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Wayward Sisters

Wingman Wednesday

Katherine Ramdeen

KatherineRamdeen1
Photo By: Ryan West

Last week the “Supernatural” fandom was treated to the storytelling potential of the spin-off “Wayward Sisters.” Eager viewers received a long-awaited look at how the characters who would make up the new series come together to serve as another Winchesterless line of defense against all varieties of evil. One of those characters, Alex Jones, has had parts and pieces of her story told throughout the course of “Supernatural,” popping up occasionally as an ally of the demon-hunting brothers Sam and Dean. But what “Wayward Sisters” offers is a chance to see beyond the surface layer of these recurring characters who are adored by fans, and instead, delve into the core of who they are and why they are, something that is extremely enticing to the actress who portrays Alex, Katherine Ramdeen.

Able to breathe a little easier now that the fandom has seen and embraced the direction of “Wayward Sisters,” Ramdeen hopes to explore the character and universe for years to come. Refreshingly candid and admittedly awkward in social situations, she is modest and surprised that people care about who she is, but is preparing herself for a wider spotlight should the spin-off make it to series.

We recently sat down with Ramdeen to discuss why “Wayward Sisters” works, the areas of Alex’s life she’s most excited to explore further, and why her background in psychology helps her to tap into the characters she portrays.

TrunkSpace: Now that the “Wayward Sisters” episode has aired, are you able to breathe a little easier knowing how the fandom received it?
Ramdeen: Yes, and actually it’s interesting, because I knew that it was going to be good, just from reading the script and shooting it, but actually seeing it edited, I’m like, “Holy fuck, it’s actually really good!” It’s really good. I was just talking with Robert Berens yesterday morning. He was like, “Oh, it’s been really warmly received by so many places, and you know what, I noticed that a lot of people, they like Alex. They like her, her story, her character.” That was really exciting to hear, because I obviously want this show to happen.

TrunkSpace: So often with a spinoff, it’s either too close to the original or too far removed from the source material, but “Wayward Sisters” really felt like the perfect blend of both. It is its own thing, but at the same time part of the world “Supernatural” created.
Ramdeen: Yes, exactly. It’s artistically different. “Supernatural” is such an iconic show. It’s been around for what seems like a billion years. I was a kid when it came out. I don’t know how to describe it. I feel like watching “Supernatural,” it’s very comfortable almost. Maybe it’s nostalgia, I don’t know. But it’s a comforting show to watch. Then “Wayward Sisters” is like, you start off and… it’s not comfortable. It’s the same universe, but it’s just shot differently. It’s different enough so that you’re like, “This is a different show, but it’s also still ‘Supernatural.’”

TrunkSpace: The great thing about “Supernatural” is that, although they hunt monsters, at the core it is a show about family, and that seems to be a theme that will be carried over into “Wayward Sisters.”
Ramdeen: Yes, totally, and I think that’s what’s really important, because I think that’s the really important thing about “Supernatural” and why people like it, so that’s a good thing for us to have.

TrunkSpace: You touched on the longevity of “Supernatural.” If “Wayward Sisters” was to go 13 seasons, would you feel creatively fulfilled getting to play the same character for that long?
Ramdeen: Oh, that’s a really good question. That’s really interesting. My first instinct is yes, because I think that for me acting, I love Alex. I don’t know how I would get sick of playing her. This is my guess, but I don’t know, because I can only imagine what it would be like. If “Supernatural” can do it for 13 seasons, and we have a lot of the same creative team coming from that, should this be green lit, then I think the writing won’t be a problem. I mean, it’s like a family already. I remember actually, the last day of shooting Wayward… when I was wrapped, it was sad because I didn’t want to go. I don’t know, presumably I would love to do it for as long as I could.

TrunkSpace: If “Wayward Sisters” gets picked up, what are you most excited to explore with your character that you haven’t been able to delve into within the “Supernatural” universe?
Ramdeen: Oh my God, there’s so much – so much. I talked about this at length with Robert Berens and the rest of the cast. We don’t know where her parents are – it was never really discovered. They didn’t talk about it. Her parents were gone for some reason. They didn’t say how they were gone. Then she lived with her grandmother. Then she was kidnapped. Then her grandmother is really old. And then she has no family. She is presumably an orphan. So it’d be interesting to know, does she have any family? Is she really an orphan? That would be cool to find out.

