The Joe Hill fanclub (NL) had the opportunity to ask Executive producers Carlton Cuse & Meredith Averill, Connor Jessup & Darby Stanchfield, Griffin Gluck & Hallea Jones AND Executive producers Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez a couple of questions for the release of season two of Locke & Key!! I teamed up with my overseas colleagues Patrick (US) and Adrian (UK), and together we could ask away during a round table junket!! It was an unique experience, and we were of course very happy with this chance!
Go to www.netflix.com/Locke&Key to watch the show!
Executive producers Carlton Cuse & Meredith Averill
My first question is for Carlton. So with season one of the show, you try to tell as complete of a story while still leaving some meat on the bones in case it gets picked up for more seasons. With season two and three, is there anything you look back to on season one that you already explored and kind of closed off, that you wish you were able to retouch on now that you have some more room to breathe?
No, I think that Meredith and I use season two and season three as a way to expand upon the stuff that we set up in season one. I would say our goal for season two was to make it better than season one, and we hope that we did that. We believe that we did what we really are proud of for season two, but I don’t think it’s not, I don’t think we have any serious regrets. I think that we just planted a bunch of seeds, and then we tried to tend to the garden and you know, grow them into sort of story and character work that we could use in the subsequent seasons. And we feel like we did that!
How many Joe Hill fan clubs are on this call? There are like nine is that correct… =)
We have Netherlands, and then just the Joe Hill fan club. So speaking of we’ll go to the Joe Hill fan club Netherlands:
Hi, a question for Carlton too. When you say season two is ‘better’ than the first season, can we then assume season three will be even greater?
I mean, I think when you’re a showrunner, the goal is to kind of constantly try to improve your work and make it better than what preceded it. I, to be honest, would say that season three and season two are kind of, they feel like they’re about at the same level. I think both of them are better than season one, but we produce them back to back. And I feel like there’s kind of a continuity between them. There’s definitely some moments in season three that I think are transcendent. Places where, you know, I mean, they’re super tense or super emotional that I think are even better than season two. But I think season two and season three are both really good. And they’re, at least to me, they’re kind of at the same level.
My question is for Meredith, congratulations on season three already. But as far as shooting two seasons back to back, what are the pros and cons for that? I mean, I know some stuff you have to remember not to mention for a whole year, but how was it shooting two seasons all at once?
It was definitely a unique experience, you don’t often, have an entire season’s worth of scripts for season two, and when you start you haven’t even filmed it yet, and you start to have to write season three, that was definitely unique. But what was helpful is that as we were breaking season three, there were stories that would come up that we would say, wow, that would really land better if we could plant this little nugget in an episode in season two. And so we were able to do that, which was really helpful.
So there are some things in season three that we were able to just plant little easter eggs for, or start to platform characters that we introduce in season two that are going to play bigger roles in season three. That’s not something we would have been able to do had we not had that kind of unique schedule. So actually, it was a challenge, but I think it worked to our benefit in a lot of ways.
Carlton, It was a big surprise for us to see Kevin Durand show up in the trailer. How was it to work again with him after the Strain?
This is the third time I’ve worked with Kevin because he was also on Lost, he played this character named Keamy who is kind of a horrible mercenary guy. I mean Kevin is the most delightful wonderful person imaginable and it’s in such contrast to the bad guys that he plays often. He’s a fantastic actor who has a depth of character that really kind of adds dimensionality and complexity to straight up villain characters. Meredith and I were searching around for, you know, we needed to escalate the stakes beyond Dodge at a certain point and we needed someone who could do that, and Kevin was the guy for us. So I mean he’s really, really good on the show and I think brings a lot of dimensions to Gideon and is really compelling to watch.
This question is for Carlton. It was kind of already touched on, but as far as this show, and bringing it to the screen, what’s your favorite part of that as far as, the music or the camera work and effects or the acting?
Um, I don’t know. I mean, I like elements of all of those things. I think if, on any given day, Meredith and I might say something some days when we’re looking at dailies, and we’re like, that’s a really cool shot. Other days we’re listening to Torin Borrowdale’s score and we’re like, whoa, that’s incredible! We have a wonderful set of collaborators who work with us and it’s really fun to see how the show inspires them to do their work.
Meredith, can you sneak the dollhouse off set? Please? I’ll cover the postage to Europe =)
Well, first you’re gonna have to break into Netflix headquarters because that’s where it is. They requested it.
