In a discussion with journalists today at TCA, Showtime President David Nevins said he would like to keep “Penny Dreadful going as long as possible.” While a renewal order hasn’t been given, executive producer John Logan already has begun breaking story on a third season. The second season returns Sunday, April 26.
Logan unloaded a slew of details on Season two, some of which already were out there. While the heroes of Penny Dreadful were the “hunters last season, they’re the hunted — there’s a foxhole mentality,” said the Oscar-nominated scribe. And a lot of that boils down to the expansion of Helen McCrory’s character Evelyn Poole, nee Madame Kali, a big bad witch who hardened African explorer Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) develops a fancy for. How bad is she? Well, check out the Season 2 trailer and you’ll clearly see she’s a chick wgo likes bathing in blood (talk about a scene that would make horror helmer Dario Argento giddy).
“This season, we embrace witchcraft,” said Logan. “I don’t believe in villains and heroes. You think Evelyn is a villain, but she’s more of an antagonist. She has a noble calling even though it runs counter to Sir Malcolm’s. She might think she’s on the side of the angels, even though she’s on the side of the devils,” said Logan. If there’s something that illustrates Poole’s darkness, it’s her lair. Logan instructed his set designer to throw away any Victorian period influences and go wild. “It’s one of the most frightening places,” said Logan.
“This is one of the darkest periods in England’s history,” said Josh Hartnett, who plays werewolf Ethan Chandler. “Tthere was a lot happening. The Industrial Revolution was affecting people’s understanding of culture in general. There was a lot of murder. The life expectancy in London was 26.”
One critic asked Dalton how close he was to his own character, a question that flabbergasted the actor. “I don’t think anyone could understand such men of that time,” he said. “The problem is that we have to communicate them to a modern audience. I’ve only known a couple of men in my time who were hard men, good men, sometimes loving, but bad men. I remember when they died, I told myself, ‘We’re not going to see people like that.'”
Hartnett responded, “If you were born back then, Tim, I don’t think you would seek the Nile — the Nile would seek you.”