Haunting of Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan teases that new season is 'a gothic romance story'
Mike Flanagan is welcoming fans to Bly Manor.
In the exclusive video below, "Behind the Scenes: From Hill House to Bly Manor," the series creator is joined by executive producer Trevor Macy to tease what viewers can expect from the highly anticipated second entry in the horror anthology.
The new season, which follows 2018's Haunting of Hill House, is a standalone adaptation based on the ghost stories of Henry James. It stars Victoria Pedretti as Dani Clayton, an American who is hired to be the new au pair to two troubled children, Flora (Amelie Bea Smith) and Miles (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) Wingrave, at their family's estate in the English town of Bly in the 1980s. As was the case at Hill House, not all is well at creepy Bly Manor, which is also home base for groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve), housekeeper Mrs. Grose (T'Nia Miller), and on-site chef Owen (Rahul Kohli).
Although it's a new story with new characters, Flanagan says he approached it much the same way as the first season. "Similar to The Haunting of Hill House, I really wanted to play more with ghosts as an expression of emotional wounds that we do carry around — how the past and present can echo each other, that moments don't fall like dominoes, they fall like confetti," he says. "Though Haunting of Hill House is about a very tight family, Bly Manor is about strangers, a family that is created. All of the people that inhabit Bly Manor come from completely different backgrounds, and get to know each other through friendship, tension, conflict, and love. What sets Bly Manor apart is that at its heart, it's a love story. It's a gothic romance story."
"I think that it's different from the first season in that it plays with your heart in different ways," Pedretti tells EW. "It's beautiful and tragic."
The new season also features some familiar faces from the first one. In addition to Pedretti, who played Nell Crain in Hill House, Bly Manor will see the return of Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Henry Thomas, and Kate Siegel.
"You get to see a different side of them this time than you did last time," Macy says of the returning stars. "[They] are really wonderfully woven into the fabric of this season in a way that I think fans will like." For Pedretti specifically, that meant taking on a more nurturing role this time around. "I think it's all about the children [for Dani]," she says. "It's really important that the young are not only just looked at and cared for, but nurtured, and that is something that's very important to Dani."
Ultimately, Flanagan hopes fans see the connection between a good love story and a good ghost story. "The two are really the same thing, how each of us when we fall in love is kind of giving birth to a new ghost, something that is going to follow us for the rest of our lives," he says in the video. "I hope that that intermingling of a ghost story and a love story is really impactful for people, and I think by the end of the season the line between the two is pretty much obliterated entirely."
Pedretti adds that she hopes viewers take with them "the power of being yourself and living your truth, because the more that we all do that, the more it opens doors for future generations to be able to live more freely and truly to their heart."
The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres Oct. 9 on Netflix.
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