In “Dear Edward,” Carter Hudson portrays John, the husband of Lacey (Taylor Schilling). Lacey loses her sister in a plane crash and the couple takes in her nephew Edward (Colin O’Brien), the lone survivor, as a result.
“I see the story as a COVID allegory. There’s this big disaster and there’s all of this death. And you’re sort of left trying to figure out how you move forward from there, which I think is a place that a lot of us were in,” Hudson said. “My dad died of COVID in 2020 and then we weren’t able to actually have a memorial until this past fall in October. We shot the show in the summer.”
Hudson found he could really relate to his character in this scene in the fifth episode of “Dear Edward,” titled “Haunted.” John offers to visit the crash site in order to comfort Edward, who has been having nightmares about it. He goes to Colorado to assure Edward that the field isn’t burning anymore like it was in the wake of the crash, and while John is there he gets very emotional.
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Hudson drew from his personal pain and real-life grief.
“[The scene] involves this prayer and this need to pray and to reach out to some higher power to make sense of this tragedy, and that day was really interesting because we took a small unit to upstate New York where they filmed it. And we’re out in this field it was very quiet. We’re the middle of nowhere,” Hudson recalled. “It started to feel like the funeral or the memorial service that I hadn’t gotten to have yet. And when you feel those things come up I think it’s kind of important to sort of run with it — that intuitive thing that starts like creeping up in your mind. I thought ‘I can try to talk to my dad today.'”
“That was the experiment. It was a good day. It felt, for me, a little bit bigger than a day at work, but also more manageable than a funeral,” he added. “It felt like something that was important for Carter to go through and to try to run with that and let John come along for the ride.”
Before the plane went down, John and Lacey kept trying and failing to get pregnant. John tries to get Lacey to open up about her miscarriages. Their fertility doctor pushes them to think about adoption.
“Going through a miscarriage is a big event, and it’s a thing that we don’t culturally talk about much or we’re taught to not talk about it or, ‘Don’t don’t tell people that you’re pregnant until a certain period of time because …’” he said. “When your family goes through a miscarriage, you start to realize as you talk to people more about it how common an occurrence it is, but you don’t know that until it happens because no one talks about it.”
Hudson echoed Jason Katims’ description of the show as a story of resilience. In a way, Edward answers John and Lacey’s prayers indirectly and gives them new reasons for living.
“They’re both really depressed coming into this. both of them don’t have direction in their lives. They have this one goal, but they can’t follow through on it. They have independent depressions that are living side by side,” he continued. “Then this thing happens and the show starts and it jostles them out of that at least. Things are hard and they go through a lot, but at least it shakes them up out of that state. [Jason] sees the story as this disaster happens, and it actually ends up sort of saving everybody’s life who is tangentially connected to it.”
A grief support group for those who lost loved ones in the crash meets in New York City, but only Lacey attends because John works nights. Edward starts to receive letters from people all over who were connected to the crash somehow. John and Lacey only begin to sort through the letters when Edward starts school, and Hudson appreciated Katims’ decision behind that choice.
“This is a Jason thing that, so much of what happens is built around the banal practicalities of home life and the drama that can come out of it. I just love that idea because that’s how the dramatic things in our lives occur. It comes with dealing with ‘I gotta go to the grocery store, I have to go to the post office, I gotta do this thing,’” he said. “And then something happens. I enjoyed how he looks at all of these characters’ lives as — it’s not dramatic events and then they have a life. It’s holistically entwined.”
The first six episodes of “Dear Edward” are now streaming on AppleTV+.