Victoria Pedretti: The Haunting of Bly Manor May Make You 'A Little Bit Nauseous' — Why That's a Good Thing
Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Haunting of Bly Manor.
If the Haunting anthology has a heroine, it's Victoria Pedretti.
In The Haunting of Hill House, Pedretti played Nell, the youngest Crain child to become a terrifying ghost. In the second part of Mike Flanagan's Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor, Pedretti is Dani, a nanny whose life changed forever after taking a job in a haunted British mansion.
Throughout the season, Dani is tortured by a man's visions with bright lights where his eyes should be. We finally learn that the man is Edmund, whom fiancé Dani broke up with after she realized she was gay. Unfortunately for both of them, Edmund was hit by a car and killed shortly after Dani ended their engagement. The lights in his eyes are reflected in his glasses from the truck that knocked him down.
Eventually Dani overcomes her guilt to Edmund, falls in love with the house's gardener Jamie, and takes a bold move that clears Bly Manor of the hauntings that have plagued him for centuries. (For full details, read a summary of the finals here.)
TVLine called Pedretti on the phone to discuss the season. She explains that you might get a little sick - and why that's a good thing.
The Haunted Bly Manor Victoria Pedretti Interview Dani Clayton
TVLINE | There seems to be a dichotomy with Dani, which is canceled out by seeing Edmund in the mirror, but also pursues Peter Quint with a fireplace poker. Talk to me about when she feels empowered and when she doesn't.
Certainly. Her ability to feel empowered and a sense of duty in the extra protective things she does serve to protect these children. She truly believes in the innocence of children and the need to create a safe environment for them to manage their feelings and learn about themselves and how to take care of themselves and themselves and their needs can enter.
And anything that could stand in the way is a bitter opponent of. But when it comes to how she sees herself, she finds it difficult to offer herself the same sense of merit when it comes to having a safe and loving environment in which to learn about herself and her needs can. She deprives herself of it because of the things she's done that she [thinks] she no longer deserves.
TVLINE | She also has this very delicate love story that unfolds in the middle of the chaos. What do you think pulls her and Jamie together so quickly?
I think it's the level of true compassion and lack of judgment that they show to one another. Jamie leads with really strong limits that she claims. She doesn't want to be fucked. She don't need a drama, you know She's had that in her life and she's found that new deep peace with her plants and so on and as she says she likes her life to be boring.
And that's ultimately what Dani wants, but she's involved in this dramatic story: that she did something so terrible that she's now depraved, and if she ever really reveals herself, she'll be rejected and seen for the monster that she sees herself as.
But Jamie makes her not be bullshit. We are open to how we feel and how it will be and we get to what we have and how we are ready and we will take it day by day. But we don't jump in like Quint and Bex and say, "We are soul mates, and we have to sacrifice all of this for each other." [Laughs] Both of them sacrificed enough by this point, you know?
That's what's special about it. The special thing about it is that they find peace and love in all the chaos. I think this is very lifelike. In all of this, we can stand together and offer one another comfort, comfort, and love, and that is exactly what they do.
TVLINE | When you were just talking about how Dani views herself as a monster, I was thinking about how there are some interpretations of The Turn of the Screw - told from the nanny's point of view - that they see as someone who is real is mentally not in order and who sees things that are actually not there. Was that idea ever part of the character or the conversations you had with someone about the character?
I mean, aside from the way it's written in the script, no. She certainly has things in common [with the narrator of the book] and there are things she doesn't. Yes, I left them in the novel.
TVLINE | Have you already seen the season?
TVLINE | Were there any moments that shook you while watching?
TVLINE | Scared you? Did you jump
I dont know. It's been a while. Yeah, I mean, I understand what people are saying about [the show with] this feeling of fear, less than it's downright scary, and more that it makes you a little sick. For example, not to the point where you will do something about it. [Laughs] You don't like it, I have to stop looking at this and lie down and have some chicken soup. It didn't really make you sick. It's just that little nausea.
TVLINE | Between Nell and Dani, which was more difficult - on every interpretation of the word you like.
Dani, one hundred percent. The turning point in their life is something really difficult that we all face. So who will you be now? And going through this journey is really ... I kind of go through it at the same time. I'm 25. We have similar problems. And it was physically more severe. The first season I was nervous because I was completely exhausted. On every opportunity I have to work on, I stick to this standard of not necessarily just wanting to do that, but somehow exceeding my expectations, growing and getting better as an actor.
And with so much opportunity and responsibility, I took it really seriously. Various directors have increased the stress. To be in a country that I don't know the culture was stressful about. There were many reasons this season was a lot more challenging. We had nine months to shoot it in the first season. This season we've tried to achieve something similar in a much shorter time.
So, yes, this one was certainly rougher. And Nell, stressed out as she was, wasn't putting up any fronts when we met her. She wore her heart on her sleeve. The same cannot be said of Dani. Playing the facade is also exhausting, especially someone who is as bouncy, energetic and fearful as this person.
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