Following the heartbreaking conclusion of Penny Dreadful, fans of the Showtime series are still reflecting on, celebrating, and in some cases, mourning the show's incredible cast of characters. Recently Reeve Carney, who plays Dorian Gray, discussed his thoughts on Season 3 and the series as a whole during an episode screening and Q&A event for Penny Dreadful at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, NY. We have highlights from the Q&A, including how Carney got into the immortal mindset of Dorian, his audition process for the role, and much more.

Reeve on his filming schedule for Penny Dreadful:

Reeve Carney: I'm there anywhere between five and seven months. I recently was involved in The Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, which was a blast. In that, in a lot of the scenes I'm kind of in the background, but I'm in every scene, and I was there pretty much every day, which is different for me, and unusual compared to Penny Dreadful, where I had real spots here and there.

I love both for different reasons because you get to be more in the swing of things when you're there every day, but on Penny Dreadful I love the fact that I had so much time to consider everything. When you have such an incredible ensemble like this show, and it's written, and structured that way, you do have the opportunity to spend as much time as possible on the material, which for me is my favorite way to work, so I do enjoy it.

On Dorian's Season 3 story arc and working with a legion of women out for revenge:

Reeve Carney: I thought it was perfectly appropriate for Dorian. Because of his progressive mind and way of being, I thought of it from Dorian's perspective, being sort of the hellish version of a human rights activist—that's his perspective to me. For Lily and for Justine, it's something different because they have so much personal experience on the other end of that brutality.

For Dorian, I don't see him necessarily as bloodthirsty, and I think when Dorian does something that involves blood it's not necessarily out of the desire to inflict pain on someone that they wouldn't otherwise want to be inflicted on them. With Lily, I think it is a bit of a revenge thing, I think Dorian can get behind the cause because sort of in the way of Batman or V from V for Vendetta can get behind this, to say, "This is the right thing to do. We need to stop these guys."

On filming the blood orgy scene:

Reeve Carney: I had to do months of research for that. No, I'm kidding, I thought it was amazing. It's the equivalent for Dorian of Vanessa having a deeply spiritual, psychotic experience. It's the most extreme version of what people come to expect from Dorian. I thought it was great—anything to push the boundaries is really fun.

It smelled like maple syrup, I guess that's what they use for that. It was great, respectful, all three people involved were very respectful and also had a great sense of humor, which is the most important thing because those scenes are so ridiculous and crazy. You just have to go and jump into it, the easiest thing to do, my uncle, some of you may know—most of you are too young—my uncle is a very famous actor named Art Carney from the television show The Honeymooners.

Yeah, that's my great uncle. What he used to say about acting, is just be somebody else. It's very simple in a way, but in these instances it's important to think of it in that way because a lot of actors use substitutions or different things. You might draw from your life in different ways, but in a scene like this I don't really know where you're going to draw from. You kind of just have to pretend to be Dorian Gray for a minute.

On collaborating with co-star Billie Piper:

Reeve Carney: Billie's brilliant, and she's so fun. I was saying upstairs, she's so encouraging to everyone on set because it's a very serious atmosphere on set, which I think is required. In comparison to Rocky Horror, [which] was very comedically oriented and quite a lot of fun on set, and we could kind of joke around a little bit. We don't have a whole lot of joking around on Penny Dreadful, but I think that adds to the experience for the audience. It's helpful when you have another actor who's encouraging you, because you can get into this dark zone due to the nature of the material. It's great, she's wonderful to work with. One of my favorite scenes to work on was the one with Victor Frankenstein [Harry Treadaway], and Lily [Billie Piper], and Justine [Jessica Barden] and everybody.

On why Dorian Gray interacts with so many of the show's characters:

Reeve Carney: Whenever somebody asks this I sound funny, but he's kind of like a go-to spice in the kitchen. He's not necessarily your staple poultry, or vegetable, it's something, "Oh put a little of this on here and see what happens." It's kind of his function on some level, which I think is great that I get to interact with everyone. You never know what Dorian Gray is going to bring out of you.

On his familiarity with Dorian Gray and prepping to portray the iconic character:

Reeve Carney: I was sixteen, I think, the first time I heard about Dorian Gray. I did not choose to read The Picture of Dorian Gray in school. It wasn't until I got the audition—I have an English literature teacher that would let us choose the novels we wanted to read off of certain lists. I did read it upon receiving the call to audition, you have to draw from things you have experiences [of] and also draw from research. There are certain things that I naturally understood about his thought process. I just kind of try to do that—I do a lot of other different things. I study privately, and my teachers have pretty left-of-center ways of training their students.

