As fans are waiting for Supernatural to return with new episodes, and with the news that the series has been picked for a fourth season, we asked Sera Gamble, Supernatural writer and producer, if she’d be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via email.
WinchesterBros.com Exclusive – Q&A with Supernatural Writer and Producer, Sera Gamble
By: WinchesterBros.com Staff
Sera Gamble is the appraised writer and producer of The CW hit series, Supernatural. She wrote for the short-lived ABC series, Eyes, and is writing fiction and poetry as well as running her own blog, VeryHotJews.com, co-written by Simon Glickman. With fans waiting for Supernatural to return with new episodes, and with the series being picked for a fourth season, we asked Ms. Gamble if she’d be willing to answer a few questions; the interview was done via email.
IMPORTANT: The Q&A contains spoilers!
We want to thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us. We truly appreciate it.
Q: We want to start by asking about the writers’ strike. What can you tell us about it from your end? Were you aware of fans’ support in your cause?
It was interesting to be in the middle of something that felt so large and historic. I kept thinking about how we’ll all be talking about it in 20 years, when the next huge strike inevitably happens. I’ll be telling all the baby writers, “Yeah, I was in the strike of ‘07. Brutal.” I guess I mostly felt like a tiny minnow in a big wave.
I spent some time walking in a circle outside our studio with our staff. I have a new appreciation for the Warner Bros landscapers. They work really hard. We watched them zip around the lot all day, every day. I also logged some hours cleaning vans and making picket signs at guild headquarters. You should see me with an electric staple gun. I’m a pro.
All the Supernatural writers were very aware of fan support. Fans visited us on the lines; they even brought us delicious snacks. We were all touched by it. And it made certain other shows jealous, because our fans are clearly better than their fans.
Q: Congratulations on Supernatural being picked for a fourth season! What did you think when you heard the news?
I wasn’t surprised. I had a feeling we’d be back. I was surprised, however, that they let us know so early. I was expecting to have to go through staffing season – that’s when writers take a bunch of meetings for all the new shows and try to convince each showrunner that they are the missing ingredient without which the show will die a fiery death in under six episodes. As you can imagine, it’s an exhausting process. So, I was happy to skip it.
When word came down that we were getting a Season Four, I was hoping Eric would cancel work for the rest of the day so we could all get drunk. Oh, well.
Q: Has knowing that you will be back for a fourth season changed the working process? For instance with respect to the stories that you want to tell?
We start work on the new season in under a month. I’m excited about the ideas that are being bandied about. The show has matured; the world of Supernatural has grown to a place of substantial breadth and depth. It will support real risk-taking in our stories. We’ve earned it. I think we all are approaching the coming season with a real “smoke ‘em if you got ‘em” attitude. I’m hoping that the result will be episodes that scare the shit out of you, gross you out, make you laugh so hard you snarf your beer, and occasionally make you weep. Maybe not all those things in every episode, but don’t think I won’t try.
Q: How do you feel about Season 3 so far?
I feel weird that it’s so short, but there’s nothing to be done about that. On the whole, I’m very proud of the season. Not every story worked, and not every character worked. But I think we’ve made some of our best episodes this year.
Q: In an interview on Fangoria.com, Eric Kripke and Robert Singer talked about the third season being kind of an analogy to the war against terror. How much, if any, has this subject come up in the writers’ room?
We talked about it a lot in those terms at the beginning of the season. It helped us to envision what the other side might look like. Before we’d fleshed out the character of Lilith, whenever we’d talk about the new demon boss, we’d refer to him as “Zarqawi.” Our concept of the character evolved somewhat away from that place, but we started from the model of a terrorist up-and-comer.
Q: One issue that always seems to raise it’s head with fans and Season 3 is Ruby and Bela. These are sensitive subjects as far as the fandom is concerned: you can find fans that hate them, fans that love them, and fans that love to hate them. How do you feel about them?
First and foremost, I think our actresses have done a great job. I’m impressed with both of them. And when a scene with either of them lands in my episode, I have a good time with it.
What I especially like about Ruby is her voice – her attitude. She’s not just acting like she doesn’t care if people live or die. She really doesn’t care. I think of her as casually sociopathic. That scene where she eats Sam’s fries and drinks his soda was fun to write. And the bit in “Jus In Bello” where she asks for a breath mint because she’s got gut spray in her mouth from all the killing.
We’re getting ready to shoot my last episode of the season – the episode before the season finale. Bela’s in it, and I was happy to get the chance to write some different colors for her. I have a feeling Lauren’s going to kill her scenes; she’s capable of a far wider range than we’ve given her so far.
I’m not living in a cave – I know plenty of fans think we suck tremendous ass when it comes to Bela. Eric and I approached the episode as an opportunity to address some of that. Call me nutso, but I think that a lot of fans will dig where we decided to take her. Yes, I know, that’s maddeningly vague. But I’m not allowed to say anything else. I’ll probably get creamed on fan sites for everything I just said in answer to this question.
Have at me! Go to town! If I were a fan and I was annoyed with the writers I’d be doing the same thing.
Q: What did you think of the casting of Katie Cassidy and Lauren Cohan to play Ruby and Bela? Has the casting changed the way in which the characters were initially written?
