Josh Hartnett Talks Season 2 of Showtime’s Addictive ‘Penny Dreadful’ (INTERVIEW)

The gothic-horror drama returns with a new villain, character twists and, of course, more sex.
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The gothic-horror drama returns with a new villain, character twists and, of course, more sex.

Showtime’s acclaimed series Penny Dreadful is back for a second season, premiering this Sunday on Showtime. (Not on the bandwagon yet? You could easily binge-watch the first season to catch-up before the premiere; it’s only eight episodes.)

A monster mash-up of the best kind, the show brings together supernatural characters from Victorian genre literature in a grand spectacle that’s both artsy and campy – and all at once grossly entertaining.

This season, series stars Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton are fighting a fierce new evil force in Helen McCrory that is sure to make Season 2 a bloody good time.

While the Penny Dreadful cast was promoting the show in Los Angeles, Bio got to spend some time with leading man Josh Hartnett, as he gave reporters some tidbits on what’s ahead for his character this season.

Penny Dreadful Season 2 Photo

Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler in Penny Dreadful. (Photo: Courtesy of SHOWTIME)

For those who need a quick refresher: In the first season finale, the secret identity of American gunslinger Ethan Chandler was revealed: He’s a werewolf!

“We had to hold so much back in the first season, we didn’t want to give too much away about Ethan until the end, so this second season, I really get to blossom and have a lot of fun,” Hartnett told us.

“This season, Ethan discovers who he is and what he’s about, so he changes dramatically,” Hartnett explained. “He didn’t know what he was [last season]… he just knew he’d wake up and there’d be blood. A murder had occurred — most likely at his hands — and he’s been running from that for a long time.”

In discovering who he is, there’s “a sense of relief” for Ethan, Hartnett says, “and anger.” It will be a prickly process: “He’ll go through the stages of grief, finding out that he’s something he can’t control.”

As if having a monster identity crisis weren’t enough to deal with, Ethan is also being hunted by a dogged Scotland Yard inspector (a new character played by Doug Hodge).

Penny Dreadful Season 2 Photo

Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful. (Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

“It’s not an easy season for Ethan,” Hartnett added.

Will there be any bright spots? How about on the love front?

“My relationship with Vanessa [Eva Green] has grown quite a bit,” he teased, but he opted not to elaborate.

Here are 5 Things to Know About the New Season of Penny Dreadful:

1. Say Hello to Witches…and a Wildly Wicked New Villain:

“This season, we embrace witchcraft,” says series creator John Logan. “The character Evelyn Poole (a.k.a. Madame Kali, the spiritualist introduced at the séance in Season 1) becomes the antagonist for not only Vanessa but all the characters” and “poses a unique threat.”

Penny Dreadful Season 2 Photo

Rory Kinnear as the creature, Danny Sapani as Sembeme, Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm, Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray, Eva Green as Vanessa Ives, Josh Hartnett as Ethan Chandler, Helen McCrory as Evelyn Poole and Harry Treadaway as Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful. (Photo: Jim Fiscus/SHOWTIME)

“With Evelyn Poole (played by Helen McCrory), this season [we have] an actual antagonist who can speak… now we have a proper villain, and we enjoy her immensely,” Logan teased.

2. Ethan and Vanessa Get Cozy:

“Last season, our heroes were hunters. This season, they are the hunted. They are the prey,” Logan explained.

“And Ethan has drawn closer to Vanessa in every conceivable way this season due to the pressure on them,” he added.

P.S. Be on the lookout for Patti LuPone, who guest stars this season as “a mysterious character of great importance in Vanessa’s past.”

3. Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton) Faces Evil Temptation:

“Sir Malcolm is drawn into a relationship with Evelyn Poole that alienates him, romantically, personally, and supernaturally, from the rest of the people in the series,” Logan says.

Penny Dreadful Season 2 Photo

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm and Helen McCrory as Evelyn Poole in Penny Dreadful. (Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME)

4. Dr. Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway) Creates a New “Monster”:

In creating a playmate to keep the tragically lonely Creature (Rory Kinnear) company, “Dr. Frankenstein is grappling with a new life form which is a woman — the woman he killed, Ethan’s ex-flame Brona Croft (Billie Piper) — and has to deal with what those emotions and feelings are,” Logan says. Translation: One monstrous love triangle.

5. And What About Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney)…?:

One of the more shocking (and sexy) scenes of Season 1 was the unexpected make-out session between the immortal Dorian Gray and the hunky gunslinger, both of whom have a connection to Vanessa. When reporters asked Logan if that plot point will be revisited in Season 2, he smiled and simply said, “Perhaps.”

Penny Dreadful airs Sundays at 10/9c on Showtime, beginning May 3.