Netflix's horror series Hemlock Grove will be back for season two on Friday, and we sat down with stars Landon Liboiron and Bill Skarsgard, who play lead characters Peter and Roman, respectively. Where season one featured Peter's werewolf transformation, season two will let us in on Roman's adjustment as a vampire-like creature, an upir (and why you don't want to be bitten by him), and both men talked about their human and supernatural character developments to come. They also talked about where the two friends stand with each other in the wake of the events in season one, as well as how the whole show will be generally darker this time around.
POPSUGAR: Where does season two find Peter and Roman?
Landon Liboiron: Peter has to be drawn back to Hemlock Grove. He's kind of living a life outside of Hemlock Grove, and there are certain forces and events at play that bring him back. A lot of it is sort of mysterious aspects that are bringing him back. He's out of high school now, and he's kind of living the free, open-road life. He's now dealing with more adult responsibilities and weight.
Bill Skarsgard: With Roman, he's changed since his "transformation," if you will. Upir is what it's called in the show. It's called Upir, I guess, so that people don't confuse the two. It's its own mythology of what he is, in terms of a vampire. It's not a classical thing; it's more of a dark, really bad condition.
PS: Are we going to see more of the Upir mythology?
BS: It's a lot of [Roman] dealing with this. In terms of answers, it's him trying to figure it out on his own. It's an interesting thing for a character to have, because he doesn't like being this thing, and he's now the head of the company, the White Tower. He's CEO and more than 50 percent shareholder of that, and he takes the job seriously. It's this young man who is dealing with being the head of a multibillion dollar company and also dealing with really dark urges of needing to drink blood.
PS: Are we going to find out what's in the black box?
BS: Yeah, that's the White Tower secret. It's definitely something that Roman wants to know more about and the audience as well. It's kind of the secret in the working relationship with Dr. Pryce because he has this basement where there's still, behind closed doors, a lot of really weird, fishy things going on and he's excluding Roman from that. It's a really fun dynamic between Roman and Pryce as well, who are having a power struggle. It's fun to play because there's none of that high school kidish-boy thing that we did last year. It's these two characters maturing into adulthood and having to deal with responsibilities — as well as how to drink blood without killing people, and corpses stacking up.
PS: What's going to happen to the friendship between Peter and Roman. Is there still a friendship?
LL: It's sort of left on untamed water. Peter is sort of . . . figuring out where they belong after the fact of what happened last year and finding their new purpose. And also reconciling the fact of what happened and Peter leaving and Roman feeling betrayed by Peter leaving. There's sort of an unsaid tension between the two characters.
BS: For sure. And it's definitely unsaid tension between the two of them. Without spoiling anything, in terms of where the season left us, they're definitely not friends, and Roman sees it as a huge betrayal. And it's a lot of tension between the two characters for sure.
PS: Will Peter find out that Roman was the father of Letha's baby, or is that still a mystery?
LL: Peter doesn't know.
PS: Is that going to come up in season two?
LL: It might.
BS: It might.
PS: I heard rumblings of a love triangle [with the addition of Madeline Brewer's character, Miranda]. Can you talk about that?
LL: I wouldn't call it a love triangle, per se.
BS: It's more complicated than that. The love triangle is something we've seen in every supernatural show in the history of television, it feels like, because it's so common. I personally think it's very cheesy, at least because we've seen it so much before. I think it should not be considered one of those things.
LL: I think the important note about Maddy's character is that because it's not a love triangle or anything like that; Peter and Roman are not necessarily drawn to her. Maddy is her character. Miranda is drawn to Hemlock Grove for a purpose. She's literally sucked into the world of Hemlock Grove, which just happens to have Roman and Peter in it. And a series of serendipitous coincidences bring all their lives together into a higher purpose that's yet to be revealed. Maddy's character is a very significant part of Peter and Roman's journey in this season, but it's more than a love triangle.
PS: The season one romance between Peter and Letha humanized those characters, and I was hoping to see that for Roman's character as well.
BS: I am not going to spoil it because I can't, but Roman is a very complicated character; the idea of reducing it to him falling in love . . . He's dealing with so many things, and to put a girl in that equation? He might eat her. And it's not going to be something that's sexy or cute, like "Oh, everyone wants to be bitten by a vampire." You do not want to be bitten by Roman. So that's what he's going through and you'll see more of in season two. And you'll see him becoming a powerful, scary thing and him dealing with it. It's a very delicate thing, and the way I am playing it, it's important to me to establish it: I don't like vampires being sexy! Like, "Oh, it's so romantic . . ."
LL: It's not a sexy thing; it's life or death.
PS: How much more graphic is season two?
LL: We up the ante.
BS: There are a lot of nasty things happening.
LL: Well, yeah, I think another sort of theme is [that it's] darker. The thing about season one was, Roman was so desperately trying to stay in control of what he was becoming, and Peter was already such a peaceful, in-control being within himself. And in season two, they are both dealing with the slow progression of becoming out of control of what they are. With that comes some pretty vicious responses to their internal beasts.
PS: Is there anything that's grossed you out?
LL: Yeah, just a lot of gag reflex.
PS: Will there be another central mystery the whole season hinges on?
LL: Yeah, there's another looming darkness.
BS: I think that's another part to the show, the mysterious part that is something important to the show — the not knowing. Yeah, we're half way into season two shooting and there's still a lot of things we don't understand. The storm is coming. Season two also has that feel of something bad is about to happen, but you don't know what.
BS: Second season is darker. Roman doesn't smile as much, but it's one of those things where they're going through hard things and there are definitely lighter moments to look forward to on the show. I think both the character start out in a way darker point, pretty much . . .
LL: They're haunted by last year basically.
BS: The climax of season one is where they start out in season two; they're not happy characters.
PS: Where will the levity come from if everyone is in such a dark place?
LL: Well, the addition of these side characters will help them along the way. There are some funny bits, and that's sort of the great thing about what I love about drama, especially — is that in the direst of circumstances you can't help but laugh. Sometimes it's so bad that it's funny; sometimes things are so sh*tty that it's ridiculous and there are definite moments where it's heavy; and there are moments where there's spontaneous levity. I think there's most balance this year with that.