I was fascinated by Ramiel on the recent Supernatural episode ‘Stuck In The Middle With You’ – in just one episode, actor Jerry Trimble, along with director Richard Speight Jr. and writer Davy Perez, created a memorable character who most fans would be happy to see more of. So I was thrilled to have a chance to ask Jerry about his experience on the show.
Lynn: Congrats again on the amazing job you did on Supernatural. As you probably read in my review on Fangasm, I’m a big fan of the original ‘Yellow Eyed Demon’ who was portrayed by Fred Lehne. I got to know Fred from interviewing him for Fangasm and for the books I’ve written on Supernatural and was always impressed by his ability to make the character compelling as well as scary. You managed to do the same in one episode with Ramiel.
So I’ve got a few questions for you. I’ve known Richard Speight for years, and am looking forward to hearing his thoughts on directing this episode (stay tuned for that!), but I’d love to hear your thoughts on being directed by him. Were there some notes he gave you that were particularly helpful?
JT: Richard was one of the best directors I’ve had the pleasure of working with, he’s an actor’s dream director. Probably because he’s an actor as well and a fantastic one at that. He was so helpful and pivotal in helping me to create the character of Ramiel, Prince of Hell. There were times when I was going too dark and hard, and then Richard pulls me aside and says, dude, back off and BAM Ramiel comes alive. Richard was collaborative in the coolest way. Some directors I work with are too into their comfort zone and just want to pump it out. They settle for less than the best, whereas Richard had an idea, I had an idea, we meshed them together, and as you saw from the episode, it was magic. Loved working with him.
Lynn: Richard is good friends with Jared, Jensen, Misha and Mark, since they all do Supernatural conventions together a few weekends a month. Did that influence the way Richard directed or the way they responded to his direction?
JT: I could see how well everyone clicked and got along well on set. Everyone was like old friends which was nice to see. They joked, laughed, had so much fun working together. The Supernatural cast and crew was one of the finest filmmaking machines I’ve ever been involved with. When it’s tight, it’s right. And this team was spot on.
Lynn: Everyone who works on Supernatural is impressed with their ability to work together so seamlessly. And Ruth Connell tweeted that you do your own stunts – can you talk about what that entailed for this episode?
JT: With my background in martial arts, which is pretty extensive, I am able to do most of my own stunts, it’s like second nature to me. Besides being a World Champion in kickboxing, and a 6th degree black belt, it allows me the opportunity to bring something extra to the table. I will always do that and thoroughly enjoy anything that involves fighting, that’s my thing, but they had a terrific stunt double for me just in case I needed him, Yves Langlois. He was fantastic to work with and did an awesome job getting nailed by the truck. But when it comes to fighting, it’s my time to shine. Richard came up to me a couple of times and said, hey brother, if you need a double we got you one, but what you’re doing is awesome. I’m like; it’ll be a cold day in hell when I have someone else fight my battles for me on screen (laughing). Acting and fighting on film is my dream job.
Lynn: Well, the fight scenes were truly epic in this episode. Did you work with stunt coordinator Lou Bollo on them, and if so, what was that experience like? I’ve been on set and watched him work on fight scenes and have always been impressed with how much it’s like choreographing a dance almost!
JT: It is sort of a dance. It moves in beats with reactions, timing, and a smooth coolness that comes together when you have a coordinator like Lou Bollo and his team. Lou and his crew were very specific in what they wanted, so it all worked out pretty fantastic in the end result.
Lynn: It really did. Does your background in fighting and kickboxing help you with fight scenes?
JT: Oh yes, you could say that. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been doing action choreographed fight scenes and filming them with friends. It’s been fun doing it my whole life. Since 1990 I started doing leads in action films for the first part of my career, and it definitely helped to bring it all to fruition and makes it easier that I could remember the dance moves no matter how elaborate they may be.
Lynn: How was it to work with Jared and Jensen, who are not trained fighters but are experienced in stage fighting (which I’m sure is a lot different)?
JT: Jared and Jensen were amazing. They were so good in the way they portrayed themselves as badasses- reactions, punches, timing were impeccable. These guys are pros, and it shows. They move like real fighters. Much respect for those guys.
Lynn: Were you and Jared able to coordinate that ‘Sam stabs Ramiel with the lance’ scene easily or were there multiple takes?
JT: I believe there were a few takes, yes, but we were all in sync and made it look as good as it did. Sam was great in the action scenes too. She was such a pleasure to work with.
Lynn: She’s made Mary into a very believable hunter, absolutely. As a psychologist, I can’t help but try to ‘figure out’ the characters on my favorite show. It seemed like Ramiel wasn’t a bad guy as demons go, and that he would have been content to just keep fishing if he was left alone. What was your take on him and his motivations, and did you see him as a good guy or a bad guy?
