HEMLOCK GROVE: Famke Janssen Talks the Season 2 Changes and Challenges for Olivia (2014)

"Hemlock Grove"
“Hemlock Grove”

A mother’s love knows no bounds. In HEMLOCK GROVE, this is especially true for Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen), an upir, who was willing to give her own life so that her son could take his rightful place and discover his true nature. Unfortunately for Olivia, her son Roman (Bill Skarsgard) only felt disgust and revulsion upon discovering his family’s monstrous lineage. Because of that he wants nothing to do with his vampire-side and has forsaken his mother as the source of his unwanted curse.

In a press interview from the set, Famke Janssen talked about the rift between Olivia and Roman, as well as whether she is even worried about her missing daughter Shelley (Madeleine Martin). Given Olivia’s inhuman stance towards even familial relationships, it is hard to believe that Roman will ever forgive his mother. But the good news for her is that they have an eternity to figure our their relationship and find a bridge towards forgiveness and understanding.

Where are Olivia and Roman at in their relationship for in the beginning of Season 2?
FAMKE: They are not getting along. I’m sure that’s no surprise. But it’s really all Roman. Olivia is happy to make it a wonderful and functioning relationship, but he’s stubborn. We might have to wait ’til Season 3 to have a wonderful, loving mother-son relationship.

We find out that Olivia not living at the mansion anymore and having taken up residence in a cottage. Why the change of residence?
FAMKE: While you saw what happened with Olivia at the end of Season 1. It didn’t end very well. She wasn’t in the best of shape. She needed rehabilitation to come back to a more vibrant version of herself. So that meant moving to another place for a temporary move to another environment.

Is she in hiding from Roman?
FAMKE: No, no. She would very much like to be closer to him, but he’s not interested.

Is she upset that he doesn’t want anything to do with her?
FAMKE: Yes, very. I mean, she’s been a terrible mother, but I’m sure she wants to be a better one in the future.

Season 2 has been described as bloodier and gorier than Season 1. Have you encountered any of those scenes yet?
FAMKE: (Laughs) I haven’t experienced them yet, but I think I’m about to. I’m not good with the blood and the gore. I don’t know how I’m going to get through the upcoming episodes.

How would you describe Olivia and Norman’s (Dougray Scott) relationship in Season 2?
FAMKE: It’s more loaded because more secrets unraveled and things are becoming a little bit more complicated as this season goes on and progresses. When you have somebody like Olivia with so many secrets and mysteries around her, something eventually is going to come out. So that element is definitely at play.

What is driving Olivia? What is her motivation this season?
FAMKE: I think she’s hungry. Obviously, she needs to sustain this vampirism thing. So that’s one thing. But I think whatever gets her going in the beginning of Season 2 is very different than at the end of Season 2. There’s a big switch in there somewhere with a realization that she never had before. So that’s something fun to play with this time around.

Is Olivia taking more of interest in what is going on at the White Tower and with Dr. Pryce (Joel de la Fuente) this season?
FAMKE: She has a direct need to be more involved. Pryce really holds the key to a lot of things that are happening this season. He’s becoming more powerful and it’s not something most people like. He’s a really fun character. Olivia and he have a lot of interaction this season.

Is Olivia backed into it or does she make a more overt decision to get involved?
FAMKE: She’s backed into it a bit. It comes from a direct need, the key to something.

It sounds like an inversion from Season 1 where Olivia held all the keys and she’s a bit more hard-up this season.
FAMKE: Because of her almost demise at the end of Season 1, she’s clearly not back to 100%. She starts from a much more vulnerable place and different things have an effect on her, like her recuperation and rehabilitation and then there are the people who hold the key to what she needs.

Will Olivia be behaving differently as result of Roman’s attack?
FAMKE: Yes, she’s a different person ultimately. There’s many changes that make her act differently this time around compared to last season.

Does that mean Olivia won’t be concerned what happened to Shelley (Madeleine Martin)? She seems like the protective-mother type.
FAMKE: (Laughs) You think she’s a protective mother? That strikes me as really funny! I love that you think that. It’s great that you got that impression from last season. She’s actually a terrible mother. But I don’t judge the characters that I play. We’ll definitely see a different side of her this season.

Last season we got to see a glimpse into Olivia’s past. This season, will we see more of the story behind Olivia?
FAMKE: There’s a lot of mystery, but that’s Olivia. You need to shroud her in mystery, that’s what’s fun about her character. But some glimpses where we may see something or find out something.

It also looks like Olivia’s wardrobe has gone through a change in Season 2?
FAMKE: That’s right. No white this year. There has been many changes and one of them has been in wardrobe, colors more than anything. Not so much the style. Although last year we went through more eras in clothing, and this year it is more contemporary. So we decided to go for not white, not just one color, sort of more jewel tones. I have to upstage the blood once in a while.

What’s the most fun thing about portraying Olivia?
FAMKE: She always surprises everyone around her — including me. You never know what’s coming up with her. Because we went a very different direction with her this season, it was almost like playing a different character. That’s fun.

To find out what diabolical plans Olivia will be up to and whether she finds a way to reconcile with Roman, be sure to tune in on Friday, July 11th when the entire second season of HEMLOCK GROVE will be available for binge-viewing on Netflix.

(Editor’s note: Special thanks goes to Netflix which made this interview possible with a sponsored trip to the set of “Hemlock Grove.”)

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