One thing about Lynn Zubernis; she knows how to get any interview subject to just let it all out and spill the tea all over the table and drip down on the floor. Her interview with Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster was such a huge one, we had to split it into two parts. Part one is here.
Lynn’s latest book, Family Don’t End With Blood: Cast and Fans on How Supernatural Has Changed Lives (You can order it here), hits today, and from the reviews, it’s a must must read! If you want to attend her Los Angeles book launch check it out here. You just might meet some of your Supernatural favs there.
Her latest book features With contributions by Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Jim Beaver, Rob Benedict, Briana Buckmaster, Osric Chau, Matt Cohen, Ruth Connell, Gil McKinney, Rachel Miner and Kim Rhodes, and a Dozen Passionate Fans!
Now for the continuation of Lynn’s interview with Kim Rhodes and Briana Buckmaster:
Briana: I just sent my husband a picture that someone posted of us [Briana and Kim] on twitter – it was probably you, Kim – and he was like woah, you guys look so hot, I know why people ship you now!
Lynn: I love your husband.
Briana: I would actually rather Donna be with Jody than anybody.
Lynn: So would many fans. Though it won’t happen.
Briana: No, it won’t happen, sadly. It will happen in our heads…
Lynn: And in fanworks…
Kim: I’ve actually seen some really beautiful art of us, like the backs of our heads, we’re lying entwined in bed.
Briana: [wide eyed] Nooooo!
Kim: OMG yes, I’ll send it to you.
Briana: [clapping] Oh, send them to me!
Kim: But it was really so tender, so beautiful.
Kim: Now I don’t talk about ships much because it’s such a dangerous mine field.
Lynn: It is.
Kim: People take it really personally, and the reason I don’t talk about it is twofold. One, I don’t wanna get in trouble. Like ultimately I’m a teenager inside, and I don’t want to make anyone mad and be like aaaahh they’re yelling at me. But secondly ships are so personal, I don’t wanna say anything… I mean, I am an actor. I’m also a fan, I’m one of everybody. But if I walk in a room, I carry a responsibility with me. And so if I speak to a ship, there’s a volume to my voice and I don’t wanna say anything that would get in anybody’s way of what makes them happy.
Lynn: Because validating one ship can invalidate another.
Kim: YES! That’s the thing.
Briana: That’s why we don’t like to answer the ship questions.
Lynn: But you answered it perfectly – you didn’t wig out, you didn’t refuse to answer. I love what Kim said, “frankly I ship Jody with everyone.”
Kim: Mm-hmm. But that said, one of the things I love so much that only people in fandom get is that what I just said — that I’ve seen pics that are tender. Like the ships generally involve sex, but they are about relationships.
Lynn: That’s why they’re called ships.
Kim: And I think that’s, like no wonder people take them so seriously! No wonder people treat them so seriously, because they are tender because they’re about two people being in love
Lynn: They are.
Kim: And so it’s not porn. It can be pornographic, but it comes from a place…
Lynn: Of love, and relationship…
Kim: Yes. It’s not like ‘Mr. Beaver Goes to Camp’ or whatever the fuck, there’s a genuineness to the ships, so that’s also why I don’t speak of it, because I’m not gonna piss in somebody else’s rose garden. I don’t know what would be stepping on toes. So it’s actually not out of – like there are some people who don’t talk about ships because of an unwillingness to acknowledge what they are, and I actually think they are something precious and important to each person.
Lynn: Me too.
Kim: So that’s why I don’t go in there.
Lynn: I love how passionate shippers are, but I don’t care who you ship. It’s like fantasy – everyone has their own fantasy, and your fantasy is important and personal to you.
Briana: And you’re invested in them, right? Frankly, it’s like religion and politics.
Kim: Yeah, yeah.
Briana: It’s like hey man, everyone has an opinion, and yours is not more correct than hers.