We know that Key House is a pretty extensive set at this point. My question is the other house, the cliff house, was that a real location? Or if not, who came up with the idea for the look of that house?
I think we were inspired by the house in the Invisible Man. And it is a hybrid, there’s a real house that’s kind of a big mansion that we rented that’s outside of Toronto, and then with the beauty and wonder visual effects we made it even more dramatic by putting it out on that perilous cliff edge.
For Carlton, was it’s hard to cast the actors because we know the characters from the comic books, how they look and how they act and feel in the comic?
I would say, I think that when I was making the pilot for Hulu, we tried very hard to cast the characters to be like the ones in the comic book and I think that was okay, but it felt like it wasn’t really necessary. Then when Meredith and I were making the Netflix version, we decided “look, we’re just going to cast the actors we’d like the best, who we felt embody these roles”. Their physical appearance, or the kind of direct matching to the characters in the comics was less important than did a match to the characters as we imagined them for our story and something that we did with the blessing of Joe and Gabriel, by the way, and I think we were very successful. I mean, Amelia, Hallea Jones, and Connor Jessup are fantastic actors. Jackson actually was the one character who carried over between the two of them, and he really was Bode, so I think they were matches but that wasn’t our primary intention. Our intention was to find the actors who best fit the characters that we had written.
Connor Jessup & Darby Stanchfield:
My question is for Darby. In season one, you played a grieving character. And in season two, you played a character trying to move on. Was it more difficult playing the grieving character or the character trying to move on from grief?
They’re both challenging, I’d say, the challenge in season one of playing the grief is, we’re finding the show, we’re finding the language of the show, we’re finding the relationships with each other. On a very real, technical level, we’re all new with each other. We’re all like, the actors don’t know each other. They’re new relationships just as human beings. Finding strong connections with my colleagues from the get-go was challenging but it was also delightful because it’s a great group of actors and a great group of human beings.
I really love working with Connor Jessup and Emilia Jones and Jackson Robert Scott, specifically, Bill Heck, they’re all great. So the Locke family, it was easy to find, but still challenging. Season two, I think the challenge was once we got the grief, by end of season one I was familiar with what the different colors of the different stages of grief is for Nina. And in season two, when Nina Locke meets somebody, it was then weaving the two together of moving on a little bit or feeling like she’s doing okay, as a parent, because your kids seem to be happy at the start of the season, they seem to have found their footing, and they’re in a better place. Yet, as you as you see with season two, you’ll see that the grief is still there, it’s not something like a light switch, it doesn’t just go away. But because she’s met somebody, and it changes maybe a little bit, or it softens and it starts to take a different form. So I’d say balancing those two was really the challenge. Season two felt in some ways, less challenging, because of the pandemic and I felt more of a need to connect in storytelling and just the creative process was really grounding for me, it was really lovely for me just at a level of what we’re all dealing with to have that creative outlet.
For Darby too, if you could choose what would be your best moment with your ‘kids’?
I would say I actually think the end of season one for me is quite powerful. At the very, very end there’s a meal and Nina, she’s been carrying this burden that she feels like she’s made this giant mistake and dragging her kids cross country to a town they don’t know, to a school they don’t have friends in, and things haven’t seemed to go well, and she has this feeling that she’s made a giant mistake. And so there we have this scene and she tells the kids she’s gonna move everybody back to Seattle, and they all say, Mom, no, it’s okay, we love being here, this is great. Like, we’re fine. So there was a moment of coming together that I think is especially important for Nina Locke. The kids have been connected because of the magic. They’ve been connected and they’ve been reunited. But I think that’s a really special moment for the whole family. And then that’s where you pick up in season two is that feeling that they’re all in a good place together and they all feel connected together, although brief because the connection doesn’t last long.
Question for Connor: Tyler goes through such an emotional and mature arc this season, and especially in the last few episodes. How did you approach that arc? And how do you think it is for Tyler to have to deal with so many adult problems at such a young age?
