Bill Skarsgard: 'Hemlock Grove' Exclusive Interview!
The 22-year-old actor plays Roman Godfrey and describes his character as “a troubled teenager to say the least. He’s battling a lot of demons and believes that if he can solve the town’s murders, he can redeem and save himself from his own darkness.”
JJ recently chatted with Bill to get the scoop on his character Roman’s supernatural powers, what it’s like working with co-star Famke Janssen, and who his favorite artist to listen to is.
Click inside to find out what Bill spilled to us about his show Hemlock Grove…
JJ: Can you tell us how you got attached to Hemlock Grove?
BS: I was in L.A. last for pilot season and my manager knew about this project before because they were interested in one of her clients. I read the script and they pitched it. Before I read a lot of stuff during pilot season, they said ‘Read this show, it’s really cool. It’s kinda a vampire/werewolf story.’ I was like, ‘Really, not another one,’ kinda fed up with the whole thing and I had really low expectations. Then I read the pilot and I was completely blown away. It was something so different, something so unique and cool and edgy. I read the pilot and I was like ‘Wow, this is something I really, really, really want to be a part of.’ After that, I started auditioning for it and pulled some meetings and did a couple auditions. Eventually, I got the part.
JJ: What’s the most attractive thing about Hemlock Grove?
BS: To me, the mysteriousness of it. I read the pilot and I had no idea what the show was about or what the characters/creatures were. It was so appealing and interesting, it was really weird and strange, but really appealing at the same time. I felt like I needed to know more, so just judging from the pilot, what really captivated me was it was so strange and weird, but I just wanted to know more about these characters. Eventually, once I read the book as well, it was this entire world that Brian McGreevy has built up of these complex characters and very dark, edgy stories that haven’t been seen before in this genre really, at least not in the last couple of years. It’s a new take on it and I think it’s really cool.
JJ: What was it like to work with Famke [Janssen]?
BS: We became good friends and she’s really, really cool. She’s super talented and experienced. It’s really cool working with Lili Taylor and Dougray Scott, they’ve been doing this for so long and super talented. As a young actor, you just want to try to learn as much as possible.
JJ: After Roman uses his power of persuasion, his nose bleeds out. Can you explain why, and how does Roman’s powers develop throughout the season?
BS: I don’t want to spoil anything, but Roman’s a mysterious character. He’s finding out more about himself or what he might be – or what his mom might be – throughout the season and the audience does as well. There’s definitely something supernatural with the character.
JJ: What’s it like having to work with so much fake blood on set?
BS: It tastes horrible… especially since I have a lot of scenes that have nose blood. You basically lean your head back, they put blood in your nose and they call action. You then lean your head forward and you blow out blood, so it starts running from your nose. Some of it gets stuck in your throat and it’s really uncomfortable.
JJ: What’s your favorite off-set moment so far?
BS: We got along really well, the cast, especially me and Landon [Libioron] became really, really close friends and also Brian and Lee (showrunners) and Penelope [Mitchell]. The entire crew, we were in Toronto, so everyone was away from home. It was really cool to be able to hang out with these talented and super cool people and get to know them so well, because we became a family there.
JJ: When you aren’t acting, what do you like to do with your free time on or off set?
BS: I don’t have that many hobbies but I’m a social guy, so I like to hang out with my friends and family. Therefore, it was really important to have these great guys to be spending time with in Toronto for me as well. They became my friends and family when I was there. I like to cook food and have dinners with friends and family.
JJ: Speaking of family, what’s the best advice your older brother Alex has given you about the industry?
BS: I don’t have that kind of relationship where they give me advice per se. I know for people that objectively view like this actor family, ‘they must probably talk about acting all the time and give each other all this advice or I’m the younger one so I take all the advice’ but for me, it’s really important, I always want to be responsible for my own performances. I never really want to take any advice or help from any of my family members.
JJ: Any other projects you’re working on?
BS: Hopefully, we’ll do season 2 of Hemlock Grove, depending on how the first season goes. I don’t have anything specific that I know that I will do before that. Hopefully something comes up.
JJ: Who’s your favorite artist to listen to at the moment?
BS: I’ve been listening a lot to Kendrick Lamar. His latest album is really good I think.
JJ: What’s the last film you watched that you really enjoyed?
BS: Beasts of the Southern Wild, I really like.
JJ: What are some of your favorite shows?
BS: I’m a fan of The Walking Dead. I think there are a lot of cool shows that are out there now. The Walking Dead is not really a show about zombies, I think that is really cool. It’s about people. I really like that. I think Hemlock Grove is trying to be more like that as well. It’s not about the creatures or the supernatural elements, it’s about the people and relationships. I’m really excited about the third season of Game of Thrones.
Don’t miss Bill Skarsgard in season one of Hemlock Grove, which will be available in its entirety on Netflix beginning Friday, April 19!