Interview with actors Demián Bichir, Anika Noni Rose, Madison Taylor Baez and Grace Gummer; and EPs Andrew Hinderaker and Seith Mann on “Let The Right One In” on Showtime by Suzanne 9/20/22
This was another TCA panel – this one from Showtime. I really enjoyed the episodes I’ve seen of this show so far. It’s a very good drama that just happens to have some vampires. Demián Bichir plays a man (Mark) whose little girl (Eleanor) is a vampire, so he works tirelessly to keep her alive (no matter what he has to do) and to try to find a cure for her. There’s a lot of mystery about whether the vampires have a virus or what. Madison Taylor Baez plays the little girl. I’ve interviewed her a few times. The first time was for the TV show “Selena,” where she played the young Selena. More recently was for her competing in “America’s Got Talent.” She is an amazing singer. I doubt she’ll be singing in this series, though. Too bad because I know Anika Noni Rose is also a great singer. Hey, if they can do it on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”…. I have to also note that I loved Demián Bichir in this fun primetime soap a few years ago called “Grand Hotel.” I was very upset when they canceled it. Anyway, Grace Gummer plays a scientist (Claire) who finds out that her brother is an ailing vampire. Their father has been trying to find a cure, too. Anika Noni Rose plays a cop (Naomi) that lives next door to Mark and Eleanor with her son, Isaiah. It’s a really interesting drama with a lot of family drama as well as the supernatural stuff. It’s unique in that way. The vampires are not “cool” or “sexy” like in many shows. They’re more like addicts and victims. Anyway, it’s really good, so make sure you watch it. It airs tonight, Friday, Oct. 7 on streaming and OnDemand, and then it airs on Sunday on Showtime.
SHOWTIME FALL TCA PRESS CONFERENCE
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
Demián Bichir – “Mark Kane” / Producer (he/him)
Anika Noni Rose – “Naomi Cole” (she/her)
Madison Taylor Baez – “Eleanor Kane” (she/her)
Grace Gummer – “Claire Logan” (she/her)
Andrew Hinderaker – Showrunner / Executive Producer (he/him)
Seith Mann – Director / Executive Producer (he/him)
Virtual via Zoom
September 20, 2022
© 2022 Showtime. All Rights Reserved.
Here is the introduction in our panel to the show: Next up we have the new Showtime genre-bending thriller “Let the Right One In,” starring Oscar nominee Demián Bichir. Bichir and Madison Taylor Baez play father and daughter, Mark and Eleanor, whose lives have never been the same since Eleanor was turned into a vampire a decade ago. Keeping the secret and staying alive present not only terrifying but emotionally-charged challenges, especially when Mark and Eleanor become enmeshed in the lives of others. “Let the Right One In” will premiere on streaming and on-demand Friday, October 7th, before its on air debut on Showtime Sunday, October 9th.
I tried very hard not to give spoilers in my question, so the producer gave me a pat on the back for that. First I mentioned that Maddie was on AGT recently and how well she sang. Then I asked my question: “Why does Demián’s character..I don’t want to give any spoilers; but, at the end, he does something kind of monstrous even though he’s human, and he is doing it for human reasons. Why does he choose to do that rather than, say, choose a few different other people and get the blood gradually without doing what he did?” I know, that was a very tortured question…
Producer Andrew Hinderaker offered to let Demián answer, but Demián let him instead. He said, “I want to commend your ability to ask a very specific question without spoiling. That was incredible.” Aw, that was such a nice thing to say. He alluded to “certain rules” in the show (as all vampire stories have), that they’re trying to stick to. Also, he said that Mark (Demián’s character) is trying to keep his child from starving, so he’s under pressure to do that, and quickly. He referenced the other producer, Seith, who had spoke earlier about the “core and the center and the lengths that we go to to take care of our children, and so there are specific rules that will only make that clear as we go forward. That’s what I’ll say to try to answer as eloquently as you do without spoiling anything as well.” I blushed and thanked him for his compliment. No one has ever called me eloquent before!
