Executive Producer Paul Giamatti talks about the fragmented paths and the worlds within worlds on AMC’s Lodge 49.
Q: People sometimes struggle to explain Lodge 49 as a show. Why do you think that is?
A: I’m always divided about it. There’s a part of me that goes, “I get it. It’s tough to describe.” Then there’s a part of me that goes, “No it’s not! It’s about a group of people forming a community and trying to figure out life’s mysteries. They’re trying to hold their sh—t together.” It’s complicated because it’s so full of real life, even though it’s fantastical. It’s about so many things – so many big things and so many small things – the huge things in people’s lives and the nitty gritty details in people’s lives.
Q: Season 1 really focused on the character’s relationships with each other, while Season 2 focuses much more on their individual paths. How important is this perspective for the viewers and the growth of the characters?
A: It’s tremendous. Jim [Gavin] has such a handle on these people and such a vast knowledge of people and life in general. Everyone’s on a different path and it’s so real and believable and amazing. The first season builds the idea of these relationships and of the place, and the second season fragments. People start off on their own individual path and everybody gets self-involved with their own future. They’re all trying to control their own destiny.
One of my favorite things this season is Scott’s journey. You start seeing more of him and what a wonderfully frustrating and sad figure he is. He’s not doing the wrong thing. He’s right – the place needs to get cleaned up and jazzed up, but he’s just trying too hard. [Laughs] What a wonderfully complicated character. He’s not just an asshole.
Everybody’s got their individual journey. We get into some deep stuff…and it’s interesting to watch Dud. It’s funny what he goes through – he’s going to get his sh—t together and get married and save everything and it becomes this weird controlling thing, which is not what he’s like. He’s not going with the flow. He’s fighting against the tide, and that fu—ks him up. Liz gets out of debt and begins to become a protectress of people. Everybody is on a different path and fragmented, and the whole idea is to get them back together again, which is what Dud and Scott are trying to do.
Q: We get a deeper look into the alchemy and history behind the lodge this season. What is your favorite part of that world?
A: I love all of it. I find all of that fascinating. I was so excited to talk about the hollow Earth and that there might have been a lodge in Antarctica. Jim pulls in all of these wacky esoteric theories about stuff like that. There’s the Parabola group and the group within the group. I love how there’s always a further secret in this show. You get to the secret and then there’s one even further. There’s a room within the room. There’s a secret figure who is running things behind the secret figure running things. You never get to the ultimate thing.
Q: Can you talk about introducing some of the new characters this season?
A: It was awesome. The fact that they got Cheech Marin was just amazing. He’s so great with Brent [Jennings] and his whole shamanistic ability to reach the future. So much of this is about the future. Everybody is worried about their future all the time, but he’s got it all down. Daphne (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) is so great. There are so many great people.
Q: No one can describe the place Blaise and Lamar are staying… what can you say about it?
A: It’s a really good question. [Laughs] The actual set design captures something, too. This is another one of those places that seems to be behind everything because, of course, those two guys show up who were working at Orbis and they’re involved. To me, it seems to be some kind of mental health facility that is almost cultish. It’s this old-school, alternative therapy. It’s a product of another age. It’s an alternative therapeutic place for one to self-actualize. It’s a combination of all this weird striving in the world to put yourself back together and be better than before. There’s a lot of Jungian stuff around. In a metaphorical way, Blaise enters this unconscious dream world and L. Marvin Metz is there and he’s just something out of a weird dream. They all enter some place that allows them to free themselves up and go to Mexico. It’s this trippy dream world that makes it possible for them to go to Mexico.
Q: Blaise is trying to forget about everything he knew, and loved, about Lodge 49. Where’s he at on his journey? What did that robbery do to him?
A: It’s tragic. He just falls apart and loses faith in the whole thing. L. Marvin Metz is there because he knows he can type there and nobody is going to bother him and people will give him weird drugs so he can write faster. Blaise is there and it’s a place he feels like he can hide in. It seems to be a place where people are hiding, but he can’t hide from himself for long and he can’t hide from the truth. He knows this stuff is real. His faith in the lodge will be restored.
Q: What were you most excited about for Season 2?
A: I was just so excited for more of it. Jim knows exactly where this thing is going, but I don’t. There’s so much joy for me in this show. It’s so much fun to put it together and try to make connections. I was personally excited because Jim decided to throw me into it and I was going to be a part of the world. Just watching the thing unfold…it’s just such a pleasure to be in that world. It feels so joyous and safe. I just love it.
Read an interview with Daniel Stewart Sherman, who plays Jeremy.
Lodge 49 airs Mondays at 10/9c.
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