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Video Interview: Connor Jessup & Darby Stanchfield Talk Locke & Key Season 2

Connor Jessup and Darby StanchfieldIn season two of Locke & Key, which premieres today on Netflix, the story picks up where it left off at the end of last season. After finding an unconscious Dodge (Laysla De Oliveira), the Locke children and their friends send her through the Omega door and out of their lives for good, or so they think. What they don’t realize is that Dodge has used the Identity Key on Ellie (Sherri Saum) to change her appearance to look like her and has meanwhile transformed herself into the form of Gabe (Griffin Gluck), who Kinsey (Emilia Jones) had started to date, not knowing it was another form of the demon.

This season, Tyler, the eldest sibling, played by Connor Jessup, is about to turn eighteen and “age” out of magic, as is his girlfriend, Jackie (Genevieve Kang). Jessup talked to SciFi Vision during a virtual press roundtable about how this affects his character’s arc in season two. “At the beginning of season two, Tyler is really, mostly in a pretty good place. He feels more at home; he feels more comfortable using these keys. His relationship with his siblings and his entire family is better.

“He's in this relationship with Jackie now, which is a really meaningful thing for him, but hanging over both of them is the fact that they're both about to turn eighteen. They're both about to become adults, Jackie before him, and they know that when they become adults, we know, that magic slips away. You forget what you've seen. He becomes very, very obsessed with the idea that losing magic, losing these memories, will mean losing everything that's good about his life now. He wants to protect Jackie, and he wants to find a way to keep her in his life. He feels like if she loses magic, in a way, she'll be lost to him too.”

Jackie, however, according to Jessup, has a different perspective. “As the show goes on, she starts to feel like maybe it's natural to forget; maybe it's part of growing up. Maybe there's a reason why you forget. The tension between them on that, and that storm cloud in general, become really, really important to Tyler in season two.”

Nina Locke, the matriarch of the Locke family, also has an important relationship that comes into play this season with the new character Josh Bennett, a teacher at her children’s school, who is played by Brendan Hines. That doesn’t mean, however, that she is over her grief of her husband Rendell (Bill Heck)’s death, according to what Stanchfield told the site. “What I love about this season and this relationship for Nina Locke is that it's not really oversimplified where Nina lets go of her grief…and then just meets a new guy, and it's all is forgotten. The grief continues on; it's sort of threaded in there.”

The actress added that it was a challenge to balance Nina’s excitement at the new relationship with her lingering grief.

One of the most interesting keys on the series, the head key, which is featured again in season two, literally let’s you go inside someone’s head and view their memories, as well as add and remove things. Everyone’s mind looks different, usually connected to their favorite place or personality. The two stars talked to SciFi Vision about what they thought the inside of their head might look like. Stanchfield’s would be a garden of fruits and vegetables, whereas Jessup feels his would be a rundown movie theater.

For more, please check out our video portion of the interview, as well as the full transcript of the press roundtable below.



Zoom Interview
Locke & Key
Connor Jessup and Darby Stanchfield

October 14, 2021


SCIFI VISION:
  
Hi, guys, thanks for talking to us this afternoon. I appreciate it and love the second season. So, could you both tease a bit about your relationships - Connor how your relationship with Jackie kind of affects his ability to protect the keys and everything, and Darby how your relationship with Josh kind of, I guess, affects her mental health and ability to move on or not move on.

Connor JessupCONNOR JESSUP:
  
Yeah, at the beginning of season two, Tyler is really, mostly in a pretty good place. He feels more at home; he feels more comfortable using these keys. His relationship with his siblings and his entire family is better.

He's in this relationship with Jackie now, which is a really meaningful thing for him, but hanging over both of them is the fact that they're both about to turn eighteen. They're both about to become adults, Jackie before him, and they know that when they become adults, we know, that magic slips away. You forget what you've seen. He becomes very, very obsessed with the idea that losing magic, losing these memories, will mean losing everything that's good about his life now. He wants to protect Jackie, and he wants to find a way to keep her in his life. He feels like if she loses magic, in a way, she'll be lost to him too.

And she has kind of a different perspective. As the show goes on, she starts to feel like maybe it's natural to forget; maybe it's part of growing up. Maybe there's a reason why you forget. The tension between them on that, and that storm cloud in general, become really, really important to Tyler in season two.

DARBY STANCHFIELD:
  
So, for Nina Locke, she meets a new man in season two of Locke and Key, and his name's Josh Bennett, and he is a teacher at Matheson school.

What I love about this season and this relationship for Nina Locke is that it's not really oversimplified where Nina lets go of her grief of her dead husband Rendell Locke and then just meets a new guy, and it's all is forgotten. The grief continues on; it's sort of threaded in there.

