From executive producer Eli Roth, the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove is now available for the entirety of its second season run, featuring plenty more blood, guts, and betrayal. The supernatural thriller centers on the mysterious happenings of a small Pennsylvania town where vampires, werewolves, and genetically engineered Frankenstein monsters roam the streets side by side. Season two gets darker, sexier and scarier as Peter (Landon Liboiron) and Roman (Bill Skarsgard) face the responsibilities of adulthood and deal with the fallout from the first season’s brutal climactic massacre.
Earlier this year I joined a small group of journalists on set in Toronto where we had a chance to talk with Madeline Brewer (Orange is the New Black) about what to expect from her new character Miranda. She talked about how Miranda ends up in Hemlock Grove, working with the practical effects, Miranda’s relationships with Peter and Roman, shooting in Toronto, and More. Check out what she had to say about Hemlock Grove Season 2 after the jump.
So tell us a little about Miranda, she’s a new character this season so we don’t know much about her.
MADELINE BREWER: I don’t really either [laughs]. Miranda is a graphic novelist who was just innocently driving through Hemlock Grove on her way to California when, in true Hemlock Grove fashion, things got weird and now she’s stuck there and becoming a very interesting part of the story.
We heard you have a lot of applique tattoos.
BREWER: Yeah, they’re not on right now, they take a long time to put on. Yeah, and they’re all designed by her.
Patrick was talking about the process.
BREWER: It’s fun, because when I first saw them I’m like oh, it’s just like a tattoo you put on with the water and you peel it off, except it’s [really] big and you have to get three people holding them over my arm, but they’re cool. They’re all designed by Miranda and they’re very interesting. One of them specifically is important to the storyline. So keep an eye out for that.
BREWER: [Laughs] I can’t tell you, it’s more fun to see. You’ll find it. They’ll show it.
How quickly do we meet her in the series?
BREWER: Episode two, she comes on with a bang- with a car crash.
That’s how you’re stuck?
So does she get kind of swept up into the outskirts of what’s going on or does she get thrown into the Godfrey and Rumancek worlds?
BREWER: She’s kind of right in the thick of it just from the get-go. She becomes a pretty interesting part of the boys’ lives in ways that she- nobody even really thought could happen, but it does.
It sounds like her work might be something that plays a role, maybe she sees the future or she might have inadvertently stamped an image of one of them on her arms.
Just guessing. I’m trying to figure out how a graphic novelist finds herself trapped into this community and if her body hart has significance it would have to be along the mythology lines.
NETFLIX REP: I would say interconnected but not prophetic. Basically it definitely is all connected and interconnected, and there is a lot between the three of them actually that is interconnected, but I don’t think that it’s prophetic or that Miranda knew whenever she designed it.
You were in Orange is the New Black and now you’re in this, which is an entire genre shift, how do you feel about going into the blood and guts?
BREWER:I love it, because I mean, I never imagined that I would be sitting at a table and casually have whatever the hell that is [pointing to disgusting prop body part]. It’s been a major change, because I’m very new to the whole TV thing, or the whole in front of a camera thing, but it’s been fascinating. I’ve learned so much and it’s been really fun to just experience it.
Have you been exposed to the blood and the practical effects?
BREWER: Yeah, it’s a little creepy at first, but also everything is so specific and technical that it just get’s kind of- you don’t even realize. I feel like when I watch it it’s going to be a lot scarier than I have felt being in front of it.
What’s the grossest scene you’ve been a part of this year?
BREWER: I wasn’t a part of it, but I read about and was sort of on set for Roman eating some real nasty stuff, really gross. And the way that they make it- it’s all made out of food that’s edible, because he needs to chomp down on it, but it looks like the real thing, whatever that is. It’s gross though.
Is there a way that you could describe or set a tone for the relationships that surround your character? Is there a particular mood?
BREWER: Bizarre. It’s really just strange. That’s one of my favorite things about Hemlock Grove is that it’s just unique and really just weird, and that’s really what’s happening with Miranda when she kind of gets thrown into the middle of this vampire-werewolf world. That’s the only way I can explain it. That’s the tone of it, it’s freaking weird. Yeah, strange.
In terms of her personality, did she arrive weird or is weird imposed upon her?
BREWER: I think Miranda in her life and in her background, she’s no stranger to kind of bizzaro things, but this is a whole new level for her, I mean for anybody. When I first started reading about Miranda she used to donate her blood plasma for money, like she’s not a stranger to doing strange things. She’s kind of out there, but this is a whole different level of odd.
So it seems like she would be more closely aligned to the common folk in town than the rich people if she’s doing things like selling her blood plasma. In terms of this towns economic struggle it seems like she would more closely identify with the downtrodden.
BREWER: Yes, yeah, she and Roman don’t really have that much in common in that way.
Are we to presume that she’s perhaps a love interest for one of the boys?
BREWER: Well, it’ s television.
Did you see the first season?
They like to fight over blondes
BREWER: They really do. Aren’t I lucky? I really am. I’m just kidding. Yeah, I mean it’s TV so what do you expect? So, that’s been fun.
So there might be a love connection somewhere along the line?
BREWER: Who knows.
Is she looking for love?