On getting into the immortal mindset of Dorian Gray:

Reeve Carney: The first question to think of is, "How would you feel?" I don't think anyone should think about this unless they're needing to for a role, but if everyone you loved died before you, for centuries, that's the first thing that makes it pretty easy to get into that place, and it's so transitory, there's never a chance for anything to last forever with Dorian Gray. Even though he does, that makes it so that really nothing lasts forever.

Yeah, I definitely got chills the first time I read that scene in episode two, because I obviously didn't know where it was going, having read it for the first time on the page, and I was thinking, "Wow." On the page it was saying "Interior, snuff club." I was like, "Whoa, this is going even darker than I thought."

I felt like at the end of the second season you know that it's going to go somewhere dark, but I didn't know it was going to go that dark, and so I was following that trail, and then out of nowhere it's like, "And then Dorian pulls out two revolvers." I was like, "Whoa, awesome." That was really cool, I thought that was amazing, getting the chance to have that shift on the audience and to be somewhat in a heroic position. I thought that was really exciting for me, for Dorian to assume. He hasn't really necessarily been in that position up until that point. It was exciting.

On how he got involved in acting:

Reeve Carney: I was really a shy child. I still have aspects of that, because my mom is here tonight, she's over there, and my sister. My mom took me, she's not a stage mom at all, like she didn't want me to be an actor, but she wanted me to be a doctor or a lawyer. I think doctor would be more my thing. I was very shy, so in order to help me get over that she put me into improv classes when I was five years old, and I started doing that, and by the time I was eight I came to my parents and said, "I want to be an actor." They were like, "Ah, maybe that's not a good idea."

By the time I was twelve I discovered the guitar, and it was like, game over for me, that was it. From the age of twelve until twenty-seven, I exclusively pursued music. I went to a conservatory for jazz guitar, so that's what I was expecting to do. Then I got pulled back in by a woman named Julie Taymor, who a lot of you probably know, an incredible director. She came to one of my concerts, my friend T.V. Carpio invited her [to]. She invited Julie to come to the show and she said, "I want you to audition for my film The Tempest." I was like, "Is it a problem that I'm not an actor?" She's like, "I think you are an actor." I was like, "Well, if Julie Taymor says I'm an actor, I'll give it a shot.

That's really why I did it, and then ever since, really Spider-Man on Broadway was what made me fall in love with acting. That's when I started thinking, "I do actually love this." Because even with with that, I got into that because of my voice probably more than anything else. That's what helped me get that job.

On the audition process for the role of Dorian Gray:

Reeve Carney: This was actually a relatively simple audition process for me, surprisingly, compared to some other things I've had. It came from my agent, where they said, "Here's the script. We think you should go out for this." I went in to Bernie Telsey's casting office here in New York City, and I was really nervous. I like to, like I said, be as prepared as possible, just because you can get nervous in auditions—it's just natural. I went in, and I remember seeing, I won't say who, but I saw what I would consider a famous actor in the room auditioning for my part. And I was like, "Oh my god." That made me really nervous because, "They're auditioning guys like this? Wow, okay." Then, again, I don't know if this is bad to say, thankfully, it was a good icebreaker for me.

I got in the room, the casting director was amazing. I never met her, that was lovely, and I think that really helped because she didn't know I was nervous, but she unwittingly calmed me down a little bit, enough to go through the scene a couple of times, and that was good. I went on tape for it. She said, "Great." I think they sent it to London where John Logan was working already on the production, and about four or five days later I got a phone call from John Logan in my dressing room at Spider-Man saying, "Listen, I know you're kind of nervous about the nudity and all this stuff, but I want to set your mind at ease. I really hope you come to London and we'll sit down and we'll talk about this and you'll read for us again."

I was like, "Yeah, oh sure." There we go. Then I went to London on my one day off from Spider-Man, on a red-eye, and I got there, I auditioned. I thought to myself, "Wow I didn't do very well." I didn't think I did a great job acting, then I got back and about a week later they told me I got the part. It was only about a three-week process for that, which normally it's longer from my experience.