As far as Alex’s particular character development, I would love to explore the conflicts that she has with killing things, because she grew up killing people, and not necessarily all of them were bad people. It was sort of Dexter-esque. She’s underage, she’s in a bar, and she’s taking home men that want to be with her. That’s really messed up. She feels like this is kind of justified. These people are bad people. But of course, as we saw in “Don’t You Forget About Me,” anytime that she has been an accomplice… it would interesting to explore that, and to learn more about her guilt.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: When we first met Alex, she was very angsty and now, especially in the “Wayward Sisters” episode, she has sort of suppressed that. Do you think that angst is still a part of her or has she moved on from it?
Ramdeen: No, no, no, no, it’s definitely still part of her. That’s a lot of stuff to go through for a person and so her behavioral response is to feel… to kind of act out but she… it’s still within her and I guess it’s something I’d be interested in seeing her deal with.

One of my friends that watched the episode, they told me that they thought that Alex gave off this vibe of being sort of dead inside, which was interesting. I wasn’t aware of that but it actually does make sense in that I guess she has a lot of pain and kind of the only way for her to survive right now is just to soldier on.

TrunkSpace: We kind of viewed the performance as, from Alex’s perspective, she needed to be strong because she knew there was a chance Claire couldn’t hold it together, so it fell on her to be the glue.
Ramdeen: Exactly. Yes. That’s actually a really perfect way of putting it.

TrunkSpace: In terms of your own personal journey, one of the things that we found interesting was that you studied psychology. Does that background help you to discover the characters you’re playing and their motivations?
Ramdeen: Oh my God, this is a great question and I love this question. It was interesting because studying psychology, that is the study of human behavior – why people do the things they do. When I discovered acting, I realized the parallels were crazy. They’re so similar because acting is all about living, the behaviors of people living their stories, and why they’re doing things. And the way to dissect a character, the way to try and understand a story, is very similar to what, say, a social psychologist would be doing – trying to understand a person or their neuroses. Actors have a lot of those too, so that’s just part of the parcel.

TrunkSpace: And given all of the different types of personalities involved in the business itself, it must help you with that aspect as well?
Ramdeen: Oh my God, yes. And you know what though, honestly, it’s show business, you know? I’m not great with business. The thing is, I know it’s not going to make sense, but I’m rather socially awkward and I don’t like going to parties and… I’m just not good with most people. So I’m not good at that but it’s an interesting part of the job because it is absolutely necessary for an actor to do these things. An actor has to go to an awards ceremony, an actor has to go to a premiere, so it’s interesting, the business side of the industry and me dealing with it because it’s sort of… I’m not gonna say that it’s another form of acting for me, I don’t equate them, but it’s definitely something that I think being an actor helps me with – dealing with situations that I might find awkward. Like interviews, actually.

TrunkSpace: Totally. It’s an odd thing. You have a stranger asking you questions and in a way you’re having to present yourself and your projects.
Ramdeen: Yes, exactly and I’m so self conscious because… this is something very new to me. Wayward is the biggest thing in my career, I guess it’s like the “big break.” I’d say it’s a big break. I don’t have that perspective because I’m within it and all the craziness, but from the outside perspective, people are like, “Katherine Ramdeen, who’s that?” With that being said, I just don’t wanna come across as, I don’t know, not great because of my, maybe, social ineptness. Also, I curse a lot and that’s really hard to stop and so I don’t want to make people feel bad or their kid can’t meet me or something because I’m gonna swear.

I consider myself very chill, or relaxed, or laid back, or easy going, so I think my casualness is weird for the industry because it’s different. It’s like the thing with presenting – I feel like I’m not presenting. I feel like I’m just this person who is an actor and I happen to be normal and just like everyone else.

Photo By: Ryan West

TrunkSpace: So with all of that in mind, if “Wayward Sisters” became this huge success, would you be comfortable having that massive spotlight shining on you?
Ramdeen: I can’t comprehend that but I’m getting a little taste of that. I’m doing “Supernatural” conventions – I did two last year. I went to Blackpool, England and Seattle, and this year I’m doing three so far. I just came back from Orlando this weekend and I’m going to Vegas and then somewhere in England again. With that, I go to these conventions and these are fans and these are people that really like me and they would pay money, I guess like a box office fee, to see me. And that’s just absurd – that’s just crazy. I can’t understand that. I feel sort of like an imposter or I feel like, “Why do you wanna?” It’s a weird feeling, so to have that on just a bigger scale… I guess people always say that they get used to it so I assume you would get used to it. I don’t think it’d ever stop being weird or undeserved, because I think there’s a lot of people on this planet that should be getting recognition for a lot of different things than they get. I think it’s really interesting, celebrity, but anyways…

I think I would just take it because it comes with the territory and I want to be an actor and I love acting and I love telling stories and I just love making movies.

