His Dark Materials star Lin-Manuel Miranda says worlds get 'wilder and wilder' in season 2
Lin-Manuel Miranda takes his role as Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby on HBO's fantasy show His Dark Materials seriously. But when EW visited the show's season 2 shoot in the Welsh capital of Cardiff last year, the always-busy Hamilton creator admitted to me that making the Philip Pullman adaptation also represents something of a vacation for him.
"Oh, this is my holiday," Miranda said. "I remember at the end of the first season, I was getting beat up or doing something crazy, [and] one of the crew members was like, 'You’re going to have a nice long holiday after this.' I said, 'No, man, me pretending to be a cowboy in Wales is the holiday. This is my vacation from all the other projects I have going on. You know, for someone who grew up in New York City, this is really kind of beautiful and serene. I have a kid who is old enough to enjoy dragons and castles and there’s a castle every fifty feet here, so it’s pretty nice!"
Below, Miranda teases season 2 of His Dark Materials, which costars Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Amir Wilson among others, and premieres Nov. 16.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How would you compare season 2 to season 1?
LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA: It’s interesting. The characters all kind of ricochet off each other in different ways. We’re split in different ways. I don’t have as much time with Dafne. I was sort of glued to her side in the first season. But it deepens and widens the world. I think that’s the magic of Philip Pullman’s world. It starts in a world that’s sort of recognizable to ours, right? Like, Okay, we’ve got demon-souls, but this looks like Oxford, this looks like the north, I can see the real world parallels. Then the worlds just keep getting wilder and wilder. [It] keeps expanding the aperture of what is possible and that’s sort what happens in season 2.
Would you say the second season is darker?
I think there’s more of both extremes. I think there’s moments of incredible levity. You get to see Lyra (Keen) with someone her own age (Amir Wilson's Will Parry), who’s been through some of the things she’s been through. There are moments of great levity and there are almost moments that are dark and pretty intense.
As you said, season 2 explores these other worlds. Does that affect you?
A little bit. The world is just constantly expanding. In the first season for example we wenet to the city of Trollesund, which was this giant city we built in the middle of a bunch of farms up in the Brecon Beacons. I was like, wow, this is really big scale for BBC. This was before HBO had joined. That is the tiniest set I’ve been on this season. Like, Cittàgazze (another of Pullman's fictional towns) is bigger than some towns in Italy upon which it is based. So, yes, just the scale of the thing is so surreal now.
What’s it been like working with Dafne?
Oh, it’s so great. Her other big project prior to this was Logan with Hugh Jackman, so she was very comfortable singing show tunes between takes. I dropped right into the Hugh Jackman track of her life. It was like, Oh, yeah, we’ll sing some Oliver! while we wait for the next set up. She‘s so talented. Her parents are both actors, so they keep her very grounded, and her Mom’s on set all the time. It’s really nice when you see someone that talented, that young, and their head is very screwed on straight. Because it’s a lot, you know, to have all this going on when you’re a kid.
His Dark Materials season 2 will premiere on Monday, Nov. 16 at 9 p.m. ET. In the U.S., the series will air on HBO and stream on HBO Max.
Watch the His Dark Materials season 2 trailer above.