Happy Birthday to Supernatural’s Richard Speight Jr!

 

September 4th is an important day in the SPN Family – it’s the birthday of Supernatural’s own Richard Speight Jr.  As I write this, Richard is hard at work up in Vancouver directing his second episode of Season 14. Today is an important day because, in my opinion, Richard is one of the most influential individuals in terms of Supernatural’s success. He’s been integral to the show not just in one capacity, but in three important ways. His first connection to Supernatural was as a guest star way back in 2007. He’s been on the Show as a guest actor intermittently since then as either The Trickster or the archangel Gabriel, spanning almost the entire run of the show. He made us laugh and fall in love with his character as the Trickster, but most recently as the tortured and traumatized Gabriel, he’s made us feel for the character and mourn his death (and cross our fingers that it doesn’t stick once again).

Acting at its best – Richard v. Richard!

Second, Richard has been directing Supernatural in addition to acting in it for the past several years, including some of my favorite episodes. Along with Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins and Amanda Tapping, Speight is one of the few actors who have also directed the show. In fact, Ackles recently told me that it was wonderful being able to rely on Richard as a director when he had to play a new character this season, Michael. It was a challenge not playing Dean Winchester in the midst of all the familiar people and visual cues that make up the Supernatural set, so Jensen asked Richard to keep an eye on his performance and make sure it was coming across as Michael, not Dean. Richard was able to help him, as Jensen said, “craft the character.” The fact that the cast trusts Speight so much, in both a professional sense and as a result of the friendship forged in over a decade of traveling the world and doing conventions together, make Speight a popular and effective director for the Show – along with the fact that he worked his ass off to perfect his directing skills.

Directing Jensen Ackles in Just My Imagination
With Just My Imagination writer Jenny Klein – Photo Chris Schmelke

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Behind the Scenes of Supernatural with Robbie Thompson

One of the absolute highlights of this year’s Comic Con for me was sitting down to chat with Robbie Thompson, gifted comic writer and screenwriter who wrote some of my very favorite episodes of my very favorite show. That would be Supernatural, in case you didn’t know. Which is pretty much impossible unless you’ve just stumbled over this blog for the first time.

I attended Robbie’s panel on Intersectional Feminism in Comics, which was awesome and entirely inspiring, so we were all in a good mood afterwards. We decided to try to find a room where there weren’t a million people around, and took a bunch of friends with us – Laurena, Candice, Anne and Kamila – who were down with listening in to our epic interview. They will henceforth be referred to as the Peanut Gallery (‘PG’). For the most part, they were PG. The most part. Just sayin.

After several false starts traversing the ginormous convention center, including being barred from using the press room for our interview, we found an empty room with lots of empty round tables. Robbie, ever the intrepid one, shrugged and said, ‘how about this one?’

Occasionally a Comic Con staffer would come in, take a look at our oh-so-professional interview in progress, and quietly back out. Score!

I start the interview by tossing my handwritten notes about what I’m dying to ask and my little vintage audio recorder on the table.

R: (points to Lois Lane like tape recorder) Look at this, so professional..

L: Hey, it’s ancient, it’s done a million Supernatural interviews.

R: Uh oh, look at this, guys…(points to what appears to be a big stack of questions, a la Inside the Actor’s Studio)  There’s going to be some Bernard Pivot in there. There may be some things I say off the record…

L: Of course, you know I’m good with that. (but honestly? There weren’t many!)

R: Okay let’s do this!

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Carrie Genzel on the Perils and Rewards of Guest Starring on Supernatural!

carrie jmi2

It’s no secret that I loved the recent Supernatural episode, ‘Just My Imagination.’ I loved Jenny Klein’s script, I loved Richard Speight’s directing, I loved the cinematography, I loved the acting. So I was thrilled to have a chance to talk to Carrie Genzel, the actress who played the cluelessly glitter-and-blood-smeared mom so brilliantly. Little did I know that our conversation would end up being so much fun – and so hysterical!

Lynn: Thanks for chatting with me, I was really looking forward to talking to you.

Carrie: Oh me too, I loved your article, the one I commented on about the episode. I was like, wow, Lynn’s really thorough!

Lynn: [laughing] That’s one way of putting it. Kathy would say I just can’t shut up! Grad school makes you very detail oriented…and then you can’t unlearn it!

Carrie: Yeah but that’s a good thing. Everybody thinks they can write and gets on social media, but it’s usually not that in depth, and when you read something that obviously was researched — you went to different sources and took the time to research everything, so I was like wow, this article stands out.

Lynn: Thank you, that’s so nice of you to say. Sometimes I have to shake my head at myself. This isn’t my actual job, but when it comes to Supernatural, I kinda get carried away easily.

[I know, I know. Understatement.]

Carrie: I’m sure people really enjoy them as well because they’re really getting some great little nuggets of information and great little stories or something that isn’t just out there in the public eye or that they can just read anywhere. You’re getting the special little things in your interviews and articles and they just soak everything up. It’s been pretty incredible, the reaction to the episode.

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A Great Big Beautiful Collaboration: Supernatural ‘Just My Imagination’

WB/The CW
WB/The CW

It’s taken me three days to write up this review, because there was so much to like about ‘Just My Imagination’. I’m not known for my ability to keep things brief when I have a lot to say, so I knew this review might get long. But now it’s a sunny Saturday morning on the East coast, and my Friday night rewatch is fresh in my mind, so here goes.

In case that wasn’t clear from the first paragraph, I loved it! Sometimes it makes me nervous to have a lot of anticipation about an episode – I felt that way about Robbie Thompson’s ‘Baby’ episode too, after hearing about it from Jared, Jensen and Robbie before hand. This time, I had the pleasure of chatting with episode director Richard Speight Jr. several times and with writer Jenny Klein too – not to mention, Jensen told me more than once how much he liked the episode and how excited HE was about it – so let’s just say, my expectations were high. Sometimes that’s a bad thing, but in this case, I think my giddiness worked perfectly to make the first watch even more enjoyable.

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From Trickster to Director: An SPN Family Journey With Richard Speight Jr.

Richard and Jenny, Photo Chris Schmelke
Richard and Jenny, Photo Chris Schmelke

It’s a little after 1 am EST and I just finished watching ‘Just My Imagination’. OMG. I’m blown away and cannot wait to write up my review! Last night at 1 am I was on the phone with the director of tonight’s episode, Richard Speight Jr., and he was telling me just how proud he was of it. Now I see why. Oh boy, do I!

Here’s what else Richard had to say about his Supernatural directorial debut, sans spoilers – you’ll have to check back for those. Now that the episode has aired, I’ve got lots more questions for him! But for now, Richard gave us an inside look at how he ended up directing, and what it was like to be back to work on the Supernatural set.

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