By Roth Cornet
“Once I embraced the occult I knew I had to have witches.”
Showtime’s horror series Penny Dreadful is set to return for its second season this April. Critics have responded positively to the dark, gothic drama, but hasn’t entirely found its audience yet. Though he’s a fan of the series himself, Showtime President said that the sophomore season is “do or die” for the series.
Set in Victorian London, the show interweaves both created and iconic horror characters, including Dorian Grey, Victor Frankenstein and his monster, and Mina Harker. Last season saw the central characters searching for Mina and battling with gorgeously gruesome vampires.
This year, they will become the hunted as the series introduces a new mythological foe: witches.
Creator John Logan was joined by leads Josh Hartnett (Ethan Chandler), Timothy Dalton (Sir Malcolm Murray), Helen McCrory (Madam Kali), and Harry Threadaway (Victor Frankenstein) at the TCA (Television Critics Association) press tour to talk about what fans can expect from the season of the witch.
A Villain They Can Interact With
One of the network’s hopes is that having a villain that the audience can connect with will help to increase viewer engagement.
“This season we embrace witchcraft,” Logan enthused. “So I created the character that Helen McCrory plays, Evelyn Poole. We introduced her last season and this season, she becomes the antagonist for not only Vanessa but all the characters. And one of the joyous things for me this season is last season we set the players on the board, and now we get to sort of play with them in interesting ways. So characters meet who have never met, hidden things are revealed, mostly because of the pressure that’s on them. So there will be external pressure from Evelyn Poole and the psychological pressure between all of them.”
Each character will be facing their own challenged, but it will center around his one, chilling woman.
“Ethan in this season learns exactly what he is,” Logan continued. “And he’s hunted by a very dogged Scotland inspector played by Doug Hodge and has drawn closer to Vanessa in every conceivable way due to the pressure on them. Sir Malcolm, who at the end of last season saw family come together, is drawn into a relationship with Evelyn Poole that alienates him, both sort of romantically, personally, and supernaturally from the rest of the people in the series. And Dr. Frankenstein himself is grappling with a new life form which is a woman, in fact, the woman he killed, Brona Croft, and has to deal with what those emotions, what those feelings, what those sensitivities are. So that’s a long way of saying that Evelyn Poole this season becomes an actual antagonist who can speak. Last season we had the vampires, brooding and silent creatures, and now we have a proper villain, and we enjoy her immensely.”
How Will Season 2 Differ From The First?
Heading into the first season of the series, Logan set himself up with a very specific challenge, to create a horror series that, “would break your heart.”
“I believe that’s what we accomplished,” the writer reflected.
Adding, however, that “this season I think is much better and tonally very different.”
“I would think there is more pressure, there’s more tension this season because last season our heroes were hunters,” Logan said. “This season, they are the hunted. They are the prey. So there’s a foxhole mentality because there’s so much pressure on them externally from Evelyn Poole and also internally because they’re growing closer and the stakes are higher emotionally. You know, we sort of unleashed Helen this season. We go for broke. So it is our make or break season, and we’re going for it.”
“What we had to do last season was set up so many characters and create the dynamics between them,” Hartnett added. “And in this season, it just gets to mature. The characters’ understandings of themselves and the characters’ relationships are able to mature so it just feels richer. It just felt to me like a richer version of Penny Dreadful.”
When asked if – despite the network’s mandate that the show find it’s audience this season if it is to return for a third – Logan has started breaking stories for Season 3, the creator replied without hesitation: “Yes. I am nothing but confident. Any man who faces a blank page every day must have swagger.”
If you haven’t yet, there’s still plenty of time to catch up with Penny Dreadful’s first season before Season 2 premieres!
Penny Dreadful returns to Showtime on May 3.
By Justin Kroll
Kim Dickens has rounded out the cast of 20th Century Fox’s adaptation of the classic novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which Tim Burton is directing.
Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney and Samuel L. Jackson also star.
The film is based on the Ransom Riggs novel, following a teenager, played by Butterfield, who finds himself transported to an island where he must help protect a group of orphans with special powers from creatures out to destroy them. Green will play the title character, who acts as a guardian for these orphans.
Chernin Entertainment is producing, with Jane Goldman penning the script.
Production is currently under way, and the pic is set to bow March 4, 2016.
While she has stayed busy on the film front, Dickens broke out from her roles on TV that included HBO’s “Deadwood” and “Treme” and Netflix’s “House of Cards.” She recently landed a starring role on the upcoming “The Walking Dead” companion series.
Dickens was last seen in David Fincher’s “Gone Girl,” which was also a Fox production. She is repped by Gersh.
By Justin Kroll
Allison Janney has joined the cast of 20th Century Fox and Tim Burton’s adaptation of the classic novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” which Tim Burton is directing.
Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell and Samuel L. Jackson also star.
The film is based on the Ransom Riggs novel, following a teenager, played by Butterfield, who finds himself transported to an island where he must help protect a group of orphans with special powers from creatures out to destroy them. Green would play the title character, who acts as a guardian for these orphans.
Janney will play the the psychiatrist to Butterfield’s character.
Chernin Entertainment is producing, with Jane Goldman penning the script.
Production is currently underway and the pic is set to bow March 4, 2016.
Janney can currently be seen on the CBS sitcom “Mom” opposite Anna Faris and on the film front will next be heard in Illumination’s “Minions” voicing the character of Madge Nelson. She also has “Spy” starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham coming out this summer.
Janney is repped by Thruline, Gersh and Nelson Davis LLP.
By Ben Travers
The cast and creator of “Penny Dreadful” sat down for a 30-minute panel discussion at their Winter TCA presentation in January. The group included John Logan, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Helen McCrory and Harry Treadaway. After showcasing a new trailer to kick things off (see below), the group of five did their best to tease Season 2 without spoiling. We shall try to do the same.
SPOILERS ahead for the first season of “Penny Dreadful.”
1) “This season we embrace witchcraft.”
So said series creator John Logan when discussing what’s to come in the second season of “Penny Dreadful,” Showtime’s hit horror series from the Oscar-winning screenwriter. Though he didn’t give away too much new information — a wise move for a series with some enticing twists — he did expound upon the new villain of the series, new characters, and what the rest of the main characters would be going through. “Last year we set the characters on the board, and this year we get to play with them,” Logan said. The game itself? Witchcraft, which Logan said will be a major part of the new season.
2) “Penny Dreadful’s” new villain is uniquely human.
One big reason to “embrace witchcraft” in Season 2 is the new antagonist, Madam Kali (aka Evelyn Poole). Played by Helen McCrory, Kali appeared in a few episodes last year, perhaps most notably as the “impersonator” who set things off for Vanessa during the show-stopping seance scene. Now, she’s the big baddie, and one wielding considerable power. Logan talked about how vampires were the main adversary last year, but that he wanted a human villain in Season 2. He’d had this planned out for a while, too, cutting a scene with McCrory from the first season that better illustrated her upcoming value (but didn’t fit in the edit in the end). You can see some of what’s in store on her end in the trailer below, summed up in one quote: “When Lucifer fell, he did not fall alone.”
3) Josh Hartnett’s Ethan will be hunted as much as he hunts.
One of the biggest reveals in last year’s season finale was Ethan Chandler’s secret identity, so to speak. Ethan is a werewolf — or so we thought. “He’s a wolf man,” Hartnett casually corrected. “That’s what John likes to call him.” More importantly, Logan said Ethan will be hunted more than he hunts in Season 2. A Scotland Yard inspector, a new character played by Doug Hodge, will be hot on Ethan’s metaphorical and literal tail. All the while, Ethan will be discovering who he is — Logan was adamant in pointing out Ethan doesn’t yet know he’s a werewolf, and discovering as much will be an emotional journey unto its own for the already conflicted American gunslinger.
4) “There’s a major dancing component to this season.”
Logan gave out plenty of juicy details, many of which fit the grisly tone of the new trailer, but he was also asked to explain one of the trailer’s only moments of bliss. There’s a scene where Vanessa (Eva Green) dances with the Creature (Rory Kinnear) in what in passing seems like a lovely, touching moment. Turns out there’s much more like it to come.
“There’s a major dancing component to this season,” Logan said. “He’s composed three waltzes for us. They’re all unique to the characters. There’s a Vanessa and Ethan waltz — which is a larger waltz than with the other characters — there’s a Creature waltz. Seeing what we can do with these characters is very exciting.”
5) If you thought Season 1 was light on gore, get ready for a bloody Season 2.
No one said anything about amping up the classic horror aspects — gore, blood, violence — but the climactic moment of the trailer certainly indicates an emphasis on blood, one way or another. Logan also noted how the directors he worked with this season added their own style to the episodes, especially since the pilot’s director (and tone-setter for the series) J.A. Bayona did not return for Season 2. Change is coming, even if Logan argues “it’s still ‘Penny Dreadful.'”
6) This is the “make or break” season for “Penny Dreadful.”
Logan talked about how difficult it was for him to find the right tone for his show in the first season. “I was immensely proud of the first season,” Logan said. “It was a very, very challenging target to hit, which is a horror show that will break your heart. I believe that’s what we accomplished. I think there’s more pressure, more tension this season. Last year, our heroes were hunters, and this season they are the prey.”
