First, he was the trickster. Then, he was Gabriel. And now, he’s the director.
Richard Speight Jr. is returning to the Supernatural family for his directorial debut on the show. After he started really pursuing directing in 2012 and 2013, he began to send his work to Supernatural writer/producer Bob Singer. Eventually his efforts came to fruition when showrunner Jeremy Carver called him this summer to let him know that he was going to get an episode in season 11.
Furthermore, it sounds like he got a pretty great episode. We talked with Speight about this week’s “quirky” hour:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I know you don’t get to pick your episode, but it sounds like you got a pretty good one.
RICHARD SPEIGHT JR: It is perfect for me. If they had asked me to pick, I would’ve picked this one. It is right up my alley —it’s got a lot of fun, genre-bending quirky elements to it. It’s got a fair amount of humor. But it also is very true to what the show is all about, which is the relationship between the boys. It has a lot of heart and sincere moments. It’s a great balance of both.
I never know what we mean when we say something is “format-bending” on this show. This show has bent the format in 500 ways, so what can you tell me about this specific episode?
Let’s be honest, you hit the nail on the head, the show can’t bend the format more than they’ve already bent it. So what this does differently than a lot of Supernatural episodes in recent seasons is it introduces a more fun, festive guest star than they’ve had in a long time. The show’s about Sam reconnecting with his once imaginary friend and takes us back to his youth. After so much heavy, heavy, heavy stuff the boys have been through with the Mark of Cain, the Darkness, this is one of those episodes that doesn’t disrespect the way the show has been before, but takes a little bit of a side road to take them down a more fanciful path and I think that’s where it becomes not your normal Supernatural episode.
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Jensen [Ackles] said he almost felt like he was on a sketch comedy show at times during filming.
In a weird way. There were certain choices I made directorially and we made with Nate Torrence, who’s a great actor and a very funny man. He’s really adept at doing comedy, so we used that to our advantage. We basically had a switch-hitter on the baseball team. We let Nate do what Nate does really, really well and he was great. The boys then took what he was doing and ran with it because you get that kind of talent on set, the boys just have a field day because they can do both — they can go dark and they can go light. They enjoy being given the opportunity to straddle that line. It was great watching the three of them play off each other and see what kind of fresh energy and perspective Nate brought to the set.
I can’t let you go without asking: Where is Gabriel and how can I get him back?
[Laughs] I like your attitude. Whether I know things or don’t know things, what I’ll say is I’m a firm believer that Gabriel is not gone but is out there and I think it was teed up pretty well in the season 9 return of the character when Castiel asked Gabriel point blank if he’s dead and Gabriel gave him an eyebrow-raise for an answer. That tells the story if you ask me. So will he get involved in what’s going on with the boys and the Darkness and God and all this? That remains to be seen. You’ll have to wait and see, but I know he’s there. I know he’s watching. In some sick way, he’s probably enjoying the mayhem.
Supernatural airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.