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‘Locke & Key’: Hallea Jones and Griffin Gluck on Season 2 and How Christian Bale and Tom Cruise Were an Inspiration

The pair behind Gabe and Eden explain why it’s been fun playing their characters’ descent into villainy.

From co-showrunners Carlton Cuse and Meredith Averill and adapted from the best-selling comic book series by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, the second season of the Netflix original series Locke & Key finds the three Locke siblings – Tyler (Connor Jessup), Kinsey (Emilia Jones) and Bode (Jackson Robert Scott) – navigating life as keepers of the keys that were hidden throughout their ancestral home, Keyhouse. As they continue to test the power unique to each key, they also learn that they might not have completely shaken the demons that they thought they had defeated.

During a virtual press junket for Season 2, Collider got the opportunity to chat with co-stars Griffin Gluck and Hallea Jones (who play Gabe and Eden, respectively, a pair of menacing villains who also revel in their badness) for this interview, which you can both watch and read, about how much they knew about what their characters would become when they first signed on, the fun of their journey to becoming villains, finding their inner demon, and getting to shoot one of the most incredible visual sequences of the season.

Collider: How did you guys originally come to this show and did you know what your roles would develop into? Your characters are in very different places than where they started, so did you have any clue that all of this would be happening with them?

HALLEA JONES: When I came on to the show, Eden was really meant to just be the drama at school and the popular girl who was just mean to the new girl, Kinsey, and causing some stuff with Tyler. I was blessed with a bigger opportunity, when the season ended and they Eden became this new demon. And then, with Season 2, it just blew my mind to become a series regular. That’s the biggest honor an actor can experience. She just became this larger-than-life entity that is just incredibly fun to play. I did not know that this was where Eden was going to go, but I am so glad and grateful that it is.

GRIFFIN GLUCK: I had a bit of a different experience. When I first auditioned for Gabe, they let me know, right off the bat, where Gabe’s character was headed. I think they had that planned, a little bit before, and I took that and I ran. I was apparently one of the only people that wasn’t a higher-up or an exec or a producer or a writer, that knew about my arc and I told absolutely nobody, which proves two things – one, I can keep a secret, and two, I’m an idiot because I just thought everyone knew. That’s why I didn’t mention it, really, so I don’t even get credit for the first thing.

Was it hard to wait to get to that point? The whole time you were playing him, before he becomes the big bad of Season 2, were you just anxiously awaiting that point?

GLUCK: No, I was enjoying it. It was more about the journey, not the destination for me, throughout the season. I knew eventually Season 2 would come around, and I thank (co-showrunners) Meredith [Averill] and Carlton [Cuse] and all the rest of the producers and the writers so much, and Joe Hill, and just everyone. I’m not gonna name everyone because I’m gonna leave someone out and someone will get hurt, but thanks to them, I knew that Season 2 was gonna be my time to play around and have fun with my character and do all of these evil, wicked things. So, Season 1 was really about the journey. I don’t think Season 2 would have been as much fun, if I didn’t get to build up that character and the suspense and the thrill of the big plot twist. So, I wasn’t eagerly awaiting my chance. I was excited to set the groundwork for my opportunity to really go at it, full force.

You knew that Gabe would eventually get there, but did you know what the full story arc would be, for both Gabe and Eden? Did you go into this season knowing what the full journey for the season would be, once you were prepared to be playing the villains?

GLUCK: Not at all, personally.

JONES: No, they give us the scripts as we go, so we didn’t really get any information on the end of the season until maybe filming Episode 5.

GLUCK: I don’t even think we got the last few episodes until the week before.

JONES: I was told some things in Episode 5, so that’s when I started knowing.

GLUCK: That’s the rumor mill right there. That was high school drama stuff right there. You’d go up to somebody and be like, “Did you hear about this person?” And someone else is like, “That’s not what I heard. I heard someone does this to that person.” And you’d be like, “Wait, what?!” There were a lot of rumor mills, with people hearing different things from different people and everyone asking what was gonna happen at the end of Season 2, but we didn’t know anything until we actually got the scripts.

How did you guys approach finding these characters for yourselves? They are a bit unusual, in the sense that they are villains and we see certain things come out of them at different times, but they’re not always one way. How did you figure out how you wanted to play that and how big you would go, at any given time?