Yeah, Tyler really goes on an emotional journey this season, he starts in a place where he feels quite able, and he feels quite comfortable in his responsibility, and in this life that he has Matheson with Jackie and with his siblings and his mom. Then that gets tested in a really intense way as the season goes on, and pulled in all sorts of directions. Especially towards the end of the season, things get really harrowing. What was fun this year, was that, unlike season one, I felt like even though what he was going through was so intense, he was better equipped. I mean, it’s a weird thing to say because it goes so badly for him, but I felt like as an actor playing him, he hadn’t he had both feet on the ground this time. Whereas in season one, he felt it felt like he was so just completely lost in what was going on around him. And this time, it felt it was devastating. But he felt older and more solid at the core of what he was feeling. So that I think was what let me get through it and differentiate it also from the from the grief and the pain that he feels in season one.
Okay, my question is for Connor. Now in the comics, and certainly in the show, we know all about aging out of magic. If you were in the same situation, would you personally choose to remember not?
I think I would choose to remember, I think, you know, even if what you remember is painful, that having the memory gives you the choice of how you deal with it, and who you become having the memory taken away. It’s sort of like a false way of dealing with pain, I think. And also these keys are fun, you know? A lot of the paths that Tyler has followed to grow as a person were opened up because of these keys. So I definitely think I would choose to remember. I side with Tyler through most of season two.
If you could choose one key, excluding the ones from season two that you can talk about, what would be your favorite?
I mean, there’s a lot of fun keys but a lot of them have pretty niche value. I would say in terms of their practical benefit, the one that would have the biggest effect on my life would be the Anywhere key. I mean it would be so unbelievably convenient. So I don’t have a lot of need to control plants you know? Or to start big fires or a miniature Key House, like that doesn’t mean much to me as a person, so I think I would choose the Anywhere Key.
Darby, how would you describe the differences between your relationship with the kids on the show, your family, and then your adult relationships like with Josh and with uncle Duncan?
The relationships with the kids, I mean, those three characters to Nina Locke, Bode, Kinsey, and Tyler, are the most important things to her, period, above anything else. So the most powerful relationships prioritized for me the thing that really grounds this show about magic and this fantasy mystery coming of age show is the heart of the family. And so that’s, I mean, I feel my chest tighten when I think about it. I feel that so strongly for Nina. With say, Uncle Duncan or Josh Bennett or Ellie Whedon, that’s her chance to sort of be an adult and it’s just a different thing. In some ways, those relationships feel lighter, there’s less responsibility or less stakes in a way, because they’re not her children, they’re adults. And I think sometimes maybe she can blow off steam in these other relationships. It feels like when she has problems with her kids, she talks to those three in particular, more than she does the actual kids. So that’s sort of how I file them differently, just broad strokes.
Griffin Gluck & Hallea Jones:
Hallea, how was your performance inspired by any other actor, actress or character?
Oh, Megan Fox in Jennifer’s body and Regina George in Mean Girls. That’s my simple answer. They’re just powerhouses of women and they have humor. They have that kind of cool girl vibe, especially for season 2, and also like demonic and crazy and chaotic!
My question is for Griffin. So you knew since day one, that you’re playing dodge. Now, at the end of season one, the audience knew. Up until the end of season two, the Lockes didn’t know. So my question is between season one and season two, did your mindset change on how you approach the character since the audience knew [you were Dodge]?
That’s a great question. You know, I hadn’t even thought about that. So I guess the short answer to it is no, but I think maybe subconsciously I did without even realizing it because I definitely took a different approach for this season. I wanted to see what Gabe could really do. In season one I didn’t really have to worry about it at all because you only ever saw him as the nice guy. But season two, a much larger dark side gets shown and that was really fun to play around with and prepare for because I really wanted to make him interesting and fun to watch.
And I drew a lot of inspiration from a lot of other characters and actors from movies and TV shows I’d seen, and I think what the scariest thing is, is a person who just does not show the correct emotion at the right or given time in a situation where someone should be crying, or angry or just really mad. To do the complete inverse is always to me absolutely terrifying. Or just to be completely emotionless as well is also terrifying. So that’s kind of the mindset that I approach in Season 2, is how can I make him interesting to watch!
Griffin, did you and Laysa (Dodge) work together to create the same character? And if so, how did you do that?
You know, funny enough, we didn’t. We talked about that at the start of season two, I was concerned about the same thing. How can I emanate what she did last season, in a way that does Dodge justice? Because at the end of the day, I’m taking on that role. And I have to match that in some ways.
