'Penny Dreadful' men bring brooding horror to Comic-Con: Live-Blog
It's been a long day in Ballroom 20.
And I watched thousands of young women squeal over Dylan O'Brien.
Now it's time to cap off Comic-Con Thursday with Showtime's "Penny Dreadful." While Eva Green is absent -- Too busy to kick off her 2015 Emmy campaign here? -- we have many of the "Penny Dreadful" men, including creator John Logan, Reeve "Dorian Gray" Carney, Harry "Frankenstein" Treadaway and Josh "Werewolf Guy" Harnett.
Aisha Tyler is moderating. Click through and follow along...
5:58 p.m. "Penny Dreadful" has to follow after the terrific "Hannibal" panel, which was also missing a number of featured stars... Sepinwall live-blogged that one. Oh and we don't really have the "Penny Dreadful" men, because Timothy Dalton isn't here.
6:04 p.m. Great Season 1 sizzle reel. Few people on TV can equal Eva Green when it comes to sheer QUANTITY (and perhaps also quality) of acting. She was acting her head off this past season. Crazy stuff.
6:06 p.m. Aisha Tyler is clearly a fan. "I was tweeting about it like a fruitcake and the Showtime people saw," Tyler says, outing herself as a Dreadful.
6:08 p.m. John Logan comes out first, followed by Reeve Carney, Harry Treadaway and Josh Harnett. "So many feels. So many feels," Tyler says.
6:09 p.m. Eva and Tim are working and Logan sends his apologies. "I spent 10 years of my life thinking about this show," says Logan, who has attended Comic-Con as a fan. "I have such respect for you and what you believe in," he says. Logan says that horror is about exaltation. He had to balance the "Dracula" characters with his original characters including Hartnett's Ethan. "What I think this show is about is the monster inside all of us," he explains. Logan had his first meeting with Josh and immediately told him that he was a werewolf. "I was able to read the first two episodes before I met John and it just felt like an inevitable 'Yes,'" Hartnett says. He was happy with the werewolf twist because it made him feel like a part of this world. Hartnett has only been here for "30 Days of Night" and he's nervous.
6:13 p.m. What was the moment that brought the story together for Logan? He was reading a lot of romantic poetry in a period of depression, which led him to "Frankenstein." He was moved by that story and he wept. "Really, in a way, it has to do with how I grew up as a gay man," Logan says. He knew what it was like to be different and alienated from his family and community. He initially thought about just doing "Frankenstein," but then he wanted a female protagonist and created Eva Green's Vanessa. He was inspired by the Second Generation Universal Horror Films. He wanted to form a new cosmology. "So it was 'Abbott and Costello' that really got you into this?" Hartnett inquires.
6:15 p.m. Aisha Tyler assumes there are no kids in the crowd, swearing a blue streak. Amusingly.
6:16 p.m. Hartnett thinks it was important that Logan helped us get to know Ethan inside before showing us his monstrous side. So we saw Ethan's empathy for Vanessa and Brona. He suggests that Ethan may have been hurt in youth. "To be decided," Logan says of Ethan's backstory and the origin of his lycanthropy. "May we just say 'All Hail Eva Green,' perhaps the most fearless actor I've ever worked with," Logan says of Episode 5, the Vanessa backstory episode, teasing that he wants to do more of that for all of these characters. Hartnett talks about the organic nature of TV, because you don't know where characters are ultimately going.
6:19 p.m. On to Treadaway and Dr. Frankenstein. "He's in touch with his emotional side as well," Treadaway says, relishing the character's poetic side in addition to his medical side.
6:20 p.m. Did Carney and Hartnett know that the Dorian/Ethan love scene was coming? "I said to John, 'You'd better cast a hot guy as Ethan' and he did," Carney jokes of his reaction to hearing about that relationship. Logan wanted to deal with all forms of sexuality on the show "as I believe we deal with all iterations of what it is to be human." "I believe that human being behave in the moment in ways that are true to them," is Logan's answer for whether Ethan and Dorian are gay, bi, ambisexual or what. Fair enough.
6:24 p.m. David Nevins told Logan that all TV is about family, so Logan viewed it as the Bridge Crew on the Enterprise. The first season was about getting the characters together. The second season is about building on those relationships and mixing and matching.
6:24 p.m. Why did Logan kill Van Helsing so fast? "I did that as a provocation, fan-to-fan, to say in a way 'Yes, I cherish the sacred texts, but we are not recreating...'" Logan explains. He calls this subversion a joyous act and an act of liberation for him and the viewers.
6:25 p.m. What did Carney and Treadaway know about Dorian and Victor? Carney did his reading, but John told him not to bring aspects of the book into the character. "I think we've taken it in a different direction," Carney says. Logan says that Dorian Gray evolved for him after Carney came in for auditions. He told the costume designer that David Bowie and Mick Jagger were inspirations. Treadaway hadn't read "Frankenstein" before being cast and then only read the first part of it. He went to Oxford and learned about doctors from that period. "I became really into the science of the era," Treadaway says. "They were undergoing such groundbreaking discoveries at that time," he says, recounting some stories about medical innovations of that period. Logan raves about Treadaway as a "master prop actor," referencing Peter Cushing as a classic "prop actor." Logan says, however, that when you give props to Eva Green, she drops them.
