talk with the Ackles, Thompson, Rodger and Donnelly gave me some of the reassurance I was looking for as a long-time Supernatural fan who loves the canon just as it is and doesn’t want it messed with. It’s plain to see they all care about not just this series, but the Mothership series that inspired it and is its sequel.  And I’m as hopeful as ever, if not more, that – as Robbie said – one day soon Jensen and “the taller one” will put those boots back on and climb back into the Impala. Until then, I’m ready to watch John and Mary drive.

You can watch the videos of all three interviews at the links below – and you can watch The Winchesters series premiere tonight on the CW! Stay tuned for some joint coverage of The Winchesters along with The Winchester Family Business from the pilot screening and panel at NYCC!

Jensen and Danneel Ackles Video Interview:

Drake Rodger and Meg Donnelly Video Interview:

Robbie Thompson Video Interview:

Enjoy The Winchesters tonight on the CW – and let me know what you think when you watch!

– Lynn

You can read Jensen Ackles, Jared

Padalecki and many other Supernatural

cast thoughts on fandom and the show in

their chapters in Family Don’t End With

Blood and There’ll Be Peace When You

Are Done – links here or at:

 

 

 

 

Jensen Ackles on Finding the Nuance in Soldier Boy – Exclusive Interview

The season 3 finale of The Boys was a tour de force for the entire cast and crew, from the writing to the directing to the effects to the score, and certainly the performances from every single actor. I’ve been a Jensen Ackles fan since Supernatural premiered way back in 2005, so I know how powerful his acting is, but to see him bring to life an entirely different character in this season, who is so very not Dean Winchester, has been eye opening nevertheless. He brings to Soldier Boy not just the toxic masculinity we were expecting, but a vulnerability that is unexpected, with subtle expressions and gestures and tone of voice, showing us so much more than we would have understood from the dialogue alone.

SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE SEASON FINALE!

In the finale, Soldier Boy opens up to Butcher as the two drink together, perhaps sensing that they share some big time daddy issues.  As a manufactured superhero who’s had to hold up a fake persona for literally a century, Soldier Boy seems relieved to tell the truth – the Soldier Boy Story movie was BS. He wasn’t a poor kid with a heart of gold on the streets of South Philly who woke up with abilities; his father owned half the steel mills in the state.

Soldier Boy: I went to boarding school. Got kicked out of boarding school. Because I was a fuck up. But he made sure I knew it.

This Butcher can relate to, intimately, asking if he used a belt (like Butcher’s father did).

Soldier Boy: Never laid a hand on me. He couldn’t be bothered. Said I was a disappointment. Not good enough to carry his name. So I went to his golf buddies in the War Department and they got me into Dr. Vought’s Compound V trials.  I became a superhero. Strongest man alive, fuckin’ ticker tape parades when I came home.

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He says it all with bravado, trying to keep the persona up even as he’s finally telling the truth. What did the old man say then, Butcher wonders.

Soldier Boy: Ah. He said I took a short cut. That a real man wouldn’t have cheated.

That toxic masculinity that Soldier Boy has been embodying all season laid out in his father’s brutal, intentionally cruel accusation, fueled with misogyny and homophobia, cut deep. That disgust that his son wasn’t a ‘real man’ and that complete rejection, even after Ben had transformed himself completely into what he was certain his father wanted him to be, must have been devastating. He must have thought that his father would surely love him then, only to be rejected once more.

The pain he still carries from that rejection is clear on Soldier Boys’ face, the way he hangs his head, suddenly feeling vulnerable.

I spoke to Jensen Ackles in an exclusive one on one interview about that scene in the finale, which is one of my favorites of the entire season. In typical Jensen fashion, he gave credit to all the talented people who collaborate to make the show so special.

Lynn: Hearing the backstory of how his father treated him, I felt like I started to “get it” a little. Not that it excuses his behavior, but it starts to explain it. And you made the decision to play the character with a lot of nuance, vacillating between vulnerability and trying to connect to others, and then just erupting in rage. It’s dizzying to watch all that happen within the space of seconds, but the best part of the character is that you really pulled that nuance off. Was that an explicit note to make that nuance part of the character or something you inferred?

Jensen: A lot of that is in the script, it’s just really good writing. Kripke is such a vivid storyteller with his words, and he does it in such a precise, almost surgical way, that in reading it – not just Kripke but his whole writing staff is so talented – that a lot of that nuance is either right there on the page or certainly implied. And they allow us to kinda navigate it and find it. So I definitely was looking for that, and that’s a note that he’s been giving me since the beginning of Supernatural.

Lynn: It was so much a part of Supernatural also, yes. A big part of why I fell for Dean Winchester so hard.

Jensen:  It’s nice to know he’s still encouraging us to find the nuances of the scenes and make those moments in between the moments count.