The other press asked their questions. Demián was asked what attracted him to the project and to tell us how he became producer as well. Demián spoke at length about how much he loved the original film, and how great the showrunner Andrew and EP Seith are. He said that when they audition actors, the actors audition them as well, “to make sure that they are wonderful people, knowledgeable and, you know, cultured if we are lucky.” He was very impressed with how Andrew was able to turn the movie’s story into a series. He had worked for Showtime before and remembered how brave they are when they let them create and say whatever they want. He said that he gets emotional talking about the great cast, especially “these three beautiful ladies.” He made a soccer analogy (what they call fútbol in his country) when he said, “I’m only as good on the field as when I have a beautiful team around me. And I have to say it’s been a tour de force every time we have scenes together, and it’s been wonderful.” He’s very grateful for all that he’s been given by Showtime, the cast, Tomorrow Studios, Andrew and Seith. He didn’t really answer the second question, but he gave a great answer, anyway.
The producers were asked to tell us how they took the movie and made it into a TV show, such as what they added and what they took away. Andrew answered first. He was touched by Demián’s words and agreed that they’re all having the same wonderful experience. He loves seeing his cast on Zoom. He says they’re “really just an extraordinary team of people and team of artists.” He believes the movie was the best horror movie ever made as well as very moving. He likes to begin with an emotional connection. The relationship between the two children in the film (one of whom is a vampire – not really a child) is “just astonishingly beautiful and poignant and poetic, and so there’s an opportunity to use that as an aesthetic inspiration.” That’s how they came up with the relationship between Eleanor and Isaiah. He wanted to use the parent-child relationship to explore the idea of a child struggling with addiction. He felt that it was “this incredible gift” to take these seeds in the film and create a new story for the show, to “explore the lengths that this father would go to to keep his daughter alive.” He reiterated that the characters in the TV series are brand new and not the same as the ones in the movie. It’s set in NYC in the current day (the movie was set in Stockholm, in 1980). They also created Naomi and Isaiah as well as the other family with a vampire, where Claire is the sister. Although it’s a new story, he feels that it’s “a love letter to the film.”
Seith chimed in to say that he also loved the movie, and the book. He was blown away by the pilot and the relationship between Mark and Eleanor. He admired the way he took this “beloved movie and found room to create a whole new dynamic.” He praised the way Andrew wrote the characters, which made him excited to work on it.
Another reporter, who hadn’t seen the movie, wanted to know if there would be some sort of explanation to explain what happened in the movie for the TV viewers who didn’t see it, especially regarding how the vampire infection came about.
Andrew joked that they need that reporter in the writer’s room and then asked Maddie to answer the question. Maddie said in a cagey way, “there’s definitely a way that all of this started, and it may or may not be answered. It most likely is, but, yes, you will get background information sometime this season.” Grace added that you don’t have to watch the movie to know what’s going on with the show or to enjoy it (and that’s true, for sure).
The group was asked why they think vampires are so popular in TV, since there are so many new vampire shows coming out. Andrew answered that, compared to all of the other monsters, vampires are the “most human.” They look and talk like us and their method of attack is “intimate.” He thinks we find them “exciting and thrilling.” They love writing for them on this show because they are so “deeply human,” which also makes it “more terrifying.”
Seith was asked how much he uses of the two previous movies, how he distinguishes the new series from those, what choices he makes and how much he shoots at night.
Seith admitted that he’s never seen the American remake of the Swedish film and didn’t want it to influence him. He feels that there’s “more love” in Andrew’s script than there was in the original movie (and more relationships). He wanted to make the city feel very “cold” and “harsh,” like the film, but with more light and love in the center of it. They used that metaphor when they shot the show. He spoke about how the show is different from the film by necessity. They loved the original but then had to “do your own thing.” He and Andrew had to rely on their own instincts as filmmakers to do that.
Maddie was asked what kind of physical and emotional adjustments he had to make “to become this predatory, dark character.” The reporter was impressed with her animalistic movements and asked if she had to train specially for that.