Lynn: I wish there weren’t such a thing as ‘ship wars.’ I understand that it can feel like a zero sum game, like if my ship ‘wins,’ then yours ‘loses,’ but really it’s usually not.
Briana: It’s just not a sexy show! I don’t really understand the wars. That’s the first time I got in trouble on twitter, and she saved me. She was like everybody chill out; she doesn’t know…
Briana: So I now know, yeah.
Lynn: The perception is that for once, fans actually had a little influence, that The Powers That Be kinda listened to what fandom wanted with Don’t You Forget About Me, an episode that was essentially Wayward Daughters – because for once, all factions of the fandom wanted it.
Briana: Is it all factions? I actually have no idea.
Kim: No, there are definitely haters.
Lynn: Some people have problems with the Claire character but not many with Jody or Donna, I don’t think.
Kim: God bless her, Kathryn Newton is a very brave actor, even if she’s being brave and doesn’t know it. She doesn’t try to soften Claire’s edges. She’s like, oh, this is a sullen, angry teenager. And you know what? Sullen angry teenagers can be shitheads. So there are people who go wow, Claire’s kinda a shithead…
Briana: She’s being truthful…
Kim: But you know what? You’d be a shithead too if you went through this.
Lynn: The multiple traumas that girl has been through…
Kim: My own mother, when we were talking about how I was at this age and at that age when we brought up the age of 16, my own mother said ‘Kimmie, I always loved you, but I didn’t like you when you were sixteen.’
Lynn: And it’s a testament to Kathryn’s acting that she’s playing what the character was intended to be.
Kim: Yes. And I would like to think that the fandom influenced this episode. We always use the phrase love letter to the fans, and I think that phrase can really be offensive.
Briana: I agree, I think it’s patronizing.
Kim: It’s like, why do you think that? You don’t think this is just like a good episode? You know what would actually be a love letter to the fans? Listening to the fans, that would be a love letter to them. So I don’t mean this in reference to this show, let me be really clear, not in terms of Supernatural, because I thought the 200th episode was charming – I’m on record as loving that episode – I just mean the industry says oh it’s a love letter to Marvel fans and you’re like No, it’s actually not.
Briana: It could’ve been.
Kim: But it’s actually not, it’s got whats-her-face with her tits up to her chin and no plot line.
Lynn: Sort of placating, like chew on this for a while.
Briana: Like, that’ll hold you over for a while.
Kim: So it’s my personal opinion, like from my own experience, that episode was as much of a love letter to the fans as I can give. Like to me, I knew the desire there; I knew the relationships that were important to the fans – and to me. And that’s the other thing, that’s why I felt so passionately about this episode, is because the same things that were important to the fans were important to me as an actor. The authenticity of the relationships, the love — the deep broken flawed love between all 5 of the people at that dinner table — the humor that comes from love and pain and fear and the love and pain and fear itself – just that phrase, that’s the scary thing about family because you have so much to lose.
Briana: And I think that’s kind of the conclusion of the whole television show.
Lynn: YES! That’s exactly what I said in my review – like, that’s Supernatural!
Kim: Yes, yes, so when I read the script and even more so when I saw the episode, to me, I hope fans took it personally. Because I didn’t hear anything from anybody in any position of power at all. I have no idea how it was received, no idea what they meant, da da da, I did my job and went home. But for me, where I come from, that was personal to the fans. Because like you were just saying, I can’t contact every fan. When I’m in an autograph line, I can’t meet the intensity of a person’s experience; I can’t give them the time I would like to, it’s just physically impossible.
Lynn: It is.
Kim: So my heart for that entire episode was connected to the fans and my awareness that this was a gift to them. That they may or may not have created as a gift to me – which is fucking awesome!
Briana: Like, right?
Kim: So yeah, that’s my Kumbaya.
