Season 2 of Kate Mulvany’s “The Hunters” premieres Friday. Photo courtesy of Prime Video
NEW YORK, Jan. 13 (UPI) — Elvis and The Great Gatsby star Kate Mulvany says her alternate-history drama, Hunters, found a way to ratchet up the tension even further in its second season.
“I don’t think you can get much higher stakes than hunting Adolf Hitler and that’s what the hunters are doing this season,” Mulvany told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.
“It really brings it home when you have a character who is played so malevolently by Udo Kier,” the actress added.
“When you have him in full costume and makeup in front of you, it is confronting and devastating and traumatizing, but also we are doing our best to — in this alternate universe in this alternate narrative — to pose some questions to the person who deserves the questions to be posed to.”
Season 2 of Hunters premieres on Prime Video Friday. Season 1 introduced Nazi hunters living in 1970s New York and trying to prevent the Fourth Reich from forming in the United States.
It ended with the revelation that Hitler still was alive and well in South America instead of having committed suicide in a bunker in 1945 as World War II was ending.
The show co-stars Logan Lerman, Al Pacino, Josh Radnor, Tiffany Boone, Lena Olin and Jerrika Hinton.
“Season 1 ended with a bunch of quite traumatized and thunderstruck hunters who end up having repercussions all through Season 2. They are trying so desperately to hold onto one another, but whether that is for good or not, I’m not going to reveal,” Mulvany said.
The actress did divulge who her character, Sister Harriet, is most frequently seen with in Season 2.
“It’s so weird to say I have scenes with Al Pacino, who is a delight and I just adore working with. I think [showrunner David Weil] has written to that,” she said.
“He has really written us some scenes that play to our forte with each other. The other person I have a lot of scenes with is Jennifer Jason Leigh, who has joined our cast and our team and again is an absolute delight.”
Mulvany said she tried to restrain her inner “fan girl” when she was around her idol.
“I had a poster of her on my wall when I was a kid, so, all of a sudden, she is in front of me and we are performing in a scene together, it was such a gift. She is glorious. I think people will really get a kick out of her character, Chava,” the actress said.
Mulvany based her Holocaust survivor/Catholic nun/former MI6 agent character on Julie Andrews’ iconic portrayal of Mary Poppins.
“I wanted to make her super-posh,” she said. “Once I locked into that, I found that she had a very particular way of standing. Sister Harriet was very physically based, and that helped me immensely. But, of course, the biggest clues come from David Weil’s magnificent scripts and the writers he brings in.”
The actress said Weil welcomed input from her and the cast, especially in Season 2, because they all knew the characters so well.
“He’s such a rare gift in that way. Through him is how I found Sister Harriet,” she said.
Fans of the show who posted Sister Harriet artwork or theories about the plot online helped her stay connected to the character when she was isolated during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns in Australia in between Seasons 1 and 2.
“That’s the stuff that really percolates with me and makes me really excited and thrilled that she has had an impact on people and that’s the kind of stuff I took into Season 2,” Mulvany said.
“There was a moment when there was talk about whether Sister Harriet should remove her veil more in Season 2. And I said: “No. She’s got to keep it on as much as possible because the fans love it.’
“There’s something about a nun swearing and doing all sorts of diabolical things that just resonates with her wearing the veil. So, they were really kind to allow me to wear the veil.”
Although the show is fiction, Mulvany said she hopes viewers see parallels to 21st-century geopolitics, particularly the need to resist fascism so the events of World War II never happen again.
“We have to recognize when history is repeating. It may come in a different guise. It might have different characters involved, but it’s still history repeating,” Mulvany said.
“We must learn from the mistakes of the past and we must take care of one another, whether that means as individuals or to find your own empathetic hearts that you can surround yourself with the way the Hunters do, maybe not go to the extremes the Hunters do.
“But to find love and compassion and empathy in the world around you is the ultimate message.”
Mulvany said she also enjoyed exploring the show’s nuanced depictions of justice, murder and revenge.
“The [Hunters] are vigilantes, and that doesn’t mean they are doing the right thing,” she said.
“It’s not the answer. Especially in Season 2, they are really wrestling with that,” the actress added.
“They’ve been through the diabolical trick that was played on them by their boss in Season 1, and it’s about how many faces we have and what faces we choose to present to the world.”