‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’s Amelia Eve Breaks Down That Twist & Jamie’s Love Story
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 1 of The Haunting of Bly Manor.]
The Haunting of Bly Manor is officially haunting the Netflix library and while viewers continue to discover the latest chapter in Mike Flanagan’s anthology, eager fans have already uncovered the season’s biggest twists.
Set at the titular English countryside estate, The Haunting of Bly Manor follows the strange events occurring at the home upon the arrival of American nanny Dani (Victoria Pedretti). The woman who has demons of her own has been charged to care for orphans Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who also happen to be mixed up in some supernatural drama of their own.
One of the major surprises that was in store for fans of the anthology’s first entry, The Haunting of Hill House, was the return of star Carla Gugino. But her role as the narrator had a special tie to newcomer Amelia Eve’s gardener, Jamie. In the biggest reveal of the season, viewers discover the aged-up Gugino is playing an older version of Jamie as she recounts the ghostly love story between herself and Dani.
Below, Eve breaks down that narrator twist, her thoughts on Dani and Jamie’s romance, what it was really like to swim in Bly’s lake and much more.
On carrying that big twist…
“I was given an overview by Mike [Flanagan] right at the beginning, when I arrived,” explains Eve. “When I booked the job, I had no idea what my character was. I thought she was just a bit part, wandering about in the background. So it was a big surprise when I found out.”
The actress is referring to the fact that the story of Bly Manor is being relayed to viewers through the older version of her character Jamie. “We got a few episodes at a time, so I didn’t quite read what would happen and how Jamie’s character would grow. But I did have a general understanding of what would happen,” adds Eve. “I got to work with [Carla Gugino] and so we kind of worked on it together, which was lovely. So it meant that I got to add in a few little nods towards where Jamie’s character would go, which was nice.”
On working with Carla Gugino…
“She’s such a beautiful soul and we had quite a few conversations,” reveals Eve. “We went for lunch a few times. We actually cycled around Stanley Park, and there was a tree there that we named Jamie tree, because she grows [plants].”
When it came to their shared role, Eve says, “She was very supportive that I go in with Jamie as I felt comfortable and that she would work to bring that to life, as the slightly older version. That was again, an amazing opportunity to get to work with somebody as fabulous as Carla Gugino.”
On Jamie’s evolution…
Bly’s gardener may have been wrapped up in a ghost story, but viewers also learned about Jamie’s rough past, which was partially influenced by Eve. “I was really lucky in that I got to help create Jamie’s backstory and piece together why she was the way she was. So when I first got the sides when I was auditioning, I was told that she was blunt, sarcastic and preferred plants to people. I mean, all of those ticked boxes, that sounds like a fabulous person, in my opinion.”
“But also I was like, why? Why is she that way? Or where does that all come from? I loved getting to dig around and figuring out and putting together why she’d built up all those layers and why it was that she guarded her heart so much,” Eve continues. “I think I couldn’t have wished for more from a big role like this. It was wonderful.”
On whether Jamie is a reliable narrator or not…
For Henry James enthusiasts, much of The Haunting of Bly Manor is influenced by his famous ghost story The Turn of the Screw. Similar to Bly Manor, the story is relayed through a narrator, but in the literary world, this narrator is seen as unreliable. So, what could that mean for Jamie’s narration? “Do you know what? I was curious about that, too, while we were filming, and I started going down that exact rabbit hole,” admits Eve.
“Is Jamie being completely honest throughout all of this? Is this her perspective? Does she see all of this happen or is she told about the things that she isn’t witnessing or has she just guessed that those things happened?” Eve questions. “I never really got clear answers, but I feel like it was as true as Jamie could possibly tell it.” While this is probably the case, Eve couldn’t help but add, “I would love to ask Mike and see what his answer is.”
On swimming in Bly’s infamous lake…
One of the season’s scariest aspects had to be its murky body of water, which housed the Lady of the Lake (Kate Siegel) . But was it as creepy behind the scenes? According to Eve, it was anything but terrifying. “They full-on built a lake,” Eve marvels over one of the show’s biggest set pieces. “They built a lake and it was heated and it was crazy. It looks real, I wouldn’t have believed that they built if they hadn’t told me.”
But don’t expect to find the faux lake at the filming location. “The worst thing is that when we left, they had to fill it back in again and turn it back into land,” Eve complains before suggesting, “Whoever owns that land should have just kept it. They could have had a heated lake in their garden.”
On Jamie telling Bly’s story…
Memories play a major part in Bly Manor, including the concept that if stories aren’t maintained or retold that the people within them will fade away. So, what drives Jamie to tell the story of Bly? Is it to keep its history and haunts alive or is it in honor of her love Dani? “I think that without Jamie keeping them alive, they get left behind in a way. I do think it’s a bit of both.”
“I think telling this story at the wedding is Jamie hoping that it will allow the children to learn from what happened and to gain the wisdom from what happened without having to relive it and feel the same pain and go through it all again,” continues the actress. “I think it’s one of the only times that Jamie will have relived that entire story from start to finish again, because she’s not much of a sharer,” Eve says with a laugh. “When she shares, she really shares. It’s this purge and it all just pours out of her.”
On Dani and Jamie’s love story…
“It felt like the two [of them] combined competed each other. So it just felt like it was them finally being able to become whole, in themselves, by finding one another and overcoming so much,” Eve gushes of the relationship between her character and Pedretti’s.
“I think what was beautiful and the way they explored it,” says Eve. “It was really interesting where they played with the period that we were in and how that affected things and what that meant for the two individuals as a whole,” adds the actress, alluding to the characters’ unofficial marriage as they each wore bands on their ring finger. “It was beautiful to be able to do that because it felt very real. It didn’t feel like it was for the sake of it. It felt like it was just an organic part of the story”
On whether Jamie is haunted or at peace…
It would be hard to experience the things that happen at Bly and not be haunted in some way, but we couldn’t help but wonder if that was the case for Jamie. “She’s always very grounded in reality,” Eve says of her character. “I think she acts as the grounding force for Dani a lot and brings her back down whenever Dani gets caught up in the supernatural. I almost don’t think Jamie would see it as a haunting in a way, but it would be almost like another cross to bear. Another scar, another ache, another wound on her heart that she carries with her, but not necessarily a haunting.”
And it’s true, both versions of Jamie are resilient, just as resilient as the plants she tends to in the garden. “I think Dani’s memory for Jamie is, it’s still love. I think Jamie’s got quite a brilliant way of brushing herself off and getting back up and carrying on. She’s too realistic.”
The Haunting of Bly Manor, Season 1, Streaming now, Netflix