Carla Gugino on Her ‘Haunting of Bly Manor’ Narrator’s Heartbreaking Identity
(Warning: this story contains spoilers for the finale of "The Haunting of Bly Manor".)
There were a lot of things that The Haunting of Hill House fans didn't know about went into The Haunting of Bly Manor, season two of Mike Flanagan's Netflix anthology, but perhaps the biggest shock is one that starts almost as soon as the show comes: the surprising appearance of Carla Gugino. Not only does the alum Hill House make an appearance - despite the fact that her casting on the show was never revealed - but she stays until the end of the credits, playing the central role of the unnamed English narrator who is one of us and the participants Wedding Rehearsal Dinner tells the story of Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti) and the residents of Bly Manor.
Only in the last moments of the finale do we learn the heartbreaking identity of this very important woman. She is Jamie, the groundskeeper at Bly Manor, who fell in love with Dani and lived with her until Dani could no longer bear the burden of keeping the lady in the soul of the lake (Kate Siegel) and returned to Bly to drown yourself. Jamie came to the adult Flora wedding and tells this story in front of people who lived it, some of whom remember it and some who don't.
Also read: 'Bly Manor': Amelie Bea Smith, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth talk about Flora and Miles' Personality Twists
What Gugino loved about playing the narrator - aside from the fact that her role was kept under wraps until launch - was that she "knows everything that happens" but still doesn't know everything.
"She's actually the one who survived this whole experience but doesn't know that Dani never left her. So she's the one who is able to know everything and yet we find out in the end that she doesn't once absolutely knows that Dani has never left her. And I kind of love this little moment, "said Gugino, referring to the last shot of the show, which shows Dani's hand resting on a sleeping Jamie shoulder.
Since Gugino tells you nine episodes but has to hold back her character's identity until the end for her to take a big blow, she worked closely with Amelia Eve, who plays the young adult version of Jamie, to figure out how to hide her deep connection.
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"We talked about it a lot," said Gugino, explaining that they couldn't put the accent directly because the audience would know it was her. "What we ended up doing - because this character is from the north of England - was the fact that you didn't see her for 10 years between playing the character and me playing the character. During that time she probably traveled , spent more time in London and got a little softer, just a little less working class. Just a slightly softer accent. "
She explained, “That way we can believe her that she is the same person, but it is also not because, so as not to get too technical, there are certain words when we meet her exactly as you might actually knew a bit earlier. So this was very much intentional and hopefully it sounds like it did the trick for you. "
Gugino says Jamie's connection to plants and nature also plays an important role in her role, and why she chooses to tell the story in the first place, especially when it turns out she is at Flora's wedding and Flora no longer knows who she or Dani is are or what happened at Bly.
Also read: "Haunting of Bly Manor": Oliver Jackson-Cohen on "Really F-d Up" decisions Peter makes for Rebecca and Miles
"I think she's compelled to tell this story for obvious reasons, but also because I think if you're someone who plants things and sees them grow and then see them die and become fertilizer, you see the natural cycle of life" said Gugino. “I think in some ways she's comfortable with it, and while she's suffered a great loss, she kind of wants to convey that. The fact that she experienced and survived tremendous loss was a big part of the fact that she is kind of a loner. And all of those things, I think Amelia, as Jamie, laid that foundation really well. "
Of course, Jamie takes some liberties with the story as Flora is obviously the little girl's middle name, but Gugino says the ghost story is true.
“It basically tells the story of Bly Manor and how it came about. But I think in the same way that you protect the innocent, all names have been changed and it's basically the place where someone who doesn't really make an effort probably can't trace it back to anything real. "
Read the original story by Carla Gugino about the heartbreaking identity of her narrator "Haunting of Bly Manor" on TheWrap
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