When he was working on The Haunting of Hill House, genre filmmaker extraordinaire Mike Flanagan ambitiously took on helming all 10 episodes himself. It proved to be an extremely taxing venture for Flanagan, so when it came time to begin production on The Haunting of Bly Manor, he set out to not only bring in some other talented directors to collaborate with, but was looking at it as an opportunity to be able to support more voices in the genre space as well.
The director’s pool on Bly Manor is pretty damn impressive, and features the likes of Ciarán Foy, Liam Gavin, Axelle Carolyn, Yolanda Ramke, Ben Howling, and E.L. Katz, with Flanagan taking the reins on the first episode.
“When we first started talking about a second season, coming off of Hill House, I was not in great shape,” Flanagan explained. “I lost like 40 pounds in production and I came out of it really a shell of myself. Like, Hill House almost killed me. So when the appetite for a second season came up, I had this pretty intense exhaustion going and I felt at the time that I didn't know that I could do that again. Now, I'm doing it for Midnight Mass, so it got better, but at the time it was also something important to us at Intrepid that we didn't only create content that relied on me having to do that. One of the things that's important to both Trevor [Macy, producer] and I is to let our company, now that it's become successful, be a launch pad for other independent talent, for those that hadn't yet broken into television, and in a lot of cases, to celebrate artists whose vision we really love.”
“The filmmakers that we chose for this season are filmmakers who've made movies we love and that's kind of where it started. It was really easy. I watch a lot of movies and when I saw A Dark Song, I just freaked out and knew we had to find a way to work with Liam. We had to find a way to support him. This was an opportunity to do that. Same when we saw Cargo, and both Ben and Yolanda's work was so wonderful. Trevor had just produced a film with Ciarán, while we were working on season one, so he was another artist that we were very keen to try to support. Axelle and E.L., too.”
“I think initially the feeling was that I wanted to treat the season like a normal showrunner and to learn that side of things. There was a desperation to Hill House where I really felt like it might be my only chance to [do] television, so I couldn't let anything out of my hands, even for a minute. I think with this, it was important to us both that we prove to ourselves, to Netflix, that we could manage a series properly and that meant we could still maintain a consistency of vision and tone, but grow a new skillset for me at the same time.”
“And this group, they are all really terrific talents and they brought a much-needed new perspective, too. Because I do feel like a lot of us on season one, we really did exhaust our arsenal. So having fresh eyes and fresh ideas come into it was also really important. It was really neat to see how someone else would approach it. So I hope that keeps it feeling not repetitive. But it was not an easy call and it's going to vacillate back and forth, I think as we continue to make shows, because there are some where I'm just like, “No, I'm grabbing all of this.” But there are others where I'm really enjoying learning how to support other filmmakers who haven't yet had a lot of the opportunities that I've had. The more we can do to support them, the better the industry will be, I think,” added Flanagan.
Look for more on The Haunting of Bly Manor right here on Daily Dead all this week.