Sharon Lee Watson (SLW): Hi everyone, Sharon here. Really glad to be here. Let's get to chatting!
Fatima: How did you come up with the concept for this episode? It was very dark and it had a lot of freaky elements. I really enjoyed it and the song at the end was an excellent choice!
SLW: I wanted to do a classic gothic horror story, something that reminded me of my childhood watching old scary movies usually starring Vincent Price, and reruns of Dark Shadows.
CrimMindsFans: Sharon, what is your favourite part about working with the CM crew
SLW: They are just awesome. Seriously. Everyone works so hard to bring the scripts to life.
shoshawhat: First of all, amazing episode! It was creepy, atmospheric, and hauntingly beautiful. Plus, we got to see the Jackie Chan of prime time in action :) My question is for both of you - Are there any scenes or moments that were lost in the process of editing that you wish could have been left in? Also - who chose the closing quote? I'm a huge Poe fan and thought it fit perfectly.
Matthew Gray Gubler (MGG): The nature of TV requires that stuff gets cut out. At the end you never miss it but while you're cutting it it breaks your heart. A good sign of a wonderful episode is how much good stuff you have to cut out.
Claudine: Sharon, did you have a favourite scene in the script and did that differ from you favourite scene in the produced episode?
SLW: My favorite scene in the script stage was the Prom scene. After it was filmed, I also loved the overhead shot of Alice wearing the red dress in the empty storefront.
babruin: for Matthew, do you think your affinity for German Expressionism influenced how you use light and dark contrast to heighten the mood, like in the morgue scene? very effective!
MGG: Absolutely. German expressionism. And abide by it as much as possible. The morgue scene (and with all the somewhat typical scenes). Ie. BAU, Salem PD, etc. I strived to shoot them in a way we have never done before. Canted with an undercurrent of dread seeping throughout. As if James’ psychosis was bleeding through the entire world. German expressionism style. Thanks.
1harmoniouslife: For Sharon- Im curious as to your inspriation for the episode... did you study history, or have to wear one of those huge dresses before? Also were they designed specifically for the show?
SLW: The inspiration was classic gothic stories. No, I didn't have to wear a dress but I wish I had tried one on! They were not designed specifically for the show but they were chosen to reflect the specific time period.
rachelbrent: I loved last night's episode, very psychological! Matthew, which scene was the most challenging for you to realize from your imagination onto the screen?
MGG: Oddly none of them. ... BAU roundtable, if any.
jillian: Hello, the episode last night was amazing! Sharon, did you have MGG in mind as a director of when writing? And MGG, how much input did you have in the storyline?
SLW: I did not have him in mind but I was so lucky that the order of directors was changed so that I ended up with Matthew. I can't imagine the episode now without his touch.
tarynpreston: Were the pictures that James painted in the episode actually painted by Matthew? They felt exactly right and added to the overall impression that James was unbalanced. Hmm, that sounds like I think Matthew is unbalanced, but I don't!
MGG: Thanks. I did do those. It was a long, painful process figuring out what those should be. And then luckily, after having a show artist make a bunch of versions, Sharon finally said... Matthew, you should just make these. I wanted them to look unlike my artwork. So was hesitant but figured out a way to.
anniebelle: @sharon, where did you get the idea for nicotine poisoning? was it common in shakespearean times/witchhunting? were there any other ideas for modus operandi?
SLW: I wanted to use a poison dress as the cause of death. Ultimately, I consulted with a forensic toxicologist on the best poison and he came up with nicotine which is readily available as a pesticide and can cause death pretty quickly. I'm not sure if was common in shakespearean times.
purpletapir: hey gube:) if you could be shemar for a day, what would you do?
MGG: Give Matthew all my money. Then walk around town with my shirt off.
Morgan_McCarraher: Matthew what is it like working with the talented Robert Englund, and Sharon you said you wanted an old time horror type atmosphere, is that why Robert Englund was chosen to be in that episode. Being he is after all the personification of old school horror?
MGG: I’ve loved him forever. But mostly love the idea of taking actors and icons from my childhood and casting them in parts they would normally never get. He was great to work with. So awesome. And levitated the mood on set.
AmandaAlbertson: First, thank you Matthew and Sharon for a hauntingly brilliant episode. Question for both of you, What was you favorite part in the episode?