Josh Bennett has also lost his wife to a sudden death experience, and so they have that in common. That's one thing that bonds them and something I really had fun [with]. It was challenging to sort of weave that web of Nina being excited about this new relationship, this new possibility in her life, and having gone through some healing of grief, but also, it's still lingering and a part of who she is. So, that's really what that looks like in the season.

QUESTION:   This is for Darby. Your character really doesn't get into the magic of the series, but your character got a nice introduction at the end of season two. How does it feel to finally get into that supernatural aspect of the story, and now that season three has been green-lit, do you hope that your character will get more into the magic of the keys?

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   Yes, well, Nina has interacted with magic in season one, going into that mirror, or when she gets drunk and she interacts with the mending cabinet, but you're right; she forgets it. What we see is something quite special at the end of season two. I won't spoil it and say what it is, but she gets an even more intense experience. We're left in the cliffhanger [with], will she remember it or not? Is it just going to fall away like the other experiences? Will this somehow make her different?

It was so fun to play. I really enjoyed what they wrote for Nina Locke, and I enjoyed this story very much.

We have already shot season three. [laughs] So, I know the answer, but I can't say, but that question is really the million-dollar question at the end of the show, “What's Nina Locke's fate after she's sort of introduced in a bigger way into this world of magic?” We all want to know. [laughs]

QUESTION:   Connor, we saw [your character] driving away off into the sunset, so can you tease us anything about what's gonna happen in season three with your character?

CONNOR JESSUP:   I'm in season three, so I can tease that. I’m present…I mean, Tyler's entering a new phase of his life, but I don't think it feels like a conclusion. He still very much has a lot to work through. So, his story and his relationship with these keys are not over yet.

QUESTION:   I [don’t think it’s] a spoiler to say, because it's also in the trailers, but making keys is becoming a huge mythological element for this series, and I wanted to ask both of you, if either of you had the ability to make your own key in real life, what would that key be?

CONNOR JESSUP:   You would think I would have an answer to this one. Do you have something that leaps to mind Darby?

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   Wow. This is a really good question. I don't think we've been asked this before. Probably the first thing that comes to mind is maybe something like a global warming key that I could make that I could just put it up in the sky, a keyhole would open up, and I could just take all the carbon out of it. [laughs]

CONNOR JESSUP:   Now I feel bad. Everywhere my mind went was so much more selfish. Oh my god. I was like, if there could be like a procrastination key that eliminated the urge to procrastinate, just temporarily. I mean, I could let it go forever, but it's just like, you turn it on, you do work, and then you turn it off. Yeah, it's called Red Bull, I guess, but you know.

QUESTION:   If you could switch your character with anybody else in the show for season two, which person would you switch with?

CONNOR JESSUP:   I've never ever played a villain before, and I think the villains in this season get to have a lot of fun. I think both Gabe and Eden (Hallea Jones) are really fun characters. I think I would probably say Gabe/Dodge, because I didn’t get to work a whole bunch with with Eden, but every time I did a scene with with Griffin, who plays Gabe, I was always like, “Oh you get to be all nefarious; you get to like smirk behind our backs.” So, I’m like, “That would be fun.”

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   I have to say my answer is very similar. The two characters Eden and Gabe are really delicious villains this season. They have a lot of fun. I would also say Gabe. I mean, Dodge is just the shiftiest character and that that would be my choice. That would be a fun [laughs] departure from Nina Locke.

QUESTION:   My question is actually for both of you. I'm not really aware of how much you know when the season begins. Do you get the full series, or do you get only your part so things are a mystery while you're filming?

CONNOR JESSUP:   I've been on shows where they only give you your pages or that they redact certain things, but this was not like that…Because season two was delayed, the production was delayed because of COVID, so the writing was pretty much done. I mean, a lot of it was very far along before we even started to film, so we were able to have a lot of the scripts. I think it was like four or five of the scripts before we even started shooting. Carlton and Meredith, our showrunners, they're not going around telling everyone everything that happens, but they're pretty open, and if you have questions about where things are headed, they're happy to answer. So, it wasn't a total mystery to me going through it, but usually it's the way things happen [that] is kind of surprising more than the things themselves.

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   Yeah, I would add on to that it felt a little bit more like working on a film than a TV show, because you really did get a sense of your arc. Especially with these main characters, our show runners were really good about letting us know sort of what to shoot for, where it was all headed, so we could pace ourselves or sort of know how [far] to take things throughout the season.

Season three, which we've also already shot, they were still writing it as we were going, so we got them a little bit later. But again, they were very communicative with what was in store for us. So, it was really nice to have that going in.

SCIFI VISION:   If somebody used a head key on you, what would your inside of your head with all your memories and everything, do you think, look like? For both of you.

