New York Comic Con 2014 Sleepy Hollow Interviews: The Cast And Crew Talk Guns, Season 2, And The Similarities To House Of Cards
In addition to the established franchises- your Star Wars, Star Treks, Marvel this, DC that- one of the best things about NYCC is seeing the fan reception to new properties that have quickly become part of the geek canon. There is absolutely no denying that Sleepy Hollow, the absurdly ridiculous show on FOX, has been one of the breakout television hits since its debut last September.
Several members of the cast, including Jenny (Lyndie Greenwood), Frank Irving (Orlando Jones) and newcomer Sheriff Reyes (Sakina Jaffrey) were on hand for a near-packed panel in the Main Stage. Sure, it lacked the name recognition of Gotham; but at least Sleepy Hollow is telling its own thing. While there, the charming cast and executive producers and writers dished on some upcoming events in season two, and even showed off the first act of tonight's episode.
We caught up with the cast and crew at a round table interview. Though we are meant to maintain a professional demeanor, my fellow journalists were as giddy as anything, and the atmosphere was relaxed and easy going.
To call Sleepy Hollow a surprise hit is an understatement. It's huge. There are even books out now. We had to know, did they expect it to hit so well?
"I kind of did," says Greenwood, "because I watched the previews before I became a part of the show, so I was really excited to watch it. But i'm happy that it's continued to be such a success."
How can they continue that success?
"The first season set the bar really high," Raven Metzner, an exec and writer on the show chimed in, "for great characters, for awesome monsters and for great twists, so we're trying and I think we have some of that good stuff coming up, but it's been a challenge. Every day we try to just keep ourselves with that same level of quality and fun."
"There's a piece of Jenny that's coming up we were just talking about it, a sort of a different side to her," Metzner adds. "Lyndie walked in [at Paleyfest] I had never met her personally and she's wearing this awesome dress, she's so beautiful. I turned to Albert [Kim, another writer] and am like, 'Why isn't that girl ever on our show?' He's like, 'Well she's a badass and she dresses like a badass, she's tough.' I mean, we love that but is there anyway to show that other side, the side that's a little more fun, or maybe dresses up a little or a little sex appeal."
Lyndie, however, minces no words when it comes to her favorite part of playing Jenny:
Orlando Jones' character Frank Irving, meanwhile, has inadvertently found himself bound to the Horseman of War after signing a contract in, quite literally, blood. Jones himself is aware of the situation, but he points the fingers to us, "I know i should have read the contract, but I submit to all of you: who read the last iTunes contract when they clicked 'agree' and updated? Nobody did that!"
Each week of Sleepy Hollow seems to bring another twist or turn. The first season ended with a major character shift that left us all begging for more. How far in advance did the producers and writers let the actors know what was happening?
"At least hours!" co-creator and director Len Wiseman chuckled. "Sometimes a text. Honestly, some of them we let them know in advance, other ones we do hold onto, because one we enjoy the surprise of it and so we do like to hold onto some of those twists. Actually, a lot of our gang doesn't want to know which I think is sweet."
To which Jones adds, "When you know, it's almost like watching playback for actors to me. You watch playback and all you see is how horrible you look, so you try and correct for vanity. And so I always feel like, I don't want to do that, I want to be on the journey."
Sheriffs have not fared well in Sleepy Hollow. The original sheriff Corbin (Clancy Brown) was beheaded not even 20 minutes into the pilot episode and this season finds Irving stuck in a mental institution after taking the fall for the murder of two cops. His replacement is the talented Sakina Jaffrey, whom many may know from her work on House of Cards.
"She's me from last season," Jones begins, "she doesn't know and she has a very specific connection to the sisters in that she knew their mom and that she knew them when they were kids. I always think it's different when you knew somebody when they were kids, you have a different emotional connection to them because they were innocent and you knew them at that stage, so I think she's in a more interesting position in some ways than Irving was, because she's so personally connected. I didn't know Abbie or Jenny, I got to know them and she does." He does, however add in a humorous tone, "She don't know what's going on, I'm trying to tell this fool that there's stuff happening in Sleepy Hollow that she doesn't understand!"
Some time later, Jaffrey, who is striking and thoughtful, comments on the seeming abrasiveness of her character, "I can tell you is that she believes in her mission, and I think she's good. The way I'm playing her, she's good and she's right. Then my friend said, 'Well, bitches always think that!' But I don't think she's a bitch at all."
Writer Mark Goffman, sitting at the table beside her, chimes in: "You know, save for the apocalypse, she's right."
While the others have dabbled in the dramatic, very few were as notable or well received as House of Cards. How did Mrs. Jaffrey find the transition between the cynicism of that show and the ridiculousness of Sleepy Hollow?
"I think it's totally grounded," Jaffrey says. "I mean you can call Frank Underwood a monster, you can call all kinds of people monsters on our show doing monstrous things, and neither one is far-fetched. So I think it's actually very similar world. There's chaos in Washington and there's chaos in Sleepy Hollow." And there are only metaphorical headless horseman wielding automatic weapons in Washington.
However, just because there are ridiculous elements does not make the process any more or less demanding than a regular drama. "To me one of my favorite things about the show is the fantasy element," says Jaffrey. "We can take on really serious issues and that are very hard to digest and contextualize it in this crazy fantasy show, so that they're really entertaining and fun and it allows us to explore darkness with some light."
Sleepy Hollow airs Monday nights of FOX at 9/8 C. Tonight's episode is titled 'Go Where I Send Thee' and features, wait for it, the Pied Piper as reimagined as a badass Revolutionary War demon. There definitely are not any of those in Washington...that we know of.