Lynn: Well, you did. I was a little angry at you, like damn it, I knew he was gonna put just enough vulnerability in there that I was not gonna be able to just outright hate this character. And the entire fandom has been flailing along with me with the same quandary, so good job, good job.

Jensen: It was fun to play those colors, to be just such an outwardly gross character, but to play him in a way that you do feel bad, you feel bad for this big guy’s journey even though you shouldn’t.

Lynn: I think that’s exactly it. I felt bad even though I kept saying, what are you doing? It got to the point when I thought he might die and I was yelling at the screen no no no no don’t die don’t die!

Jensen: (laughing)

Lynn: This episode was painful to watch because of all my conflicting feelings. But Supernatural was also painful, so I guess maybe that’s just me…. Don’t judge.

Jensen: (laughing) Maybe that’s what we should be delving into, Lynn. What does this say about you?

Lynn: Oh no, let’s not go there…

Luckily, he let me off the hook.

In the end, Soldier Boy can’t accept what his son is offering, even though he has wanted a chance to raise a child and “do it better”. But Soldier Boy is confronted with a son who personifies all the things he hates most about himself – all the things his father accused him of. It’s tragic that, in the final moment, Soldier Boy can’t shake loose of his father’s brutal definition of what it is to be a man. All he can see is Homelander looking weak. A disappointment. All those things that his father called him, and that he constantly fears in himself, and so he can’t bear to see that in his own son. So he lashes out, recapitulating his own father’s rejection and cruelty.

But he does it with no joy; his face reflects the pain he too is feeling, his inescapable disappointment in himself. And of course, there are tragic consequences.

At least he’s not dead – Eric Kripke has said that Soldier Boy will definitely be back at some point and Jensen has said that if Kripke asks, he’ll come running. I  swear, I could hear the sigh of relief from the entire fandom from all over the globe at that moment. Thanks for making us care so much, Jensen and Eric. I think.

Stay tuned for my deep dive on The Boys season finale – coming later today!

Caps: javkles

– Lynn

You can read Jensen Ackles’ thoughts on fandom,

Dean Winchester and Supernatural in his chapters

in Family Don’t End With Blood and There’ll Be

Peace When You Are Done – links here or at:

Jensen Ackles on Soldier Boy and ‘That Scene’ in The Boys Episode 3.7

This week’s episode of The Boys let us get to know Soldier Boy a lot better – in all sorts of ways, some for the better and some for the worse. When I spoke with Jensen Ackles about his portrayal of Soldier Boy, we touched on a few of the scenes that happen in this episode, “Here Comes A Candle To Light You To Bed.”  The episode is a deep dive examination into toxic masculinity and how cultural norms of violence fueled by misogyny and homophobia have left many of the male characters on this show emotionally damaged and with ready access only to anger and rage.

SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE EPISODE YET!

Butcher, Homelander and Soldier Boy are all struggling with those messages and what it means to be a man, but it’s Hughie who is willing to call BS on some of them in this episode. As he and Soldier Boy walk through the woods in pursuit of more revenge on Payback, Hughie shows concern for an unconscious Butcher. Soldier Boy ridicules him for it, first asking how hard Butcher must have sucked his dick for all that worry, and then saying they’re on a mission and have to just get the job done, like he did when he fought the Nazis and stormed Normandy.

gif jensenandtheboys

Soldier Boy: You wanna know what I do when I’m sad or scared? Fucking nothing. Because I’m not a fucking pussy.

That’s a pretty good description of toxic masculinity and its roots in raging misogyny, and it’s a mantra that Soldier Boy has adopted wholesale. It’s also tragic, leaving him with no outlet for legitimate feelings of sadness and fear and a lot of reasons to project so he doesn’t have to even recognize those emotions.

Hughie has had it with fear keeping him back though. He gets in Soldier Boy’s face, saying he didn’t storm shit and that his whole Marlboro Man act is fucking crap.

Soldier Boy punches him in the face – which is the perfect toxic masculinity response for sure!

I spoke with Jensen Ackles in an exclusive interview about that scene and the theme of toxic masculinity that Soldier Boy embodies in this season of The Boys.

Ackles: He’s a character from a time when men were supposed to shut up and not have feelings and not cry and be manly and be tough, and women were supposed to know their place. And I think he’s using it in a way which only Kripke can, in his satirical voice of pulling back the curtain on what we’re dealing with as a society to a certain extent now. Kripke uses Soldier Boy to represent that old ideology.

He touched on the scene in this episode where Soldier Boy and Hughie confront each other about how to handle emotions and what it means to be a man.

Ackles: In that scene where he’s talking to Hughie in the forest and he says, wanna know what I do when I’m scared? Nothing. Cause I don’t get scared. It’s like he doesn’t allow himself to have those feelings because he can’t, he was told to be tough.

cap majesticjensen

Exactly. As were Butcher and Homelander, with similar results. And that’s pretty tragic.

