This season of the Fox series Sleepy Hollow has tested everyone’s loyalties to the absolute limit. Now, for the rest of the season, the danger will be heightened and when someone dies, it will be more permanent. And when it comes to the Sleepy Hollow Season 2 finale, there will be such a level of finality that it will be shocking.
During this recent press interview, actor Tom Mison (who plays Ichabod Crane) talked about welcoming the change to more mystery-of-the-week storytelling than serialized, an upcoming death, a game-changing season finale, how he sees the relationship between Ichabod and Katrina (Katia Winter), Henry (John Noble) being out for blood, what a joy it is to play the banter between Ichabod and Abbie (Nicole Beharie), and how delightful it is to be on such a popular show with such a wide fan base. Be aware that there are some spoilers.
TOM MISON: I’d rather welcome that change. Every writer comes to set with their episode, and when we sit around and have a drink after work and discuss ideas, there’s so many amazing ideas for the stand-alone episodes, that to give that format to that group of writers, I have absolute faith that it won’t become the dreaded monster-of-the-week. It will be much fuller than that. There are so many great ideas from them I think we could probably easily fill another season with just what they’ve got now, let alone what they’ll have in the next few months. So, within that, you can keep exploring character rather than having to stick to following certain character arcs through however many episodes. I think it’ll be a welcome change.
Are there any upcoming storylines that you can tease?
MISON: Well, they haven’t been written yet. These are the ideas that writers have been telling me for potential stories for Season 3. Over the rest of this season, there are very strong episodes. One big change seems to be, up until now, when someone dies in Sleepy Hollow, you can safely expect they’ll be back. But for the rest of the season, the danger returns. There’s actually a death coming that is rather more permanent. I wish I could tell you more, but it’s a massive spoiler and I’ll have my hands cut off.
MISON: Brace yourselves. There’s not going to be the cliffhanger type ending of Season 1. We’re not going to repeat that. Instead, there is such a level of finality that is rather shocking and that will change everything. It’s an exciting way to end the season.
Katrina and Ichabod’s relationship has been so up and down lately. Where do you see them right now, and what can you tease about their journey for the rest of the season?
MISON: It’s quite nice to have the relationship be so layered, and particularly for it not to be an easy ride. There are lots of things to criticize about every character in the show and their attitude towards the Crane dilemma, and it’s particularly easy to criticize Katrina and Ichabod. Is there a way for them to survive in the modern world? Probably not. They’ve tried their best. They’ve been going back and forth. But, it does reach a rather exacting dilemma, very, very soon. There will be some revelations that affect the relationship in quite a large way.
Henry (John Noble) has been MIA recently. What can you tease about how he gets woven back into things and how Ichabod reacts to him?
MISON: Being MIA has given Henry time to digest and plan his next move, so when he does come back, he comes back with a bang. He’s not going to muck about anymore. He’s not going to accept, “But, I’m your father. But, I’m your mother,” anymore. He’s back and he wants blood.
What’s it been like for you to be on such a popular show with such a wide fan base, and how has that changed your everyday experience?
MISON: Well, it’s delightful. When you do something you’re proud of, you want it to reach as large an audience as it can. Theatre is finite, whereas when you do a show like this, and it’s on primetime on one of the networks, it can reach a lot of people, and it’s around forever. I remember working with an older actress in a TV show back home, and she said she gets a lot more nervous doing television than she ever does with theatre because she knows you’ll never escape it. It will be around far longer than we will. I’m pleased that my first big job in America is one that I’m very proud of, and there are great writers giving us some great stories. I get to work with people like Nicole [Beharie] and Lyndie Greenwood and John Noble, and all of the gang. It’s something that we can all be pleased with. And so, I’m pleased that there are more than 60 people watching a night.
MISON: The thing that has always made Sleepy Hollow the most successful has been when it’s a horror film, every week. But a horror films forgets the joke, and I think that’s when I find it most exciting to watch. I also suspect that it’s the most exciting when the horror that gets the joke. It’s also quite unique on tele. That’s something that I’m sure we’ll strive to reposition ourselves towards, in the coming episodes.
Who’s the funniest person on set, and what do they do to keep everybody laughing?
MISON: Katia [Winter] is Swedish and she does a certain, very remote Swedish accent where she realized she can say anything and it destroys me. So, whenever I’m trying to concentrate, she comes up and says, “Hello, Thomas,” with this weird Swedish accent. It kills me, and I hate her for it. I’m pleased that we’ve wrapped, so I don’t have to listen to her when I’m trying to concentrate. But, she’s excellent.
What did you think when you were told you were going to be doing karaoke on the show?
MISON: I smacked myself around the face because that was something I joked about a long, long, long time ago with (writer) Heather Regnier, who wrote the episode. She called my bluff and actually wrote it in. I cursed Heather Regnier and started picking what I thought would be a decent song. She allowed me to choose, which was very kind of her.
MISON: I don’t think I’ve ever done a job with so much exposition. Exposition is something that actors always dread, when you have to explain things that have happened before, things that have happened off-camera, and things that will become apparent later on in the show. That’s been a real challenge, and I think Nicole would probably agree that the reams and reams of exposition that we have to plow through and keep interesting is dangerous, over 18 episodes. That’s been the biggest challenge, and that’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, in my 12-year career.
Will Ichabod ever wear a pair of jeans?
MISON: I don’t know. We tried the skinny jeans in Season 1, and then he just wore a normal pair of trousers. I think Ichabod just finds them too uncomfortable. I think he needs room to breathe, if you know what I mean.
What’s it like to play the banter between Ichabod and Abbie, and do you personally ever want to see it go further?
MISON: It’s such a joy to play. It’s so nice when you’re part of a pair. We have to rely on each other an awful lot, as Nicole and Tom, as much as Ichabod and Abbie. You’re going to have days when you come in feeling under the weather and you’re struggling to get yourself in. It’s so nice to have someone on the other side, just raising your game all of the time, and I hope she feels the same from me. It’s just fun to play with Nicole. We throw ideas in. We seem to agree on everything, which is very, very fortunate. We both come from the background where the scene is more important than the individual actor, and we are both striving to get the best out of the scene, rather than to show ourselves off. I think that’s where the magic lies. It’s a real treat. All I can say about it is that it’s great.
Will you return to the theatre, anytime soon?
MISON: Oh, man, I’d love to. This has been the longest that I’ve been without doing a play. I think it’s been two and a bit years, and I miss it terribly. I wish I had time. The proposed hiatus is so brief that there’s actually been lots of lovely offers of work that I’ve had to turn down, in case we get the green light for a Season 3, which goes against every fiber of my being, as an actor, and it pains me. But, if we do go to a third season, then the hiatus will be too short to do anything. It’s tragic and it kills me, but at least I’ll get to put those boots on again.
Did you always want to work in this industry, growing up, or did you have other professions in mind?
MISON: Oh, when I was really young, I wanted to work in a zoo. I remember going to a zoo and watching some horrible, shifty kid feed the penguins, and I was really jealous. I wanted to feed the bloody penguins, but I wasn’t allowed. So, I thought, “I’m going to work in my own zoo, and I’ll feed the bloody penguins, every day.” Then, I realized how hard it is to work in a zoo and I thought, “No, I’m going to slam about on stage instead.”
Sleepy Hollow airs on Monday nights on Fox.