NYCC 2018: Interviews with the Producers & Cast of ‘Lore’

lore season 2

Ahead of the season two premiere this month, we had the chance to sit down with the producers and some of the cast behind Amazon Prime Video’s Lore at New York Comic Con. With the show switching up the format this time around and the Lore podcast still going strong, there was certainly a lot to discuss. The highly-anticipated horror anthology series looks to be setting itself up for another thrilling season full of grisly legends.

Lore EP Howard T. Owens joined Lore podcast creator/EP Aaron Mahnke to talk a little bit about the process that went into transforming the stories from podcast to a scripted anthology series. Mahnke said that seeing his creation come to life has been “surreal.” Of the challenges involved, Owens brought up the fact that this is the first instance of a podcast being adapted in this way. “The first season we were just winging it,” he said. “Nobody had ever done it before. We were being creative […] there was no playbook how to do it. Season two—we learned so much from season one and we’re able to elevate it in so many ways.”

Mahnke is coming up on the 100th episode of his Lore podcast, which still remains wildly popular. “There’s a lot of stories out there that I want to see adapted,” he said. They both agreed that season two has opened up a ton of new possibilities about where to take the show and the limitations or risks that they’re able to play around with. And Lore‘s reboot in format enables this future potential.

Additionally, the visual elements of the show and the new storytelling format brings a different level to Mahnke’s podcast stories. “The contextual elements are still there, they’re just baked in more organically,” Mahnke explained. “It’s embedded in the story you’re already seeing. And that makes it a lot more organic and relatable.”

Actors Josh Bowman and Alicia Witt star together in an episode of Lore‘s six-episode second season. Their tale, “Jack Parsons: The Devil and The Divine,” weaves a story where the occult and science collide. Bowman and Witt teased a little about their intriguing characters, Jack Parsons and The Scarlet Woman.

Parsons was a rocket scientist who helped found the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. “He was also part alchemist, part magician,” Bowman explained, detailing Parsons’ rather dubious cult entanglements as “sex, drugs, and rocket fuel.”

“He had this experience when he was thirteen of summoning the Devil. He got into summoning things… He was trying to conjure up a Scarlet Woman and she came into his life […] He thought he was going to impregnate her and she would give birth to the Antichrist.”

Demons and devils aren’t altogether unfamiliar to former The Exorcist actress Alicia Witt, but her character is more grounded in reality. “She’s an artist, a poet,” Witt said of her character Marjorie, Jack’s Scarlet Woman. “She walks into his life and Jack believes he’s conjured her. […] She’s not going to go for that, the idea that she didn’t exist before him and she’s just this object. So that is an element of conflict that they have, but more importantly, they are, I think, twin flames and they’re just so intrinsically linked.”

Witt shared that her favorite part of Lore isn’t that it’s historical fact or a historical documentary; rather, it takes historical tales steeped in legend and myth and tells the story of what might have happened instead.

Actors Thomas Kretschmann and Elie Haddad star in different episodes of Lore‘s second season. Kretschmann plays an inspector brought in to solve a mass murder in “Hinterkaifeck: Ghosts in the Attic.” The case happened over a hundred years ago and to this day still remains unsolved, which is perfect material for Lore‘s mythological premise. Haddad’s episode, “Prague Clock: The Curse of the Orloj,” travels even further back in time to the fifteenth century where the Black Plague has ravaged the city.

“People say the clock is cursed,” Haddad teased. “It hasn’t been working for sixty years. Numerous people have tried to fix it, but they all have failed, and there’s these two brothers. They’re Turks; they hear about this opportunity to come to Prague and fix the clock.” Haddad remained tight-lipped about the spoilery details that follow, but we’re sure that the plot will prove to be exciting and probably take a detour into the supernatural. The clock itself has deadly origins and everyone has a different version of the story, so Lore has much to pull from.

When asked about their favorite part of working on Lore, Kretschmann stated that it was the script, first and foremost, that drew him into the series. “For an actor, the best is if you find scripts where you see everything right in front of you. And the best case scenario: ‘I would love to see that.’ That’s the case here.”

Lore EP Gale Ann Hurd (The Walking Dead) and EP/showrunner Sean Crouch (The Exorcist) discussed the challenges heading into season two, switching up the format of the anthology series, and managing expectations for fans of the podcast. When paring down the ideas for episodes and bringing something new to tales that may already be familiar, Crouch cited the passion the writer’s room brought to the projects.

One major element that the audience will realize going into season two is that the format will look different. Instead of covering multiple stories every episode, each tale gets its own separate episode to detail a more intricate narrative. “We do pay attention to what it is the fans respond to,” Hurd said of the decision. “It was clear the feedback was that podcast does an excellent job of fleshing out these other stories, but that in this form, the visual medium, they responded to the stories and the characters. And they didn’t want to depart from that central story.”

“Coming over from Exorcist, I loved telling—it’s a very simple family story—last season,” Crouch added. “And so being able to come tell a very simple story but on an epic scale, with more money, more production value, was what really excited me about season two.”

When asked if they were afraid of the show alienating fans of the podcast, Hurd was adamant that the most important thing for them was that it was something that Aaron Mahnke wanted to explore. With the blessing of the Lore podcast creator, they were sure that fans would take to the new storytelling medium.

“I hope that the fans will watch and go, ‘Oh, this like a Twilight Zone episode, and for information, I’m now going to go listen to the podcast,'” Crouch said. Hurd agreed that the podcast and the series inform each other and that fans will likely discover both, whether they find the show or podcast first.

Of the challenges involved in bringing an anthology series to life, Hurd admitted it’s a tough job from a production point of view. Since Lore tells stories across many different time periods throughout the season, sets and costumes and locations have been unique obstacles.

Hurd said it’s one of the hardest things she’s ever done, but it’s also been the most rewarding. “If you solve those challenges, you get to tell these remarkable stories.”

Lore‘s season two will stream on October 19th exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.

(Video editing by Matt Wheeler)