Briana: That’s super true, especially about Wayward Daughters, the idea that people are like I hope that Wayward Daughters can happen for the fans, and I’m like really? Because it would be unbelievable. And like I said, Kim and I have had very little to do other than just any time Riley or Betty contact us, who are kinda running the whole campaign, they’re always like, we’re gonna do this, are you guys cool with this? And we’re like omg YES!
Kim: Like the thunderclap thing, we don’t even know what that is.
Briana: They are on it though. The idea that this could give something to others, while we would also benefit from it, right?
Lynn: It felt that way. We had this discussion at the academic conference; there was a panel on fan/producer relationships. And a panelist said look, it’s all about money. If TPTB are listening, it’s because something will make them money. And I said, do you think there are small occasional exceptions? Because I felt like this episode might have been.
Kim: It has to be a perfect storm though. They probably looked at the arc of the season, and like you create the arc of the season, you’ve got the Darkness, dealing with duh duh duh and now because Jensen and Jared are getting their asses handed to them with their schedule, they need some lighter episodes, where they get to go home and remind their kids who daddy is, and also, they’ve got Thanksgiving breaks smack dab in the middle of it, so we can’t have a high special effects episode that we split on either side, so it could also have been just technically, I don’t know, who haven’t we seen? What are the ideas we’re fucking around with?
Briana: This is what I do when I’m with Kim, I’m like no no no no this is what happened. [to Kim] Because remember last season, when they dropped her off at your house, and I’m texting Kim going wtf is happening?
Briana: And then she tweeted ‘I don’t know, I’m not watching!’
Lynn: [laughing} But you’re right, they specifically set up the possibility.
Briana: They did!
Lynn: Like that seemingly throwaway comment that you’re a hunter now too.
Kim: But if I had a dollar for everything they’ve ever set up that never came to fruition, I would not have to work this year.
Lynn: True, but at least it’s a possibility.
Kim: Oh, she’s totally coming back.
Briana: You know what I’d love to see? I’d love to see Donna as a hunter like she doesn’t know she’s dating a werewolf…
Lynn: So Kim, talk about that dinner scene.
Kim: OMG it was the most fun thing I’ve ever shot!
Lynn: I laughed so hard.
Briana: It was just a good solid scene.
Kim: Well, first of all, we ALL, like everybody was excited to be doing the scene because it was funny and tender and sweet and spoke to what everybody does well. So nobody was like eh, I’m not gonna look good in this scene, you know? It’s like, I definitely come into some scenes and am like, this isn’t my scene, I’m here to make you look good, and I’m happy to do it.
Kim: But this was, everybody had their moment.
Lynn: And all five people just totally brought it.
Kim: I can’t think of another episode that had such a quintessential Winchester family dinner. That’s what it was, that’s what a Winchester family dinner is – we’ve got monsters to kill, and please wear a condom.
Lynn: [laughing] And Jensen and Jared just sort of like, What? Huh?
Briana: OMG it was so good.
Lynn: And Jody’s exasperation, everyone was identifying with Jody and her exasperation with them.
Kim: It was really well written too, there wasn’t any like, oh now we’ve gotta change to – like, the transitions made sense and were earned.
Lynn: True, true. Who wrote that?
Lynn: Oh, oh, Nancy Won, yes, I really like her! She did her homework. She can stay. Like, forever.
Briana: Yeah, this episode was great. Good for her.
Kim: it felt really really good. I thought that scene was so much fun.
Lynn: And Jensen was busily making a fort out of his mashed potatoes?
Kim: [wry smile] Again, when it’s not their coverage, you have all kinds of things happening. And we were shooting it the last night before everybody left for vacation, so people were kinda mentally already on vacation. They were like, ooh, you want real wine in your glass? And I was like, NO! Because I had to drink two bottles of it. God, it was so bad. But yeah, it was hilarious.
Lynn: And there were adlibs?
Kim: It wasn’t so much adlibs, but Stefan, who directed it, is always open to that – I don’t think I tweeted this but there was that moment I looked at Claire and said, ‘you were right.’ And I had told Stefan, you know what’s missing from this script? Is an acknowledgment from Jody that she was wrong.
