On the “Supernatural” set, executive producer Kim Manners had an enormous impact, both before and after his terrible death in 2009. Stars Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Jared Padalecki (Sam Winchester) were able to relax on the show’s humorous set for four seasons and give their best performances.
After Manners passed away, the “Supernatural” writers and cast continued to pay tribute to him by repeatedly employing his catchphrase, “Kick it in the a**.” The quote is not only praised by Ellen (Samantha Ferris) before her heartbreaking passing, but it also appears in some of the show’s most intense scenes.
And even though “Supernatural” is no longer on the air, Ackles and the creators of The CW’s prequel series “The Winchesters” are continuing to uphold Manners’ legacy.
At a press conference for “The Winchesters,” executive producer Jensen Ackles spoke about the lessons he took from working on “Supernatural” and how they helped him with “The Winchesters.” Naturally, the late Kim Manners served as Ackles’ inspiration for developing a set dynamic that was reminiscent of Manners’ on “Supernatural.”
Where Does Jensen Ackles Get His Inspiration for Supernatural?
In transit, “When asked where he got his ideas for “Supernatural,” actor Jensen Ackles replied,
“That’s our mine — that’s where we source a lot of inspiration. That’s where we source a lot of doing things — not trying to recreate, but certainly, utilizing …” Ackles trailed off, then added, “I’ll give you an example. Robbie [Thompson], Danneel [Ackles], 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.”
Ackles likened it to his own experience working with Jared Padalecki on “Supernatural.”
“And that was something that Jared and I did all the time was, we came in, and we laughed. I never laughed as much as I laughed when I was on that set,” Ackles explained. “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. And you know, 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.”
Ackles is so thrilled and grateful to be here, even after 15 years of “Supernatural” and the premiere of a new show set in the same universe. Ackles encourages an informal atmosphere on set.
“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.”
Natural Chemistry Cannot Be Written
The producers of “Supernatural,” led by Robbie Thompson, were enthusiastic about giving Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki opportunities to “feel out” their scenes.
“We used to always say to our producing directors that would come in on Supernatural, ‘Give the boys another take. See what happens.’ And it always ended up in the [show],” Thompson recalled. “And it’s something that we really wanted to … it speaks to what Jensen’s talking about [with] creating an environment where people can play.”
It’s not for nothing, either, because those scenes end up being some of Thompson’s favorites. He said, “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.
Thompson stated that Mary Campbell’s Meg Donnelly and John Winchester’s Drake Rodger were exchanging knowing glances and chuckles:
“Look. They’re doing it right now. You guys. This is an organic … this was not scripted.” Ackles chimed in with, “You can’t write that.”
What Was the Primary Goal of Filming?
In a nod to Kim Manners, Jensen Ackles has stated that the primary goal of filming is to make everyone involved in the project excited about being there.
“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 this set, we spend entirely too much time together to not enjoy it. So if you’re not having fun, find something else to do,'” Ackles recalled. “And I feel like that was really important to us to set a tone on this set that was fun and exciting and that people enjoyed coming to work and playing in this sandbox.”
Producer/writer Robbie Thompson consented:
“I think just to touch on that, too, something that we carried over from the mothership, John F. Showalter, who’s our producing director and did more episodes of ‘Supernatural’ than I can count, and I can count pretty high, […] he has really impressed upon us something that we did and again,” Thompson added. “[It’s] about having trust with your partners that are telling the story with you, which is our amazing cast, is to let them play a little bit.”