From executive producer Eli Roth the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove returns July 11th for a second season that promises 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 looks to get 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 reporters on set in Toronto where we had a chance to talk with Liboiron during a break in filming. He talked about what to expect from Hemlock Grove season 2, the state Peter and Roman’s friendship, his transformation scenes, a possible new love interest this season, and more. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
What in the world convinced Peter to come back after that traumatic finale from Season 1?
LIBOIRON: 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.
He’s in a new roommate position. He’s moved in with his cousin.
LIBOIRON: Not by choice. 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.
How would you describe his relationship with Roman? How does it pick up in Season 2?
LIBOIRON: It’s very estranged and the two are definitely not friendly with each other at the beginning.
With the death of Letha and Shelley’s disappearance is it safe to assume there’s going to be more in-depth look into each character?
LIBOIRON: It’s definitely a part of what Peter’s going through at the beginning. He’s still mourning her death. Then the issues he’s dealing with sort of sidetrack from that with his new objective and path. The cool thing about Season 2 is the amount of new side characters that show you more of the world of Hemlock Grove.
You guys really swung from the fences with the werewolf transformation last year. Is there anything this season that approximates that for you?
LIBOIRON: Oh yeah. If they used a slingshot last year they’re using a catapult this year. They really amped up the fun stuff.
What’s it like to shoot something like that and see it after?
LIBOIRON: It’s brutal. When you’re shooting it you don’t really know what you’re doing. You have to plunge into it and trust that the special effects guy and the director are doing their jobs. I only watched it once. I could only watch it once.
With Roman discovering his new upir powers, is Peter doing the same thing with his lycanthrope [stuff]?
LIBOIRON: No, that’s the difference between Roman and Peter in the first season. Peter is very at peace with who he is. The werewolf aspect of Peter’s character, he grew up with that just as much as he did being a gypsy. And with Nikolai teaching him how to hunt, it’s very much a spiritual thing. When he met Roman, Roman didn’t know he was a upir, but Peter sensed that about him so Peter had one up on him. Now that Roman knows he’s a upir the contrast is that, I guess, you can say Peter is struggling with his werewolfness in Season 2 more than in Season 1. He’s a little more of a sore tooth.
Last Season you guys had the book to go off of. How is it this year, not knowing what’s coming?
LIBOIRON: Terrible [laughs]. It’s terrible. It was a gift to have the book last year, 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.
From other people we’ve spoken to it seems like their might be a love triangle between you and Roman and someone else. If that is the case, is that you guys commenting on and taking a bite out of TWILIGHT?
LIBOIRON: No. There is no love triangle really in my opinion. Miranda’s character plays a significant part in both Roman and Peter’s lives as much as Roman and Peter are significant to each other. The point of Miranda is not to bring in this struggling love triangle, it’s not her purpose. Her purpose is greater than that.
Does this tap into the dreams they were sharing in the first Season, Roman and Peter?
LIBOIRON: There’s a lot more. The dream aspect of it all is a lot more important this year and more significant.
Can you talk about Roman and Peter’s relationship? It’s not just a bromance it sounds more like a supernatural bonding.
LIBOIRON: It is. I describe Season 1 as a cocktail party for the uninvited. When you throw all of these misfits together it’s really enlightening for them. It’s really nice. “Oh, you’re a freak too!” is that kind of unexplainable build, it’s love. It’s a form of love and understanding a wavelength no one else is a part of. That’s kind of what they had in Season 1. And the interesting thing about Season 2 is that they’re both struggling with their inner demons. The wavelength starts wobbling a little bit.
Supernatural shows develop a big fan base, have you noticed one for this show?
LIBOIRON: Oh yeah. I really like our fan base. They’re just as weird as the characters and that’s so great. That’s really great. I got a twitter mainly just to promote the show. It’s interesting to see the fans and I love how they really got attached to the little things, like Dr. Pryce. The little things like that.
Have you had any responses that you didn’t expect? After Season 1 aired?
LIBOIRON: No. No, they were just as confused as I expected them to be.
