(PCM) It is hard to believe, but as we rack our TV loving brains we just can’t seem to come up with a show that has tackled the psychic industry, looking at it from the inside out. Sure, there have been psychics and mediums featured on various programs, but a scripted series dedicated to what goes on beyond the crystal ball was music to our ears. Psychic parlors operate out of just about every city and span throughout the entire world. It can be incredibly hard to determine which ones are legitimate and which ones could possibly be a scam.
Hulu’s newest original series “Shut Eye” follows the story of Charlie Haverford, played by actor Jeffery Donovan who is a scammer with a small chain of fortune-telling storefronts and contracts building tricks for a family that controls the business in the greater chunk of Los Angeles. A blow to the head from a client’s angry boyfriend intersects with a hypnosis session while auditioning a new “clairvoyant,” and suddenly, a man whose entire life has been based on fraud begins to see and feel some very real and fundamental truths. Charlie’s wife Linda played by actress KaDee Strickland is sick and tired of their mediocre life and wants to break away from Fonso ( Angus Sampson), the single father who runs the Marks family’s psychic empire and controls the Haverford’s future. Actress Isabella Rossellini co-stars as Rita, the cunning, seductive and sadistic matriarch of the Marks clan.
After checking out the first three episodes of the series we found ourselves immediately hooked and were incredibly fortunate to catch up with the cast and crew of “Shut Eye” during New York Comic Con. When asked to describe their characters in the series KaDee Strickland tells us, “I play Charlie’s wife Linda. You know, we are a normal couple who run our psychic parlor out of our home. We work for these hideous monsters and we raise a teenager putting him through private school with $40 per hour readings. We are a couple of people on a very grand journey because we are making big decisions about the directions of our lives as individuals and as a couple.” Jeffrey Donovan adds, “We run a psychic parlor out of our house and we are controlled by a clan of gypsies that oversee the psychic shops in L.A. and we are just an everyday husband and wife, just trying to make a buck and get their kid through private school.”
We had to know if either Donovan or Strickland had done any research into the psychic industry or visited any parlors when they agreed to take part in the series. Strickland reminiscences saying “I had driven by this one psychic parlor on this drag that I travel near my home and my first conversation with producer Les Bohem took place right after I had driven by it. Everything to me is a corny sign, so I was like ‘hey, I just ran by a psychic parlor’ and he was like ‘I know that parlor’ because that man knows every parlor in Los Angeles. I had dabbled prior to this job, but the way in which I dabbled and the way in which I perceive it now that I know a lot more was fascinating for me and it made me question everything I’d ever been told and it made me very aware that when you have such a need to believe something, you enter the room a certain way and they know it.
That also became a fun game because I would enter the room without my wedding ring and I would hear things like this man is going to come into my life and the amount of children I was going to have and all these things and it’s so funny because everybody’s going to be rich, everybody’s going to have babies and money and it’s funny because as a wrap gift for our crew, Jeffrey brought in a phenomenal magician and I brought in a R0mani tarot card reader. It was hilarious how many of us are clearly going to have babies and be rich forever and all that stuff and we were like ‘Oh, really now’, but it was really a good time. We were able to revisit that was new eyes and realize that world is one we play into if we choose, but there is definitely another side to it which I love to explore. You can run away peoples lives with it. That in essence if you get hooked, that’s exactly what it can be.”
Sometimes as an actor delves into a character and a series there are certain things that they find they are surprised to learn about themselves. Jeffery Donovan reveals “I think this ability that Charlie has is a skill set. I was surprised because I didn’t necessarily believe in psychics, but after I did this role, I believe it is a skill set. I think people can develop the tools and the knowledge to be able to read someone when they walk in a room. The color of your shirt, your demeanor, those earrings … they all say a certain thing about you and I can then funnel it down into something specific and then start probing certain questions that will lead you and me down a road where I now have you in my hooks. I have respect now for it as a skill set which really surprised me because I kind of dismissed it, but I thought it was fascinating. Now I really believe that it’s an actually profession with a real set of tools that make them a good living.”
Stickland adds “I was surprised because I find Linda to be so very different than myself in the way she navigates life. But, I was also surprised at how if I put myself in certain circumstances surrounding the child in particular I could relate to the character because I could understand a love that great. That was interesting to me because I don’t find that she’s second nature to me. I don’t spend time with people like Linda, in fact, I try to avoid it, so that for me was a really interesting aspect of what I discovered about myself and about her and that is where it kind of started for me and part of the fun was her being nothing like me. ”
With such an amazing cast we can only imagine that the atmosphere on set is amazing. Donovan comments “It’s very enjoyable cast. We have a great camaraderie between us and I think it helps that we’re all over our pubescent years because we all have a wealth of experience and we are settled in a good way. ”
Strickland comments “We have a healthy respect for each other.” Donovan concludes “It’s a true ensemble it really is”
When speaking about L.A. being the perfect backdrop for this series, Strickland says “Literally my husband sent me a picture on his way home from taking our son to school today of a woman with a little card table and her crystals and her $10 readings sign on the side of the road. It’s everywhere and it’s fair game. There is something about the need to know and what that will compel you to do as a person. The need to know if there is something on the other side, the need to know that you are going to be okay or oh, my god, I am running out of money but maybe they will let me know if something is going to change. There’s things like that, that are really centered around the need to know that’s very interesting to me. I think Los Angeles, in particular, has a quality that is based in need and desire. What better place than Los Angeles to prey on those people that have need in order to get what they need.”
“Shut Eye” will premiere on Hulu on December 7!