‘Hemlock Grove’ Season 2 Set Visit Interviews

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‘Hemlock Grove’ Season 2 Set Visit
By Max Evry

June 30, 2014

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After solving the central murder mystery of Season 1, the cast of Netflix’s gothic horror series “Hemlock Grove” are bringing the gang (or what’s left of them) back for a Season 2 sure to be packed with all the gore, sex and werewolf-ism the binge-watching fans have come to love. We arrived at the studio set in Toronto, Ontario where the main cast was ready to spill as few beans as humanly possible while still giving us a tantalizing taste of what’s to come in the evolution of “Hemlock Grove.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 Landon LiboironThe central relationship of the show is the one between the two lupins, wayward gypsy Peter and wealthy power monger Roman. When we last left off they were not on the best of terms, and that definitely carries over.

“At the beginning of the Season, it’s been a significant amount of time that they’ve been apart,” says Landon Liboiron, who plays Peter. “Peter’s been out of Hemlock Grove for a significant amount of time and Roman is dealing with his power and responsibilities at the White Tower and Peter is just trying to move on. So when they come back together at the beginning of the Season they are both dealing with their own agendas. It’s very estranged and the two are definitely not friendly with each other at the beginning.”

“Because of how the first Season left off they don’t really like each other at all,” concurs Bill Skarsgård, who plays Roman. “Roman feels that Peter betrayed him. He kind of blames him for being responsible for what he is now. He needed him. He needed Peter and Peter just left. Sort of ‘how can you leave me in this place?’ Peter leaves Hemlock and certain events happen and he has to come back. The two meet again pretty early on and certain things are still unresolved.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 Bill SkarsgårdAnother relationship left dangling in tatters is the one between Roman and his mother Olivia (Famke Janssen), a.k.a. “the most beautiful and despised woman in Hemlock Grove.” Being a two-centuries-old Upir (flesheating half witch/half demon) comes with its own set of attachment problems, as she’s found with her son now in the seat of power at Godfrey Industries.

“We don’t get along,” says Janssen. “I’m sure that’s no surprise but we’re not getting along. And that’s really all him, I’m perfectly happy to make this a wonderful, functioning relationship but he’s stubborn, I don’t know where he got it from, and so I don’t know. I mean, we [may] have to wait until season three for us to have a lovely, wonderful mother/son relationship or something. Fuzzy, I’m ready for fuzzy.”

“I think Roman really despises his mother and also the part of himself that is like her,” Skarsgård adds. “So he doesn’t want to be anything like her. And she still wants him to pursue the destiny of becoming this creature. Like I said, I think that’s a major difference from last year. Now he’s struggling with this physical addiction to blood and he’s coming up with all of these creative ideas to try to solve this.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 Famke JanssenWe get a glimpse at some of these “creative ideas” as we tour the new primary labs for the White Tower, which contain many samples of genetic byproducts in plastic cases, slabs of unidentifiable organisms with hair growing out of them, and then larger monkey-like creatures manufactured by strange machinery. Apparently a lot of this is a result of new technology that allows for 3-D tissue printing. Roman is emphasizing the “God” in Godfrey, as evidenced by the HUGE 50-foot letters outside his office window spelling “GODFREY.” In Roman’s office set on the 100th floor (built on the soundstage adjacent to the basement, of course) we see a bust of Aristotle on his desk.

“He’s taking his new job very seriously,” says Skarsgård. “He wants to do well. I think in a way he looked up to his dad for creating this whole thing. He doesn’t want to pursue his mother’s legacy in terms of becoming this creature, he’s still fighting that. He wants to become a serious businessman and an entrepreneur in biotech. He’s trying hard to do as good as he can. Last year we saw more of that, how the town people reacted to him. We did have that scene at least with the drunken man wanting to beat him up. And Hemlock Grove is still that town. It’s like this steel town with a lot of unemployed people and Roman kind of represents the opposite of that.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 pic 6On the other side of town Peter has moved in with his cousin Destiny (Kaniehtiio Horn) in her Guilded Age apartment, further proof that the have-nots never really had. On that set there is evidence of Desnty’s psychic ability, including a crystal ball on top of a Ouija board and a sign reading “Couple’s Intimacy & Healing Services.” Also several giant phallic statues make the atmosphere just a little more uncomfortable.

“It’s not by choice,” Liboiron says of his new digs. “The thing with Peter in Season 2 is that it’s a cluster of one thing after another that he’s trying to deal with. He hardly sleeps. He’s just dealing with one thing after another. It’s kind of a juggling ball act of responsibilities and challenges. The main thing that brought him back was a situation with his Mom. He basically had no choice. It was kind of a life and death decision to come back. There’s also a force unbeknownst to him that keeps pulling him back.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 Dougray ScottFacing romantic challenges is Roman’s potential dad Dr. Norman Godfrey, played by Dougray Scott, whose relationship with Olivia is heating up.

