‘Hunters’ Star Jennifer Jason Leigh on Chava’s ‘Tough Love’ in Season 2
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Hunters Season 2 Episodes 1-8.]
As viewers who tuned in will remember, Chava has a special connection to Jonah as the sister to his late grandmother Ruth (Jeannie Berlin). Distant by choice, Chava’s a little cold and more practical about the situations this unconventional group of justice deliverers find themselves in. When they unite to track down their ultimate target, Hitler (Udo Kier), Chava comes clean about her familial ties to Jonah and must face the consequences of her past choices leading to one epic sacrifice by the season’s end. Below, star Leigh opens up about her role, Chava’s decisions, and hopes about Season 2’s impact on the audience.
What drew you into the world of Hunters and interested you in the role of Chava?
Jennifer Jason Leigh: I love that she’s so focused on trying to make some right in the world that has been so wrong, you know? And of course, [creator] David [Weil], his passion for Hunters, what he’s done with this show, his tone, all of that was very exciting to me, and to just be a part of his vision and his process was really kind of thrilling.
Chava is quite a blunt character who is closed off to family when the season begins. She’s a far cry from one of your most recent TV roles as Elsa in Netflix‘s Atypical. Is that contrast something you look for in roles?
Not always. A lot of times as an actor, you do wanna challenge yourself and go places that are a little outside your comfort zone. And this was definitely that. But it was such a great group of people, and David is such an incredible person and creator, and this is such a personal passion project for him. You want those opportunities even when they are scary.
Your accent work in the show is a fun change. Was that a personal choice or a requirement for the role?
David went through a whole backstory for Chava’s character, and I had a great dialect coach. We worked together endlessly because, she started where she grew up, but then she moved to England after she escaped the concentration camp at about 16 years old. So it’s this weird combo platter of Polish, Russian, and mostly British, but every once in a while you’ll just hear those little sounds coming in.
Is Chava’s lone wolf outlook a means of keeping family at arm’s length or due to the fact that he’s had so few personal connections over the years?
I think it’s too hard for her to feel anything. If she opened a little bit she’d never recover. She would just be a puddle on the ground. And I think it does start to happen. She does start to have more feelings for her sister and for Jonah and it’s not easy for her to hold those feelings in.
Chava blows Jonah’s cover with his fiancee Clara (Emily Rudd). Does she do that to protect Clara or both of them?
I think it feels like she’s doing the right thing. She knows it’s cruel, but you know, it’s like her version of tough love, which is also trying to protect the girl.
How do you hope viewers are impacted by this final season of Hunters?
I do think antisemitism is on the rise right now and it’s a real danger and incredibly disturbing. So I guess just making people aware is helpful because it’s evil and really dangerous and, it’s sort of shocking what’s happening in our country right now.
Hunters, Season 2, Streaming now, Prime Video