I also asked Jensen about the lines he didn’t want to cross in the show and that he eventually worked through with showrunner Eric Kripke, which I was fairly certain had to do with some scenes in this week’s episode. He said there was a scene that got cut that started out with Soldier Boy “going in hot and heavy” making out with an older woman who was a maid at the motel, in the scene when Butcher and Hughie walk in with snacks.

Ackles: That wasn’t the line, but that was the jumping off point of when we see Soldier Boy in The Legend’s bedroom. That was supposed to be … a lot more interactive, we’ll say…

Me: That was my guess!

gif abordelimpala

Ackles: Soldier Boy had a thing for women in their older years and maids for some reason. We were supposed to be in a … much more compromising position… when they walked in. But I was like, I don’t think any of us are gonna be comfortable doing this.

In typical Jensen fashion, he was more concerned about the actresses, who he said he was pretty sure didn’t want to be doing that either!

It’s clear that The Boys is every bit as much of a collaborative show as Supernatural always was, so of course they made some joint decisions about what would fly and what wouldn’t (apparently with the help of some stick figure sketches in those ‘compromising positions’ Jensen mentioned.  Personally I thought the scene as it was aired worked perfectly.

Stay tuned for my deep dive recap and review of this episode coming up soon, and more from my exclusive interview with Jensen Ackles after the finale of Season 3 airs at the end of next week!

– Lynn

You can read Jensen Ackles’ thoughts on fandom

and Supernatural in Family Don’t End With Blood

and There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done – links

here on the home banner or at:

 

 

Exclusive Chat with The Boys’ Jensen Ackles – Season 3 Premieres Tomorrow!

Prime Video’s Season 3 of the hugely successful series ‘The Boys’ premieres tomorrow, and anticipation is through the roof. It’s been a month of press appearances and red carpet premieres and following the cast on a whirlwind European tour, with The Boys social media wizards rolling out daily content that has kept the fandom more well fed than Supernatural fans would have been in a bloody YEAR! I am not at all used to this, but I could get spoiled pretty quickly.

It’s clear from the sneak peaks and ‘leaked’ Public Service Announcement outtakes and teaser trailers that Season 3 is going to be amazing – but let me tell you, having watched the entire thing, it is BEYOND amazing. I felt like my head was going to explode from the twists and turns and revelations, and from the unexpectedly strong (and mixed) emotions I kept experiencing – and I assure you, Victoria Neuman was nowhere nearby. I loved that Supernatural was always a roller coaster ride for me, and The Boys takes me on the same kind of journey. With even more blood and guts and ALOT more non-G-rated content!

There have also been a slew of interviews with the cast, and yesterday I joined in the fun. I had a lovely chat with Soldier Boy himself yesterday afternoon, aka Jensen Ackles. Mostly I wanted to delve deep into understanding his new character on The Boys for its third season, and that part of the interview will have to wait until it’s not so spoilery, but we also had time to reminisce a little about his last show (and my favorite show of all time), Supernatural, and how working on The Boys was both different and similar.

When you watch a show for 15 years like I did Supernatural, you get pretty familiar with your favorite character (that would be Dean Winchester) and the way in which an actor portrays him (that would be Jensen). I used to play a game where I’d try to figure out what lines were ad-libbed, since that happened a fair amount on Supernatural. They were inevitably some of my favorite lines. According to Ackles, my track record was pretty good. Soldier Boy, on the other hand, is a brand new character. I don’t really “know” him that well, so it’s harder to pick out those improvised moments. I asked Jensen if he could think of any examples off the top of his head.

Jensen: There were some, I’m trying to think – I just watched the whole season through this weekend.

Me too, Jensen. It was a bloody wild ride!

Jensen: There wasn’t a whole lot of room for that though, given the character and given the type of scenes we were filming.  I know like all of the stuff that we did, like the PSA that got ‘leaked’, that was just me and Phil (Sgriccia) messing around.

Me: I totally should have called that one.

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If you missed the priceless PSA outtakes and Ackles’ perfectly grumpy delivery, I tweeted it when it was released and kept the fandom gif makers very very busy.

PSA Trailer

Sgriccia has directed on many of Eric Kripke’s shows, including being a long-time director on Supernatural. I once had the great privilege of being on set when he was directing and sitting behind him to watch. (Jensen introduced him as “the man, the myth, the legend” and believe me, I didn’t need to be reminded to be in awe! In fact, I guess I was more or less frozen in silence so as not to interfere with filming, because eventually Phil turned around in his chair and exclaimed, “you are the quietest person I’ve ever met!” Which, I am NOT – but it was Phil Sgriccia!)

That PSA has Ackles ad-lib written all over it. No wonder I love it so much.

At that moment in our chat, Ackles began laughing.

