When TVLine was approached about chatting with Kate Siegel about The Haunting of Bly Manor, it was under the agreement that we wouldn’t breathe a word about the conversation until today, three days after after the horror anthology’s second season premiered.
After all, Siegel — who played The Haunting of Hill House‘s touch-y psychic Theo — doesn’t show up until Bly Manor‘s penultimate episode (most of which was shot in black-and-white), and details about her character were kept under tight wraps during filming. And with good reason: Siegel’s Viola, a 17th century woman whose sister kills her in her sleep, turns out to be the very reason that the British country estate is haunted by the spirits of anyone who has the misfortune to die there.
Though much of Bly Manor is based on Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw, series creator Mike Flanagan also pulled heavily from James’ The Romance of Certain Old Clothes, which provides the bulk of Viola’s narrative (albeit with a few tweaks). But little of this was known before the season hit Netflix Friday.
So when we talked to Siegel ahead of Bly Manor‘s premiere, we sensed joy in the very act of her being able to discuss the show in detail, starting with that commanding painting of her as Viola that hangs in the home’s magnificent entryway throughout the season.