In anticipation of its Season Three premiere this Sunday, May 1st at 10/9c, we’re excited to give viewers a sneak peek into Penny Dreadful‘s new season with an in depth interview with Josh Hartnett aka Ethan Chandler. With so much at stake after Season Two’s finale, we couldn’t help but ask Hartnett some tough questions about what viewers can expect moving forward. Check out part two of our interview below (catch up on part one here), and make sure to set your DVR for Penny Dreadful’s premiere this Sunday, May 1st, at 10/9c on SHOWTIME®.
Why is the message of self-acceptance so important to Penny Dreadful’s story?
It’s definitely central to the story. The show is really about these characters finding a way to accept themselves, and I think people are drawn to that because we’ve all had those moments when we’ve struggled with trying to fit in. Self-acceptance is central to any good show, any good movie, or any good piece of art, right? I think that denial and self-acceptance are part of our journey as humans. There’s also finding acceptance for other people who are different from us as well—that’s all there really is to it. I think that’s what makes this show universal.
All the characters are different degrees of monstrous outcasts. The Creature is a very obvious example of that, but even somebody like Vanessa, and your character Ethan—there’s a certain longing for acceptance from others, and that turns into a yearning to accept themselves.
I don’t feel like for Ethan it was ever about finding acceptance from anyone else. I feel like it’s always been about his own personal acceptance of what he is. He’s not really looking for the family that I think a lot of these characters might be looking for. I think he distrusts family. To tell you the truth, by the end of this season I think he finds that there is some place for that. There is some place for acceptance from other people. I think it’s kind of reversed for Ethan, in a way. At the beginning he’s struggling with his own issues, and by the end of this season he’s actually willing to open up and find a sort of family.
What other new aspects can viewers expect in Season Three?
Well, bringing this world of Victorian horror to the American West was a lot of fun. There’s a lot of horseback riding and lots of gun shootouts, and gun play. The palette of the show is also different—viewers will see the red sands of the American West as opposed to the sort of blue and green tones of London. It’ll be nice to see it open up in that regard. Visually, I think the vistas alone will help the show feel more expansive. But ironically, even though the vistas are so large, this year the stories are more intimate. Very, very small drama, but played out on a large scale. I think splitting the group into multiple factions has made the show simultaneously more intimate and has opened it up, expanded it, so it’s just a richer version. The Second Season felt like a richer version of the first season, and this season feels richer still, so it’s starting to foam and froth, and there’s a lot more happening.
As far as overarching themes within Season Three especially for Ethan, how do you feel like the idea of home plays into this series?
We start the series with a man without a home. Essentially, Ethan doesn’t want to remember his past and wants to stay on the move because he doesn’t trust himself getting close to anyone. He’s literally a man with no anchor, and in this season he’s forced to go back to the place where he grew up, which could be considered a home, but isn’t really his home anymore—and he needs to confront that situation. He deals with that with a little help from his friends, and then comes back to what he considers his real home in London to find it’s in total disarray. I think the themes dovetail together quite nicely. So, he’s a man who hasn’t learned to accept himself at the beginning of the first season, and is without a home, and by the end of this season, he’s worked out a way to find his place within the context of this group, and to sort of settle himself with these people. He’s found the place where he feels he ought to be, and people he cares about for the first time in quite a few years.