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Actor Victoria Pedretti on The Haunting of Bly Manor

As has become unofficial tradition, the world transitions into spooky season when the clock strikes midnight on October 1. And while Halloween might look different from what we’re used to this time around, the ability to be delightfully frightened by the horror genre is thankfully not something that can be dampened by a pandemic. In fact, bingeing The Haunting of Bly Manor (out today on Netflix) under piles of blankets might just help us make it through fall.

Bly Manor is the latest installment in The Haunting, Mike Flanagan’s horror anthology series that inhabits different haunted houses through adaptations of classic texts. Last season, The Haunting of Hill House saw a family terrorized by ghosts both as children and later, as adults, while The Haunting of Bly Manor follows a governess through her care for two eerily prescient orphans in an adaptation of The Innocents and The Turn of The Screw. Said governess, Dani, is played by Victoria Pedretti, a rising talent whom addicts of the show will instantly remember as Nell Crain from Hill House. Alongside a slew of familiar faces, Pedretti shapeshifts into this new drama effortlessly.

Ahead of Bly Manor’s premiere, Pedretti chatted with us from her home in Los Angeles. Read our conversation for insights into the new season and more.

Does the promotion of a new project feel especially weird this year?

“I don’t feel like in this industry there’s much that becomes usual, but yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic nobody has ever experienced, a crazy election, and a crazy world.

“I think things are coming to light that have been going on for hundreds of years, and people are sitting down and focusing on what they want their country to reflect and look like and what it means to uphold the law. I appreciate being able to have these conversations and that people seem to be suddenly interested.”

The Haunting Of Bly Manor: photo courtesy of Netflix © 2020

In The Haunting of Hill House, your character Nell succumbs to her greatest fear. What do you think that means in a metaphorical sense?

“I guess she is facing her fear. But also, she’s reaching her fate. There was never much to be done. It was always going to go that way. But, I mean, it’s a ghost story. I would hate to think that if we wanted to really extend the metaphor that children are walking around premonishing their suicide. Or the ghost of their mother killing them. I would hate to dig too far into that metaphor…”

In Bly Manor, your character Dani is haunted by her own guilt. We are all, to a certain extent, haunted by demons or guilt, right?

“In terms of that particular ghost, it’s absolutely unlike Nell who keeps trying to find her way out of this. I think Dani is always kind of aware that this is a creation of her guilt.

“There are things that make Eddie’s ghost different from other ghosts in the house, and once she addresses him, she doesn’t see him anymore. She still experiences her anxiety attacks. She still has the human ails of the world and of her trauma and experiences, but she’s no longer seeing his face. He’s more of an embodiment of the guilt she feels and the responsibility she feels for his death.”

The Haunting Of Bly Manor: photo courtesy of Netflix © 2020

How was it to work with some of the actors from season one, but in completely different roles?

“I think we’re just having fun, being able to explore different characters and being supportive and encouraging of each other. It kind of sucks that me and Oliver [Jackson-Cohen] don’t have any scenes together, because he’s one of my closest friends that I made on the first season. At least we got to be in the same city and hang out—that was wonderful. Making new friends, getting to learn more about what it’s like in London, and learning about the wide variety of dialects that exist in England was really cool.”

Are you personally into horror? If not, what’s your genre of choice?  

“I love things with a component of history. I watched a lot of ’80s movies to prepare for [Bly Manor] to get a sense of how people spoke and what the culture was like in the zeitgeist at the time. Personally, I like things that kind of fuck with genre and dance between comedy and drama, because I think that’s what life is.”