Roman’s now in a high position of power now running the Godfrey company and obviously Peter coming from a Gypsy background do you think there’s going to be a shift in how they relate to each other?
LIBOIRON: I guess at the beginning of the Season, it’s been a significant amount of time that they’ve been apart. 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.
We’ve heard that there could be outside forces coming at them this Season, sort of expanding the world. Is that going to cause them to force an alliance at some point?
LIBOIRON: Possibly. The cool thing about what the new writers have done with the new Season is that they’ve kept the “big bad” factor. If the Vargulf was Season 1’s looming danger there’s another kind of shadow looming over Hemlock Grove in Season 2 as well.
Do you have a common enemy?
LIBOIRON: A common enemy, yeah.
Well the show always worked better when they were aligned, whether they trusted each other or not.
LIBOIRON: I think that will probably be their relationship for all eternity, is can they trust each other?
What’s your favorite and least favorite part of playing the character?
LIBOIRON: My favorite part is just Peter in general. Brian created such a rich person with Peter and I just feel extremely lucky to be able to have Peter. The least favorite part is… I don’t really…
Changing into a werewolf?
LIBOIRON: Yeah. I guess I always have to get naked to transform.
How cold is that?
Bill was saying you have to wear like 50 heat packs to make it through those night scenes. But if you have to strip down I don’t know how you make it all the way through.
LIBOIRON: Yeah there was one shot we did where I had to be naked outside for like a minute and it was absolutely ridiculous. Yeah they had to have these… for people with bad kidney problems or bad back problems there are these thermal backpacks that they give us. So we had to strap one on the back and one on the front and then they have these custom made wife beaters with pockets that you put these heat pads in.
Are you tempted to call up the writers and ask if they know how cold it is up here?
LIBOIRON: I’ve been tempted a few times, “get your ass up here!”
One aspect of Season 1 is that whenever we got to see Peter and Olivia there was always such an odd dynamic to those scenes. Are we going to get to see him interact in her world?
LIBOIRON: I can’t really say. The two worlds, I think they kept it the same as Season 1 in the sense that the adult world doesn’t clash too much with the younger world I guess. The adults have their own things going on.
Whenever they intersected it was fascinating.
LIBOIRON: Yeah and what’s fascinating is just how much power Olivia had over Peter even though it was always a door conversation, “Roman’s not here.” [laughs]
Yeah but there’s instinct that she’s powerful and dangerous and that he respected that.
LIBOIRON: And Peter was also a tool for Olivia. For Roman, you know.
A lot of your cast is from all around the world. Does it feel good to film in your own country?
LIBOIRON: Oh yeah. It’s very nice. Toronto’s a very fun city, it’s very cool. And I live in Vancouver and it’s just a flight away if I ever need to go back home or something. It is cool how rich we are in culture with the cast. It does add to it. Especially last year, with all of the Australians.
What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed with all of the talent coming onboard this season? In terms of the direction of the show?
No, just the creative team. The writers and crew.
LIBOIRON: The flow. It’s a quicker flow.
Do you think the tone of the show has changed?
LIBOIRON: Stylistically, no. Stylistically I think it’s the same as last year. The world of Hemlock Grove still exists.
It’s got kind of a more badass aspect to it this season. From what we’ve heard it’s got more gore, more blood and more explosions.
That sound a little more intense than what we saw in the first Season where we had kind of a lone wolf attacking people out of the blue.
LIBOIRON: Yeah, it’s definitely more action packed. That’s kind of what I meant by flow. One thing after another. It’s less about dialogue and more about the event. Shit hits the fan. Definitely.
Because there was definitely a more heightened suspense feeling to Season 1. Waiting for something to come out of the darkness. But from what we’re hearing, nothing’s coming out of the darkness, it’s just going to blow up.
LIBOIRON: It’s just going to blow up. It’s also that the characters are dealing more with their internal conflicts this year. Everyone’s going through their own internal strife whereas last year was more about community and how the community was all affecting each other. And now it’s about the individuals affecting themselves and everything and how to fix it and deal with it. I suppose.