‘Lodge 49’ Star Wyatt Russell on Dud’s Journey & Working With Paul Giamatti in Season 2

Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

AMC’s quirky and existential series Lodge 49 is returning to reveal another chapter in optimist Sean “Dud” Dudley’s (Wyatt Russell) story, beginning August 12.

After his near-fatal run-in with a shark, and a growing bond with the secret society of the titular Lodge, Dud continues to search for purpose and meaning in his experiences and relationships — with a little help from his friends and family, of course. Below, Russell teases what fans can expect from the return, what it was like acting alongside executive producer Paul Giamatti and his “twin bond” with costar and onscreen sister Sonya Cassidy.

Last time we saw Dud, he was bleeding out from a shark bite. Is he faring better when Season 2 picks up?

Wyatt Russell: Yeah, he’s feeling better about things. He realizes that the shark attack was actually something that could help him in life. He spins it into a positive.

If Season 1 was about Dud finding a home at the Lodge, what is Season 2 about? What can we expect to see from Dud’s story?

Dud had a cathartic experience and seeing his father after he was attacked by a shark and the attack [as well] somehow helped him. It opened his eyes to feeling as if he’s on the right path. Things are going well for him because he knows that the direction he’s going in is the right direction.

In that, you start to see Dud lose part of what he had last season, which was his spirit guide — his father. He doesn’t have that anymore. He realizes at that moment that he now has to move on without the thing that was propelling him to live his day to day experience. And he has to either move on in his life, or he can return back to that state and feel sorry for himself.

From mummies to hidden passageways, Lodge 49 doesn’t shy away from the bizarre when it comes to uncovering the “True Lodge.” Will viewers get any closer to answers regarding what this place really is?

Yes, you will get closer to the true lodge. The show is meant to be experienced in a certain way. It’s not meant to be experienced while you’re on your phone. Lodge is made for the people who are willing to take that hour of their life and watch pretty intently.

So, you know, the whole show is the “as above, so below” motto. If something’s happening on the surface, something else is happening underneath. It’s mirroring it, but it’s leading towards a more existential destination. That’s where we’re going. Viewers understand that throughout Season 1, it is an existential experience. It is a way of telling the story and as [viewers] understand that, with that piece of information given, you are on your way to finding out what the “true lodge” is.

Were there any pre-existing characters in pop culture that helped inform or inspire your own performance?

No. Everyone’s like, [he]’s like The Dude [from The Big Lebowski]. Well, you’ve got to look past the pants and the shorts and the beard and the face. You’ve got to look past that because, in storytelling, The Dude is the guy who’s an unwilling participant in the story. Yet, something happened. The inciting incident happens to him while he’s sitting back, just wanting to experience life in a very different way. He just wants to move through life. That’s The Dude’s whole prerogative; he doesn’t want to be there.

Dud’s the literal, exact opposite [of that]. He wants to be in every situation, be an active searcher, a participant in his life, in his story — [he’s] constantly trying to figure out the meaning of life. This guy is very clear-headed in a way — he doesn’t do drugs, he doesn’t smoke weed. The only thing he does is, he drinks.

(Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

There’s a California[-esque] laid back quality that [The Dude and Dud] share in a way. But in terms of forming a full-fledged character, I didn’t look to pop culture because directly copying somebody’s performance that’s already happened wouldn’t be interesting and it wouldn’t be true to how the character of Dud was written.

Dud’s relationship with his twin sister Liz (Sonya Cassidy) has proven to be a bit rocky over the course of the show, but that bond is always there. Do you and Sonya ever discuss cultivating that “twin connection”?

I think everybody thought that chemistry was there. It wasn’t something we had to work on. You know what I mean? [Sonya] made everybody feel comfortable [during auditions]. She was immediately cool. She’s totally not different than the way she is in real life. She doesn’t get prepared, take ten minutes and all of a sudden change into a whole different person. She can just flip the switch. She’s an unbelievable actress.

She’s just a normal person who loves acting. It’s really hard to explain. I guess it’s like the way it is with twins — you don’t really work on it, to be honest, it’s just in us and that’s why I think it works.

(Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC)

Paul Giamitti serves as an executive producer on the show, but he’ll finally be joining you onscreen this season, as the peculiar writer he voiced back in Season 1. What was it like getting to act alongside him?

Paul is the best guy in the room. Everybody always asks about movie stars, ‘What are they like, what are they like, what are they like?’ Paul is the nicest, best person ever. And then when you come to acting, he’s just as good [at acting] as he is a great person. For me, working with him was one of the most fun times I’ve had ever.

The character specifically is great and layered, and he brought so much to it in a way that was so perfectly Lodge. It was just a very special experience. I hope that we could do it again. I speak for everybody when I say they all had that experience with Paul. We really look at it as this very special moment in time that I can’t believe I’m lucky enough to be able to get to experience. Paul is the cherry on top when it came to that whole experience.

Lodge 49, Season 2 Premiere, Monday, August 12, 10/9c, AMC