The cast of the proudly bizarre Eli Roth-produced Netflix original series Hemlock Grove is exceptionally strong, with a mixture of genre veterans, indie stalwarts and impressive newcomers including X-Men‘s Famke Janssen as steely matriarch Olivia Godfrey, The Conjuring‘s Lili Taylor as itinerant mom Lynda Rumancek, Mission: Impossible II‘s Dougray Scott as weary psychiatrist Norman Godfrey, and Terra Nova favourite Landon Liboiron.
“Our casting director for first episode said ‘You guys should just sit back and congratulate yourself on how lucky you’ve been because you’ve got an amazing cast, one of the best casts you’re ever going to see, without all the drama that comes with a great cast.’
“I think we pretty much got our first choice right across the board,” remembers writer, producer and Battlestar Galactica survivor Mark Verheiden, speaking exclusively to SciFiNow.
“We went to Famke and she was enthusiastic about the material and about the book and just wanted to do it, Dougray same, even down to the characters like Dr Price or the Sheriff, we just saw them and said ‘That’s who we want’ and we managed to get them.”
That good fortune extended to the two leads.
“I should single out Bill [Skarsgård, as Roman Godfrey] and Landon too, because Bill was our first choice,” Verheiden continues. “He walked in and we just went ‘That’s Roman.’ And Landon, same way, he’d just come off Terra Nova and came in and was amazing. And we put those two together, we loved the chemistry.
“It was fun that they embraced the quirkiness of the book. This is not a totally naturalistic world. This is a world of vampires and werewolves and strange happenings. And they totally invested in it and gave it a reality, it’s one of those shows where you write a script and you sit there on the stage and see what the actors bring to it and you just go ‘Wow, this is like so much more than I imagined,’ and it’s such a great feeling.
“It doesn’t always happen by the way, it’s rare.”
Hemlock Grove is available on Netflix from 19 April. You can read our review of the first episode here.