It was always too good to be true. Can a werewolf and a vampire ever really be friends? Yet HEMLOCK GROVE had the audacity to propose that they could. Season 1 introduced Peter Romancek (Landon Liboiron), a gypsy werewolf, who had just moved to the seemingly sleepy town of Hemlock Grove where the Godfrey family control the town through their obscene wealth and their desire to keep a distance from the townsfolk. But the Godfrey’s had many secrets to conceal, only one of which was that its matriarch Olivia Godfrey (Famke Janssen) was an upir. Her son Roman (Bill Skarsgard) had not yet transformed and was unaware of his bloody ancestry, but was inexplicably drawn to Peter. Roman perhaps sensed, as Peter sensed about Roman, that there was an otherworld quality to Peter.
So Season 1 was a dance of mutual interest and aligned interests as Peter and Roman struck up a friendship and set out to track down a beast attacking the residents of Hemlock Grove. But Season 1 ended in a bloody and deadly finale as the beast was killed and Roman’s cousin, Letha (Penelope Mitchell) died as well. Both Peter and Roman were tormented by the secrets uncovered and the deaths that surrounded them. It pushed Peter to leave town and Roman to finally confront his mother about their darkest nature.
In a press interview from the set, star Landon Liboiron talked about why Peter returns to Hemlock Grove and whether or not there is hope that Peter and Roman could ever be friends again.
What could have possibly convinced Peter to come back after the traumatic events of the Season 1 finale?
LANDON: The main thing that brought him back was a situation with his mom. He had absolutely no choice but to come back. It’s kind of a life or death decision. There’s also a force unbeknownst to him that is pulling him back towards Hemlock Grove as well. So life responsibility and an unimaginable force, that’s what brings him back.
Peter has a new living situation for Season 2. He moves in with his cousin Destiny (Tiio Horn).
LANDON: Not by choice. That’s the thing with Peter in Season 2, there’s like this cluster of one thing after another that he’s trying to deal with. He hardly sleeps. He’s just kind of like dealing with a juggling ball act of responsibility that are all kind of rolled up all into one.
How would you describe Peter’s relationship with Roman at this point?
LANDON: Where it picks up, they are estranged and they are not friendly with each other after what happened in Season 1.
With the death of Letha last season and Shelley’s (Madeleine Martin) disappearance, there’s this sense of isolation for Peter and Roman. Would you say that is an issue in Season 2?
LANDON: It’s definitely a part of what Peter’s going through. He’s still mourning Letha’s death. But the issues and responsibilities that he has to deal with at the beginning sort of sidetracks from that. He is dealt this new objective and path, and with hardships come new feelings and new people and that’s a cool thing about this season are the new side characters that show you a little bit more of the world of HEMLOCK GROVE.
Last season’s werewolf transformation set a high bar. Is there something similar we can expect in Season 2?
LANDON: Oh yeah. If they used a slingshot last year, they’re using a catapult this year. They really amped up the fun stuff.
What is it like to shoot something like that and then see it after on screen?
LANDON: It’s brutal cause when you’re shooting it, it’s one of those things where you don’t even know what you’re doing. You kind of have to plunge into it and trust that the effects guy is going his job and that we’re all coming together to create this. I only watched it once. I could only watch it once just because it’s a strange thing.
With Roman discovering his upir abilities, will Peter be doing the same thing in Season 2?
LANDON: That was the difference between Peter and Roman in Season 1, Peter was very at ease with who and what he is. The werewolf aspect of Peter’s character is as much of who is he as his gypsy heritage. He grew up with it. Nicolae (Don Francks) taught him how to hunt. It is very much a spiritual thing. Whereas when Peter met Roman, Roman did not know he was an upir. Peter just sensed that in him. So he had that one up on Roman. Now that Roman is an upir, the contrast is that now Peter is the one struggling with his werewolf in Season 2 more than Season 1.
Last season, you had the book to go off of and you kind of knew where it was going. How is it not knowing what is coming?
LANDON: It was a gift last year to kind of know the trajectory of your character and the plot, whereas this year you have no idea at all, and it changes. You’d make a choice and then the next episode it’s another choice. It’s a different way of filming, but it’s also very exciting. You don’t know what’s going to happen and you don’t know who is going to die or who is going to be introduced or what these new characters are doing because they are brand new and we don’t know their story. So it is exciting as well.
Some of the other actors had said they were surprised the direction the show takes in Season 2.