But she told me, I can’t wait to see what you do with the character, make it your own. And I was kind of reassured by her and some of the writers and producers to take this character and make it your own, because at the end of the day, he is Dodge, but he’s also his own character. Laysa was excited for me, to see what I would do with the character, and I hope that I brought it in a direction that does the character justice. And also, I definitely had my own fun with it, and got to put my own twist on it, which was just fantastic and very, rewarding experience for me to sort of figure that out on my own and not trying to do something else. Because then I run the risk of not doing the original justice and trying to recreate something poorly and Laysa was just so fantastic at what she did in season one, I didn’t want to try and copy that and run the risk of ruining that. I wanted to do something that I felt more comfortable with, and that was definitely bringing something my own to!
Hallea, between season one and season two you played very different characters. Which character did you like playing more? Being possessed by a demon could really change a character quite a bit, but from season one to season two, as far as the growth goes, what did you like from season one to season two?
Season two, like it plainly season two was such a blast, and I had a blast too filming season one, but Season two just really offered so many opportunities to expand my own abilities and just like challenge myself, and see how far I could go with certain things.
It was one big, practice of believing that everything will work out as it’s meant to. And I just had fun with it, that was a big thing.
Just having fun with it offered so much opportunity to just physically, emotionally, mentally, just have fun with a character!
Hallea, was it fun playing the bad guy all the time?
Absolutely, fun has been the word that we kept returning to, and I’ve looked up different words that I could possibly use, but there’s no other word that just justifies how incredible the experience was just even of set, getting to know the production and the crew, the cast and all around.
But it was incredibly fun playing an evil character. And I think I can speak for Griffin too, we’re both in the same boat where we’re like, I kind of want to play villains for the rest of my career, at least that’s my personal take on it. Because they get to do the things that we as mortal human beings are not allowed to do. So we get to go to work and have fun and be chaotic and do lawless things and then go home and not get in trouble for it.
Another question for Griffin. Now I know Gabe is specific to the show. But is there anything that Dodge did in the comics that you were kind of hoping to explore in the show?
You know, I hope this comes across the right way. But no, when we started filming the show, I tried not to pay too much attention to what was in the comic books just because, Gabe is a new character and I didn’t want to get wrapped up in what happened in the comics, because he is different, he’s new, there’s a lot of stuff going on that can’t really, be compared. And I think anytime there’s an adaptation from book to movie, or from comic to TV show, or anywhere in between, there’s a lot of liberties that gets to be taken. And I think a lot of times that upsets the original fan base. I’ve even been upset by it before on adaptations that I’ve watched. But as an actor, I think I kind of wanted this freedom to take whatever they’ve given me and do my best with that. And focus on what I did have, as opposed to what I didn’t have.
Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodríguez:
Hi there, Joe! What is the biggest surprise, without spoilers, that you had about the direction change from the material you made, but love?
Hi! Um, I don’t know if it’s a surprise exactly. Everyone has a richer emotional life, a more sort of thrilling and complicated emotional life than you would really have in a comic book, and that’s very satisfying. But the ability of an individual actor to explore their particular character is so powerful and so exciting. I feel like we get to know so much more, for example of Nina Locke’s interior life, we learn so much more about her struggles, and you know where her heart is at, and that makes us care about her a lot more.
The other thing, oh and this actually is a really silly answer to the question, but it’s so true. Actually, the biggest surprise of the show is Torin Borrowdale’s amazing score. Comics are silent, there’s no music, and Torin Borrowdale came out and wrote a score for Locke & Key that’s so much fun and scary when it needs to be scary and whimsical and clever. And I just feel like what a tremendous stroke of luck to have had a chance to work with this young guy and we have music that’s like, I know this is probably gonna sound egotistical, but it’s as good as the Harry Potter music!
Gabriel, how is it seeing the house that you planned and drafted out for the comics? How is seeing that come to life as they shoot more and more parts of the house throughout the seasons?
Well that’s a uniquely amazing experience because we had the chance to go visit the set during the production of season one, and they already had built almost the entirety of the house from the outside and a lot of sets, fullscale too, in which you can walk around as if it was like an actual house. And the amazing work that the people from the art production and props did with it, it’s incredible! You get the chance to touch the worlds and feel what they aged. And you can watch every detail like this close and feel like it’s a setup that is pretty much alive.
I think they capture probably a key element of the series in that because basically Key House is another main character of the story. So having an actual Key House built, that it’s a in spirits very close to the house that we live in the comic, certainly it’s adapted according to the necessities of shooting techniques and stuff like that, but you can recognize the appeal of the house and the spirit of the house from the comic in the show, and seeing it growing and evolving as the episodes unload.
