We had the opportunity to interview two of the stars from Netflix’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor; Victoria Pedretti and Henry Thomas.
The synopsis reads:
From The Haunting of Hill House creator Mike Flanagan and producer Trevor Macy comes The Haunting Of Bly Manor, the next highly-anticipated chapter of The Haunting anthology series, set in 1980s England.
After an au pair’s tragic death, Henry Wingrave (Henry Thomas) hires a young American nanny (Victoria Pedretti) to care for his orphaned niece and nephew (Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) who reside at Bly Manor with the estate’s chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve) and housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller).
But all is not as it seems at the manor, and centuries of dark secrets of love and loss are waiting to be unearthed in this chilling gothic romance. At Bly Manor, dead doesn’t mean gone.
Netflix’s The Haunting Of Bly Manor is slated to premiere on Netflix on 9 October 2020. In the meantime, you can check out our spoiler-free review of The Haunting Of Bly Manor by heading over here.
Here’s what they had to say to the questions we asked:
Q: What was it like on The Haunting Of Bly Manor and The Haunting Of Hill House? Is there anything that showrunner Mike Flanagan would do to get you in the right headspace?
Victoria Pedretti: Yeah, For instance, the wedding was a very beautiful and joyful moment, but we’re not allowed to really embrace that joy because he’ll (Mike Flanagan) immediately point to me in that scene and go; “They die, everybody, hahaha, don’t forget!”
It was pretty great, I think that he creates a really positive and safe environment on set. I really enjoyed working with him. Also, Henry (Thomas) had a doorbell in The Haunting Of Hill House that, whenever we would check the gate or finish shooting from a certain angle, it would go ding dong.
It was really satisfying. It’s like the experiment with those dogs, where they get happy when they could find the sounds. It sounds a bit fucked up but it was okay.
Q: What do you think is the most significant difference between Nellie Crane in The Haunting of Hill House and Dani Clayton in The Haunting Of Bly Manor?
Victoria Pedretti: I mean, show me a woman that’s not troubled in some way, but also, the more significant difference is that Nellie felt very tied to her family and I see Dani as a more misfit kind of orphan character who’s kind of floating around looking for a family.
They both feel very isolated and alone. Dani feels less of an obligation or duty to a large family. I think that gives her a very strong sense of what defines her.
Q: Showrunner Mike Flanagan has previously mentioned how The Haunting Of Bly Manor is a “love story”. In your opinion, what makes it a “love story” or a Gothic Romance?
Victoria Pedretti: I mean, my character falls in love. That’d be the major reason.
Henry Thomas: My character has a love story as well, but it doesn’t work out so well.
Victoria Pedretti: Yeah, I have two love stories. One of them ends really badly, and the other also ends badly. It turns out that the show tells you that your love story will end, badly.
As he (MIke Flanagan) likes to do, “they all die”. *laughs*
Henry Thomas: They all die.
Q: You began your career in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. You’re working with great child actors on The Haunting Of Bly Manor (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Amelie Smith).
What have your observations been about what it’s like to be a child actor nowadays?
Henry Thomas: Yeah, with social media and everything in the business has changed a lot. But the actual job hasn’t changed at all. It’s still the same. Being on a film set hasn’t changed in forty years. We’re not using film anymore but other than that, it’s pretty much just the same.
Everybody’s job is still everybody’s job. I don’t they’re under more pressure on set by any means, but I think that negotiating the business in terms of social media and representation and what they have to do in terms of auditions. There’s so much more material out there.
When I was a kid, there were like maybe 30 or 40 projects a year from the studios and hardly any of those were kids’ movies. Like maybe, you get a small part in something but now there’s tons of content out there. There’s more auditions, which is great, but consequently, I think kids work more to get work.
Q: What was it like having to play both Henry Wingrave and his dark shadow self?
Henry Thomas: Yeah, it was great fun as an actor to have the opportunity to do that. It was fun to do the technical aspect of the scene because once we got one side of it, we had to match the other characters. That performance had to be matched and consistency had to be kept. It was challenging and frustrating but in the end, I was really happy with the scenes.
I also had to go to complete makeup change because Henry Wingrave is in a bad state and shadow Henry is very clean and well-kept and dressed in a three-piece suit at all times. Henry Wingrave is usually drunk so yeah, it took a little time to switch over so we had to shoot one character’s angle and then go back and shoot the other character’s coverage completely.
I did the whole scene by myself and changed my clothes, and did it all again from the other side. That’s how it worked.
Q: Things get crazy in the last few episodes. How much did you know about the twists and reveals ahead of filming?
Victoria Pedretti: I can’t remember. I know that I knew the larger main points, for sure, at the beginning but the specifics of how the love story plays out in the final episode, probably not that far into filming. I felt like we were pretty clear on the entirety of the story pretty early on.
Henry Thomas: Yeah, I think we had most of the scripts but I think we just didn’t have the last two scripts for a month or two, but then, we got them. It wasn’t long and we had already talked about where the story was going.
But I’ve been on shows before where we get the scripts like the week before or a few days before, and that’s very frustrating. So, I’m glad that we got the scripts early.
Victoria Pedretti: Yeah, I got my script on the day up.
Henry Thomas: Yeah, that’s no fun.
Q: What do you look for in a part or script? How do you decide what your next thing is going to be?
Victoria Pedretti: Somebody offers me the job. But I’m extremely lucky to have been granted the opportunity to play a wide variety of characters, which I think is what many actors want. I just hope that that keeps happening. I do realise that it would suck to play the same thing over and over again.
I didn’t pick any of these projects. I auditioned and if I get the role, I do and I’m still a newbie, you know. I feel like I’m maybe just starting to be a bit more particular about what I audition for. But no, I’m not being offered jobs. That’s not me, *laughs*
Q: Why do you think the relationship between Dani and Jamie in The Haunting Of Bly Manor manages to survive all the chaos and spooks?
Victoria Pedretti: I think it’s because they’re very open and honest with each other. They create a lot of safety to express to each other very clearly. So, they’re able to lean on in and support each other. They’re also not jumping to conclusions about each other or assuming the worst. I think that we can lead ourselves astray so much by just assuming the worst of people.
Q: In your opinion, which is scarier; Hill House or Bly Manor?
Henry Thomas: I would have to say that it’s up to the fans and it depends on what frightens you more. I think there are some very scary themes that we’re exploring in Bly Manor. It might not be the same kind of scary themes as Hill House but it’s equally as painful and frightening, I think.
Victoria Pedretti: I agree with Henry. I think that we’re exploring very different kinds and very different subjects of forms of fear.