TrunkSpace: You touched on the fans who come out to the conventions, and one of the things we have always loved about the “Supernatural” fandom is that it’s almost like a secret club. Those who know and follow the show are extremely passionate about it, and those who don’t, may not even know it’s still on the air.
Ramdeen: And that’s actually one of the things about “Supernatural” and being part of this potential universe, if the spinoff goes… man, the fandom is just amazing. They’re just all really nice people. Going to these conventions and meeting them, it is a family because people just are nice to each other and it’s like going over to a friend’s house and being like, “Oh, so I have a bunch of friends, we’re just all hanging out and talking.”

Supernatural” airs Thursdays on The CW.

The fandom is still waiting to hear if “Wayward Sisters” will be ordered to series. Stay tuned!

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Wingman Wednesday

Kim Rhodes

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Photo By: Travis Hodges

If you steer clear of people with yellow eyes, call your car Baby, or recognize the value of salt in places other than the kitchen, chances are good that you’re fan of the series “Supernatural.” And if you are, you know that the Winchester brothers have had their fair share of friends and family come into their lives throughout the course of the show’s first 13 seasons, though none have left an impact quite like Sheriff Jody Mills. Now the maternal ass-kicking ally, portrayed perfectly by Kim Rhodes, is on the verge of spearheading her own spinoff series, “Wayward Sisters,” which viewers will get a taste of tonight when “Supernatural” returns to The CW following its mid-season hiatus.

 

We recently sat down with Rhodes to discuss her “Supernatural” road so far, the power and magic of the fandom, and what she’s most excited to explore with Jody in the new series.

TrunkSpace: “The road so far…” is a popular phrase associated with the series. Could you have ever expected that your “Supernatural” road would lead you here today, on the verge of your own spin-off series, “Wayward Sisters?”
Rhodes: I was so grateful every single second on that set. It never occurred to me to wish for more. And then when people started whispering, “Wouldn’t this be a good spin-off? Wouldn’t this be…” like, in my darkest heart there was a tiny little flicker of, “Yes, please! Please! I want to do this forever!”

But really, no expectation. No belief. I am astonished and I have no idea how this happened, with the exception of a group of powerful, vibrant, unbelievably joyous fans that were like, “No, no, no. We’d like this. Look what we can do.”

TrunkSpace: Obviously the fandom is very strong, but to be able to have a creative say and help a network venture towards a particular idea or concept is a very rare thing.
Rhodes: I’ve never heard of it happening before. Ever. Now, “Supernatural” has a very unique relationship with its fans. I remember being on a different show, and they actually said, “You’re here because of your fandom. We want to know how to do that with our show too.” I was like, “You can’t.”

I think the magic of “Supernatural” and the relationship with the fans, it cannot be recreated, because you can’t tell people what to do. This is the other thing. The fans are all individuals. It’s not a hive mind. You can’t just feed it. It is not a foregone conclusion that this spinoff will go. Because you can’t just seed somebody something and say, “Here, we call this ‘Supernatural,’” and have them say, “Yes, we love this.” They’re smart. They’re opinionated. They’re vocal. And they’re powerful. And it all comes from different ways of expressing love for the show “Supernatural” and for themselves and their own relationships and place in that. It’s pretty miraculous.

TrunkSpace: And because of that, it is called the SPN Family for a reason. They’re not afraid to say what they love and they’re not afraid to speak up when they don’t love something, but even then, it comes from a place of love.
Rhodes: It is, in all aspects, a family. I was talking to somebody else and I was like, “You know, nobody pushes your buttons like your family because they installed them.” It’s very easy for fans to be passive in this world, because nothing’s expected of them. But the “Supernatural” fandom expects a lot of itself, and they are passionate. I love that. It makes me identify. I’m like, “Yep, you’re me, I’m you! Yes!”

TrunkSpace: We know creatively the table has been set for “Wayward Sisters” throughout the course of the season, but this week’s episode really serves to put viewers at that table. Are you experiencing any sort of nerves in terms of how it will be received by the fandom?
Rhodes: You know how Holly Hunter cried in “Broadcast News?”

Supernatural — “Wayward Sisters” — Pictured: Kim Rhodes as Jody Mills — Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: Yeah.
Rhodes: There you go. That’s me. I was fortunate enough to have four episodes on a completely different show, playing a completely different character. I’ve been on “Criminal Minds” for the last couple months, and it kept me distracted. Today is the first day I’m not on “Criminal Minds.” I was like, “Oh, maybe I’m not completely okay. Maybe I’m just repressing all of the terror and hope I’ve ever felt in my entire life that has culminated in this moment.” Yeah, that’s far more likely is that I’ve just been repressing it.

