Spoiler alert, Haunting fans! If you have not already binged The Haunting of Bly Manor on Netflix, leave now because we’re chatting with the most mysterious star of the season…
It’s time to get to know the Lady in the Lake!
The Haunting of Bly Manor star Kate Siegel made her ghostly debut in episode eight and now she’s walking ET through her journey as the most captivating, yet horrifying character of the season.
Two years after the massive success of The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix, creator and executive producer Mike Flanagan — also known as Siegel’s real-life husband! — has gifted horror fans with an anthological follow-up filled with familiar faces in a brand-new, nine-episode ghost story.
And now that star Victoria Pedretti has already opened up about Bly Manor’s bittersweet finale, it’s time to break down episode eight.
From that confusing body-snatching rule, to the Lady in the Lake’s haunting transformation and season 3 secrets, we’ve got everything you need to know. Plus, Siegel reveals what Theo from The Haunting of Hill House is up to today!
ET: The Haunting of Hill House was such a smash success and now we are two years later with The Haunting of Bly Manor, which has a lot of familiar faces but a very different storyline. When you first read the script for episode eight, what was your initial reaction?
Kate Siegel: Oh my gosh, so I at the time had a brand-new baby. I had just had a baby after Hill House and I didn’t know I was gonna be in Bly. Like I said, we’ve been waiting and I didn’t know, and so one day Mike invited me into the writers’ room and I sat down and Leah [Fong] pitched the entire story of episode eight. She just told it to me right there and I don’t mean to be as dramatic as I am, but I am, so I cried. I thought it was just a heartbreaking story. I have a sister who is very close to me. I love her dearly and to feel so seen, to have that love story, the love story of two sisters being told is something I think many people can relate to and don’t see very often.
What was your reaction when you realized the big twist at the end of the season finale was that the narrator of the ghost story was actually Jamie the gardener?
I loved that! First of all, I’m a big Carla Gugino fan, and so the second I saw her onscreen, I knew something was going on here. It was really fun, that and finding out that Miss Gross was a ghost. Those scenes in the kitchen where she’s just doing it over and over again and Rahul [Kohli] is just kind of leading her through it. I love that.
Let’s talk about the body-snatching because I feel like we need to establish some rules. So the phrase, “It’s you. It’s me. It’s us,” allows the spirit to merge with your body. We got to see that Flora and Miles were eventually able to take back control over their mind and push Rebecca and Peter out. Why do you think Dani wasn’t completely able to push the Lady in the Lake out of her?
Well, I think Viola is a stubborn, full-grown, passionate woman who has a bit more spiritual weight than the children. Also, Viola created this game so she can change the rules because she knows the inner workings. She’s the watchmaker so she can open it up and move the gears around and so I think Viola was cutting Dani off at every turn.
At the end of the series, we see that Dani is now at the bottom of the Bly lake, but that the Lady in the Lake never returns to kill anyone else. What was your reaction when you learned that you kind of had a bit of a bittersweet happy ending?
I loved that. I thought it was such a correct ending for Viola because she really is a monster — let’s not forget. Even though she loves her daughter completely and would have done anything to get her, including killing lots and lots of people. But at the end, when she sees that she has come in between another true love story, I think she leaves. She realizes she has to give it up because she is hurting the very things she was fighting for, which was true love.
We think that people are going to fall so head over heels for Dani and Jamie’s relationship — their love story is so gorgeous. When Dani had Viola inside of her and she was able to have those extra years with Jamie, do you feel that was purely Dani existing or was Viola part of their relationship?
I mean, I’m down for a thruple, [Laughs] but I’m not sure that was really there. I think Viola is too long gone for that. She’s not really experiencing human emotions and I wouldn’t want to take away from the true love of those two women.
Speaking of being too long gone, we definitely saw that physically with her. Viola lost her face over the years, which was so haunting. Were you always the Lady in the Lake when we saw her throughout the series? Was there a body double? Break that down for us.
I had a wonderful body double: the stuntwoman and performer named Daniela Dib. As I said, I had a young baby at home, I could not fly to Vancouver and galavant in the middle of the night. As much as I wanted to, I was not capable of doing that as I was breastfeeding– so I guess I was galavanting in the middle of the night in my own house as opposed to Bly Manor. So Daniela did a lot of that body double work for me and I did some of it once I got to shoot episode eight. I was able to kind of step in and do a bit of the work. But she took the lion’s share of that hard time.
When you did get to act out those scenes, it was so haunting with the faceless effect. Was that effect done in post? Was it a makeup?
Two ways it’s done: One is through post. It’s totally done through special effects, but the other is there is a silicone mask that has eyes cut out and a slit for the mouth and two little holes for the nose and so it starts that way and then the effects to it. It’s very creepy and very heavy.
When Viola found the child in her bed, we realized that was the same child who was moving the figurines in the doll house. When the child was moving the dolls, was he dictating the Lady in the Lake’s route, or was he merely letting Flora know where the ghosts were?
He’s letting Flora know. The doll house boy — because Flora gave him a face and a story — he then repaid that by making sure she knew where all the ghosts were. And that’s how her and Miles could save Dani every time they did. “I need a nighttime story.” “I need some more milk.” “You’re gonna get locked in the closet now!” Oh, that was good, Victoria just nails that! It was so scary.
We had the pleasure of speaking with Victoria and she was saying the one thing she was bummed about this season was she barely got time to spend with you.
I know! Victoria and I go back to the very, very, very first days of Hill House. I picked her up to drive her to her screen test because she was so brand new and new to L.A. and she didn’t have a car and she is such sweetness and light. She is so talented. So proud of her for all that she’s done.
We love the fact that you are married to the brilliant Mike Flanagan, the executive producer on Hill House and Bly Manor, so we’re curious to know: Do you get spoilers during your pillow talk? Are you privy to the new storylines?
The only pillow talk I like is spoiler pillow talk! There’s so many wonderful things about being married to Mike, but I would say hearing his stories first is one of them.
So do you get “dibs” on which character you’d like to play? How does that work?
I don’t do that anymore. I think it’s a little bit inappropriate. A lot of people ask him for jobs and he clearly knows I’m an actress. He knows what I do so I, kind of, just wait and it’s fun because it’s like Christmas. I don’t know what Mike has planned for me and then when he decides he wants me to do something, I’m ready to be there.
Do you get to know the full arc right away or does he like to leave you little bread crumbs?
He’ll give me all the information he has, luckily, because otherwise I would just bug him until he gave it to me.
We’ve got to ask you about season 3 of The Haunting. What can you tell us?
You know, what’s very important to me is to stay married, so I just can’t reveal anything.
Would you be open to returning?
Without a doubt. If he needs me, I’ll be there.
We have a bit of an investigative question for you. As you mentioned, you had a little baby when you were filming Bly Manor and you have a little girl named Theodora Isabelle Irene Flanagan. Obviously, you played Theo in Hill House. Your character’s daughter’s name is Isabelle in Bly Manor. Could we expect to see some type of Irene connection for season 3?
Oh, you know that hasn’t happened, but I will pitch it. That’s a good one for sure! Theo is not gonna have enough identity issues to begin with. She’s going to be like, “Mom! That’s so weird you named me after your own character?”
It was an amazing character! We think about Theo all the time.
Just in case you’re wondering, Theo is now a social worker in Portland. [She and Trish are still together] and they have a daughter. This is what I think about when I can’t sleep. I miss Theo and I think about her all the time. When I get stuck in my own life, I think, what would Theo do? And it’s always drink vodka, but after I drink vodka, it’s a better choice than what I was gonna make so it’s like I have this whole life for her that’s in my head in Portland. She’s having a great time.