Kim: I said, I really really need for Jody to show Claire the respect of you were right.
Lynn: And that was so important, because that’s what allowed Claire at the end to heal. Otherwise, why would there have been healing?
Kim: Right. And why, knowing who Claire is, why didn’t she spend the next scene going okay I told you so?
Briana: Like, I’m outta here…
Lynn: She would have.
Kim: Yeah! So, back to the scene, what did get cut was that when I said ‘don’t pull up the drawbridge,’ Claire had an addition that we weren’t really sure, but we’re pretty sure it was a butt reference in the script, but then we all started trying to come up with euphemisms for having sex that aren’t really words for sex.
Kim: The ‘Sit. Stay’. That was originally supposed to be ‘No, no, you’re family too, sit down.’ And I was like, there are too many words there for the level of panic that Jody is feeling. There’s just too many words. So I said, can I try something else? And he [Stefan] said you can do whatever you want.
Lynn: That’s nice, that collaboration.
Briana: it is nice.
Kim: And again, when I justify WHY – if I just say, I don’t think Jody would say that, can I say something else, I guarantee they’re not gonna be like oh sure go ahead, say whatever you want, we don’t care. But when I say, the level of panic does not match the intellectual capacity that Jody would have to have to say ‘no no you’re still family’ – no, this has to be a problem. No. Sit. Stay.
Lynn: And the great thing is, their faces at that moment, we got that comic moment too.
Kim: Yes, because the irony – the thing I love – is that I spoke to them like they were puppies, and they responded like they were puppies.
Lynn: [giggling] A pure behavioral reaction! And it worked.
Kim: I also try to use my mom voice with them whenever I can because they are not used to having a mom voice.
Briana: And the show is all about them dealing with their mother’s death.
Lynn: Yes, and longing for that mothering.
Kim: And that’s another aspect of mothering. So I love to see that, their reaction, it was kind of like ohhhh, we just sat and stayed. Like the confusion of why did we do that? That is magical! So the sit stay was kinda an adlib, it was what came out of my mouth at the time. The other thing is, Alex was supposed to reach for my wine, and I was supposed to just swat it away, and they had two cameras running at the same time, so I’m glad they got it because my head was turned at the time – because Katherine Ramdeen is an exceptional actor.
Lynn and Briana: [nodding]
Kim: And she’s got enough method in her to do that. One of my favorite things – I was watching Colony last night – and one of my favorite things is when actors let their characters be good liars. I hate it when like you see an actor selling a lie that the other character buys, but they’re so bad at it, you know that it wouldn’t actually work. So Katherine is like, I’m trying to grab a glass of her wine, and I know she probably isn’t gonna roll over, so she waits until I’m not looking.
Lynn: Which is exactly what a kid would do.
Kim: Which is exactly what a kid would do! So I turn around, and she’s got the wine all the way up to her mouth, and I had to stop dead in my tracks with what I was saying and be like hey – and that was Kim you saw acting — like how the fuck did you get that wine? Stop, put it back!
Lynn: That’s probably why it played so real.
Briana: And that’s everything. Like that’s, of course, the actors, but also a director trusting their actors and also a writer giving you a scene that’s long enough that you’re like oh wow I get to ACT in this scene.
Lynn: I feel like Supernatural works so well because all of you care so much about your characters and how you play them – and because it can be so collaborative.
Briana: [to Kim] And you’ve worked with Stefan before.
Kim: Yes, Stefan and I knew each other. But also? That’s Jared and Jensen as well.
Briana: That’s very true, they set the tone.
