On how he got involved in Supernatural
David Nutter, who directed the pilot is a good friend, he did Season One of X-Files and he called and asked if I would do a favor and come in and do one episode. Cause I was kind of semi-retired after X-Files. Very semi-retired. And I came in and did a show called Dead in the Water, enjoyed myself. I fell in love with Jan and Dean or is it Sam and Dean? I was driving home and they called me if I wanted to come on as a part of the team and I turned around and here I am.
– Kim Manners, William S. Paley Television Festival 2006
Kim Manners was a director and executive producer on Supernatural. He directed 1.03 Dead in the Water and following this, Kim was asked to come on board as an executive producer, running the production in Vancouver. Kim directed 17 episodes of Supernatural before his death in 2009.
Impact on Supernatural
Kim describes his role on Supernatural
I took over for David Nutter, when David left the pilot. Now that I'm here, I'm working with Eric (Kripke) and Bob (Singer). I'm directing. I'm giving the show a certain look. I'm the guy who works with the guest directors (as we call them). I make sure I talk to them, go through their homework with them, scout locations with them, help them cast. So yeah, there are certain advantages to having a producing director on a show.
– Kim Manners, Source
Kim Manners had a long career in television starting on series such as Charlie's Angels and 21 Jump Street. He became widely known among fans for his many years of work as a director and producer on The X-Files.
There is no doubt Manners shaped Supernatural in many ways from his influence on the culture of the crew in Vancouver, to his creative input as director. The accolades from everyone who worked with him, from crew through actors to showrunners, reflected a man who worked hard but always made sure those around him enjoyed their work. Both Jared and Jensen often quote Kim's line "We spend way too much time with each other not to enjoy each others' company."
Philosophy about work
We spend way too much time with each other not to enjoy each others' company.
– Kim Manners,
When Jensen Ackles directed for the first time on 6.04 Weekend at Bobby's he attributed much of what he brought to the task from what he'd learned from Manners. He also related that in the first season of the show, Manners said to him "You’re gonna direct one of these... I said, ‘Oh, OK, Kim. Yeah, sure.’ He said, ‘You will. And when you do that, I’ll be right there.’
On the lack of recognition for genre TV shows
"I directed 53 episodes of The X-Files and never had a nomination for an Emmy. We won 2 Golden Globes, we were never nominated for best drama Emmy. The people that run the TV industry truly think that this is just Sci-Fi nonsense," he says. "Today, if you’re not doing Desperate Housewives or some stupid legal show or a guy with a cane who’s running a hospital, you don’t have a ‘great’ show."
– Kim Manners, Source
On filming 1.08 Bugs
And I’ll give it to Kim, he said, “You know what, if you guys do not have bee suits on, I’m not either.” And he went in there in shorts and a t-shirt and a monitor and sat down on a box and directed us from inside the room with bees crawling all over our faces. It’s that kind of relationship with Kim.
- 1.03 Dead in the Water
- 1.08 Bugs
- 1.11 Scarecrow
- 1.16 Shadow
- 1.22 Devil's Trap
- 2.01 In My Time of Dying
- 2.04 Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
- 2.06 No Exit
- 2.13 Houses of the Holy
- 2.17 Heart
- 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two
- 3.01 The Magnificent Seven
- 3.07 Fresh Blood
- 3.11 Mystery Spot
- 3.16 No Rest for the Wicked
- 4.01 Lazarus Rising
- 4.04 Metamorphosis
About working with Kim on his monologue scene in 2.22 All Hell Breaks Loose: Part Two
After reading the script, I went up and sat down with Kim in his office. I said this was the only scene that I wanted to talk to him about. I was like, "What are your plans?" Because he's diligent on his homework -- he's a huge believer in preparation for an episode. So I knew that he had all the shots lined up, and he had the blocking, and he had the blueprints of the room, and everything lined out.
I told Kim, "Look, man, you're going to have to help me out on the scene, because I'm not going to be able to do it over and over and over and over again. Because I won't have it. You're going to start getting repeats after five." So he said, "I've got four different setups." I convinced him to shave it down, and to just use the one close-up that he was going to use. And so, he did. I wound up doing it three full takes in that camera setup. At the end of the day, I think it was maybe about four or five takes, including the other two setups. So, not too bad.
