Hemlock Grove is a hell of a town. Between the vampires, werewolves, mad scientists, and inseminating angels (okay, so that one turned out not to be real) last year’s finale saw the town awash in the blood of countless characters. Some of those deaths stuck and some of them didn’t (Did we really think we’d seen the last of Olivia?) and with season two just around the corner it’s looking like Hemlock Grove is about to get even crazier.
Earlier this year I joined a few other online reporters in the creepy corners of the mysterious town – or at least I joined them on a sound stage in Toronto where Netflix built Hemlock Grove’s key sets. While there we got to tour around many of these sets, including Roman’s new house, the board room of Godfrey Institute, the secretive biomedical labs of the White Tower, and Destiny Rumacek’s apartment. During breaks in filming we also had a chance to talk with cast members Bill Skarsgard, Famke Janssen, Landon Liboiron, Madeline Brewer, Dougray Scott, Joel de la Fuente, Demore Barnes and Madeleine Martin. We even got to chat with new showrunner Charles “Chic” Eglee and a few key crew members about what’s coming up in season two and the behind the scenes process of making Hemlock Grove the bloodiest town on TV. Hit the jump to check out the 30 things I learned on set. 30
Hemlock Grove Season 2 Things to Know:
- There is a three month gap between when season one left off and season two picks up.
- Under new showrunner Chic Eglee expect to see the show focused on a more central “big bad”. Eglee described it as a “a motor and an engine for the show”.
- Eglee also talked about how the Netflix distribution model affects the writing of the show saying, “We don’t need to recapitulate blatantly how people arrived where they are. In broadcast TV it’s often said that a perfect scenario is a couple of characters sit and talk about what they’re going to do, then they go do it, come back and talk about what they just did. Binge viewing takes that burden away from you and I think it’s actually very freeing.”
- There is definitely going to be some bad blood between Roman and Peter following last season’s tragic finale and Peter’s decision to abandon Hemlock Grove (and Roman along with it).
- Landon Liboiron said that the shared dreams and visions between Roman and Peter will play a more significant role in season two.
- Where’s Shelley? We don’t know. They were playing this one pretty close to the chest and hesitated to give out any details, but we did learn that Shelley is on the run and isolated from her family.
- However, she won’t be completely alone! The show introduces a new character to accompany Shelley along the way and they help each other out in tremendous ways.
- Madeleine Martin (who is taking over the role of Shelley for season two) said she drew inspiration from Edward Scissorhands.
- It takes her about three hours in makeup and prosthetics to transform into the character.
- Dougray Scott says that Norman will learn more about Olivia and her world of the supernatural.
- Peter’s cousin Destiny, played by Tiio Horn, will have an expanded role this season as Peter is drawn back to Hemlock Grove against his will and left with no option but to crash at her place.
- While Michael Chasseur (brother to the ill-fated Dr. Clementine Chasseur) was only introduced at the very end of last season, he will play a bigger role in season two as Hemlock Grove’s new Sherriff. In his new position of power Michael can keep an eye on all his suspects while performing his own off the books investigation into who killed his sister.
- Madeline Brewer plays a new character named Miranda, a graphic novelist driving through Hemlock Grove on her way to California. When a car crash strands her in town, she gets drawn into Hemlock Grove’s crazy happenings. Look for Miranda to make her first appearance in Episode 2.
- It seems Miranda might be a new love interest for Roman and/or Peter with some possible vampire-werewolf love triangle action.
- To get into character Brewer worked with the prosthetics department for about two hours every day to put on full sleeve temporary tattoos. The process is a lot like the old “lick and stick” temporary tattoos, except they are huge and it takes a team of people to put them on.
- Don’t expect Roman and Olivia to be mending fences any time soon. After their season finale “falling out” Roman has moved into a new house of his own.
- His new home is meant to be the complete opposite of Olivia’s classic mansion, modern and sparsely decorated. Set designer Drew Boughton described it as a contemporary haunted house designed to be elegant, but creepy. Boughton also indicated that Roman’s bedroom will be getting a lot of use.
- As for Olivia, she has also relocated. Season two finds Olivia in a cozy cottage where she’s going through a lengthy rehabilitation process after last season’s finale, which left her a little (a lot) worse for wear. As a result she must rely significantly on Dr. Pryce.
- Jannsen described Olivia and Pryce’s relationship saying, “Pryce really holds the key to a lot of things that are happening in the second season. He’s becoming more powerful and it’s not something that most people like but it’s a reality and he’s a very fun character anyway so we have a lot of interaction this season, Pryce and Olivia.”
- Joel de la Fuente, who plays Dr. Pryce, says that a major focus of season two is finding out exactly what goes on in the White Tower of the Godfrey Institute. Expect to learn a lot more about the mysteries of the biomedical engineering facility.
- He also said we’ll get to see a different side of Pryce, as evidenced by the fact that we’re going to see him in his Pajamas more than once.
- Now that he’s gone full Upir, Roman will be dealing with unbearably intense cravings for blood. Skarsgard described him as a “junkie”.
- One of the ways he attempts to cope with his newfound bloodlust is through a Godfrey Institute commissioned machine that performs a completely horrifying full body transfusion.
- Special Effects Supervisor Tim Barrabball singled this out among his most difficult effects saying, “One of the ones that made me the most nervous was the surgical suite where Roman is getting his old blood taken out and new blood put in. They had robot arms from the automotive industry, used to build cars, and we built these giant five-headed syringe needle contraptions that needed to jab into his body, rotate, jab into his body, take the old blood out, put the new in… We tested it on a pile of rags, it actually burst through the bag and went in around three inches. So after that we decided Bill Skarsgard would never appear on the surgical bench while these robot arms were working.”
- Barraball also described a little of the scene’s gory details, “Before he goes to the robot arms there’s this whole sequence where these giant syringes go down and suck the juice out of his eyes and replace it with fresh juice.”
- Everybody had a lot to say about the werewolf transformation. Visual Effects Supervisor Matt Whelan admitted that the effects team feels the pressure to top last year’s innovative approach. Of this year’s transformation sequences Liboiron said, “If they used a slingshot last year they’re using a catapult this year.”
- Whelan explained that it’s best to use digital effects for hard surfaces and mechanics (citing District 9 as an example) and leave the gore largely to practical with subtle digital enhancements, saying it’s hard to pull off anything that is “goopy” or “sloppy”.
- Prosthetics Supervisor Patrick Baxter says he thinks this year’s transformation sequences are on par with the legendary one in An American Werewolf in London, joking “I hope Rick Baker doesn’t hunt me down for [that].”
- Baxter says that everything is amped up in the second season, including the gore. He also said that after Evil Dead, which he worked on in 2012, a scene they recently shot had the most blood he’s ever seen go off in one scene.
- Barraball got a little more specific, admitting they used almost 30 gallon of blood in about five takes.
Look for more from my Hemlock Grove season 2 set visit all week.