I think they’re great. Bela’s nationality changed when we cast Lauren. Which was good and bad. I think British accents are sexy, so that’s on the plus side. On the minus side, it’s a pain in the ass when you’re breaking a story beat about her. At one point we had an idea that involved one of her relatives. And then we remembered they’re all in England, which made the whole thing way too clunky and wrong for the show. I don’t see Sam and Dean going anywhere they can’t pull up to the curb in the Impala. So we had to throw it out and start over.
Q: You’ve written for both Ruby and Bela. Which is easier to write for?
I can’t say one of them is really easier. Writing dialogue for any character is a constant process of asking yourself how you can write the same line smarter and funnier in fewer words.
Q: Will viewers learn about Bela’s secret (why she saw the Ghost Ship)?
Q: And the question which begs to be asked: Are we going to see some angry sex?
Gosh, I hope so. Though I couldn’t tell you who’d be having it with whom. Maybe I should start a list of options, so I’m prepared if it comes up in the writers’ room.
Q: In the second episode of Season 3 we were introduced to Lisa and Ben, an issue that was left unresolved for many fans. We saw Lisa again in “Dream A Little Dream of Me.” Are you going to address either one of them again?
There are no firm plans as of now, but of course it’s possible. Phil Sgriccia directed “The Kids Are Alright” and really liked those characters. Every now and then he’ll bring them up again – different ideas about where they could fit into a future story.
Q: Should fans expect to see characters that died coming back? Are there any current plans to bring any of the actors for a guest star role?
In general, of course they should expect to see dead people coming back – that’s what the show’s about! I can say that we’ll be hearing from someone dead before the end of the season – in episode 314. As for next season… we don’t know the particulars yet.
Q: Which character(s) that was on the show, either dead or alive, would you have liked to bring back?
I’m fond of several recurring characters we’ve killed off. Andy, Ava… I especially liked Gordon, but I think we pummeled all the juice out of that particular story. Once you’ve turned the guy into a monster and popped his head clean off his body, it might be time to let him rest in peace. I also like the turn Henriksen took in “Jus In Bello.” You get the sense that had he survived, he would have made a fantastic hunter. I suppose we could reveal that the lethal white light that shoots out of Lilith at the end of the episode was really just tanning-bed UV light or something.
Q: Speaking of the dead, the deaths seem to be getting more and more gory. How gory are you planning to get, and how do you manage to fly under the CW radar?
We don’t always fly under the radar. There’s an uncensored version of this show that would make you hide under your bed for the rest of your life. We sometimes get stopped by outside forces – and sometimes we overshoot, and have to pull ourselves back in order to properly execute a gory setpiece. Actually, I just wrote a scene that turned out to be unshootable. Kim Manners called from Vancouver to gently explain that shooting an entire scene with an actor’s eyeballs cranked open, Clockwork Orange style, wasn’t medically safe. I was very disappointed.
How gory are we planning to get? That’s like asking a comedy writer how funny they’re planning to get. As gory as possible!
Q: Just out of curiosity: Was ‘Dakota’ in “The Kids Are Alright” a hint toward Dakota Fanning, as her name came up on the previous interview we’ve done with you?
Yes, the name was an homage. I’m a fan.
Q: What should fans expect when Supernatural returns?
Expect to be wildly entertained. I’ve seen some raw footage from “Ghostfacers!”, our first episode when we return, and I was on the floor laughing. I actually watched it all twice. I think it’s the best ensemble guest cast we’ve ever had.
The final few episodes are very creepy. Here’s a quick sampler box: freaky phone calls from the dead; the horror of being awake and helpless while being operated on; and a few demons throughout, including the single most creatively sadistic demon you’ve ever met.
These episodes also have a strong emotional drive – because Dean’s running out of time; his demon deal is about to come due. I’m sure some fans have guessed that Dean’ll find a way out, and some have guessed he’ll die in the finale. Someone’s right.
Q: Eric Kripke has talked about the writers discussing a possible Supernatural spin-off. What are your thoughts on a series focusing on Samuel Colt and the Old West hunters? If you could make any Supernatural spin-off, what would you make?
I would sign on for the Ghostfacers! spin-off on Comedy Central. Or, if someone decided they wanted to do a series about one misunderstood demon trying to fit in at high school. Call it “My So-Called Demon Life”. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Q: Are there plans to release a Supernatural soundtrack?
I don’t think so. I mostly stay out of the mix about music, on the grounds that I know almost nothing about classic rock. I leave it to the experts.
Q: Can you share any Season 4 storylines with us? Will new characters be introduced? Are you planning on killing anyone?
Yes, new characters will be introduced. Entire new supernatural species will be introduced. There are no solid plans yet about recurring characters, though – we gotta get through this final run of episodes before we can fully concentrate on next year.
And yes, we are planning on killing people. Lots of people. Everyone on the show’s fair game. Rest uneasy, because we will take away everyone and everything you love. We are not nice people. We are here to scare the shit out of you and make you very upset. Admittedly, it’s a dysfunctional relationship, but I feel it comes from a place of love.
Again, thank you for agreeing to do this Q&A with us.
For more information on Sera Gamble and her work:
Acknowledgment: A sincere thanks goes out to Spook.
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