TrunkSpace: Would you say tonally that tonight’s episode of “Supernatural” is going to be representative of what “Wayward Sisters” will become?
Rhodes: Boy, I wish I could answer that. I don’t know. They haven’t told me anything because they know I don’t keep secrets well. That said, what is definitely indicative of everything they’ve said they want is how high the bar is set. We didn’t cut corners as actors. We didn’t cut corners with storytelling. It is brutal. The fights are hard, the work was tough. We trained, all of us, trained. Both physically and with weapons. The bar was set high. I can safely say that should this go to series, we will only keep raising the bar for ourselves. We want to exceed the fans’ expectations. And their expectations are pretty damn high.

TrunkSpace: That’s the thing. Sometimes expectations can be a blessing and a curse, because people are excited but at the same time they have their own set ways of what they envision something will be.
Rhodes: Yes. Now that is definitely something we are aware of. I had said before, I would like to say again, give it a chance. Just because you don’t see all of your expectations met in one episode doesn’t mean we aren’t laying the groundwork, particularly in terms of representation. “Wayward Sisters” has really opened up the number of voices and perspectives that the stories are being told from. Within that, if you don’t look at something and go, “Oh, well they forgot this…” Maybe not. You can’t eat the entire meal in the first bite.

TrunkSpace: Yeah, it’s not a movie. It’s not an hour and a half. It’s a long journey.
Rhodes: Yeah. And also, you’ve seen the episode so you know what I mean when I say there’s probably going to be a moment when the fans feel a little betrayed. When they’re going to be like, “Wait a minute, you did it again to us?”

TrunkSpace: Right.
Rhodes: Just hang on. And that’s going to be my motto for the entire journey, is just hang on. Just hang on. You think you know. You don’t know. Just hang on.

TrunkSpace: Obviously you’ve seen the character Jody grow over the course of your time on the series. What are you most excited about from a character’s journey in terms of what we could possibly see her go through over the course of her own series?
Rhodes: I am so excited to see Jody make some mistakes, and watch other people have to clean up her mess. Jody’s been pretty on-target so far, because that’s how she’s served the show. We know she’s made mistakes, but we haven’t needed to watch any of them because that wasn’t pushing the storyline of “Supernatural” forward. I would like to think that within “Wayward Sisters” Jody’s going to make mistakes. And she’s going to have to learn some stuff, which is hard as a senior member of a group. Because a lot of my identity as a person when I’m in a situation like that is, “Oh yeah, I got this. Let me tell you how to get this.” And Jody’s going to have to realize that she ain’t always got it and she’s going to have to learn from the girls around her. I’m looking forward to seeing what she learns from them.

Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW — © 2017 The CW Network, LLC All Rights Reserved

TrunkSpace: Jody’s always been very supportive of Claire, Alex, and Patience in terms of them taking on the responsibilities of being Hunters, but as she becomes more invested in the group and as dangers increase, do you think she’ll have second thoughts about that?
Rhodes: I think that’s always going to be with her. I think that’s definitely a note to her, because she’s experienced loss at the hands of the supernatural. And really, nobody else has lost the kinds of things that she’s lost. Jody is the one who’s painfully aware of what’s at stake in this kind of life and so she’s always going to have to struggle to allow people to be who they need to be, to fight the fight that needs to be fought.

TrunkSpace: She’s taken these girls under her wing at a time when they needed her, but we would imagine that Jody needs them just as much, if not more given those holes left to be filled in her personal life?
Rhodes: Well, I also think for me, I prefer to phrase it not so much filling the hole – because those holes have unique shapes and nothing will ever fill them – but to remember that someone’s capacity to love, and I have personally experienced some pretty traumatic losses in my life, the loss will never be replaced. But the love continues to be expressed when I choose to love someone else. And love myself. I think that is something that Jody is aware of. She’s never going to replace her husband and her son. However, being of service and finding hope again is the best thing she can do for their memory. And those girls give her both of those things. She can love again, and she can hope again, because those girls are in her life.

TrunkSpace: Finally, Kim, you sort of touched on this at the start of our chat… how grateful you were to be on the set each and every time you got the call. Everybody we have spoken to who has been involved in the series or who has worked on the series, they all have that same point of view, which is that they genuinely love the experience and being a part of this universe. Having been in this industry for as long you have, is that rare? Because it seems pretty rare from an outside perspective.
Rhodes: Do you believe in love at first sight?

TrunkSpace: Actually, yeah.
Rhodes: Have you experienced it?

TrunkSpace: Yes.
Rhodes: That’s pretty fucking rare isn’t it?

TrunkSpace: It is.
Rhodes: It’s like that. It exists. People who have never experienced think it’s a myth. People who have experienced it know how precious it is and how rare it is. It’s magic.

Supernatural” returns tonight on The CW.

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