Famke Janssen hates blood and gore — but loves ‘Hemlock Grove’

SHARE Famke Janssen hates blood and gore — but loves ‘Hemlock Grove’

The second season of “Hemlock Grove” premiered Friday on Netflix and as the horror series’ executive producer and “showrunner” Charles “Chic” Eglee put it, the show — “while part of the horror genre, is really unusual because it’s so much more than that — it’s about really intriguing, complex characters, who happen to live in this very haunted place.” Last week “Hemlock Grove” star Famke Janssen called to chat about the show, her excitement about the new season and revealed the fact she actually is afraid of blood and gore!

Q: What has you most excited about the new season?

A: I don’t know where to begin. It’s really exciting. There’s a lot of focus on character development this season. Things will be a bit more clear for the audience, in terms of specific storylines and the transformation of various characters. A lot of things are extremely complex and inter-connected in that little town of Hemlock Grove!

In terms of [her character] Olivia, from where we saw her last season to where she starts off in season two, it’s very exciting to play because we touch on so many emotional beats. That’s not anything I think anyone would have predicted from where we left things at the end of season one.

Q: I understand you’re not particularly fond of blood and gore, right?

A: Definitely, blood and gore scares me tremendously!

Q: Anything else that scares you?

A: Actually, anything eye-related also bugs me. There are ads now for a new TV show [“The Strain”] with a worm that goes into somebody’s eye. That’s hard for me to look at. It’s kind of stomach-turning! I’m not a horror or blood fan. Thanks to Chic [Eglee’s] writing for my character — I was mostly spared having to deal with that for this second season. In life, when I was little, I was scared imagining there might be someone hiding under my bed and I would have to run very fast. I could take a long jump into my bed before anyone under the bed could grab my ankles! [Laughs].

My own imagination is so vivid, I really don’t need the help of movies or TV shows.

Q: What do you enjoy most about playing Olivia?

A: There are a lot of different characteristics about her that I love playing with. She’s obviously diabolical at times, but what I really liked exploring this second season were the other aspects of her character. I think when you portray a character like this, it’s really easy to simplify it and make it one-dimensional. It was great this season — thanks to the writers — to explore the other sides of Olivia. What’s underneath? How can I peel back the layers of her personality, so to speak, to reveal why she is the way she is. I think it’s interesting for the audience to see what’s really going on behind the scenes with her — a character who is outwardly seen as so evil at times.

Q: How do you think the Netflix model has changed things? In other words, unlike with a broadcast network or regular cable series, the ability to “series binge” — and watch the entire season in one weekend, for example?

A: I think it’s absolutely amazing that this model was introduced when it was and the perfect timing of what Netflix has accomplished. All our lives are in constant flux these days. Most people don’t have the time or the luxury to watch a show at the very specific time that it airs. This enables everybody to do it at their own leisure — how and when they want to watch a show. I liken it to reading a novel. You can pick it up when you want to and you can put it down when you want to — and you don’t miss anything.

From the filmmakers’ perspective I think it’s a really interesting way of producing and writing a show. Some of the rules that applied in the past, don’t apply anymore.

Q: Famke, since you are a native of the Netherlands, your thoughts on the World Cup, even though Holland lost to Argentina in the semi-finals?

A: I followed it the whole time. I loved watching it and our crazy goalie, Tim Krul! What a character. Unfortunately, we are working [on “Hemlock Grove”], so it’s been hard to watch in real time, but I’ll see the re-runs of it all.


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