6:29 p.m. Tyler wants more details on Vanessa's possession. Logan says that the uber-question of "Penny Dreadful" is "Why is Vanessa Ives?" Did she invite the possession in or is she a victim? In the first season, he raised those questions. In the second season? Answers are coming. Or they're going to begin to answer.
6:30 p.m. Do we have new monsters coming? And what other characters did Logan research and explore? We're going to meet another "Dracula" character in the second season. He hopes we'll someday get to The Island of Lost Souls, because he's a "Dr. Moreau" fan. He wants the "theology" of the show to get much bigger. The second season will involve a much more threatening world. He was frustrated in the first season that they didn't have a villain who could speak. "I'm a writer who writes for speech," he says. That's why the Helen McCrory character was introduced in the first season, because she's our Big Bad in Season 2. Logan did a scene for the finale suggesting McCory's threat and we're gonna get to see that scene, which was cut.
6:34 p.m. The scene features McCroy and Simon Russell Beale and definitely raises the threat matrix for McCrory. The scene hints about the things women do to themselves for beauty and youth. She recites a poem that ends with, "What games we'll have, Ms. Ives and I. Where one will live and one will die." She tells Beale's character, "Soon we shall unleash glorious Horace," It sounds like Beale will be a regular next season, or at least a more regular part of the family. HA! Logan says that Beale's accent is based on Tom Stoppard's Continental accent.
6:39 p.m. "Inventing the Victorians" by Matthew Sweet was a key text for Logan and the actors. Logan recommends we read it. Maybe I will.
6:40 p.m. In the second season, The Creature is forced to choose a name and he picks the name of a dead poet. Logan denies that he was referencing "Phantom of the Opera" with the way that character evolved. Logan says that The Creature is a lot like him, it's him in his saddest, loneliest place. In "Frankenstein," The Creature is soulful and eloquent, which Logan wanted to bring back to the character.
6:43 p.m. Tyler wants to talk about power. Carney talks about Dorian's shame and sadness. "The portrait bears the burden of his sins," Carney says, while Logan promises that at some point we'll see the portrait. There was a draft of the script in which Dorian saw the portrait earlier, but they decided it was premature to show it and now they'll build up to it. "It was Magic Eye," Hartnett jokes. "I think Ethan's middle name is 'Shame,'" Hartnett adds. There's some question as to how much Ethan knows about his Episodes. He knows monstrous things have happened when he blacks out, but in the second season, he finds out exactly what he is. Hartnett is looking forward to playing from that position of knowledge.
6:48 p,m. What is Ethan running from back in America? Logan says we'll learn more about this in Ethan's backstory episode. He isn't sure, though, if that'll be Season 2 or Season 3. Ethan's father was a titan of industry "and he was a monstrous man." What's happening with Ethan is both a curse and a blessing and we'll explore that in Season 2.
6:50 p.m. We're gonna learn a bit more about Sir Malcolm and Sembene, but it doesn't sound like the big answers will come in Season 2, necessarily.
6:50 p.m. Finally time for audience questions. The first one is if they have any favorite bits of dialogue. Carney says that the words make the job easier. He compares it to raising children. "The goal is to not screw it up." Hartnett calls it, "Fear-based acting."
6:52 p.m. A questioner is worried about Dangerous Female Sexuality. Logan says he'd be uncomfortable with the idea that the lesson of Vanessa is one of negativity toward female sexuality. He promises more sexual permutations next season.
6:54 p.m. What will happen when Ethan learns that Brona is The Creature's Bride? Logan says he's exploring different ways to reveal or not reveal that. He says that in Season 2, he's planning on exploring Ethan and Vanessa a lot more.
6:55 p.m. A Mexican zombie wants to know if the show will have a God presence? Frankenstein doesn't believe in God. Dorian is Agnostic. Ethan believes in God. "We get deeply into theology next season," Logan says, as each character will deal with eternity or lack thereof.
6:58 p.m. Logan emphasizes that sexuality isn't a bad thing in his world. And unlocking demons isn't necessarily a bad thing. They're things that lead characters to true versions of themselves.
7:00 p.m. What's it like working with all of those James Bond people? Does that impact the show in any way? "It's dangerous. Lots of small guns everywhere," Hartnett says. Nobody else answers.
7:01 p.m. Carney says that Dorian's curse was "an idle wish, that whole concept of 'be careful what you wish for.'" Logan says that the second season says that the blessing/curse fulcrum is something he's exploring in the second season.
7:03 p.m. A questioner is very nervous to be around Josh Hartnett. Will Ethan have more power and control in the second season? "I think the knowledge of it gives him a certain emotional power over it," Logan says, but adds that he's a slave to the moon. Aisha Tyler turns that into menstruation humor, only to get a reminder about the potential for young fans in the crowd. "Your show's full of titties, so don't get mad at me," she cracks.
7:07 p.m. Wow. It took to the last question to talk about the look of the show. Will we actually get a mention of J.A. Bayona finally? Sweet! "None of us would be sitting here today without Juan Antonio Bayona," Logan says. They worked to find "textures of dark."
That's all, folks.