JT: I saw him as a good guy, that you didn’t want to mess with. All he wanted was to be left alone. But as you saw it didn’t work out that way. Lynn: Unfortunately, no. But I did get that sense from him, that he wasn’t inherently a bad guy. Do you tend to create a back story for the characters you play as a guest actor, and if so, what did you create for Ramiel?
JT: I discussed Ramiel with Richard and started getting the character from our conversation. I brought back some things from my past from the 80’s. The anger, the intensity and his motivation of what he had to lose. What he was trying to protect. He was one guy that you didn’t want to mess with and if you did, WTF?
Lynn: Well said! You had scenes with Sam Smith, Jared, Jensen, Misha and Mark Sheppard – all the main characters. What was the most fun scene to film, and what was the most challenging?
JT: My favorite scene was “A REAL BARN BURNER” of course because of the acting combined with fighting. And you got to see Ramiel’s badassery in action along with everyone else. We had a blast. They were all great and to hang and chat with them, very cool. Just living the dream. Everyone was so nice and supportive of each other. It was pretty intense going from all the dialogue and then right to the action.
Lynn: That would be a challenge on most shows, I’m sure. Every time I’ve been on the Supernatural set, I’ve been impressed with what a well-oiled machine it is and what a fun place to be. It sounds like that was your experience as well?
JT: YES. No wonder why they’ve been on the air for twelve years because it is a well-oiled machine. When you’ve got crew coming up to you and telling me I was their favorite villain ever on the show, how cool is that? Everyone made me feel at home. I’m so blessed to have been a part of the Supernatural family. Truly grateful.
Lynn: That’s good because once you’re part of the SPNFamily, that’s that. (laughing) I’m curious about the more serious dialogue scenes you had too. Jared and Jensen have told me that they don’t like to be over rehearsed, so that they can be ‘available’ for the other actor in a scene. How did that impact your scenes with them?
JT: These guys were there for everyone and so caring and just nice guys. Even when I head butted Jensen in his shoulder. OUCH! That guy’s rock solid. He’s like man, you okay? Fun guys. Great control.
Lynn: (silently) Solid. Mmm hmm. (not silently): Any anecdotes from filming or behind the scenes insights you can share?
JT: There were a couple of times I would unconsciously make sound effects. Like when i was a kid playing fight scenes. Jensen stopped and said “Man, that was great. Jerry’s doing his own sound effects, you’re going to put Foley artists out of business. I did it a few times in different scenes, a couple of punch effects and made a sound effect for the stop watch. They got a kick out of it. Oops.
Lynn: (laughing) That’s awesome. So like I said, Supernatural fans are the most loyal and passionate group of fans out there, and now you’re part of the SPNFamily. What else do you have coming up that fans can look forward to? (Other than Ramiel perhaps coming back to the show…)
JT: Ramiel coming back would be cool. Who knows. I’m up for a couple of projects. Did a couple of episodes on iZombie. Another film called “Mother of all Lies” directed by another superb director, Monica Mitchell. Played a really bad guy, a sleaze. I’m auditioning like a madman. Working on producing a Live action/animation film that I wrote with my father in law, Micky Dolenz (The Monkees)
Currently, writing a self help book on finding your spark and discovering your purpose and passion, for teens and anyone unhappy with their life by not doing what they love.
Lynn: So clearly you like to keep busy! Imdb tells me that you’re married to Micky Dolenz’ daughter. That’s not a question, but now I have ‘Last Train to Clarksville’ stuck in my head. Also you’re a youth speaker – can you talk a little about that? (It appeals to my psychologist side as well).
JT: My wife, Ami Dolenz, is an actress and artist, lovely, talented lady. Micky is the coolest father in law. Funny man. Yes, I am a Youth speaker I travel throughout the USA and Canada speaking and doing workshops with different schools and organizations, sharing my message of inspiring kids to overcome obstacles, face their fears and live their dreams. An anti-bullying message that encourages kids to find their spark and be their best. I’ve been working with kids since I was a teenager. I overcame bullying when I was 13 years old, was inspired by Bruce Lee. He changed my life. If a shy, insecure, fearful bullied kid from a small town in Kentucky can make his dreams come true, anyone can. I share my story of how I did it and how they can too. It’s pretty cool stuff. Very rewarding. I’m blessed to be able to live my dreams as an actor and youth speaker. Never underestimate the power of planting a seed.
Lynn: Thanks so much, Jerry. I really hope we see you again on Supernatural!
JT: THANK YOU So much Lynn
You can check out all about Jerry at the websites below. And stay tuned for lots of insights about this episode from director Richard Speight Jr! Keep up with all of Jerry Trimble’s goings on here or at www.JerryTrimble.