MGG: Every part. Loved the pre-production casting/art making/location scouting and everything else.
dancerbirgit: My question is for both of you: How did you decide on who to cast for each character? Did you have everyone in mind, or were they pleasant surprises? Beautiful episode, by the way, definitely my favorite so far!
MGG: All pleasant surprises. We went with our guts. I’ve worked with Kyle before and knew he was great. And Sharon and I loved Madeline’s voice and vulnerable nature.
NittyMcNitpicker: Any chance we'll ever see Betty White as an unsub in an episode that is an homage to Arsenic and Old Lace? :P
SLW: Great idea!
UNSUBmarineSandwich: Gube what aspects of directing make you the happiest? (bossing your fellow actor buddies around? ;-D)
MGG: Directors that boss people around usually make rigid, not so interesting, entertainment. I like trying to inspire everyone to do something unique. And something they haven’t felt safe to try before. I love everything about directing.
Wheelsup4demily: Sharon, was there a reason you wrote such a twisted ending? I loved it! It certainly makes sense! And Matthew, how did you decide how to stage it? Particularly the part when she's holding "the devil's" hand and then we see no one is there.
MGG: There was some talk of that ending not being in there. Since its something we don’t usually do. But Sharon and I felt SO STRONGLY about it. We got it in there. The fear was that it would be “hokey” or slightly comical. But we knew that as long as we NEVER show the devil other than his hand it would be effectively horrifying. Because everyone would create their own nightmare. Also, the actor we cast, although you never see him, was seven feet tall and horrifying; which naturally infused that moment with the needed quality.
epms2000: Great episode - fun, weird, scary. MGG how did you direct Kyle to get that "psychotic" look in his eyes towards the end?
MGG: I find that when working actors collaboration is your best friend. Seeing that THEY are excited about. Instead of rigidly forcing them into a moment. I try really hard to cast everything perfectly so no matter what an actor does it is truthful and perfect.
Sydney: Please please can you put this question through to Matthew? How did you get into directing? Thanks so much! :) - Sydney
MGG: I’ve always been obsessed with entertainment. And also with magic. Directing is the best of both those worlds. Like an ongoing magic trick that affects peoples’ emotions.
Llama_Ice_Hi: slw, mgg, you guys seem to be so in sync and have similar thinking processes..was there anything you disagreed on??
MGG: Nothing really. Sharon wishes the prom song was 1.5 decibles louder. I think it could have been 1 decible higher.
SLW: Strangely, there was nothing really!
MGG: And that’s super rare.
promptusvado: Why did you decide to include the kiss between James and Lara?
SLW: It was symbolic of James romantic projection onto his sister that she was a princess he needed to rescue.
Butterfly: What was the inspiration for the bucket catching and pouring the water vs just water dumping in?
MGG: Sharon is hesitant to admit this but I think she was inspired by a kids ride at Splashers water park. I loved it because it was just odd.
Monserrath: Sharon, what was your first impression when you finally watched the final cut ?
MGG: Sharon and I are perfectionists. So I think everytime we watch it there are like five or six things that BOTHER THE HECK OUT OF US. But no one else would ever notice.
Ami: Matthew so far you've directed 3 episodes of CM. Has it gotten easier with each episode and which one has been your favourite and why?
MGG: It’s always been easy for some reason. Heathridge and Mosley Lane are my faves. Lauren was great but challenging for me because I’m not really visually excited by guns and bombs.
ChickenHypnotist2TheStars: Matthew, on the very last episode of Criminal Minds, what very last thing would you want to see Spencer doing - his fade out?
MGG: Smiling. ... Or cutting a baby’s arm off. J/K
SSA_River_Song: I hope this gets through.... Matthew, Sharon: How much research went into this awesome episode/ Did you both collaborate?
MGG: Sharon had MOUNDS of books on salem witch trials, etc. We looked at paintings and painting styles for about two months. ALOT of research on all the art aspects.
theFisherQueen: What does MGG's mother think of the most recent episode? Does she approve of the "interesting" show choice he has been in???
MGG: She loved it. But wasn’t so sure at first. Hahaha. She said it gave her chills all the way through.
sam-maddy: Sharon/Matthew, if you could have CM do a crossever with any show past or present which
MGG: Alf. Honestly, Twin Peaks.
SLW: Sherlock (BBC version)
MGG: Thanks!!! You guys rule. It’s been a pleasure talking.
SLW: Thanks for chatting! Look forward to next time.
MGG: Don’t answer your doorbells.