The Haunting of Hill House Star Reveals What Was "Surprising" About Watching the Series

When Netflix debuted Mike Flanagan's adaptation The Haunting of Hill House last fall, it quickly became one of the most talked-about series of the year, thanks not only to its various horrifying elements but also thanks to the dramatic and emotional narrative. Oliver Jackson-Cohen starred as Luke Crain in the series, a member of the Crain family who struggled with addiction throughout much of his life, with his substance abuse leading to him being ostracized by his siblings. The actor revealed that, upon watching the series, he wasn't prepared for the more horrific elements of the series, given the emphasis on the drama while actually on set.

"A lot of the horror stuff is built in at edit,” Jackson-Cohen shared with The Wrap. “So it was kind of surprising watching the show for the first time, because you knew there was this element of horror that was going to be in the show but you didn’t necessarily feel it while you were shooting it because all of the family stuff that was going on was so intense.”

The first season of the series adapted Shirley Jackson's novel The Haunting, exploring a group of siblings who, as children, grew up in what would go on to become the most famous haunted house in the country. Now adults, and forced back together in the face of tragedy, the family must finally confront the ghosts of their past — some of which still lurk in their minds while others may actually be stalking the shadows of Hill House.

The new season of the series takes place at Bly mansion, the setting for the Henry James psychological gothic horror novella The Turn of the Screw, which takes place almost entirely at the old country mansion. It is there where two young orphans are looked after by a young governess and by whom most of the story is narrated by.

“I think Mike has done something really quite special with that,” Jackson-Cohen detailed. “I also think what’s so clever about it is he’s talking about these kind of really important themes of post-traumatic stress disorder, all of these things, and childhood abuse, and he’s making it palatable to an audience by kind of having the veil of horror around it. So if you kind of deconstructed that and you took away the horror element, I think it’s quite a hard-hitting drama in a way.”

With the new season following a new set of characters, fans have wondered if the original cast will return to the series as new characters.

“I will get shot if I ever answer that question [laughs],” Jackson-Cohen joked when asked if he would appear in the second season. "I would love to answer that question.”


Stay tuned for details on The Haunting of Bly Manor.

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