(PCM) The excitement is brewing for the upcoming season of Amazon’s hit series “Man In The High Castle” which will begin streaming its’ second season on December 16th. Season one left us with quite a few cliffhangers and issues that are not yet resolved.
Catching up with the cast and crew at New York Comic Con we learned that each of the characters going into season two are going to be placed at a cross-roads of sorts, as they will all be facing consequences for their actions that took place during season one. It was incredibly hard for them to give us too much information about the upcoming season, as they have advanced so far along in a short period of time. The producers tell us that to speak about certain character relationships going into season two would reveal other events that are set to take place. Producer David Zucker says, “It’s exciting to talk about, but even more exciting for everyone to see!”
The lovely Alexa Davalos spoke to us about the incredible family dynamic that the cast and crew has with one another. She says, “We have a special dynamic, all of us! It’s very special. I can call these people at 3am because it’s literally family.” DJ Qualls adds, “Since filming takes place in Vancouver and none of us actually are from there, it can be really hard to start over in a new place. I’m so lucky to have these fools I love so dearly on my show.
Davalos says, “I truly feel I was meant to do this show and meet this wonderful people because it has truly changed my life!”
When speaking about some of the darker themes of the series and how they tackle them being so close as a cast. Davalos reveals, “It’s not even really a thought. The relationship that exists outside of a scene is different. Qualls says, “You don’t even have to think about it because it’s what you do.” Davalos adds, “The characters have relationships the same way that we have relationships, so when you step foot on that set you are immediately in that situation.” Qualls concludes, “It’s just a level of trust with one another.”
We asked Qualls how he felt about the fan reaction to “Man In The High Castle” and the love it has been receiving across the board via conventions, awards, social media and more. He said “When we were shooting the pilot in Seattle. It was interesting because I went for a fitting my first day on the set and we were shooting a scene where a building had a huge swastika banner on it and a bunch of people were in Nazi uniforms with the arm band on and even though there were a bunch of extras in period costumes and driving period cars I still noticed a visceral reaction.
It was very hardcore and I thought to myself ‘Is that going to be the reaction to the show?’ but then when you start doing it long term you tend to forget just how jarring it is because you become accustomed to it and then you realize when people start writing about it. People know what we are trying to achieve and it’s not a pro-Nazi or pro-Fascism thing, but it enables people to understand how that happens.
There are certain aspects about that, that are attractive otherwise they would never become things. The veneer or facade of what the Right represents is like if you just do these things then everything will be easy. You will be taken care of and you will be happy. All the propaganda showed happy Nazi children dancing in a field with Aryan parents who were looking over proudly, everyone was well fed. The message of the show is, watch out, this could happen here and also, how did that happen?”
Davalos adds, “The show has a certainly duality. It looks like Pleasantville from the outside, but when you actually get in to it, it’s quite an ugly thing. People are responding wonderfully to the characters and what they are going through.” Qualls adds, “This show is very cerebral and I find now that I am getting approached and asked just as many questions about this show as I am other projects that are a bit more commercial such as “Suppernatural and “Z-Nation” and it’s really gratifying. It’s great that people get it … or they don’t get it and they want to know more!”
Rufus Sewell comments, “There’s nothing else like this series. I think there’s a strange mixture of period and then there’s period that didn’t happen. It’s not science fiction , but it’s something else and I think they’ve been quite judicious about how quickly they spread out to other worlds because they don’t want to dilute the currency of the world we’ve set up. It’s kind of like a period drama, but the period has shifted into one that we didn’t know.
I think, also, the fact that they’re examining very deeply what human beings are like and that’s what Philip K. Dick ultimately wrote about. He wrote about people normalizing the most horrific surroundings and they normalize doing the most horrific things. That is true of our world and it’s true of this world.
It’s worse in so many ways, but what is similar is the national holidays are based on mass genocides as they are in a lot of countries. It’s basically like flowers on the funeral pyre. Where this world intersects is when it becomes uncomfortable, but fascinating. The potential is limitless as long as we keep on digging down with the characters.”
When touching on how relevant the story is to our current political climate Davalos comments, “In a terrifying way, really. The scary part is that it’s 2016 and we’re still living the same bullsh*t. fascism was really and terrifying when the book was written and the fact that we are still facing these issues in this day and age is so mind-blowing.”
Qualls adds, “The majority of our country is well-fed and the lights come on. We have strong internet connections, so we don’t really question a lot and one of the things about fascism is that your media is controlled for you. Whatever you are seeing is given to you ala carte by someone else. It’s how far it’s spun and the slant of it is all picked for you”.
Rufus Swell comments, “Where this world intersects with the world we know is where it becomes very, very interesting. It’s not for me to say where it does intersect and where it doesn’t but I can say a mask tells you more than face. My responsiblity in playing a character who is a Nazi is to humanize as much as possible. Morally I think it’s more responsible to show to the best of your ability that the Nazis were human beings. I’m not expressing sympathy for the Nazi’s but if there’s any chance we can learn anything from everything that happens is we have to stop monsterizing things.”
As she continues to delve into her character, Davalos reveals, “Making this show is such an incredible feat. It really is blood sweat and tears and every single day, even when you have a day off, you are working. It’s a test on your patience and your stamina, your willpower and your ability to believe in yourself and to trust your instincts because as actors, that’s all we really have. You can be technically trained, but we really end up cutting open our bellies and spilling our intestines all over the floor. That’s what we do and it’s been an interesting lesson.”
Talking further about overall character development, Sewell says that he sees quite a bit of development with this character, but unfortunately can’t reveal a lot of details. He says, “I feel that most of the developments were set up by the end of the last season. Smith has been a good boy, according to his Nazi bosses and he’s pretty high up in the chain anyway.
That ascendancy and new found responsibility was given to him personally by Hitler in terms of finding this ‘Man In The High Castle’ and he has hitched his wagon to something that he believes will protect his family. Now that thing he hitched his wagon to may be about to devour the thing he sought to protect. Those two journeys conflict. They also travel and intensify through the course of the new season.” Sewell continues, “I love the conflict of this character and how he isn’t just one thing.”
Qualls went on to explain that a series like “Man In The High Castle” which was in development for nine years is a true labor of love. The cast is there to support on another and have each other’s back in a variety of situations. He tells us about a time that one of his scenes got changed around and he was very upset about it.
He found Davalos while she was filming an intense scene on the end of a pier and when she saw he was upset she stopped the scene immediately and hopped on the phone with one of the producers in Paris, where it was the middle of the night, to help out and lo and behold, Qualls got his scene back. Qualls reveals that Davalos is on the top of the cast call-sheet and is the true glue of the series.
Fans are anxiously awaiting the season two premiere and when speaking about what they hope fans will take away from the new season Davalos comments, “An intense hunger for a third season. It’s an ever-changing and ever-growing show. This season is very different from last season in a lot of ways. We are just continuing to build and it’s crazy because the whole show thus far takes place in the time frame of about a month for both seasons. What they survive in such a short time period is just monumental and we are really only in the beginning.”
Qualls comments, “Even though season two hasn’t begun yet and we don’t know if we are picked up yet for a third season, the writers are already hard a work fleshing out a season three. It is an all year long operation. ”