Logan went on to mention the characters are brought closer together in Season 2 thanks to higher stakes. “We sort of unleashed hell this season, so it is our make-or-break season, and we’re going for it.”
7) “Penny Dreadful” premieres May 3 at 10pm.
Set your DVRs accordingly!
There are few experiences in modern cinema quite as intoxicating as watching Eva Green behaving badly. Whether she’s an American housewife on the verge of a nervous breakdown in White Bird in a Blizzard, or fixing those deep turquoise eyes on her oppressors in the revenge western The Salvation, or wrestling demons in the TV series Penny Dreadful, it’s impossible to tear your gaze away.
Green is an enigma, hiding in plain sight. She’s a femme fatale with as many female admirers as male ones, a Bond girl who all but ate Bond for breakfast. Her beauty is of the troubling sort that drives prim conformists mad – they’re forever wanting her to fix her teeth, go easy on the eye make-up, tone down the witchiness and look like everyone else.
Read the full article here on telegraph.co.uk.
By Anastasia Nemchenok
ELLE met up with Eva Green in London, where the Campari 2015 calendar (featuring the actress) was launched.
ELLE: Tell us about the work process on the Calendar.
Eva Green: The work process was fun and interesting. Most importantly, I didn’t feel any pressure from Campari, which is a rarity when you work for a commercial project.
ELLE: How was it working with Julia Fullerton-Batten, the first woman photographer in the history of Campari calendars?
EG: Julia is a real artist. She had never worked for a fashion shoot before, but she had organized everything perfectly. Usually it takes time to get used to someone’s working style, but this time – boom – everything was shot very quickly. An actress needs to feel appreciation from a director or a photographer in order to perform her best. Thanks to Julia each shot is like a painting.
ELLE: Where did the shoot take place?
EG: In Budapest, Hungary.
On the penultimate day of the rewrite, I finally brought up Eva Green. Pitt was sitting on the chair, the sun was setting in one of the windows, and Madison Street, which was three stories below us, was clogged with cars. The Dreamers was Green’s first movie, and the first of the many sex scenes in her career—the most outrageous of which is in 300: Rise of an Empire. In a sense—at least a cinematic sense—Pitt deflowered her. (“You are my first love, my first great love,” Green says to Pitt in The Dreamers, after fucking him on a couch.) “What is she like in person?” I asked him with a tone that I thought perfectly concealed my fascination with the actress. Pitt, who had heard me sing nonstop praises for his performance of the Kurt Cobain–like character in Gus Van Sant’s Last Days, looked at me for a moment and, as if finally realizing that my devotion to him was lower than the one I had for his costar in The Dreamers, said with almost cool cruelty: “You and every other man wants to know that.” I never brought the matter up again.
The Salvation is director Kristian Levring’s epic Western tale of revenge and justice. It tells the story of Jon (played by Mads Mikkelsen), a peaceful American settler of Danish decent who kills his family’s murderers which unleashes the fury of a notorious gang leader (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) whose plans of revenge and mayhem is almost foiled by his mute sister-in-law Madeleine (Eva Green). Jon’s cowardly fellow townspeople then betray him, forcing him to hunt down the outlaws alone. Here we talk to veteran South African actor Sean Cameron Michael on his thoughts on his career, filming in South Africa, The Salvation, his current hit tv show Black Sails and his favorite Eva Green project.
You’ve played a variety of characters on various mediums (theatre, film, television, shorts and commercials) and genres. Do you have a preferred medium or genre to work on? Do you have a particular favorite project or character of yours?
Yes, I’ve been very fortunate to work on many interesting and exciting projects over the past 30 years or so. Each medium, whether it be theatre (and the instantaneous energy of a live audience) or on-camera work (TV series, films, docudramas, music videos, etc), they all have their own unique requirement, challenges and style. I’ve been acting and performing all my life. It’s what I love and I’m truly grateful for every opportunity that I am given. It inspires and fulfills me immensely to work with new and aspiring directors and writers, to help bring their creations to life. At the same time, I’m continually learning and experiencing, working with highly regarded filmmakers and artistes who have reached the pinnacle of success. It’s hard to choose a favorite. Each experience is special and exhilarating actually.
By Elizabeth Wagmeister
“Penny Dreadful’s” second season has been pushed back one week. The 10-episode season two will now premiere on Sunday, May 3.
Showtime’s thriller was originally set to bow on April 26, previously announced at the Television Critics Assn. press tour.
The new episodes welcome back Helen McCrory, who is back as Evelyn Poole (aka Madame Kali), and Simon Russell Beale, who returns as Ferdinand Lyle. Guest stars include Patti LuPone, Douglas Hodge, Sarah Greene and Jonny Beauchamp.
Series creator John Logan said of the new season: “Last season, our heroes were hunters. This season, they’re hunted.”