Kim: I think most directors kind of feed off of how Jared and Jensen are responding to the actors, because I’ve definitely seen some moments of ‘hey you know, I’m thinking of doing…’ and Jared will be like, yeah. And Jared would never shut another actor down because that’s not who he is as a person, but you can tell if you know him if he thinks it’s a bad fucking idea, frankly. And Jared’s like, it’s not my job to tell you it’s a bad fuckin’ idea, but that’s not gonna serve the script. Sure enough, it’s like no, let’s stick to the script. So it’s not really a free range kind of environment.
Lynn: Nor should it be.
Kim: Right, but I know that when I offer a note I’m not boning somebody else. I know my job. I know the stars and I know how to serve the script.
Lynn: And at this point, you know this character. And Jensen has talked about directing you, so he knows.
Kim: Yes, Jensen has directed me!
Briana: Jensen directed you?
Kim: It was awesome. Jensen gave me one of my favorite notes ever. EVER. So he comes over, and he goes, ‘this line, duh duh duh duh duh, what are you doing there?’ and I said, ‘saying it really fast because I don’t know what I’m doing.’ And he goes, ‘and that’s exactly what it looks like. So can I tell you something?’
Kim: And he was like, let me give you something to think about, and I was like OHHHHH, now I know what I’m doing there.
Lynn: He knew what you would need to get it because he could put himself in your shoes.
Briana: Yeah, and he also has an outside eye.
Kim: And he also could tell what I was doing, that I was saying it real fast to get to the next part. Speaking of Jensen, so the scene as scripted ended as I stood up to go I said ‘I’m gonna go get some mashed potatoes, long running’ and then I swallowed the wine.
Lynn: That was scripted?
Kim: I wanna say yes, it was scripted. And then I’m like okay, potatoes, potatoes… that was actually in there for my sister because my sister along-runningpotato joke…
Lynn and Briana: lol
Kim: And then Jensen goes, ‘well this is fun.’
Lynn: Wait, so that wasn’t scripted?
Kim: Oh no, the scene was done! So that long fourth shot of Kathryn going heh heh heh…
Lynn: And that awkward silence? Because Katherine and Kathryn did that so well too.
Kim: Oh yeah. Everybody thought the scene was over, but until we hear cut – also that’s a testament to the writing of that scene because we were having so much fun playing it –
Lynn: That you just kept going…
Kim: We just kept going, like until you call cut, we’re just gonna keep going!
Lynn: And everyone stayed in character!
Briana: When an actor really likes to do a scene, it’s because it’s well written. It’s not necessarily that they get to do the most or because they do something that’s really rad for their character or really badass, if the writing clicks so well with the character, it’s just like this magic.
Kim: It’s like being on a ride, instead of pushing something. Like, you can push the car or you can drive the car, and when a scene is well written it’s like YEAHHHh we’re cruising.
Lynn: The process is so similar to writing, especially writing fiction, it will feel like that, and I’ll say it out loud sometimes, because there’s nothing like when people talk in a way that people would never ever talk.
Kim: I get so angry when the writer tries to do my job. In life, when I say I’m feeling X Y and Z right now, well then something else must be going on, because nobody actually has to articulate what clearly is going on!
Briana: Exactly. ‘I’m feeling?’ No.
Lynn: Unless you’re in the middle of a therapy session…
Kim: Oh, or the history recaps. ‘Well, you remember that one time when…’ or ‘I thought I’d never forgive you when…’
Briana: OMG yes.
Kim: Like, really? Do you need to tell me that?
Lynn: Occasionally Supernatural does have a problem with exposition.
Kim: And well, sometimes it’s necessary. A necessary evil. Also, it is not to be equated with bad writing when you have to serve a higher purpose. Which is make sure people know what the fuck is going on, especially new viewers, right?
Lynn: Right. It was so interesting when I was on set to learn about the process that a script goes through, especially notes from the studio about making sure a new viewer would know what was going on. I had never thought of it that way.
Kim: Of course. Like, how we gonna know that so and so?
Briana: But mostly the fans know a lot more than the producers.
Kim: And frankly in this day and age, fucking google it!