LANDON: It is definitely surprising.
Will there be a love-triangle between Peter, Roman and someone else this season?
LANDON: There is no love-triangle. Miranda’s (Madeline Brewer) character plays a significant part in both Peter and Roman’s lives as much as Peter and Roman are a significant part to each other. But the point to Miranda is not to bring in this kind of ongoing love-triangle. That’s not her purpose. Her purpose is greater than that.
Does that tap into the dreams that Peter and Roman were sharing in the first season?
LANDON: The dream aspect of it all is more important this year and significant. So, yeah, they tap back into that.
When you talk about the bonding between Roman and Peter, it’s more than just a bromance or teenage boys who find friendship finally because they are so isolated in their lives, it sounds like you’re talking about a supernatural bonding.
LANDON: It is. Season 1 was a “cocktail party for the uninvited.” When you throw all these misfits together, it’s really enlightening for them. It’s very nice. It’s like “oh, you’re a freak inside too.” So it is like that unexplainable — it’s love, an understanding, a wave-length that no one else is a part of. That’s kind of what they had together. And the interesting thing about Season 2 is as they are both struggling with their inner demons and the wave-length starts wobbling a little.
Now that Roman has taken on the responsibility of running the Godfrey Institute is there going to be a real shift in how they relate to each other since they are so involved in other aspects of their lives?
LANDON: In the beginning of the season it has been a significant amount of time that they have been apart. Peter has been away from Hemlock Grove for a significant amount of time. So Roman has been just dealing with his own inner self and responsibilities at the White Tower and trying to move on. So when they run into each other at the beginning of Season 2, they are sort of dealing with their own agendas. That causes a kind of butting of heads. They are clearly dealing with their own problems, not each other’s problems.
Will there be outside forces coming at Peter and Roman in Season 2 and expanding their world? Will that possibly push them into a forced alliance at some point?
LANDON: Possibly. The cool thing about what the new writers have done with this season is that they kept the “big bad” factor in. Like if the vargulf was the Season 1’s looming danger, there’s a shadow that’s looming over HEMLOCK GROVE in Season 2. There is a common enemy.
The show always worked better when Peter and Roman were aligned, whether they trusted each other or not.
LANDON: I think that will probably be their relationship for eternity: whether or not they can trust each other? Which is probably what draws them together. They need each other, but can they truly trust each other?
What is your favorite and least favorite part of playing Peter?
LANDON: My favorite part is just Peter, in general. Bryan [McGreevey] created such a rich person with Peter. I just feel extremely lucky to be able to have Peter to play. Least favorite would be that I always have to get naked to transform. It’s cold. Screw the writers who are down in California with palm trees outside their windows. There was one shot we did where I had to be naked outside for like a minute. It was ridiculous. For people with bad kidney problems and back problems, there’s these thermal back pads that they give us. You strap one on the back and one on the front. Then they have these custom-made “wife beaters” with pockets that you put these heat pads in. So you’re covered in these heat pads just to stay warm. It’s crazy.
Another interesting thing from Season 1 were scenes between Peter and Olivia as there was always such an odd dynamic to those scenes. Will we see Peter interact in Olivia’s world in Season 2?
LANDON: I can’t really say. I think they kept it the same as in Season 1. The adult world doesn’t clash too much with the younger world. The adults have their own things going on. What was really fascinating about that was just how much power Olivia had over Peter, but it was always like a “door conversation.”
There was like an instinct that she was dangerous and he respected that.
LANDON: Peter was also a tool for Olivia for Roman.
There seems to be a more badass aspect to Season 2: more blood, more gore, more explosions. That sounds a bit more intense than what we saw in the first season, which just had a lone wolf attacking people.
LANDON: It’s definitely more action-packed. It’s just one thing after another. It’s less about a dialogue. Shit hits the fan. It’s just going to blow up. The characters are also dealing more with their internal conflicts this year. Everyone’s kind of going through their own internal strife. Whereas, last year was more about community and how everyone was effecting each other. Now it’s just the individuals affecting themselves and how to fix it.
To find out who the Season 2 “big bad” is and what both Roman and Peter will be faced with, be sure to tune in on Friday, July 11th when the entire second season of HEMLOCK GROVE will be available for binge-viewing on Netflix.
(Editor’s note: Special thanks goes to Netflix which made this interview possible with a sponsored trip to the set of “Hemlock Grove.”)