A few days ago, I had the opportunity to interview Netflix’s Locke & Key stars Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Griffin Gluck, Hallea Jones, and executive producers Carlton Cuse, Meredith Averill, Joe Hill, and Gabriel Rodriguez at a round table. The show is based on the graphic novels of the same name created by Hill and Rodriguez. The 10-episode season 2 premiered on October 22, and you can check my review here. It focuses on the Locke family, who moves to their patriarch’s family home after he is murdered by a student. There, siblings, Tyler, Kinsey, and Bode find magical keys with mysterious abilities.
Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Gabriel, how did it feel to see the Keys’ abilities come to life in live-action and was it hard to adapt those abilities?
Rodriguez: The smartest thing that the producers and creators of the show have done is to find inventive ways to translate the nature of the magic of Locke & Key from the comic to the screen. Just having music throughout the series is a completely different experience of what the story and the magic evolving in it actually is, so, I think one of the things that have been the most fun for us, the creators of the books, is to watch the show and see all these elements that are very familiar to us recreated in a way that certainly echoed the way they are portrayed in the books but with an original spin that gives us a fresher experience of the Locke & Key mythology.
We had the tremendous luck of having Israel Skelton’s workshop doing the props of the keys from the comic book already, so having that in the past was amazing. Now, putting it to action in the show made by Netflix is an actual magical experience for us.
Joe, how much of an involvement did you have in the process of adapting the comic book to a television format?
Hill: So, I was pretty hands-on, particularly in the first season. You know, in the first season I co-wrote the pilot episode with Aron Coleite, and, you know, credit where credit is due, Aron is an all-time pro with this and really pulled things together, but I feel like I was able to contribute some useful stuff there and some storylines and ideas that we were messing around with for the first season that I suggested were threaded throughout season 1. So, Carlton Cuse and Meredith [Averill] have been great collaborators. It was very kind of them to loop me in and hopefully, I was able to add some good stuff there and do my part.
I should add, I was thinking about the way the comic and the show are in conversation with each other. Gabriel [Rodriguez] and I were cast as EMTs in season 1, which was really cool. I think it invites a spin-off, Matheson 911, in which Gabe and I are the stars. But I was just gonna say, you know, it was cool that we got to cameo on the TV show. We were so grateful for that. Carlton Cuse cameos in the comic. In the In Pale Battalions Go storyline, there’s a Canadian corporal who runs an enlistment office. Look close, he is pretty familiar.
Griffin Gluck & Hallea Jones
Griffin, did you know that you were gonna play Dodge from day 1, or was it a surprise to you as well?
Gluck: Yeah, I did know that from day 1. I knew the second I auditioned. Well, actually, I didn’t know the second I auditioned. I prepared the scene, I think that was just normal Gabe talking and having a conversation before the spoiler. And then I got into the room to audition and they kinda let me know, “Hey, by the way, this is the big season reveal, this is Gabe’s arc, and maybe if you want to throw a little bit subtleties there, have fun with it”. I was like, for sure. So I did that and I got the call and I got [the part].
I knew everything about my character at that point and I was so excited. I actually thought it was common knowledge and thought everyone in the cast and the crew would know that as well, so I just didn’t mention it for, 8 months of filming. And then, long after that, until the premiere. But everyone came up to me when we started filming episode 10 and they were like, “Oh my god, you didn’t tell us this whole time? Did you know?” and I was like, “Oh yeah”. I thought everyone knew. But I didn’t tell my family until the premiere night. I wanted it to be a surprise for them so they could still watch and enjoy the show.
And then our lovely friend Jesse Camacho, who plays Doug Brazelle in the show — It was the first thing he said to them when he met them. He goes, “Can you believe that your son is the demon?” and my parents were like, “…what?”. So yeah, I knew for a very long time but I tried to keep it under wraps as much as possible so it could be a surprise for everyone watching.
Jones: [laughs] I hope Jesse [Camacho] sees this.
Gluck: Oh, me too dude. I’m calling him out hardcore.
Jones: Me too, all the time.
Hallea, what was the most challenging scene for you to film this season?
Jones: There’s a difference between physically challenging and physically demanding. So, physically challenging was being freaking cold. There were some days — because Eden doesn’t dress properly for the weather and we made a decision that Eden in the coldest days, like, the demon wouldn’t feel much of the cold. But we had to like, “fit in”. But Eden, you know, her trademark is having her midriff showing and there were times when one of the key costumers came up to me and he was like, you can put your jacket up this time. And I was like, no, Eden wouldn’t do that. We were filming outside for a week or more in below 0 temperatures. Freezing temperatures.
