13 Reasons Why, Netflix’s hit new show, is an impossible endeavor. Adapted from the #1 New York Times bestselling young adult novel by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why revolves around a suicide and prominently features cyberbullying and sexual assault. For many, the subject matter is deemed too weighty; for others, the “teen drama” genre is dismissed as insubstantial. But these seemingly contradictory elements combine in a way that makes the show all the more important. For all of its flaws – and the internet proclaims that there are many – 13 Reasons Why succeeds in bringing certain issues into the open, promoting discussion in order to de-stigmatize. Through a staggeringly talented cast of young actors, the show also offers a more authentic look at the teenage experience (as opposed to, say, anything on the CW) that should be embraced by current teens, former teens, parents of teens, and pretty much everyone else, too.
“As a writer, you’re always an observer,” says Sian Heder, an Orange Is The New Black scribe who’s the director/writer of the new film Tallulah. Centering on an impulsive yet often well meaning young woman (Ellen Page is Tallulah) who steals a baby from a neglectful mother (Tammy Blanchard) at a New York Hotel, the feature is an uncompromising tale that blends melodrama, dark humor, pathos, and a sliver of fantasy into the mix. Allison Janney co-stars as Margo, the mother of Tallulah’s boyfriend (Evan Jonigkeit).
Madeline Brewer joins the Hemlock Grove family in season two as Miranda, a sensitive soul who finds herself caught amidst the Peter (Landon Liboiron) and Roman (Bill Skarsgard) firestorm. During last week’s Hemlock Grove interviews, Brewer discussed what makes the show unique.
“It’s very different from every other supernatural or horror and vampire show that’s out there,” said Brewer. “It has its own tone. It has its own quirkiness. And I love that.” The actress, who also received recognition for her work on the first season of Orange Is The New Black, has carved out a pretty solid run with the Netflix family, and she also added that streaming shows is also part of her viewing experience. With such shows as Orange Is The New Black, House of Cards, and Breaking Bad, binge watching has become a primary method of viewing shows. Click on the media bar below to hear Madeline Brewer and co-star Madeleine Martin give their thoughts on the idea of watching a slew of episodes in a row (fyi – I’ll be binge watching the rest of Hemlock Grove this weekend)! Hemlock Grove is now available on Netflix.
Season two of Hemlock Grove is now available on Netflix, as the complex (and currently contentious) relationship between Roman (Bill Skarsgard) and Peter (Landon Liboiron) continues. The first episode has Peter asking Roman for $20,000 to hire an attorney for his currently in jail mother (The Conjuring’s Lili Taylor), but Peter’s request is rebuffed.
As Roman’s thirst for blood continues to grow, his moral compass will continually be challenged. Eating blood sucking leeches can only go so far, and his decision to bite into a few humans is simply an inevitability.
During the interviews, I asked Skarsgard if playing such an intense and emotionally distant character is an all consuming job. “You do carry it with you throughout the entire shoot,” said the actor. “When it was over, it was overwhelming for me. When we wrapped the season, I couldn’t really handle it. I started weeping – it was just one of those cleansing feelings to have a character that’s so intense and also protect that character all the time and vouch for him and understand him. When you do that for five or six months, you don’t have to think about that character anymore.”
Click on the media bar to hear Skarsgard talk about the acting process for Hemlock Grove, after which Landon Liboiron chimes in and brings levity to the occasion with an Inside the Actors Studio reference:
One of the many impressive facets of Hemlock Grove lies in its unique vision of a morally compromised universe filled with what some may describe as creatures of the night. But monsters, as well as humans, take shape in many different forms and sizes.
My favorite tag line for this year’s Hemlock Grove is that “even demons have demons,” and most of the characters travel down a dark and unforgiving path in season two. Hemlock Grove’s new batch of episodes debuts on Netflix tomorrow (July 11), as Roman (Bill Skarsgard) and Peter’s (Landon Liboiron) mutual dislike of each other continues.
Netflix is one of the leaders in shaping how we digest film and television. The days of running home from work to catch your favorite show are over thanks to DVR and streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. For Eli Roth, the changing landscape on how material is digested was one of his inspirations for shepherding Hemlock Grove’s development.
“It is the norm to binge watch,” said Roth. “That is how people are getting their shows. In fact, people are so used to watching multiple episodes of shows (that) they are waiting for three Games of Thrones episodes to air so they can watch them all in a row. (With Hemlock Grove), we wanted to make something special. We wanted to make something unique, and the fans really gave us a chance and embraced the show. It was a fantastic hit and we were lucky to get Emmy nominations. And we’re so excited to be back with season two.”
Chic Eglee (Dark Angel, Dexter, Murder One) is the new showrunner this season, which series star Famke Janssen accurately described as a “10 hour movie.” Featuring top notch production design and special effects, the show is also blessed with arresting visual work from cinematographer Fernando Argüelles. Roth also brought in a host of first rate filmmakers (Hesher’s Spencer Sussman and Cube’s Vincenzo Natali are among the players) to infuse their specified aesthetic for this season, giving the narrative an even deeper cinematic the second time around.
I asked Janssen and Roth about why Hemlock Grove doesn’t actually feel like a TV show but instead continues to expand its creative horizons. Click on the media bar below to hear their answer:
Will a rehabbing Olivia (Janssen) get son Roman (Skarsgard) back in her good graces, or is the damage too much to repair? Are you set to binge watch the second season this weekend? Feel free to comment below!!