Kim's prank on Jared and Jensen, involving gallons of freezing water, during the filming of 2.06 No Exit featured in the gag reel on the Season 2 DVD.
On the stars of Supernatural
Let's face it, if they were dogs? Jensen would be Rin Tin Tin and Jared would be Pluto.
– Kim Manners, Season 1 DVD and Blu-ray Commentaries
He also did a special comments piece on 3.01 The Magnificent Seven on the Season 3 DVD.
Illness and Death
On the death of Kim Manners
Everyone at Supernatural is walking around in a daze, shocked and absolutely devastated. Kim was a brilliant director; more than that, he was a mentor and friend. He was one of the patriarchs of the family, and we miss him desperately. He gave so much to Supernatural, and everything we do on the show, now and forever, is in memory of him.
Kim was diagnosed with lung cancer as the fourth season started filming and the last episode he directed was 4.04 Metamorphosis in late 2008. He died on 25 January 2009 in Los Angeles.
The Manners family requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The American Cancer Society in memory of Kim. Supernatural fans on Livejournal donated $1,650 to the The American Cancer Society within a week of his death. (See also Charity Projects).
On the death of Kim Manners
It is with extraordinarily heavy heart that I report the death last night,
Jan. 25, of my friend Kim Manners. I first met Kim when he directed me in an episode of The X-Files, for which he was a major figure in the appeal of that show, its look, style, and movement. I thought, in that few days, that I had found one of the great directors I'd ever worked with, and a mensch of the first order. Little did I know.Rest in peace, chum.
Several years later, I ended up with a recurring role on Supernatural, where Kim was both an executive producer and a principal director. I have never had such fun working with a director, and Kim became a dear friend. He was the willing butt of the enormous humor on that set, most of it from the two leads, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki, who delighted in tormenting him, and he was as good at giving it as taking it. He was an AMAZING director, who knew everything I can imagine a director might need or want to know about directing television. And he was one of the very best people, one of the very best friends, a person might ever want to have. His illness since the beginning of this, Supernatural's fourth season, has cast a pall over the show for months now, and every time I have appeared on the show this season, someone has broken down in tears in discussing Kim's health or how much we missed him.
I will go to my grave regretting the very real opportunities I missed in connecting with him these last few months. Take a lesson from one who let a dear friend down badly. My only excuse is that I, like all who knew him, never believed anything could take him down. I loved him dearly, and I hope he knows that.
"All right, now, KICK IT IN THE ASS! ACTION!!"
After his death, a number of tributes appeared:
- The episode 4.15 Death Takes a Holiday ended with slides dedicating Season Four to Manners, ending with a slide that said simply "We miss you, Kim".
- 4.19 Jump the Shark: Sam and Dean were staying at a hotel called Kelsey Manor. A display card in the room advertising happy hour at the Sonny Bono lounge features a pic of a mustached Kim Manners. There were also upside down "KM" carved into the wooden paddle parts of the room divider in the motel room.
- At the Salute to Supernatural L.A. 2009 Jensen and Jared mentioned that in honor of Kim the crew had undertaken a mustache growing competition.
- 5.10 Abandon All Hope...: Ellen's parting words to Dean are "Kick it in the ass!" - a deliberate use according to Sam Ferris, of Kim's signature line.
- 5.22 Swan Song: The tape Dean loads into the cassette deck in the Impala as he drives into Stull Cemetery to face Lucifer and help Sam, is labeled Kick it in the ass!
- 6.15 The French Mistake: The studio in the episode is called "KM Motion Picture Studios."
- 7.20 The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo: Charlie uses the phrase "Kick it in the ass!" The line was originally kick ass, but actor [Felicia Day changed it on suggestion of director John MacCarthy.
- 8.22 Clip Show: Dean says to Sam -- "We'll figure this out. We will. And we'll get it done. We'll kick it in the ass like we always do."
