Penny Dreadful Producer Chris King on the Macabre Surprises Ahead in Season 2
In the Season 2 premiere of Showtime’s period creepfest Penny Dreadful we got our next Big Bad, an eerie wax museum, a reanimated Brona (Billie Piper), and other surprises along the way. We spoke with supervising producer Chris King about these developments, and what other macabre surprises await us as the season goes on.
Let’s talk about the premiere’s breakout character Evelyn Poole (Helen McCrory). What’s her deal?
What’s great about this season is we do actually have a villain, one that’s flesh and blood that you can see. In Season 1, we had this master vampire that was off in the distance, you never really saw him. You never really had a chance to grasp who the villain was. This time we really wanted to anchor the series with a true villain. And I think Helen McCrory is really able to capture a bit of campiness as well as a bit of darkness, and as the season goes on, we’ll start to see a side of Evelyn that you might find a bit sympathetic. But ultimately she’s evil, and she’s a villain, and working for Satan himself.
About those daughters – are those her daughters? Because she’s already killed two of them.
She only has one daughter. Hecote (Sarah Greene) is her only daughter. The others create her coven. And what you will start to see over the course of the season is, Hecote starts to take on her own ambitions beyond what her mother is doing. We start to learn a lot more about Hecote and what Hecote’s plan is.
Which one was watching Ethan from the roof?
That’s Hecote. And we’re going to start to see that her target is on Ethan (Josh Hartnett).
Interesting, because there’s going to be a romance boiling between Ethan and Vanessa (Eva Green) this season.
Yes. Yes, very much so. Absolutely.
And what about that weird vibe between Evelyn and Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton)?
Evelyn’s trying to use every way she can to get to Vanessa and she knows that Vanessa and Sir Malcolm have a very strong relationship–almost a father-daughter relationship–so her goal is to try to get in at Vanessa in various ways, and one of them is using Sir Malcolm. Her way of it is through seduction.
What were those visions Evelyn prompted in Vanessa in the opening scene? Were they visions of the future? Or is Evelyn just trying to torment her?
They’re actually visions from the past. We will explore those in our third episode. She’s using those visions to torment Vanessa.
How much more dangerous are these witches vs. the vampires last season?
What’s dangerous is the fact that they can move in the day as normal women. They can be a part of society, whereas the vampires could only come out at night and looked frightening and scary all the time. These women can transform into as we saw, horrible, scarred, nasty creatures. They also have an immense strength. We’ll see some more of their powers over the course of the season.
How much of a problem will Ethan’s werewolfiness be going forward?
Well, for poor Ethan, he doesn’t know exactly what he is. This season will be the point where he truly understands and discovers what he is. But the fact that he knows now what he’s been doing, he knows that he’s been killing innocent people. For him, it’s grappling with knowing that he’s now doing this, and trying to figure out exactly what he is.
And there’s a survivor from the attack at the end of Season 1. Is this survivor going to cause problems for him?
Absolutely. Yes. There is a survivor and he will slowly start to make himself known to poor Ethan.
Then there’s The Creature’s (Rory Kinnear) new job location, which is super creepy, by the way. I hate wax museums.
So do I. [Creator John Logan] and I, when we were first in London prepping for Season 1, we always knew we wanted to bring in waxworks because they’re so disturbing. Madame Tussauds actually gave us a private tour before it was open. It was the creepiest thing, walking through a dimly lit Madame Tussauds where, and we had a tour guy, but he even left us for a little bit so we were on our own and that was so creepy. You’re just waiting for someone to move. So, we always knew that this had to play into one of our seasons.
How about Victor (Harry Treadaway) ? He got super creepy, and a little handsy. I’ve always liked him, but I’m not so sure anymore.
You’ve got to remember: he’s a virgin. He’s never really had a relationship with a woman and the fact that here’s this beautiful woman that he’s going to create and you know, he’s a young man. He has urges. That’s going to play out in this season, his sexual desires for the new Brona.
Billie Piper is gorgeous, and she’s still just as pretty when she’s been reanimated, so is she going to be able to love the Creature? What’s going to keep her staying with the Creature once she learns language and how to live?
Well that’s where the complication lies. Victor has gotten much better with his reanimation of corpses, from the Creature, who turned violent and dark, to Proteus, who he put in a tub of ice, which eased some of the electrical shock to the body. Proteus started to look even more human, even though he had that big scarring along his head. He’s gotten even better now with Brona and I think that’s what complicates this situation. She is beautiful and she can look normal and not stand out like the Creature. So, who is she going to fall for? How could she not find Victor more attractive than unfortunately, the poor Creature?
Will her memories ever resurface? Because Proteus (Alex Price) had inklings of memories, and that’s probably the only thing that could really drive her and Victor apart.
I don’t want to spoil it for the audience, but we definitely start to tease out, Does she remember anything? So far, nothing. So, Frankenstein creates the life for her.
Are we ever going to get to see Dorian Gray’s (Reeve Carney) portrait? Maybe this season?
Maybe this season. That’s all I can say.
What else should we expect to see this season?
We have this new Scotland Yard inspector, Inspector Rusk (played by Doug Hodge). He’s on the hunt to take out the person who he thinks has been killing all of these poor Londoners. And that plays into this whole concept of what Season 2 was always going to be. In Season 1, they were the hunters. They were out searching for Mina (Olivia Llewellyn), they were out looking for vampires. They were going outwards. This season, the entire group of characters is being hunted. There’s a lot of this constant concern of whose going to be around the next corner, which puts the characters continuously on edge, which is a new and interesting dynamic for them.
Penny Dreadful, Sundays, 10/9c, Showtime