And as you’re going to see in the upcoming seasons it has been amazing for me, not only as a comic artist, but as an architect it is like having a project of your own coming to life in the most wonderful and fantastic way.
Gabe, did you have any hands in designing some stuff for the house or particular sets and backgrounds?
I would say that I got the tremendous luck of being in touch with the people in charge of the production design and art direction of the series.
Basically, they wanted to capture as many things close to the comic book source as possible. So they constantly asked for reference material, I did a lot of pre-production design for the comic book itself. So I have the entire Key House blueprinted as part of the creative process of the comic. And they use a lot of that stuff as a reference for the design in the show itself, then they invited me to do a little participation, which I can’t mention in more detail because it will be spoiling certain details.
But I can say that I couldn’t imagine a better hands for this visual stuff to be in there, nicely done extraordinary work with translating the visual appeal of the commic keping to a new medium.
And I think they are pushing the boundaries of what you can do. Allowing us to experience the visual magic of working in a whole new way but still feels like very close to the spirit of the book.
So I think that’s the best possible scenario for this. For me as the artist of the comic is like the best way which this could have been brought to life in a audio-visual medium.
My question is for Joe. Now, in season two, we did see some of the Golden Age stories, and they really seem to lend themselves well to the episodic format.
Now with knowing that the Locke and Key show is now a thing with your future lock and key writing, does that change your writing style at all, knowing that some of this stuff could be incorporated into the show?
I don’t think so. Several of the Golden Age stories are already standalone, specifically small world, and Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill so liked that story about the doll house, being used as a way to manipulate reality inside Key House that they instantly wanted to run with it as a storyline and a story element in season two, which I think is great.
And I’m excited for people to see that, I think it’s really fun. But generally the comic is one thing, and the TV show is another and they’re almost like, fraternal twins where they’d have a lot in common and a lot of the same enthusiasms and thoughts about the world passions and stuff, but each is out there living its own life. I will say that sometimes the TV-show, obviously, uses a lot of material from the comics.
But sometimes it goes in the other direction, when we were working on season one I added the Matchstick Key into a script because I thought, well, this would be fun. It wasn’t in the comic then, it was only in the TV-show. But then later I thought well, we’ve got to retro actively include the Matchstick Key and so the key turns up in in Locke & Key The Golden Age and several storylines. So there’s kind of a nice conversation going on between the TV show and the comic.
Question for Joe again. We saw an amazing trailer the other day, how about The Splattering as a comic or movie?
Netflix has released some of the most important work in the horror genre. The last decade they’ve done Mike Flanagan’s brilliant work on Hunting of Hill House and Midnight Mass, two astonishing shows that I think change everything about what we can do within the horror genre, and have vastly expanded what’s possible.
And I feel that The Splattering is primed to carry on in that tradition, The Splattering will raise the bar for what’s possible in the horror genre. I’m so proud of Scott Kavanaugh his work.
Kinsey Locke does breakthrough work as the lead actress in that and I’m looking forward to shake things up. I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Splattering on the cover of Fangoria magazine before the year is out!!
Gabriel, What’s your favorite key design that you that you ever designed?
There were some harder than others to tackle. But I’d say that probably the one that I think works the best for what it is, for the story and how it looks and everything, it probably has to be the Omega Key. It’s incredibly simple. The design is quite powerful, and somewhat carries the meaning of what that key means for the entire approach of the mythology and the story.
I think in a way, it’s iconic enough to be for anyone to be able to just see it, and never forget about it. And it’s very simple to do quick sketches when you’re doing signatures, and when people ask me to add a key to the signature. But the thing is, I think the greatest designs ever, are always simple and meaningful and visually powerful. And I think in a way, the Omega Key embodies that. I’m very proud of that one, and it’s one of the favorite props that I have.
I just got to throw this in real quickly. Gabe has drawn so many wonderful keys and every day I have a new favorite, but you could actually argue that the first one, the Ghost Key, is the most iconic of them, actually so iconic it wound up appearing doing a cameo on a Hellraiser comic and it’s on the cover of the first Locke and Key book. And I sort of think that’s the one, when people think about with the keys and Key House, that’s the one that people flash to first!
As well because it’s the very first piece of visual art I ever did for Locke & Key, for the first pitch, the one I drew first was the ghost key!
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