She replied that when she first got the script, she knew that she would have to go to “certain lengths,” which she had to accept. It worked out for her. She fell in love with the role right away. She spoke of late nights with blood all over her face but said that it was all worth it. She didn’t go through any particular training for her “unnatural movement” but just did it the best way she could. She’s excited to see the finished project.
The next journalist was a latina, who said that she was excited to see latinas in a fantasy world. She asked Demián and Maddie about working together and what we should expect from them in the series this season. Maddie said that she always enjoys working with Demián because she learns so much, and they formed a bond from working together and hanging out, which they took into their scenes. She said that he’s “just an amazing person, an amazing actor.” Demián said that he feels the same way about her. He was a child actor, too, so working with children always reminds him of those days. Watching Maddie and Ian makes him admire how much fun they have playing, and he praises the producers for creating such a great space where, even though it’s a dark show, the children can play and have fun. He said that Maddie is a “because she’s a true professional,” so she makes everything easy. She’s also never taken a break from the shooting, other than going to school. She’s always prepared, even though the role is very physically and emotionally demanding. He relates that it took a toil on him, he “was drained,” but the kids were not.
Another reporter asked how Maddie’s singing (which she loves) “informs” her acting and vice versa. Maddie gave a very intelligent answer about how singing and acting both get different aspects from each other. They both use different movements and emotions. She likes to take the styles from singing into her acting.
Grace was asked a tough question about where she finds her character’s “moral center,” since her brother is a vampire and her father is kind of a jerk. She feels that’s the main theme of the series: Where does the moral center lie? Her character was not in the movie. The writers gave her an impression of what Claire was like, and they answered her questions about her very well. She reveals that Grace is “very complicated” and “does very questionable things to save her brother and to find a cure.” She sees her as an “adversary to Demián’s character.” The show toes the line between good and evil. She believes everyone lives in the grey zone as three dimensional, complicated people.”
Grace was also asked if her family enjoys vampire stories, and has she shown them this series. Grace admitted that she had never been into them before, and she hadn’t seen the movie at first. She loved it, once she saw it. She learned a lot about vampires from this show and the movie.
Andrew was asked what their “vampire rules” are because every vampire movie or show seems to have their own rules. Andrew didn’t want to spoil too much but did tell us that vampires have to be invited in (alluding to the title of the show). Also, a line in the novel says that being a vampire is like an infection, and they repeat that in the movie, so he discussed that idea with a virologist. The doctor was happy to talk about vampires. The vampires can’t go in the sun and only eat blood. I thought this part was interesting. The virologist “talked about the part of the brain that very specifically manages pigmentation in the skin that acts as a shield for UV radiation from the sun being the same part of the brain that deals with the flight or fight mechanism and the mechanisms that would exist that would shut off the body to accept anything but oxygenated blood.” That became the idea for Claire, a scientist, who is trying a cure or treatment for her brother, and for Mark, who’s trying to find the same for his daughter. Obviously science can’t explain all of it, such as being invited into someone’s home. They tried to be as realistic as possible with the vampire mythology being explained by science to a certain extent.
Grace added that the vampires on the show are more like real people who happen to be victims. They’re not just “scary monsters or violent predators,” which is what makes them different from other vampire movies or shows. He added that because of these mechanisms in the brain, the vampire attacks “can be quite vicious and quite violent,” which is why Naomi is investigating “these homicides that are so gruesome and so violent in their nature,” which seem to be done some kind of monster.
Anika was asked how her character being a detective brought to her character and how it informed her “as a human being.” Anika thinks that her being a cop means that she’s more watchful than most neighbors and notices more. Mark and Ellie are hoping that they’ll be more comfortable there, but they can’t really be, since they live next door to Naomi. She always suspects the worst of people (even though she wants to see the best in people). Andrew praised the way she answered that question. He just spoke to the writing and how the characters and their stories weaved together well.