Lynn: Or there’s always the superwiki!
Everyone: [is laughing]
Lynn: So before we end, a lot of people are saying that Colony is really good, and that your character is in the bad guy uniform.
Kim: I’m in disguise. I watched it last night in my hotel room. I start off really light, and in the next episodes my character manifests a lot more. You see what her purpose is, where she is in the resistance and how the other characters relate to her. It’s intense. I play a mother, with 2 sons, in the resistance. No husband. And in 10 episodes, not once did I have to emotionally justify myself. I never had a comment of where my husband was.
Kim: I know. Sarah and I had a discussion about how well written the female characters were that we were so un-used to having to that – as women, as female characters, we always emotionally justify our actions through a relationship with generally a male character. Either a child, a husband, a love interest. I’m doing what I’m doing and somehow it’s because of this or that, not just doing what you’re doing because it’s the right fucking think to do.
Briana: It’s a resistance movement.
Kim: Unheard of. And so Sarah and I were talking about how different it was, because we’re used to rooting ourselves in an emotional relationship and need from another character. And just rooting ourselves in our own convictions and beliefs was not a place we were familiar with.
Kim: It was awesome! But also last night, I was in the script a little bit and I had read it, but watching it I was actively upset by what I saw. Not as an actor, as a viewer. I knew what was coming and it still got me. And I was like, how did that just happen? And I was live tweeting and dicking around and like ‘yeah resist forever’, and then I was like I’m done, I have to go read my book now, I’m upset. And it continues to get more upsetting.
Lynn: So it’s dark.
Kim: And the beautiful irony of Carlton Cuse is that this is about aliens landing, but the darkness is pure humanity. And also because you know like on twitter I follow kind of a dark segment of the population. In fact a lot of the people I follow have never seen my work. They know I have a blue check mark next to my name and as far as they’re concerned they know that it means it’s open season on fucking with me sometimes, like let’s see if we can scare her off today. But because of that, the resistance, I’m like, I know this thinking.
Briana: You’re familiar with it.
Kim: It’s like, this is people who are familiar with how hideous humanity can be. It’s an intense show. It’s up for Season 2 already, there will be 13 next season.
[Whether or not Kim will be back was up in the air at the time}
Kim: I never have a problem with how a character is treated though.
Briana: A character you play?
Kim: Any character. As long as the level of treatment equals the level of story change that it inspires. So for instance, in Colony when shit goes down and I’m like, how could you do that? It’s equivalent to the force that was needed to drive the story in a new direction.
Lynn: So it’s not gratuitous…
Kim: Yes, that’s the thing! So in terms of Supernatural, I think I’m a little different. I don’t say you shouldn’t hit – like oh I have a problem with the female character being beaten up. What I say is I want to see an equal payoff for what happened. Like when Jody got the shit kicked out of her is what Claire needed to see that to go ‘OMG she would have died for me.’ So that, I don’t think that’s gratuitous. When a beloved character dies and the trajectory of the rest of the show is like running over a speed bump and it continues, then I don’t care how simple and sweet and beautiful the death may have even been. Not warranted.
Briana: Tell good stories!
Kim: Yes, and with Colony, it’s incredible and necessary. All the horrible moments.
At that point, Kim and Briana realized they needed to go sign autographs, so I snapped a few pictures.
Lynn: Awwww, you guys.
Kim: We’re just honestly as delighted with each other in real life as we seem to be onstage.
Briana: I was so excited to come to this con, because she and I haven’t seen each other in a while.
Kim: it was like Ooooh, I get to see her in a couple days
Kim: [to Briana] You actually smell really good…
Briana: It’s a perfume I got in London…
Kim: Mmmm nice.
We will continue through the launch of Lynn’s book with some of her best Supernatural interviews. Check out Kim and Briana’s chapter – along with many other cast and fan chapters – in Family Don’t End With Blood. You can pre-order it here.