- 10.05 Fan Fiction: Fittingly for the 200th episode, the quote was used in the following exchange:
- Dean: I know I have expressed some differences of opinion regarding this particular version of Supernatural. But tonight, is all about Marie's vision, this is Marie's Supernatural. So I want you to get out there and I want you stand as close as she wants you to, and I want you to put as much sub into text as you possible can. There is no other road, no other way, no day but today.
- Maeve: Did he just quote Rent?
- Marie: Not enough to get us in trouble.
- Dean: Now you get out there and kick it in the ass!
- 10.17 Inside Man: In Bobby's letter he urges Sam to "... stay safe, keep fighting and kick it in the ass!"
- 12.22 Who We Are: As Jody heads off with Sam to fight the British Men of Letters, Alex gives her some encouragement.
- Alex: And Jody?
- Jody: I'll be careful. I promise.
- Alex: Not what I was going to ask. Kick it in the ass!
- 15.20 Carry On: Sam and Dean park in front of the Kim Manner's Memorial Tree while they are going through John's Journal.
Kim Rhodes said it was suggested to insert the phrase by her driver Ted.
At the 100th episode party, on Saturday January 30th, the cast and crew of Supernatural celebrated the 100th episode of the series, including an unfurling of 3 banners, one of which was a tribute to Kim.
On the death of Kim Manners
Kim had a blazing intensity that inspired everyone -- writers, producers, actors and crew. "Kick it in the [expletive]!" he'd say to us. And "I love you," really meaning it. As long as he'd been a director, he never lost his passion for his work... Kim was an incredible force of life. It is hard for me to believe or accept that he is gone.
– Frank Spotnitz, Source
- January 26, 2009
- Kripke speaks on the death of Kim Manners at BuddyTV
- Obituary for Kim Manners at Chicago Tribune
- Jim Beaver's tribute to Kim
- tribute from Frank Spotnitz
- Obituary at Entertainment Weekly
- Obituary at Monsters and Critics
- Obit at Eclipse Magazine
- Obit at TVGuide
- Obituary at IGN
- Obituary at shocktilyoudrop
- Podcast in tribute of Kim at Winchester Radio
- Obituary atThe Collider
- Obituary at endofshow
- Obituary at The Insider
- Tribute at Cryptomundo
- Obituary at Ain'tItCoolNews
- Obituary at FEAR.net
- Obituary at ohnotheydidnt
- Fans of Gillian Anderson organise donations for the American Lung Association in Kim's memory
- January 27, 2009
- Obituary by TVGuy from Canada.com
- In Memorium - BlogCritics.org
- Tribute from the CW Source
- Report via LJ user canadiangoddess from Julie who works on the show in Set Design.
- In Memory of Kim Manners by Jesterz.net
- Obituary by Rae at ramblingsofatvwhore
- Obituary for Kim Manners by Kimmy
- Tribute to Kim by dairwendan
- January 28, 2009
- Obituary at E!Online
- Picspam tribute to Kim's directorial work on Supernatural by bellanut
- Obituary from Alex Stachan at CanWest News
- Obituary from Reuters
- Blogpost from Sam Ferris
- February 1, 2009
- Facebook memorial page to Kim featuring photos from fans and colleagues
- February 4, 2009
- tribute video to Kim's work on Supernatural by deirdre_c
- March 7, 2009
Clips, Articles and Interviews
- 2002 Article on Kim Manners shooting his 50th X-Files episode
- March 4, 2006 Kim on the Supernatural Panel at the Paley Festival
- The Bee Story Jared and Jensen talk about filming the scene with bees in 1.08 Bugs with Kim Manners.
- April 3, 2007 Manners Interview with meevee
- April 5, 2007 Jensen Interview with meevee
- April 17, 2007 Interview with TV Squad
- February, 2007 Interview by DW SciFi with Kim at the beginning of Season 2
- November 2007 Jared talks about pranks and Kim at Chicago Con
- Video interview with Jason C. of The CW Source.
- Season 2 gag reel featuring Kim pranking Jared and Jensen
- January, 2008 Jared talks about working with Kim at Fangoria Texas 2008
- Kim talks about filming 3.01 The Magnificent Seven from the Season 3 DVD
- September 17, 2008 Interview about Season 4 with zapit