“I think he always was in love with Olivia for sure,” says Scott. “It may have been a very dysfunctional relationship but they always loved each other. I think Norman’s trying to normalize the relationship in a way that never was before. I think he’s trying to find some sort of future for them, and obviously he’s left his own wife. I think he sees the possibility they could be together happily for the rest of their life. Is what he thinks…”

There are also issues related to Godfrey Industries, where Norman holds some sway.

“Norman takes the company in a different direction and he has his opinions,” Scott adds, “but I would say Norman’s never really been interested in that power, sort of in the family business right from the start when his own brother was shifted the family business from steel into pharmaceuticals into the medical industry. Norman you know became a psychiatrist because he had an interest in psychiatry, but also because he wanted to get as far away from the family dynasty as possible. He was never interested in standing on the hill looking at the town below, he was a people person but I think that there’s remnants of his family DNA that reside within him so I think he’s always in some sort of conflict.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 Dougray Scott and Famke JanssenNewly appointed executive producer and showrunner Charles Eglee, a veteran of shows like “Dexter” and “The Shield,” certainly had his work cut out for him since the first season was based on Brian McGreevy’s novel and now all that source material has dried up. So, the writing staff had to do things the old fashioned way… make stuff up.

“We’re suggesting that there’s been a 3 month gap between the end of last season and this season,” Eglee states. “But in scrutinizing, we have someone in our office who is dedicated to understanding the mythology of last season to the degree that the mythology is decipherable, because it got a little dense and sometimes contradictory. Last season actually there was a big time jump, I believe in the last episode. There was something like seven months between when Shelley was shot and Letha was born. We kind of had to account for that in our storytelling.”

Hemlock Grove Season 2 pic 1“There is an external element to the show that wasn’t there last season, what we call the ‘Big Bad,’ Eglee continues. “That’s a motor and an engine for the show. I think we derive [a sense of] event from that. There is a larger scope. Things certainly exist beyond the confines… everything takes place behind the proscenium of Hemlock Grove but there are larger forces impinging upon the place. A bit of the outside world is being invited in.”

“It was a gift to have the book last year,” adds Liboiron. “To know the trajectory and overall plot. Whereas this year, I have no idea at all. It changes. Sometimes you can make a choice and the next episode contradicts that choice. It’s a different way of filming but it’s very exciting because you don’t know what’s coming. You don’t know who’s going to die, you don’t know who’s going to live, you don’t know who’s going to be introduced and what these new characters are doing because you don’t know their story. It is exciting as well.”

Hemlock Gove Season 2 Set Visit pic 10To give the show a new ferocity, Eglee set out to ground some of the shows more fantastical elements in realistic terms, looking at the powers possessed by Peter and Roman (and others) as aspects of biology that the scientific community is simply not aware of yet.

“Lupiers are not magical beings,” Eglee states bluntly. “And very specifically, because I think the minute you create a world that is wholly mystical where anything can happen, you’re telling the audience they don’t have to take things that seriously. The whole thing starts floating about three feet off the ground. What we’ve tried to do this year is to taking the existing mythology and -this term I just learned but you all probably know – retcon it.”

Another set we explore is Roman’s new house, which is in stark contrast to both Destiny’s downmarket dwelling and the stately mansion Roman grew up in. It’s quintessential modernism, with large paintings, curved furniture and a grey palette. There’s also some tell-tale cloves of garlic on the counter.

Hemlock Grove Season 2 pic 4“The pad is cool,” Skarsgård said. “I like where they’re going because my character is just going from that old house that was his family’s house and is doing everything that he can to become his own person. A grown up. Buying his own house. And it’s the complete opposite to the house you saw last year. It’s super modern. Yeah, it’s cool.”

We’re told that this large and lonely abode will play host to the grand finale of Season 2, and in true “Hemlock Grove” tradition it will involve gallons and gallons of blood, some of which is still visible on some of the light fixtures.

Hemlock Grove cast“He’s a junkie this year,” Skarsgård says of Roman. “He needs to drink blood, and it’s an addiction for him. Last year he was figuring out what he was. But now he’s an addict. He needs to drink blood. And the whole mythology of it I don’t know if it’s… he can eat. He can drink. It’s not the vampire thing, it’s more of an addiction. But he doesn’t want to. So it’s the moral dilemma of how can you drink blood without hurting people?”

“I’m not good with the blood and the gore,” adds Janssen, “so, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the last episodes. But for that you’ll just have to tune in and watch it, I’m not going to tell you about it!”

“Hemlock Grove” Season 2 premieres in its entirety on Netflix on July 11.


Season 2 Trailer

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