Unlocking the Characters with Cast Members of Netflix’s ‘Locke & Key’

A while back, we here at BNP got a chance to talk with the folks who help forged the magic of Locke & Key. There are no spoilers for season 2 (which you can watch right now and read our review here), so feel free to take a read as we attempted to use the Head Key to learn a little more about the series.

Actors: Connor Jessup & Darby Stanchfield

BNP: At the start of Season 2 of Locke & Key, all of your characters are in a much better place, given everything that happened in Season 1, and there’s sort of a confidence about it, as we were talking about with the producers beforehand. Did that confidence carry over your portrayal of the characters as well?

Connor Jessup: I think so. I think so much of Season 1 was about either… It was about, on the plot side, it was about discovering what the hell these keys were, the fact that they even existed, what they did. There was a lot of like, “What is going on?” And emotionally, there was a similar dynamic, it’s like we were really all in the fallout of Rendell’s murder. And now in Season 2, time has passed, we’ve settled in Matheson, we’ve settled into our various relationships, and the family dynamic is better, and we are comfortable with these keys. We know what they are, we know what they do. We feel like we can start having fun with them, and that confidence is the note that Season 2 starts on. So, I think that yeah, the confidence that we felt behind the scenes, that we knew what show we were making, that we knew each other, we knew our characters, that that, hopefully, was synchronized with how the characters are.

Darby Stanchfield: I would agree, yeah. I think also, a familiarity with… It was nice, because we still carried over certain themes from Season 1, like there was still grief happening for all these characters, but it moves, it changes, it minimizes, maybe. So, there was a confidence in even knowing what that, I think, just underlying, what that is. There are a lot of changes that happen to these characters in Season 2, but I felt like we were all able to take it in stride because we knew the world of the show, and we had such great organic connections with each other. You see characters meeting new people or losing people. There’s a lot of loss – new loss. There’s a lot of new love as well. And then of course new dangers, new magic, new keys. So, it didn’t feel like we had to answer the basic questions of, “What are we doing?” It’s like, “Oh, okay, we know these characters and this. And, you know, this next movement.” 

Locke & Key
LOCKE & KEY (L to R) JACKSON ROBERT SCOTT as BODE LOCKE, CONNOR JESSUP as TYLER LOCKE, and HALLEA JONES as EDEN HAWKINS in episode 207 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX © 2021

BNP: So, Darby, this season we got to see a different side of Nina Locke with her interactions with the new character Josh Bennett, who is sort of new to the show, played by Brendan Hines. What was it like getting to explore both an entirely different aspect of the character, but also of the universe up until that point?

Darby: It was great. I’ve worked with Brendan Hines before. He’s a fantastic actor, so we had a lot of fun together. It was really… Actually, we had to find our rhythm, I would say. The characters just meet, but Josh Bennett is someone who makes Nina Locke incredibly happy, and I think, at the very beginning, I was actually worried about the tone a little bit. I was like, “Why is this not feeling like the Nina Locke that I know?” And then I realized the following day after shooting like a three-page scene with Brendan Hines that Nina’s just happy, and that’s why it feels different. (laughs) Because it’s a really new experience for her. That was fun to play and explore throughout the season, and then of course that shifts, and that was great too. So a lot of new stuff in Season 2 for all of us, but that was one of the new experiences for my character, Nina Locke. It’s great. 

Locke & Key
LOCKE & KEY (L to R) DARBY STANCHFIELD as NINA LOCKE and BRENDAN HINES as JOSH BENNETT in episode 203 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX © 2021

BNP: Season 2 introduces a bunch of new keys, but what is your personal favorite key out of the series so far?

Darby: My favorite key is the Anywhere Key. It still is, it was in Season 1, and I think it still takes the cake. I would use it every day. (laughs)

Connor: It’s a pretty useful key. 

Darby: Yeah.

Connor: It’s hard to beat that. There’s a new key in Season 2 that’s really fun – it’s not a spoiler, actually, because they’ve already included it in trailer’s and stuff – that’s the Small World Key, which is this tiny little miniature key, that there’s this dollhouse version of Keyhouse, it’s like miniature version of Keyhouse, and if you put the Small World Key in this dollhouse and turn it, the house kind of comes alive, and anything that happens in the dollhouse happens in the real big house, which I think is a wonderful visual idea. So hopefully that is fun to watch. 

BNP: What are you most excited for audiences to see the Season 2 with the new arcs and character developments?