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   This year [laughs] my answer is different than last season. My head would be a really giant overgrown garden with all sorts of fruits and vegetables and fruit trees and herbs, and it would not be just any one climate. It would just sort of be all sorts of things, and my memories would be like in tomatoes and that sort of thing.

CONNOR JESSUP:   Sounds pleasant, actually. I hope it doesn't sound too depressing, [but] I always think of a rundown movie theater, like it doesn't work anymore. The projector is still there, but it's broken. There're all these reels that are full of film, but they're dusty and scratchy, and the seats, if you try and sit on them, you fall through a big cloud of dust. That's kind of what I think, because…I like abandoned movie theaters. So, that's what I identify with.

QUESTION:   Even though season three has been filmed, Connor, where would you like to see Tyler's character go in the series?

CONNOR JESSUP:   Yeah, I mean, in season two, there was a lot more variation in Tyler. In Season one, he really is just mostly dealing with the repercussions of his dad's death and the guilt and the grief that he carries about that. In season two, having worked through some of that, it’s like the menu has has broadened for how Tyler can react to things and how he can feel, and that was really fun.

I actually think that the side of Tyler that I like the best and that it would be nice to see more of, is the side of Tyler that is sort of goofy, that actually can have fun, that isn't so serious and straightforward and is a little more like a kid, I guess. When we met Tyler, when I met Tyler, it already felt like because of his traumas he was being forced to grow up so quick. So, even as he matures and becomes more of an adult, it'd be fun to see a little more of a kid Tyler.

QUESTION:   How about you Darby? What would you like to see [for] Nina?

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   I would say the biggest thing is a true connection to her kids…Nina Locke is so disconnected from her kids for most of the first two seasons, and it's important to her, something that's sustainable. I think that that would be something I would wish for her, because it's so important to Nina.

QUESTION:   I love seeing your dynamic with Jackson [Robert Scott] and Emilia, both of you, just as one big happy family. Are there any fun stories from the set of you playing pranks on each other, anything like that, that you would love to share? I'd love to hear more.

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   I will share that we all came up with nicknames for each other sort of organically. I'm not going to say what the nicknames are. [laughs] We all have pretty edgy nicknames, and it was really a family affair. Wouldn't you say Connor?

CONNOR JESSUP:   For sure.

Darby StanchfieldDARBY STANCHFIELD:   We’ve become so familiar, we have a shorthand; we have nicknames that only we know.

CONNOR JESSUP:   And no one else ever will.

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   [laughs] No one else ever will.

QUESTION:   How much of the information, or if you took time in studying your character, did any of you refer to the graphic novels at all?

CONNOR JESSUP:   I mean, I read all the graphic novels before we started shooting season one, and, obviously, that was a foundation, not just for the character, but for the whole show, and a comfort really to know that the bones were solid. But I think once we got going on the show, I think we all realized, or at least speaking for myself, [I] realized, that in a way that this was like the same starting point, but we were going in an alternate direction. We were paving our own road through these stories and these themes and these characters.

Joe Hill was really encouraging that we think of it as its own thing, that we think of it as a remix and that we not feel trapped in what already existed.

So, I, just speaking for myself, I didn't feel especially in seasons two and three a huge urge to bring the character back to the Tyler in the comics, because he's quite different. But I do think that even though our show goes in a lot of different directions that it finds really creative and really meaningful ways, I think, to weave back into the comics every once in a while, in ways that I hope will be surprising to fans of the comics. So, it still very much has the same DNA.

DARBY STANCHFIELD:   Yeah, I would agree that. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, the creators, illustrator and writer, of the comic book series, they're incredibly supportive of this Netflix show and of our cast. Before COVID, they were able to come visit our set. In the first season they were there a couple times. They were just so encouraging, and we felt very supported.

I specifically was told by our show runners, the creators of our TV show, Carlton Cuse and Meredith Avril, to not base Nina Locke on the comics. I mean, they really were looking for something a little bit different in this matriarch for this world. The comic books are very horror-based, and our genre for the Netflix series is a little bit lighter; it's a little more [the] mystery-fantasy genres and a little horror, but they wanted Nina Locke to be different.

So, they just said, “What you brought in your meeting, what we saw [in] your work, we want you to just start there.” I’m becoming familiar with the comics, just for the world. I understand this world and the rules of the magic and the core of the family. Nina Locke in the comics is fantastic. I mean, she's constantly drunk; she's got a leg brace on. I mean, when her husband is killed, it's quite dark, and she's been attacked physically as well. So, it's tears streaming down her face the entire [time]. It's quite fabulous, but I really did find my own way and establish my own Nina Locke, and a lot of it had to do with just the chemistry with this cast as well - Connor, Emilia, and Jackson, and finding a rhythm with them.

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