Exclusive: Famke Janssen Talks the Return of Hemlock Grove
Don’t you worry about Famke Janssen’s powerful, sexy Olivia Godfrey. Though things looked shaky for her at the close of Season One of the Netflix original horror hit "hemlock Grove," Famke told us, "Olivia typically finds her way out of any peril. She is unstoppable."
Just in case you’ve never visited “Hemlock Grove,” it’s a fictional town in Pennsylvania peopled with werewolves, monsters and creatures of all sorts. In Season One, Roman Godfrey, heir to the town’s wealthy Godfrey family fortune, befriended the town’s newest resident, Peter Rumancek.
But things weren’t so “friendly.” A spate of brutal murders in the town stirred up speculation and rumors, and it turned out both young men were hiding their own dark secrets.
Stirring up trouble, quite often, is the family’s malevolent matriarch, Olivia. One of Olivia’s favorite playthings is Norman Godfrey (Dougray Scott), her dead husband’s brother. When we asked Famke what’s in the store for the crazy couple in Season Two, she said, “Every relationship in 'Hemlock Grove' is complicated. Whether it’s lovers, friends, family... nothing is easy in that town. But yes, Olivia and Norman have a whole new development. There are fresh possibilities yet. Their relationship becomes even more challenging.”
Expect the unexpected next season with a different showrunner (Chic Eglee) and a ton of new characters. When asked what the fans are clamoring for in this regard, Famke replied she has no idea. And she likes it that way. She shuns social media of all kinds, and though she does have a computer, she really only uses it to write her novels and screenplays and to hit Google for research purposes. Even then, she said, she sometimes finds herself in the black hole of one click leading to another. “It’s a pitfall, and I want to avoid that. I’d rather be creating than standing on the sidelines seeing what everyone else is doing, saying, and thinking. Television has that same feel to me.”
She doesn’t even own a television and says she never has had one. Of course, she’s not a complete Luddite. Famke does have some favorite shows she’s caught here and there over the years - namely, “Twin Peaks.” And that’s what drew her in to do “Hemlock Grove.”
“I had never met Eli [Roth, the show’s producer] before he called me on the phone to tell me about this role. I wasn’t sure at first. But when he said he wanted it to be the next 'Twin Peaks,' I said, ‘I’m in.’ I was a fan, although I have never owned a television. It’s weird, strange, very Americana, so compelling. 'Hemlock Grove' has that same feel.”
Did Roth’s gory reputation precede him? “I’m not a horror fan, and I was not familiar with his work. The only horror film I’ve liked is The Shining. So it was the 'Twin Peaks' thing that got me. I realized this is something new, different. 'Hemlock Grove' is like a ten-hour movie. It has nothing to do with the once a week cliffhanger, there are no commercial breaks, and you can watch as much or as little as you want. I think it’s terrific.”
But wasn’t Netflix kind of a hard sell? Famke says yes, at first. When she told people about it, they would look at her with a puzzled expression and say, “Oh. You’re doing a web series?” She said it would have been harder, had they been the first out of the gate. But what with “House of Cards” getting so many accolades and so much press, that gave her a point of reference.
“Netflix has high standards. It’s much easier now, to hold one’s head up about doing a web series. We’ve got 'Lilyhammer,' 'House of Cards,' 'Orange is the New Black,' all doing excellent work.” What’s more, she says, “The best writers, actors, directors, production designers, sound, music, you name it: Those talents are headed online. hen I look at 'Hemlock Grove' and see how beautiful it is, how painterly, I cannot even compare it to traditional TV, which used to feel a bit lazy and dialed in. It not like that anymore. This is where’s at.”
About "Hemlock Grove":
All ten episodes of the one-hour series starring Famke Janssen (X-Men), Bill Skarsgård (Simon & The Oaks), Landon Liboiron (“Terra Nova”), and Dougray Scott (Mission Impossible II) will be available at launch on July 11th in all territories where Netflix is available -- the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Latin America, the Nordics, and the Netherlands. The series also stars Madeline Brewer (“Orange Is the New Black”), Madeleine Martin (“Californication”), Joel de la Fuente (“Law & Order: SVU”), and Tiio Horn (“18 to Life”).
“Hemlock Grove” is a supernatural thriller which explores the strange happenings in a small Pennsylvania town. The show focuses on the unlikely friendship between the founding family’s young heir, Roman Godfrey (Skarsgård), and gypsy newcomer and outsider Peter Rumancek (Liboiron). Each holds a monstrous secret that has been unleashed.
Season Two continues with the town coming to grips with the shocking massacre incurred by one of its deadliest creatures. Roman and Peter are now faced with new responsibilities and the realities that come with adulthood. Roman’s relationship with his mother (Janssen) is all but dead as he struggles with his unwanted Upir birthright and the disappearance of his sister, Shelley (Martin). Peter moves in with Destiny (Horn) and is forced to get a job after his mother is sent away.
Meanwhile, in search of a new life, newcomer Miranda Cates (Madeline Brewer) embarks on Hemlock Grove with an unknowingly profound effect on Peter and Roman. And Norman (Scott), still reeling from the loss of his family, must face the harsh truths that are uncovered about those he still loves. The White Tower looms menacingly over the town as Pryce’s mysterious experiments are questioned and he will be faced with the hardest decision of his career.
The drama series was the first foray into television by internationally acclaimed horror master Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever). It was developed by Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman and is executive produced by Eli Roth, Charles Eglee, Brian McGreevy and Lee Shipman, Eric Newman, and Michael Connolly. “Hemlock Grove” is produced by Gaumont International Television for Netflix.
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Subscribe to the Dread Central YouTube Channel!
Bark at the moon in the comments section below!