Thursday, December 8, 2022

‘The Winchesters’: Jensen Ackles and Robbie Thompson Talk Lessons From ‘Supernatural’

TELEVISION'The Winchesters': Jensen Ackles and Robbie Thompson Talk Lessons From 'Supernatural'

The cast and executive producers of The CW’s The Winchesters were part of a virtual press conference this week, where they answered all sorts of questions about the upcoming Supernatural prequel.

As part of that, I asked the producers what lessons or things they learned from their time on Supernatural that they took with them in their roles as executive producers on The Winchesters. Jensen Ackles and Robbie Thompson responded, as well as Bianca Kajlich (Millie), who chimed in to praise Ackles.

Editor’s Note: The answers were edited for clarity.

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Jensen Ackles: “Oh, wow. Well, yeah, I mean, I think that was kind of … that’s our mine. That’s where we source a lot of inspiration. That’s where we source a lot of doing things, trying, not trying to recreate, but certainly utilizing … I’ll give you an example. Robbie and Danneel and I talked extensively about the atmosphere on set. Something that’s very important to us [is] to have a fun, creative, exciting energy on set where people are able to come in and to create and … that was something that Jared and I did all the time, was we, we came in, we lau-… I never laughed as much as I laughed when I was on that set.

And there was a reason why we stuck around for 15 years, and it was because we truly enjoyed doing what we got to do. I often say that we don’t have to do this, we get to do this. And it’s something where there’s no room for ego here. There’s no putting up walls and walking on eggshells and making people feel uncomfortable. It’s an all-inclusive, all captivating type of situation where we want this to be a fun space to create a fun show.

If you’re not having fun … Kim Manners kind of set that tone early on in Supernatural. He said, “Listen, if you’re not enjoying your time on the set … we spend entirely too much time together to not enjoy it. So if you’re not having fun, find something else to do.” And I feel like that was really important to us to, to set a tone on this set that was fun and exciting and that people enjoyed coming to work and playing in this sandbox.

Robbie Thompson: Just to touch on that too, something that we carried over from the mothership … John Showalter, who’s our producing director, and obviously directed more episodes of Supernatural than I can count, and I can count pretty high [laughs] … he really impressed upon us something that we did. And again, it’s about having trust with your partners that are telling the story with you, which is our amazing cast, to let them play a little bit.

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We used to always say to our producing directors that would come on Supernatural, “Give the boys another take, let’s see what happens.” … It speaks to what Jensen’s talking about, about like creating an environment where people can play. And I can tell you my favorite moment in every single episode comes from these people individually being alive in the scene, listening to one another, reacting to one another, and being present in a way that’s really inspiring as a writer.

Bianca Kajlich: Can I add something onto that too? I know this is for the producers, but as a cast, I just want to acknowledge how true this is for us. And I think it starts with Jensen. Because, to have an actor who played a role for 15 years, continue to address this subject matter with such enthusiasm, it is a ripple effect down into all of us. And, you know, Demetria and I talk and try to tell these younguns (younger, younger ones) it is so rare to have the deal that we’ve got here. We get to play, we get to show up, we get to ask for things. As an actor, after 25 years of doing this, I’ll tell you that’s unheard of. And these guys walk the walk. So, it’s honestly the joy and the comradery and all of that existing here. The drama, too. It’s all real cause we get to be our pure vulnerable selves in this.

The Winchesters will premiere on Tuesday, October 11 at 8 p.m. EST on The CW. You can see all of our coverage of the series, here.

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