Seith praised the way Andrew wrote Isiah to be such a three-dimensional character because he wasn’t in the film. He likes the story between Isaiah and his mom, and how she tries to be a good parent to this bullied boy, but sometimes she fails (like most parents do).
Anika was asked how it works for her character to be the single mom as well as the hunter and how that affected her approach to the role. Anika praised the writing because Naomi is written as a real person and not your typical TV mom. She loves that this character is a hunter as well as loves her child. She often has the conflict between being a good mom and being a hunter or protector. She loves how Naomi is multifaceted and who changes constantly because of all that she’s juggling. She expressed that as an actor, she doesn’t like the “mom role” usually because it’s boring. Naomi, though, “is dealing with her own issues, who is tortured with her own things, but also has the capacity for great, strong, intense love, which makes for really good decisions and really bad decisions all in the same space.”
Anika was also asked whether she ever wanted to make any changes to the role or script. She explained how actors often know the character very well and want to ask questions or suggest changes, but in this case, they were very open to her questions and suggestions. They didn’t view it as a challenge, like some writers or producers would. She’s “grateful to be in this space.”
Demián has his own restaurant in Mexico, so he was asked how much of that real life experience he brought to this role (because Mark works as a chef). He told us about how he came to New York when he was 22, “trying to learn English,” and he “worked at a Mexican restaurant” while he was starting as an actor. He and his friend opened a restaurant in Mexico that’s been there “for 22 years,” and he still loves to go there and cook. He compares cooking to the theater, “from picking up the right products and picking up the right elements and making sure that everything’s right there on the table before you begin cooking. This is so similar to art in general.” He agreed that this helped him with the role. He’s very happy that Mark is a cook.
MORE INFO: Trailer
SHOWTIME ANNOUNCES PREMIERE DATE AND RELEASES OFFICIAL FIRST-LOOK TEASER FOR NEW THRILLER LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
The 10-Part Drama Will Debut on Non-Linear Platforms on Friday, October 7
And Premiere On-Air on Sunday, Oct 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT
Photo: Francisco Roman/SHOWTIME
LOS ANGELES – July 26, 2022 – SHOWTIME will debut its new thriller drama LET THE RIGHT ONE IN on streaming and on demand for all SHOWTIME subscribers on Friday, October 7, before making its on-air debut on Sunday, October 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Led by Oscar® nominee Demián Bichir (A Better Life), the 10-episode series from Tomorrow Studios (Snowpiercer) also stars Tony winner Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls, Power), Grace Gummer (Mr. Robot), Madison Taylor Baez (Selena: The Series), Kevin Carroll (Snowfall), Ian Foreman (Merry Wish-Mas), Jacob Buster (Colony) and Nick Stahl (Fear the Walking Dead).
To watch and share the first look of LET THE RIGHT ONE IN, visit: https://youtu.be/_abIA–OY3Y.
Inspired by the original hit Swedish novel and film, the series centers on Mark (Bichir) and his daughter Eleanor (Baez),whose lives were changed 10 years earlier when she was turned into a vampire. Locked in at age 12, perhaps forever, Eleanor lives a closed-in life, able to go out only at night, while her father does his best to provide her with the humanblood she needs to stay alive. With these emotionally charged and terrifying ingredients as a starting point, LET THE RIGHT ONE IN will upend genre expectations, turning a naturalistic lens on human frailty, strength and compassion.
LET THE RIGHT ONE IN is executive produced byaward-winning playwright, writer and producer Andrew Hinderaker (Away, PENNY DREADFUL) who also serves as showrunner. Seith Mann (HOMELAND, #FreeRayshawn, Raising Dion) is also an executive producer and directed the pilot, as well as multiple episodes. Marty Adelstein and Becky Clements are executive producers for Tomorrow Studios (an ITV Studios partnership).Alissa Bachner is co-executive producing, and Bichir serves as a producer on the series.
Demián Bichir Nájera (born August 1, 1963) is a Mexican actor. After starring in telenovelas, he began to appear in Hollywood films. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in A Better Life.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda