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Dreadfuls Rejoice! Penny Dreadful‘s Cast Tells Us What to Expect From Season 2

Willy Wonka, apparently.


It’s been a long wait, but Penny Dreadful will finally be back in our lives this Sunday; and in anticipation of the Season 2 premiere, The Mary Sue team was lucky enough to attend events in New York and Toronto celebrating Showtime’s breakout gothic horror series. Season 1 spoilers to follow!

After a screening at New York’s Tribeca Cinemas yesterday, Reeve Carney (Dorian Gray) spoke about the downsides of immortality, Season 2’s action-packed episodes, and that kiss from Season 1.

Episode 102

Host: Last time we saw [Dorian] Vanessa was kind of breaking things off with him. Where do we pick up? Is he nursing a broken heart?

Reeve Carney: Definitely nursing a broken heart and definitely I think as far as Dorian goes, as you are all well aware, he doesn’t necessarily have a filter for the variety of experiences he chooses to acquaint himself with, so pretty much anything’s fair game and that’s really fun as an actor to explore those certain things, whatever they may be.

Host: It seems like Dorian’s really never dealt with rejection before,how does he deal with it?

Carney: I think that especially when you’re dealing with monsters and historical figures and historical fiction and all that stuff, you just want to bring it down to the human level as much as you possibly can. So for me I just tried to connect it to how I felt in those situations. That being said, I don’t think Dorian’s one to keep himself from things that might be a potential band-aid…

Host:  Are you trying to say that he has a new love interest?

Carney: Yeah, he has a new love interest, but that’s all I can say right now!

Host: So he’s maybe filling some kind of void?

Carney: Yeah, definitely. I think it always makes things more interesting when you can’t tell whether someone’s filling a void or whether they’re actually honestly deeply involved in something.

Host: In terms of his immortality, he kind of revels in it and enjoys it. Has that novelty worn off in Season 2?

Carney: I think for myself, if I think of the two options I would probably have if I found out I was going to live forever, I’d probably be doing something along the lines of what Dorian does, or becoming a monk. Or maybe both! That’s the cool thing about Dorian, who knows. There is a certain amount of loneliness intrinsically part of being the only person of your kind. Everyone in the show has something like that to a degree, which I think is why I connect to the show, I’ve certainly felt like an outsider at certain points in my life, I think most of us probably have. I think that’s part of what makes a show like this so powerful, you feel like you connect to the people like this in some way.

Host: We know that Ethan and Vanessa are going to become closer this season. Where does that leave Dorian?

Carney: It does seem, you know, there is a connection between Dorian and Vanessa that is something he’s potentially never experienced with another person so I think that makes it all the more difficult to move on from.

Host: Last season Ethan and Dorian had a little fling, but there was never any conversation about it. Will we see any repercussions? Will that come up at all?

Carney: You know, it could. I don’t imagine that it will this season.


Host: What can you tease about this painting? Are we going to see it, have you filmed it?

Carney: I think they’re still exploring it, it’s something that will be representative of Dorian’s constant state of change as well as his constant stagnation. I think it’s more interesting than what you might expect from reading the novel.

Host: What are you excited about in Season 2 compared to Season 1?

Carney: Oh, I sensed just from the page alone that there would be a lot of action. Obviously John’s [writer John Logan’s] language is beautifully written, you can read it on the page and get an equally as exciting experience as seeing it on screen, but I think there’s a lot more on screen now, which is exciting. We have a backlot now, too!


At an event in Toronto last week, The Mary Sue’s Sam Maggs was also on hand for a Q&A session with Josh Hartnett (Ethan Chandler), Showtime president David Nevins, and Inner Space host Teddy Wilson.

Teddy Wilson: Spoilers from season 1, it was an amazing season finale, obviously we find out that Ethan is a werewolf, which was fantastic. Did you know that the whole time going in or was that something that was sprung on you as you got the script?

Josh Hartnett: I was told the mummy. Yeah, they told me beforehand, before I signed on, and it was an opportunity to play a really ironic character, a little differently than what I’ve played before.

Teddy: How key are secrets to the character of Ethan?

Josh: That’s his whole game so far. When introduced him, they had the idea, how ridiculous could we make his outfit and they allowed me to run with it. I said, can I have a mustache over my mustache and they said yes, perfect, because that’s an analogy that I want go with with the character.

Audience Member: John Logan has writing credits on Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, Last Samurai, Gladiator, and the most relevant to anyone, The Time Machine. Do you think he’s solved the time continuum, to be able to write great things like this and Penny Dreadful? To either of you.

David Nevins: I don’t know what the deal is. Like very few writers I know, it does appear to be fairly effortless for him. He writes every word of the show. I don’t want him to burn out, I’ve encouraged him to hire a few writers for next season, it’ll be interesting to see how much they actually get to write. Season 3, I would like to see somebody else’s name on the script, I do believe the longevity of the show, it would be good to have some other brains, but Logan, he doesn’t seem to sweat it. He’s not precious with it. I’ll say something about the script and it’ll come back changed and brilliant in its own way. I don’t have an answer for you. Maybe a time machine is involved. Unlike many writers I know, and if I were a writer, it doesn’t seem to be painful.

Josh: John Logan has a time machine.

David: But he only uses it to go forward to steal good ideas people just had. The best movies we were going to see, he steals those.

Audience Member: If you had to choose any other character, Josh, other than the werewolf, what would you be? Any horror character.

Josh: Everyone wants to play Frankenstein. It’s a predicament that we continually battle with. This concept of mortality and wanting to cheat it. As artists, we all create, so it’s the long term sort of, if you were continue thinking down that road long enough, you would be creating life, right? So I think Frankenstein probably, so I’m jealous of Harry [Treadaway, Penny Dreadful‘s Frankenstein].

Teddy: [To David] You’ve got a pretty good gig but which creature would you be if you could be a creature?

David: Me? Oh man. I had more, like, it’s gonna be nerdy in the wrong way, I’m more of a sports fan of the season than a monster fan which is not the proper answer in this room. You know who I wanted to be? I wanted to be Willy Wonka.

Teddy: I know you can’t tell us if Willy Wonka is going to be in season 2.

David: Following the great strands of English literature, Willy Wonka could be in horror.

Teddy: What can you tell us about season 2, though? In terms of broad strokes.

Josh: Season 2, well, if the characters are all threads, this tapestry is richer. You get a little more involved in Ethan’s back story, and I can talk about that a little bit. And a little bit more involved in the relationships in between Ethan and Vanessa, Vanessa and Frankenstein, Frankenstein and his monster, you’re just gonna see these relationships flourish. As John said, they’re hunted opposed to hunting, and so that forces allegiances, alliances, to be tested. Some people may go darker than you expect, maybe change sides. It’s set up very much like a family drama.

David: You don’t have to set characters up in season 2. You should know who they are. They’re a little bit more united and this is great stuff between Ethan and Vanessa. Really interesting stuff being played between them. They’re both kind of helping each other through their torture.


You can watch a video of the panel in its entirety over on The Gate.

What do you think, friends? Will you be watching this Sunday?

Disclaimer: Wilson is also Maggs’ partner.

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