Lovecraft Country is the upcoming horror drama from HBO, Misha Green and producers J.J. Abrams and Jordan Peele. The show deals heavily with not just cosmic horrors ripped straight from the pages of an HP Lovecraft novel but with the very real horrors of black Americans living in 1950s Jim Crow America. During SDCC 2020 the cast sat down and discussed how they came together as a family to push through some of the hardest scenes they have ever filmed.
The panel was moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Sarah Rodman. It included Jurnee Smollett, Jonathan Majors, Michael Kenneth Williams, Aunjanue Ellis, Wunmi Mosaku, Abbey Lee, and Courtney B. Vance.
The Lovecraft Country panel kicked off with another look at the brand new trailer that dropped yesterday. It is the perfect mix of the human and science fiction horror that the show portrays. Rodman does a quick round the room introduction of each of the panelists before asking for a volunteer to describe exactly what Lovecraft Country is about. Smollett jumps up to the plate (after a small nudge from Vance) and gives the perfect run down of Atticus and his journey to find his father.
She shares that it taps into themes of who we were as a nation and who we are now. Vance points out that a lot of the themes that show portrays are still going on today. But before the conversation can lead to this, Rodman shares her favorite part of the pilot. The grown up black love showed between Vance and Ellis’ characters and how beautiful it is. It is a stark contrast to what the rest of the show will become.
It is after this scene that things start to grow dark. Vance describes that during the scene they are discussing how dark and terrifying the world is during Jim Crow’s America. His job is creating a Green Book which shared safe places for black Americans to eat or stay at while they are traveling across the country. George joins Atticus with the idea to help him as well as continuing his work.
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Smollett then discusses Leti’s relationship with Ruby (Mosaku) and how it drives Leti to join Atticus and George on their trip. Leti had just returned from her travels to document different protests with her camera when she joins the group. She is looking to find who she is and find her true tribe of people. Knowing this isn’t with her family, it puts a strain on her relationship with Ruby.
The three main characters Atticus, Uncle George, and Leti are all fans of science-fiction and the works of HP Lovecraft. But, even they aren’t entirely prepared for the monsters they are going to face on the road. Rodman asks the group if they were huge fans of the genre prior to the series and Williams shares his love for the Twilight Zone. He finds that this series is a perfect mix of the odd and fascinating.
Both Majors and Lee both get to touch on their characters in the series. Majors, who portrays Atticus, shared that he instantly felt a connection with the character. He is a solider, an adventurer, a bibliophile, and he has all of these ideas. There is so much for Majors to explore. He read the script two times back to back invested in learning everything he could about his character.
Lee’s character on the other hand we don’t get to see much in the trailer, however she describes herself as the only daughter of the leader of a cult organization. She if fighting back against the white patriarchy using her white privilege. She has a need to get what she wants, though Lee shares that she doesn’t follow a strict code of morals to get them.
After this the panel discussed the heavier more real horror that appears within the show in the form of racism. Rodman said it best that when they set out to create the series they had no idea what state America would be in at the time. The series deals heavily with Jim Crow America and the horrors that came with it. She asked the panel how they felt filming these tough scenes.
Their answer? They felt like a family. They shared that Green had created such a welcoming environment on set that they could turn to each other when things got hard. Emotionally they all were able to come together and support their fellow cast mates. There are so many themes to explore in Lovecraft Country but the scariest right now is how similar this racism feels.
Up until now the most discussed theme of Lovecraft Country has been its Lovecraft inspired monsters and horror, but this panel proves there is far more to be scared of when we look past the surface. Be sure to check out the full panel for more in depth talks and information! Remember to wait until the very end where we get a peak at what the series has in store!
Lovecraft Country airs August 16, 2020 on HBO.
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