As for me, I'm a huge fan of the show and from what I've seen from the three episodes of the new season they sent me, the next 13 weeks are going to be just as awesomely nutbar as last season's were. Though I'm still not sold on Rose Byrne as an actress, and I likely never will be, as she's still really way out of her league here, I'm sorry to report. But, luckily, everyone else on the show is amazing, and new castmembers William Hurt, Marcia Gay Harden, Goodwin from Lost and Tim Olyphant are fitting in very nicely and doing the great work we all expected them to. And Glenn Close is still terrifying. A little less so, so far, than last season, but, you know, she's still Glenn Close, and Glenn Close is terrifying. And also fairly loopy on this call, as she joined it the morning after a very late shoot. This ended up being surprisingly awesome, actually. Because the hardest part about playing Patty Hewes? Apparently it's the high heels, people. Oh, and this is a little premiere episode spoiler-filled, obviously. Just FYI.
Todd A. Kessler: What we did in the first season was the mystery was solved by the end of the season. And one of the kind of mantras that we have over here is that we don't like to repeat ourselves, so that's probably an answer by way of not answering in that it will be revealed before the end of the season of who is sitting in the chair.
You see Ray Fiske in the first episode and Patty's sort of having nightmares. How is she going to deal with that?
Glenn Close: The truth is she's been highly, highly traumatized. I think the Ray Fiske suicide spun her into a place that she'd never been before; she lost control, she put a hit out on Ellen, there's a lot that she regrets, and you have to take that into consideration. People do not easily recover from that, and it actually, informs, I think, the entire second year.
Ted Danson's character last year and William Hurt's this year had to be really strong because Patty is so strong. And they have to be someone we eventually really want to see brought down, so that as mean as Patty is we still want her to win. Can you talk about creating that kind of character and why you chose William Hurt and so on.
Daniel Zelman: It is very true that we need to bring in a character who is very strong in his or her own right to sort of go up against Patty. But at the same time William Hurt's presence this year is very different from Ted Danson's, because he doesn't enter the story as a pure adversary of Patty's. He enters sort of the opposite way where he has a past with Patty and Patty actually starts the season trying to help him. And it was important for us to have a different dynamic in that regards, but at the same time William has a lot of scenes with Glenn; a lot more scenes with Glenn than Ted had last year. And so it was even more important for us that we have an actor who really can hold his own in scenes with Glenn.
Have there been any challenges that are different this season versus last season?
GC: I actually think I had more fun this year than last year. It's not like I didn't have fun last year, but I was kind of getting used to the process. And now I feel like I can kind of dance around in the process, and that's great and it's great for me.
I find every aspect of this show challenging, and I don't think there is anything particularly -- all the hours I spend in very high heels. It's certainly mind challenging. But I can't think of any one huge challenge.
Are you trying to reposition Patty as a more heroic figure this season?
DZ: I think that there's a sort of guideline we go by with Patty, which is that the one constant with her is that she really genuinely hates bullies. Her compass is sort of always attuned to where the bullies are in society, and she's always looking to stand up for the weak against the bullies. That's something that we feel is genuine to who she is and genuine to her experience in life; we never think of her as being heroic or not heroic.
There's such an interesting scene with Patty, her son, and Purcell at the elevator. Is a payoff coming soon on that scene?
DZ: Well there's certainly a payoff coming. Yes, the payoff is coming soon.
Glenn Close, you've had so many memorable characters in your career. Are there any that have kind of stuck with you that you would love to revisit or just you've never quite let go of?
GC: Oh, I think they all become kind of a fabric of your consciousness or sub-consciousness. I don't think I'd want to revisit, except maybe Norma Desmond. Hearing this past week, I think it was, that Sunny von Bülow had died, that was a character that when I played her all those years ago haunted me for a while. And I think I'm reminded all the time of Alex Forth, because I think that has become kind of a part of our pop culture, and that character has had huge resonance with everyone who sees that movie, and that's ongoing. I think those who remember The Big Chill that had the same kind of -- I don't know if "we're just chilling" came from that movie, but... Yes. So I've been lucky to be in movies that actually have kind of had long-term resonance.
How did the character of Patty change for you when you found out in the process that she was behind the attempt on Ellen's life?
GC: That was a hard one for me, the actor, to accept, because that was pretty dire. But I can basically rationalize anything. But I think it actually ended up being understandable, because I really believe -- I actually knew somebody who was much closer to them than Fiske was to Patty, who did that. That's not something you ever get over. So what happened, what Fiske did in front of Patty, is enough to explain a lot of behavior. And I think that became truthful to me.
When you're playing a character that is so much in control you're very careful; you want to make the times where she loses control to be authentic. And I think that event was enough. It spun her to where she couldn't trust Ellen, because of that one thing that Ellen said, and then it also took her back to the grave of her stillborn daughter. So I eventually came to believe in it, but it was a bit of a mouthful at first.
At the end of last season Ellen joined up with the F.B.I. to bring Patty down. Are her plans going to go awry at some point and where is she going in season two?
TK: We're very excited about the kind of two major things that are happening this season. One is that we're really getting to learn a lot more about Patty's personal life and kind of explore who she is.
And then the second part is exploring Ellen. The first season ended with Ellen signing on to work as an informant for the Feds to try to bring down Patty.
And the way that we've been thinking about it is that the first season, well overall, as the series of Damages rests on the relationship between Patty and Ellen. We have kind of realized that the first season in many ways was Ellen's birth into the professional world and taking her up to kind of pre-adolescent, and this season we've come to realize it as potentially Ellen's adolescence where she is rebelling against the parental figure or the boss in that of Patty Hewes.
And so this season will follow a trajectory of that rebellion and then coming out of the end of the second season, heading into the third, our desire is to explore a more kind of adult relationship between these two characters as they are functioning together. Without giving away too much of what happens in the second season that each season will take a different look at kind of the mentor/protégé relationship.
Less protégé, more mentor, please, I say. Agree? Disagree? Leave your second season hopes and dreams in the comments.
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