Hemlock Grove is “a 13-hour movie” says director

Eli Roth’s Netflix show Hemlock Grove is more of a movie than a TV show, say cast and creators

Bill Skarsgård as Roman Godfrey in Eli Roth's Hemlock Grove
Bill Skarsgård as Roman Godfrey in Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove

Rather than being structured like a normal television series, Netflix say that the all-the-episodes-at-once approach allowed the makers to approach their new show Hemlock Grove more… cinematically.

“You have to look at the show as a 13-hour movie,” explains producer/director Deran Sarafian speaking exclusively to SciFiNow. “To just see 2 episodes or 3 episodes doesn’t really get you into it; it’s a rollercoaster that goes up and up and up and then all of a sudden after the third episode it’s just… whoosh!

“Visually, it gives you a great opportunity, we’ve done so much network television, it was almost like ‘Boy, we’re not living with those close-ups anymore, we can open this open and shoot it like a film.'”

A veteran of the writer’s room environment, producer/writer Mark Verheiden (Battlestar Galactica) explains that the approach also allowed for a different structure.

“Approaching it from a writing standpoint we didn’t have to do the classic TV episodic thing of beginning middle and end for every show, where you wrap it all up in a bow. We wanted to tell a story that was 13 hours long, and starts rolling like a rollercoaster and once it gets going it doesn’t stop. But it gave you the time to invest in these characters, we got to spend a lot of time living in the world, meeting them, and then letting it explode.”

Aaron Douglas, known to many genre fans as Battlestar Galactica‘s Chief Tyrol, plays town Sheriff Sworn, and agrees that the pacing was a welcome change.

“There’s no time constraints. Netflix said ‘Give us episode 6 and if it’s an hour and five minutes, so what. If it’s 50  minutes and it ends at 50, there you go.’ We don’t have to chop things down to 42 minutes.

“You can take your time, you can let things breathe a little bit, you can have those moments of pause. Which may, at the time, seem a little extraneous, but as the show builds and the waves of the show come, those little moments of respite are all gonna make sense and allow you to catch your breath a little bit.”

Hemlock Grove is available on Netflix from 19 April. You can read our review of the first episode here.