So that was physically challenging. Physically demanding were the fight scenes and really intense physical scenes. It was all fun, but yeah, those were the craziest, without being specific or spoiling anything, those were all fun but definitely put me in challenge mode.
Griffin, if you had to describe season 2 in three words, what would it be?
Gluck: I’ve been thinking about this. I got a little bit of practice the other day. First word, it’s a big word: entropy. The idea that everything returns to chaos eventually. There’s no such thing as perfect. Everything returns to chaos. So, entropy. The second is a word I’ve been using a lot in the last two days to describe our show: fun. It’s a bit of a cop-out but it is fun to film. It was fun to watch. It’s just a whole lot of fun. And, let’s see, the third word I would use is… delicious.
Jones: Yeah, yeah.
Gluck: And you can decide for that however you like, I don’t know. [Laughs].
Carlton Cuse & Meredith Averill
Meredith, the show has already been renewed for a third season, which you guys already shot. What’s in store for the future? Is there a season 4 in the cards or is season 3 intended to be the final season?
Averill: I think that’s a question for Netflix. We’d love to do many, many seasons of the show. We love the show. The show has many stories left to tell, so I think that’s really a question for them.
Carlton, in season 2, we get to see some scenes of The Splattering, which is the movie that the Savinis were working on. Would you consider releasing the movie as a special episode or something like that?
Cuse: We need to give you guys a direct pipeline to Ted Sarandos or something so all these ideas could be realized. [Laughs] We love The Splattering. We would love to do more with it. It’s just that we have limited real estate at this point in terms of what we can do and if that’s within the Locke & Key story that we’ve told, then sure, I mean, it’s really fun for us to do that and we would love to explore The Splattering further.
Meredith, if you had to describe season 2 in three words, what would it be?
Averill: Weight of responsibility.
Darby Stanchfield & Connor Jessup
Darby, over the course of season 1, we saw Nina’s journey to overcome grief and move on from Rendell’s death while trying to be there for her kids and support them. Where will this journey take Nina in seasons 2 and 3?
Stanchfield: Well, I can talk about season 2, and there, Nina moves on a little bit from the grief. It’s still there. It’s sort of an underlying thing because Rendell’s death is still not totally solved or resolved for her. But she meets somebody new in season 2. Some new charming man comes to town and catches Nina’s eye and so, as an actor, it was fun to explore balancing the two and to just get to play the happiness of Nina. To see what this character is like when she is feeling happy and also maybe the awkwardness that comes up with that with her kids. And sort of reconciling this feeling of a parent. Is it okay to not only be a parent but to fulfill her own needs and pursue something that is for just her? So a lot of these issues are explored in season 2.
Connor, Tyler goes through such an emotional and mature arc this season, especially in the last few episodes. How did you approach that arc and how do you think it is for Tyler to have to deal with so many adult problems at such a young age?
Jessup: Yeah, Tyler really goes on an emotional journey this season. He starts in a place where he feels quite able. He feels quite comfortable in this responsibility and in this life that he has in Matheson with Jackie and with his siblings and his mom and then that gets tested in a really intense way as the season goes on and pulls him in all sorts of directions. And especially towards the end of the season, things get really harrowing and what was fun this year was that, unlike season 1, even though what he was going through was so intense, I felt like he was better equipped.
It’s a weird thing to say because it goes so badly for him but I felt like, as an actor playing him, that he had both feet on the ground this time, whereas in season 1 it felt like he was so just completely lost in what was going on around him. And this time, it was devastating, but he felt older and more solid at the core of what he was feeling. So that, I think, was what let me get through it and differentiate it also, from the grief and the pain that he feels in season 1.
Connor, if you had to describe season 2 in three words, what would it be?
Jessup: A lot bigger.
Note: the interviews have been edited for clarity.
Season 3 news and updates
During the production of season 2, Netflix renewed Locke & Key for a third season. While production on season 3 is complete, its release date remains unknown.
One thing we know about season 2 is that we’ll see a lot more of Frederick Gideon. Kevin Durand, who recurred as Gideon in season 2, will be a series regular in season 3, Deadline has confirmed. Stay tuned on TheGWW.com for more Locke & Key news.
Locke & Key stars Darby Stanchfield, Connor Jessup, Emilia Jones, Jackson Robert Scott, Petrice Jones, Griffin Gluck, Aaron Ashmore, Hallea Jones, Brendan Hines & Kevin Durand.