Exclusive: We Chat With the Cast of 'Hemlock Grove'



hemlock groveNetflix’s second original series, Hemlock Grove, is a kind of gothic soap opera, set in a small town filled with quirky characters - like Twin Peaks with monsters. There is Peter (Landon Libiron), the gypsy werewolf; Christina (Freya Tingley), the inquisitive innocent who is fascinated by Peter; Roman (Bill Skarsgard), the spoiled scion of the Godfrey family, who may or may not know he is a vampire; and the only two people he is kind to: Shelley, his monstrously deformed younger sister, of whom he is very protective; and Letha (Penelope Mitchell), his cousin and best friend, who becomes pregnant under mysterious circumstances. We chatted with the young cast, along with producers Brian McGreevy (who also wrote the novel on which the show is based) and Lee Shipman ahead of the series' online debut.

On what inspired Hemlock Grove:

Brian: “The idea, at it’s most basic, was that I was going to take the three most canonical monsters of the modern era - Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolfman - and put them in my high school.”

On what drew them to the project:

Freya: “The characters were three dimensional, fully fleshed-out, that defied convention. They weren’t stereotypes.”

Landon: “It is really interesting writing. It’s a special thing when you can read a script and hear a voice in it.”

Penelope: “The show has a very particular sensibility. If the show appeals to you, you fall in love with it. When I was sent the script it was so unique, so sophisticated, so nuanced, with so much room to grow. As an actor you can’t ask for more than that. That gothic kind of narrative really appeals to me.”

Bill: “When I read the script it was so fresh and so cool. Compared to all the other scripts going around LA that I read, this was the one I really, really wanted.”

On the inevitable Twilight comparisons:

Landon: “I was skeptical because it was a vampire/werewolf thing. But it’s too vicious for that.”

Penelope: “When my agent pitched the idea to me, I thought it was kind of a yawn. But it is so unique and so iconoclastic, and it is an approach to a genre that seems so popular and defined, then blows it out of the water.”

Bill: “The script is so fresh and unique from what we see in the genre. It’s more sophisticated. When my manager told me about it, it wasn’t appealing to me at all. But then I read the script and it completely changed my mind. I hope people will see it and think of it as something fresh and something new.”

On working for Netflix as opposed to traditional networks:

Lee: “We pursued the relationship very aggressively after we saw the House of Cards deal. They were the most interesting and innovative players in the field. Their ethos is from a tech background, not a Hollywood background. Hollywood business culture is so polluted and hierarchical and archaic in its thinking, whereas tech companies come from a place of collaboration, innovation, and a lack of micro-management.”

Brian: “I would never work for a network.”

Lee: “I would work as a cocktail waitress before I worked for CBS.”

All 13 episodes of Hemlock Grove will be available on Netflix at 12:01am on April 19th.