BREWER: No, actually Miranda just got out of a bad relationship with an evil, evil man.
Is this evil man going to track her down?
BREWER: No, that would be kind of interesting. Maybe you should write.
You’re from the East Coast of the U.S. right?
BREWER: Yeah, I’m from New Jersey.
How are you liking filming up here in Toronto?
BREWER: Oh my goodness, I love it. I hated it at first, because I hate the cold even though I’m from a cold area, but I love Toronto. I think it’s gorgeous. I think it’s an amazing city. Everybody runs here or rides a bike. I’ve had to become more active so I don’t feel left out.
Are you a big horror fan in general?
What movie is the drunkest you’ve ever got?
BREWER: [Laughs] Probably Halloween Part 7.
The Busta Rhymes one?
BREWER: Oh god, I don’t even remember, see! But I know I wrote it down, I was like, “I have seen Part 7“, because I didn’t want to do it again [laughs]. And my brother has seen them all so many times that he makes up his own rules. We could look them up online, but his are really intense. We just get drunk as a skunk…that’s really charming of me to say.
What’s an example of a rule?
BREWER: Oh like, well especially in the 80’s slashers, it’s like every times you see tits, which is like every five minutes, or screaming, or blood, or every time- Oh what was one of them? I cant remember which movie it was, but every time they killed a certain way, specific. I wish I had more to say about it, but I’m always drunk when I watch them [laughs].
Being a newcomer this season to a cast and crew that’s worked together for the last year. How are you getting together with the cast and crew?
BREWER: Oh, it’s been great. The crew is awesome, because I just come on and yell things and they accept me for it. It was strange at first because Landon and Bill are such good friends and they already know each other. I came in and I was pretty much only working with Bill and Landon all the time, it was interesting at the start, but no we all get along great. We’re similar in age and I love those guys, they’re really awesome. I’ve started hanging out with Maddy Martin and when we hang out all we do is “Hey, what’s up Maddy?” “Oh, hey Maddy.” Saying it out loud is strange. We have fun. We went rock climbing the other day, which if you haven’t done, stretch your arms before, because it hurts.
Do we get to see examples beyond her tattoos of her graphic novel work in the show?
BREWER: No. I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t know much about her graphic novel actually.
For Orange is the New Black you had to do cornrows, for this you have to do tattoos every time, what is that process like?
BREWER: We recently just figured out a better- because it was like, if it would be a long day we would come in at four in the morning to put the tattoos on, be here all day and then take them off at night. But now, we’ve since started putting them on the night before, leaving them on over night and touching them up with next day. The cornrows would take 25 minutes and I’d be like “Oh, my gosh, my head hurts.” But now, I’m siting in a chair just covered in water and powder and ink. It’s fun though. We have loads of fun. We just listen to music and it’s great.
When you’re wearing the tattoos around do you get comments from people?
BREWER: I went to the gym this one time and they were kind of rubbing off, and I could see this guy just kind of looking at me. I’m like, “They’re fake, I’m sorry. I know it’s weird.” They actually make me feel tough, so I like them. I’m not tough.
Do you characterize at all through them? I’ve often heard actors pull from those kind of things to help create the character.
BREWER: Absolutely yeah, because being covered full back, sleeves in tattoos, just looking down at yourself it changes everything. It kind of puts you in a different body almost. The same thing with Miranda’s clothes, her rings, her jewelry and her shoes. I don’t wear heeled shoes, because why would I do that? But Miranda does, so when I have them on it really grounds you and gets you centered into that body, into that personality. It was the same thing with Tricia on Orange is the New Black. Once I put those big steel toed boots on it was game over. I got my swag on, started walking differently, started talking differently. It was fun.
The tattoos make you feel tough, is Miranda a tough chick?
BREWER: Oh yeah. Miranda really progresses throughout the season. I think when you see her just at face value, when you first meet her you’re just like this girl is- I don’t know, it takes a particular person to be completely inked up, you know? You have to be kind of dedicated to it, because it’s going to be there forever. Me personally, I would love to, but I know I never would. But Miranda has had a difficult past and she’s made some difficult choices relationship wise and life wise. When you first meet her that’s all you see, but then as the season progresses you see a much softer side of her, which is true to any person. When you read a book by its cover you see one thing and then you find out so much more about them as a human.
When you think of playing her as tough, do you have any idea of a role model from TV or film who might have influenced your idea of tough?
BREWER: For Miranda?
BREWER: I don’t think so. I’ve never actually thought about that before. Let me think about it… I actually just mostly- when I was thinking about the people that I kind of pulled personality from in giving Miranda this toughness, I have a lot of friends who are tattooed up and have lived very different lifestyles than mine. Talking to them, I guess, stalking their Facebook mostly.
What do you think people are going to think when they first meet Miranda?
BREWER: Hopefully they’re going to be like “She’s hot” [laughs], because that’s what I thought. Just kidding. I guess depending on how attached they were to Letha they might feel like, “Get this other blonde out of here,” but I don’t know. Just the way that she comes into the story and the things that happen in just the first two or three episodes that she’s in, she’s a very interesting character. I think people will be really intrigued by her. I hope that, because hopefully they’re not bored by me.