The Netflix original series “Hemlock Grove” has ample room for creativity compared to network-regulated television series. The unique storytelling model, and all-at-once distribution, gives showrunners and executive producers the opportunity to go further with the show. Season 2 of the series premiered Friday, and is now available for viewing in its entirety.
Executive producer Eli Roth, series star Famke Janssen, and new showrunner Charles “Chic” Eglee sat down with TheWrap to talk about the creative opportunities they utilize on the series to produce a truly one-of-a-kind cinematic experience.
“Every episode’s on at once, so we don’t have to have commercial breaks, we don’t have recaps,” said Roth. “Season 1 was a 13-hour movie and Season 2 is a very tight 10-hour movie.”
“The Netflix model is … hugely liberating,” echoed Eglee. “You don’t have to worry if they saw last week’s episode. You don’t have to worry that they’re going to get up during the commercial and go make a ham sandwich and not come back. We don’t have to do a lot of stunting and artificiality to keep people in front of the TV set. People are there because they want to be there.”
“As soon as it’s on it’s like a hot pizza,” said Roth. “You have a slice and another slice and another slice. Next thing you know you’re six episodes into it.”
“You get top-tier talent in every department. So it’s as if you’re working on the best possible movie you could imagine, because the quality is so high. That’s really one of the biggest draws for me,” Janssen added.”This was really like making a 10-hour movie.”
A major goal for executives was to have “Hemlock Grove” look and feel like a cinematic experience. Roth and Janssen helped facilitate this by bringing cinematic directors into the fold to helm episodes of the horror series.
The series is based on Brian McGreevy’s novel. The majority of its content played out in Season 1, allowing for more creative freedom for the show’s creators the second time around. “In Season 2, now that we weren’t adhering to the novel … it really gave us the opportunity to write for [the actors] and write character twists and story arcs that you never could have in the first season,” Roth said.
Eglee admitted that he’d kept himself “willfully ignorant” of the source material, having not read it intentionally to ensure a fresh perspective. “I look forward to reading it after I’m done with the show,” he laughed.
Coming into that situation was a familiar feeling for Eglee, as he’d also joined Showtime’s “Dexter”mid-run. When he came on board that long-running show, they too had moved beyond the material presented in the original books, leaving him the creative freedom to explore the characters in wholly new ways.
Check out the full interview with Roth and Janssen above, and Eglee below: