We've been following the progress of the "Locke & Key" television series ever since it was first announced last summer, and things continue to look good for the live-action adaptation of Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez's hit comic book series. Alex Zalben at MTV Geek recently spoke to the pair about their work on the comic, but he also slipped in a few questions about the television series for Splash Page readers.
Not only do they confirm the recent report of "Nikita" actress Ksenia Solo landing the role of the series' mysterious girl in the well, the two also reveal some details from their recent set visit and an interesting plot point regarding the presentation of certain gender-bending magic that plays into the later chapters of the story.
The interview contains quite a bit of discussion that will reveal late-developing elements of the comic book's story arc, so consider this your official SPOILER WARNING!
MTV: You guys recently visited the Pittsburgh set of "Locke & Key." What was that like?
JOE HILL: All we did was laugh for three days straight. Everyone who has ever had a story adapted to film says the same damn clichés, but they’re true. It was surreal and wonderful and exciting. These incredibly talented artists and craftsmen built a basement right out of "Welcome to Lovecraft," down to the beams and ropes and look of the staircases. You just can’t underrate how bizarre it is, to work on a comic for three years, and then one day step into a setting lifted right from one of the panels. I don’t know that we played it very cool, but we sure had fun.
GABRIEL RODRIGUEZ: [It was] one of the most exciting, fun, and certainly the most surreal experiences of my entire life. You can’t imagine how weird it all was for me, but also great to share it with Joe and my friends from IDW Publishing. And it was overwhelming; it’s an amazing crew working together as one fantastic orchestra. Can’t wait to see it when it’s finished…
MTV: The cast has certainly come together, and you have some big names in there. Do you feel like they "get" the comic?
HILL: Yeah. They get it. For me, that was my favorite part of visiting the set. The bunch of them — Miranda Otto, Nick Stahl, Jesse [McCartney], Sarah [Bolger], and Skylar [Gaertner] — have great chemistry. They have it even when the cameras aren’t rolling. They listen to each other. They attend.
RODRIGUEZ: They’re not a collection of single characters, they’re an ensemble cast. They are "The Lockes." They get it, and in a big way.
MTV: Let’s talk about Jesse McCartney. His casting did raise some fanboy alarm bells...
HILL: Yeah, initially I had my doubts, not knowing anything about him except that he had a music career. My concern only lasted until I saw him work, though. I watched him perform a couple scenes and was not just impressed, but kind of rattled by how well he brings off Tyler. Jesse has depth and gravity and a kind of sweet, bruised innocence that really captures what I was after in the character.
With the camera off, he's an un-showy, hard-working kid who wants to do the right thing — which is also kind of like Tyler. He's got a little of that Mark Wahlberg thing going — who was also a pop recording artist once. I think we're lucky to have him. And one other thing: there's this rumor going around that somehow the part has been rewritten to make music a major aspect of the show. That's your basic internet nonsense, right there. Tyler isn't going to have a dance-off with Sam Lesser. It's a horror show.
RODRIGUEZ: Well, I certainly had a different approach to this subject, as all I knew about Jesse when he was announced in the cast, was his guest appearance in an episode of "Law & Order: SVU." I saw that episode, in which he had a very intense role, so I know the guy can perform. And seeing him acting on our set visit was almost disturbing. The guy is Tyler. He can embrace the awkward mix of being strong and fragile at the same time. He’s very much into who the character is, and really focused on doing his best.
MTV: There's a report that Ksenia Solo is playing The Girl In The Well. Is that true? If so, will she play both the boy and girl versions of the character, or are the casting directors not worrying about that quite yet?
RODRIGUEZ: Ksenia Solo will play Dodge, as "The Lady in The Well," and after seeing her dressed like the character, I can tell you that she will look breathtaking in both a sexy and creepy way.
HILL: She’s awesome — very creepy, very striking. I don’t think there’s any chance they’re going to ask her to play a guy. The Gender Key isn’t the Dress-in-Drag key. They’ll want a male actor for Dodge in his male form.
RODRIGUEZ: Yes, male Dodge should be a man. The Gender Key doesn’t change the way you look, it changes the way you are. [It] changes your DNA, turning XX to XY and vice versa. We’re not talking cheap tricks here, this is serious magic.
MTV: Joe, your father (horror novelist Stephen King) notoriously cameos in most of the film and television adaptations of his work. Are you going to continue the family tradition?
HILL: Here’s the strangest thing about the TV show: I had a brief stint as a child actor. When I was eight-years-old I was in "Creepshow," a movie about a horror comic which filmed in Pittsburgh. Fast-forward 30 years, and I’m back in Pittsburgh to watch some guys film a thing based on my own horror comic. It’s a little surreal. If the show goes to series, maybe they’ll stick Gabe and me somewhere in an episode. Who knows?
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