Connor: I think in the second half of Season 2 especially, that these characters are suddenly confronted with a lot of new responsibility and conflict that goes so far beyond anything that they’ve felt before, and it was really, really satisfying working with all these actors to see them tackle that, and to see these characters mature and grow, and find new folds and dimensions in themselves. It was just really fun to watch, so I hope that by the time the audience gets to that part of the season that they will feel similarly, that these characters that they’ve come to know deepen. And that’s hopefully really satisfying.

Darby: I think something that happens in Season 2 that I find interesting is, as the Locke siblings become more savvy about the magic of the keys and their power, and being the keeper of the keys, they are confronted more with the responsibility of this power, and the moral questions that come along with magic, and how far you take it, or how it’s made, and who should make it, and why are we doing this? You get to know these characters, these kids, on a different level as they are tested in this way, and I like that about Season 2. I like to see that that’s where we get to get to know the Lockes…and their friends too, on a bit of a deeper level that way, confronting this issue of power.

BNP : Time is fake, but I think yesterday Netflix released the trailer preview for The Splattering? What are your reviews of this, uh…historic B movie made in Matheson? 

Connor: I think it’s a good first effort. I think it definitely demonstrates a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of passion. I feel like the craft, I’m sure, on the subsequent movies will develop. I’m glad that they did not rope me into it. 

Darby: (laughs) I give Scot Cavendish an Emmy. Let’s see – no, no, no. I give him a writing award for the line, “I like my lobster flame-broiled,” that Kinsey says at the end of the trailer. For me, that was pure gold. I mean, really, can you write a better line? (laughs)

Connor: It was also funny, they were shooting that, which is not part of the show – you know, the trailer – in parallel, for kind of a long time while we were shooting.

Darby: Yeah.

Connor: And I remember it being like, we would do some scene from Season 3 or something, and then Amelia would be like, “Ugh, I have to go, and like, I have another scene, like I have this flame thrower that I have to shoot.” I was like, “What? What sequence is that from? There’s a flame thrower?” She was like, “Oh no, it’s from the trailer.” I was like, “Oh god, right.” 

Actors: Griffin Gluck & Hallea Jones

BNP: Hallea, you get to play Eden, who is now a series regular, as part of Season 2, and it’s not Eden that we knew in Season 1, it’s Demon-Eden. What’s it like getting to play a more villainous character in a spotlight role this season?

Hallea Jones: The biggest honor of my little life. I was just so flabbergasted at the thought that they trusted me with such an incredible story and such an incredible character. It was just absolutely the time of my life. I had so much fun playing a character that was just so, so chaotic, and so just problematic a lot of the times. Luckily, this is changing in the industry, but you know, women don’t always get to play the crazy, out-there characters, and I really hope to continue to find characters along my career path that are just even a little bit close to how challenging and exciting and expansive this character has been for me. So yeah, to say what Griffin and I have both been saying, it was a Lot. Of. Funnnn. (laughs) That’s like the word of the day.

Cast Members
LOCKE & KEY (L to R) HALLEA JONES as EDEN HAWKINS and BRETT HOUGHTON as KARL in episode 201 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. AMANDA MATLOVICH/NETFLIX © 2021

BNP: What were the challenges working with the CGI, since both of your characters had to do a lot more effects work for this season, for reasons that we can’t really get into?

Hallea: Yeah.

Griffin Gluck: Personally, I mean- Hallea, feel free to add in at any point, but personally for me, truly it was exhausting. And I mean that in the best way, I don’t mean that I didn’t enjoy doing it, but it truly was extensive and tedious the amount of effort that VFX people put in, and it shows. It looks absolutely incredible, and I’m very grateful that we had a VFX team that cared so much to take the extra steps to just make it that much better. But we’re talking hours and hours of full-body scans, changes into wardrobe for different full-body scans, face scans, head scans, head molds, body measurements, this, that, a lot of green screen, wire stunt work practice. I got into this machine, which was probably the highlight of Season 2 for me, that they apparently use in Cirque du Soleil quite often, but it’s a body harness that attaches at the hip, and then you get into this thing that they call “the tuning fork,” which is a long thing like that, that is suspended by a rope right in the middle, and on this end of it there’s a guy holding a massive steering wheel that looks like it’s made for a yacht, and on the other end is this circular piece like this, that I fit into like that. Or like this. And then they just control me with the steering wheel, and they fly me around this green screen while I’m like-

Hallea: Spoiler!

Griffin: …pretending that I can fly. Well…it’s magic, it’s a show about magic keys. 

Hallea: Yeah.

Griffin: If you’re not expecting some magic, you know-

Hallea: Yeah. (laughs)

Griffin: …you’re a fool. But it was truly extensive. I gained muscles because of it, because it’s a lot of work. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever had real muscle on my body, and that was really exciting for me. But it made a lot of scenes a lot harder to play not in a real setting, when you’re suspended in the air. I think a big part about acting for me is making something feel real, and when you’re suspended above the ground in a green suit behind a green screen on a giant magical Cirque du Soleil piece of machinery, it’s really hard to make things feel grounded and real, which is a challenge that I had to overcome a couple times this season. But, I mean, wow was it fun. I got to be in Cirque du Soleil for a few weeks.

Hallea: (laughs) I don’t think I did much green screen. 

Griffin: You did a lot of stunt work, though.

Hallea: I did a lot of stunt work. A lot of stunt work. But most of the green screen was pretty simple stuff. Without any spoilers, it wasn’t anything like being able to fly around on a Cirque du Soleil thing, but it was still really cool. It’s cool to see the final product of a lot of these things, and just being like, “Whoa. That thing wasn’t there when we filmed it,” you know? That’s a huge thing. As you see, the cave, the Shadow Crown, those weren’t there. This whole thing is just something that you do and then they add in post all the shadow creatures, and it’s just like, “Whoa!” The shadow creatures in the first season blew my mind. So, it was cool to be able to control them in the second season even though they weren’t really there in the moment.

BNP: Speaking of The Splattering, what is your professional review of this fan film? 

Hallea: Ugh, horrible. Oh, that’s Eden speaking, sorry. Eden came out.

Griffin: You know, I think there’s a lot to dissect there. (laughs)

Hallea: It’s really impressive. I mean, for a zero-budget student film, very impressive.

Griffin: There’s an Office quote, if anyone here is a fan from The Office, where Oscar watches Steve Carell’s little short film about introducing the Dundies, and Will Farrell looks into the mirror and his reflection is Steve Carell, and Oscar goes, “You know, the critical part of me wants to dissect this, but I know that there’s no substance there.” And that’s kind of exactly how I feel about The Splattering: I really want to dissect it; I know that there’s no substance there.

Hallea: I think it’s great. I think Jesse Camacho who plays the fisherman that dies in the Splattering trailer – that came out, that’s not a spoiler – did an incredible job. Actually, the guy at the beginning who’s cooking the lobster, he was one of the background actors, he’s a twin. Andy and Stanley. And shout out to them, because they were even in Season 1 as well, and I don’t know, I think it was Stanley who was that role, but it was really cool to see some of the background stand-in crew people, who had been on this shoot with us for eight months, actually get roles in The Splattering trailer that just came out yesterday.

Griffin: Right, right, right. But we’re talking analytical here. We’re talking analytical. Does The Splattering contain substance? I think it contains a message, and it’s an eco-message. Don’t think it contains substance. But not all movies have to, you know?

Hallea: Sure. Yeah.

Griffin: You can just watch a movie to have fun. And I think that Splattering’s a fun movie. 

Hallea: Yeah.

Griffin: A lot of movies nowadays don’t have substance, but they’re fun to watch.

Hallea: Good point, good point. Fair.

BNP: What is your favorite key overall between both seasons so far?

Hallea: We can’t-

Griffin: Hallea’s is the Anywhere Key.

Hallea: Yeah.

Griffin: You’re gonna land on the Anywhere Key. I think we all would. 

Hallea: I’m always between the Anywhere Key and the Head Key, because I even have a keyhole tattoo on the back of my neck, and it just fascinates me so much, this idea of exploring your own mind, and being able to really put anything and take anything out that you want to. Also, being able to revisit memories and step inside them. I don’t know what the heck my mind would look like, but I’m very curious. But the Anywhere Key is the most practical, that I just wish- I wish, in reference to everyday life, that I could have an Anywhere Key. 

Locke & Key
LOCKE & KEY (L to R) GRIFFIN GLUCK as GABE in episode 202 of LOCKE & KEY Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX © 2021

Griffin: I’ve said recently, it’s somewhat a joke, but it’s absolutely real, but the Identity Key would be pretty cool. You know, live a little Hannah Montana secret double life, you know? I mean, I could just throw on a blonde wig, which I have done before. 

Hallea: (laughs) The expensive key.

Griffin: But I think it would be fun just to live different lives for a day. Also, are we quoting that fact that I sometimes put on a blonde wig? Because I’m fine with it either way, I just want to prepare.

Hallea: Just living your best Hannah Montana life.

Locke & Key

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  • Mikkel Snyder is a technical writer by day and pop culture curator and critic all other times.

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