Jensen: You know what’s funny? I’m driving [with a driver] to the airport right now and literally looking up at a billboard and I see my face right there on the Y – and I look over there and there’s another one, literally right across the street, the same one. Like my face is right here in the middle of LA!

Me: OMG that’s so bizarre. Savor it, not many people have that experience, that’s for sure!

(He posted the moment on his Instagram a little while later haha)

I also asked him what it was like being “the new guy” on set after having experienced the Supernatural set for fifteen seasons, with a cast and crew who were essentially family after all that time.

Me: It was a special set.

Jensen: Yeah, it was. And you know, this was fun for me. It wasn’t basically being the co-leader of a set for fifteen years, and it was kinda interesting – almost refreshing – to be the guest on somebody else’s set. Being the guest at the dinner table. And it was nice to kinda sit back and watch somebody else lead and set the tone for that set. I think Karl does an amazing job, Ant does an amazing job, they are all really great – not just at portraying their characters, but also providing a really healthy fun and creative space to make the show. So it was nice to kinda plug myself in.

Me: You can tell that you all got along well. Even the interaction in the press interviews and the way everyone can tease each other. It seems like it worked out really well.

From Claudia Doumit IG
From Jensen Ackles IG

Jensen: It’s great and I had a lot of fun and again, like everybody who I was working with, they just brought it. It’s a different level. I felt like it was the same great energy level that I was so used to on Supernatural, but on a much bigger stage.

He is definitely right about both the energy level and the size of the stage – don’t miss Season 3 of The Boys, premiering tomorrow on Prime Video.

And stay tuned for much more about The Boys and more of my exclusive interview with Jensen coming up!

– Lynn

For more from Jensen Ackles on fandom

and how that’s impacted him, and on

Supernatural, you can read his chapters

in Family Don’t End With Blood and

There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done

 

 

The Music of Supernatural – Composer Jay Gruska on Scoring the Emotional Series Finale and More

I have long said that the music of Supernatural has had a significant impact on the show – making it memorable and especially giving it the emotional resonance that it had for all fifteen seasons. That’s not something that every genre “horror show” can say, and I’m not sure any can say it with as much pride as Supernatural. The music added so much to the emotional impact of the series finale, so I was excited to talk to composer Jay Gruska about scoring that episode and the emotional episode ‘Despair’, as well as his fifteen years working on my favorite show.

As with many of the  people working on SPN (and another thing that made it so unique and wonderful), the same two composers worked on the show for its entire run – Christopher Lennertz (now working with Eric Kripke on ‘The Boys’) and Jay Gruska. I’ve talked to Jay several times over the course of the show – he contributed to ‘Supernatural Psychology’ for the chapter on music in the show – so I know how insightful he is about how music is used on the show. Chris and Jay tend to alternate episodes, so Jay scored all the even numbered episodes of Season 15, including the final episode, ‘Carry On’, and episode 15.18, Castiel’s goodbye episode, ‘Despair’.

The week before we spoke, I had done a Supernatural music panel at the Southwest Popular Culture Association conference with two friends and colleagues devoted to the most recognizable musical theme in the show, ‘Americana’, which Jay composed. We had invited him to do the panel with us, but he was unable to make it due to a family party. Luckily he and I were able to coordinate our schedules for a phone chat afterwards though.

Jay: That’s amazing about the panel, and kinda flattering and sweet. I’m so bummed that I missed it, I would have loved to share my experience from my end.

Lynn: I don’t think that many composers get an entire panel devoted to one single piece of music at an academic conference – but that’s how important ‘Americana’ is to Supernatural fans.

The Emotional Rollercoaster of ‘Carry On’

Lynn: I know you read my review of the series finale so you know that I loved the barn scene even though it was incredibly painful to watch, but it was such a masterful scene. I was talking to Jensen about it recently and said that he and Jared killed it, and also that the music makes it so much more emotional. That whole piece, the piano then the strings, and then the most familiar part of Americana in the middle…

Jay: Right. As you know more than anyone, I try my best to not use Americana just at the drop of a hat. I try to really respond to when a scene is asking for it. I’ve probably made a misstep or two along the way as far as some fans are concerned – I used it once with Jack, but boy, I heard from people right away like hey, he’s not family! And I was like well yes he is to me! But don’t mess with the Supernatural fandom.

Lynn:  So true. We’re passionate, that’s for sure. And some people would definitely agree with that and some wouldn’t.

Jay: But let’s start with those performances (Jensen and Jared). Because I’m gonna be crude right now and say that without performances like that, which don’t come along often, if there’s a scene where someone is not pulling it off? You’re basically polishing a turd with the music.

Lynn: lol

Jay: My job and particularly that scene, which I count as in the top two or three if not the most emotional, well acted, just hearts-on-their-sleeves as actors and as humans moments in the whole run of the show…

Lynn: I agree!

It’s okay, Dean, you can go now.

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