JONES: I trusted the moment. Through filming, I really learned to trust myself, in certain ways, because a lot of this stuff, I’d never done before in my life. I think Griffin has had similar experiences. It’s not typical, in your day-to-day, to do a lot of the things that we got to do, in this season. So, just trusting the moment and going into it being like, “I’m gonna figure this out,” sometimes as we were going because there are things that you just can’t prep for. Just being present in the moment of filming was a big thing that I personally learned a lot to do, in the second season.
GLUCK: It was definitely a challenge. I’m not the most menacing person. I’m a small man. I am not a muscle-y man. I think everything was working against me, honestly. So, it was a lot of fun for me to find different ways to be menacing and different ways to show power or anger. When you have someone that’s my size and my stature, if I get real mad, you just wanna laugh. It’s not scary. It’s cute. And so, I had to find a way to get rid of that. What I drew from a lot was just watching movies about psychopaths and psychopathic tendencies, like Christian Bale in American Psycho. I’m not gonna say I drew a lot from him for this character, but I love Christian Bale as an actor and something that he said about how he prepared for American Psycho was that he watched Tom Cruise interviews.

I found that to be the funniest thing. He talked about how, in Tom Cruise’s interviews, he would be a bubbly person on the outside, very friendly, and very approachable, but that he was just dead behind the eyes, and that terrified Christian Bale. He said that he drew a lot from that for American Psycho. That got me thinking about other ways that I could draw from psychopathic tendencies that are just scary and very subtle. The dead behind the eyes was a big thing. There’s a full grin smile where the eyes don’t change. The small minute details like that are what really helped me pull Gabe together with not flinching confidence, stature and posture, and not using my hands a lot when I talk. It’s very just straight deadpan with not a lot of movement. I just found fun ways to really sell the psycho inside of Gabe, which was fun for me.

It’s not like you can just go research what it’s like to have a demon inside of you, so you have to figure that out for yourself.

GLUCK: Yeah, and I decided on it being equal parts psychopath and demon inside of him.

Actors often talk about being an advocate for their character and having to find something to love or identify with about everybody they play. But when you play characters like this, do you even worry about that? Do you just find a way to embrace who they are, instead of whether or not you like them or what they’re doing?

JONES: It’s important to find those elements in your character because your character doesn’t believe that they’re wrong or that they’re doing anything wrong. They believe that they’re doing the right thing because that’s their goal and what they want, and they’re gonna stop at nothing. Especially with Eden being a baby demon, she doesn’t really have a very smart way of approaching things. She’s more chaotic and unhinged. I love the fact that Eden is very humorous and has a lot of fun. I found that the humor in Eden brought her back to the part that I could relate to, myself. She’s just living life. This is just who she is. She’s just having a great time, so just let her run free. Go be free, demon girl. Go be free.

GLUCK: For me, it wasn’t really about accepting Gabe for who he was because, at the end of the day, he is wrong. He is a bad person. So, I wasn’t really necessarily concerned about being liked. I knew, going into the character, that Gabe would not be liked. I can’t wait for the backlash because people don’t really know how to separate actors from their characters. People are gonna think I’m a real jerk for awhile, which I’m prepared for. I’m stoked about it. That just means I did a good job. But the interesting thing about villains is they have this characteristic. It’s just how driven they are that, no matter how unlikable they are, you root for them, in some weird way, because without them, the story wouldn’t move forward.

You can see that in shows like You. Joe Goldberg is a terrible person who does terrible things, but you can’t help but root for him because, deep down, he’s doing it all out of love and passion, and he wants his goal so badly. It’s more the writers’ concern, whether or not the character is liked. They can decide whether they’re gonna structure it a certain way to give them any redeeming qualities. I’m not sure if Gabe has any of those. I guess we’ll find out when people give their opinions. We’ll see. I think I would be the worst judge of that because obviously I’m a little too close to the situation. But our characters do believe they’re right, and in some part, you have to believe that as well, to really give the best performance.

Hallea, what was it like to find out about the sequence where you’re trapped under the glass, and then see what that looks like? That’s just such a fantastic moment.

GLUCK: I was so excited for you. When I read that I was like, “This is gonna be so cool.”

JONES: Yeah. I was over the moon. After Episode 5 of Season 1, with the table scene in the cafeteria, I just really threw myself into that and had a blast. They were like, “Okay, she had a lot of fun. Let’s maker her do even crazier things in Season 2.” And they definitely didn’t hold back on that. Actually, when we were in L.A., after the Season 1 premiere, we went to visit the writers’ room. I was with Jesse Camacho and Petrice Jones, and we accidentally walked into the actual room with all of the things on the wall for ideas, and Jesse was like, “I saw Eden, demon, fun.” That’s all she saw. We didn’t see anything else.

But the glass thing in Season 2 was just incredible. It was so it was so strange. I’m really learning about myself, as an actor, and I’m still surprising myself. Throughout a good career, you wanna continue to surprise yourself, and I went for it. I blew out my voice, just screaming those deep, guttural screams. That’s something that we, as humans, don’t typically get to do things like that. We don’t normally get to unleash, like in one of those anger rooms. But for an actor to be put into this glass, where you can scream as loud as you want and hit the glass as hard as you want. I accidentally actually punched the glass, at one point, which we did not feel very good. It was so much fun to just unleash, and I was very excited for it.

Locke & Key is available to stream at Netflix.

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