Oliver Jackson-Cohen On Returning For 'The Haunting Of Bly Manor'
Viewers have learned that it is never good when the protagonists of a horror story play hide and seek in a haunted house at night. This is exactly how creator Mike Flanagan instigates night terrors in the opening episodes of "The Haunting of Bly Manor," the highly anticipated sequel to his Halloween hit "The Haunting of Hill House" from 2018.
"We'll be back in our beds soon, won't we? We can't get out of our rooms late," says a little girl in pajamas to her new au pair before looking at a faceless doll lying under her dresser.
"We won't," assures the nurse.
"Bly Manor" is a retelling of Henry James' 1898 novella "The Turn of the Screw" about a nanny who cares for two orphaned children in his English country house. Flanagan's version is set in England in the 1980s and follows a young American, Dani (returnees of the first season, Victoria Pedretti), who is hired by Henry Wingrave (returnees Henry Thomas) to look after his niece and nephew Miles and Flora ( Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), Amelie Bea Smith), after the tragic death of her previous au pair, Miss Jessel (Tahirah Sharif).
In the house Dani meets the housekeeper Hannah (T'Nia Miller), the chef Owen (Rahul Kohli) and the groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), who help look after the children, while Henry keeps a distance from the property. Henry's assistant Peter Quint, played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen, the outstanding Season 1 player, checks into the group from time to time, but brings with him a repulsive mood. The characters' worlds collide through grief and fear as the secrets of the house around them dissolve.
"It's a resonant story. It's profound," Jackson-Cohen told HuffPost in a recent interview about Season Two. "We're all under great pressure to deliver something that doesn't just get the same response as' Hill House 'but also has something to say and propose something in someone so that he can see himself in a way that represents. "
"It's a story that resonates. It's profound," actor Oliver Jackson-Cohen, who stars in both season 1 and season 2 of The Haunting series, told HuffPost (Photo: EIKE SCHROTER / NETFLIX)
Hill House has been recognized for its fear of jumping, as well as ruminating over trauma and the family demons that follow us through life. It is loosely based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Shirley Jackson and follows the Crain siblings Steve (Michiel Huisman), Shirley (Elizabeth Reaser), Theo (Kate Siegel), Luke (Jackson-Cohen) and Nell (Pedretti). - whose paranormal experiences in their former home haunt them to this day. Jackson-Cohen exquisitely played Luke battling a drug addiction as he tries to weigh down painful memories of his past.
“When you take away the ghosts, when you take away the haunted house, 'Hill House' deals with childhood trauma. Neither of us come out of childhood unscathed, so it became a universal thing that everyone seemed to feel, ”said Jackson-Cohen. "The fact that Mike Flanagan used ghosts as symbols of our past I don't think I've necessarily seen before. He can tell a horror story of mental health, grief, loss, and addiction, and there is something quite powerful about that. "
Most critics praised the series, and the New York Times said it combined "the horrors of a ghost story with a complicated multi-generational family drama." Some called it a slow burn, others thought it was "essential viewing". However, the fans were thrilled with every twist, especially when it had something to do with the dreaded "Bent Neck Lady".
"I had never read anything like it," said Jackson-Cohen of the Hill House script. The English actor also recently starred in "The Invisible Man" alongside Elisabeth Moss and admitted that while he might be considered a "Scream Queen", it is the original storytelling within the horror genre that captivates him.
“The characters in this genre were some of the most fascinating,” he said. "With" The Invisible Man, "Leigh [Whannell] wrote an amazing story about gaslight and how we treat women when they speak out, and what Mike does with the genre is something I think I still do hasn't seen a wide audience. The fact that he gives these characters so much complexity, depth and color is a really exciting experience. "
"Luke Crain was a really important character to me personally because there was so much of me that I could give him through my own experiences," he continued. “And like Peter Quint, Mike writes these incredibly complex, deeply troubled men. I am very happy that I really managed to play both. "
Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen in "The Haunting of Hill House" from 2018 as twins Nell and Luke Crain. (Photo: Steve Dietl / Netflix)
Flanagan's version of "The Haunting of Bly Manor" intrigued Jackson-Cohen when he used psychological horror to tackle the complexities of love - both the beautiful and the dark. It does this by uniting a group of colleagues; Colleagues who in turn become a united front.
“Every single person who walks into Bly Manor comes from a completely different area of life. They are strangers who all come together to form a family regardless of where they're from, regardless of skin color or whatever, ”said Jackson-Cohen. "This is about strangers finding each other, and that is exactly what happened in our worlds at the time when the new line-up came along."
In addition to Jackson-Cohen and Pedretti, there is a diverse cast of characters that give the anthology series a new energy. Eve, Kohli, and Miller are a dynamic bunch, and Smith and Ainsworth prove once again that Flanagan and his team of directors know how to turn child actors into excellence.
“In Hill House, since we played the adult versions, we rarely got to interact with the kids. [For "Bly Manor"] it was a great pleasure to be on set with these minds who have these big ideas and are in no way influenced by the industry, "said Jackson-Cohen. "Ben and I spent a lot of time together - I don't want to spoil you, but everything will become clear when you watch the show - and he's just the most amazing little man. They are brilliant, brilliant kids."
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From left: T'nia Miller as Hannah, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Miles, Rahul Kohli as Owen, Amelie Bea Smith as Flora and Victoria Pedretti as Dani. (Photo: EIKE SCHROTER / NETFLIX)
While "Bly Manor" is a love story at its core, don't think it's all romance and not terror. Creepiness and confusion seep from the screen during the nine-episode season as the real threat to the property, the Lady in the Lake, is exposed.
Jackson-Cohen said Flanagan wanted the ghosts to look completely different from last season, and that he liked the idea of time weathering people where they get weird.
"Your identity is completely lost," said the actor. "I found that actually quite interesting because Mike is reflecting on what we feel so good in real life."
Jackson-Cohen concluded, "Mike once said to me," Every time we fall in love, we give birth to a new spirit. "This love will follow you for the rest of your life. It was such a beautiful point of view."
"The Haunting of Bly Manor" debuts on Netflix October 9th.
How Mike Flanagan, director of 'The Haunting Of Hill House', made horror TV magic
Why does nobody believe the female protagonist in horror films?
Find the creepy hidden ghosts in the first Haunting Of Bly Manor pics
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.
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