Scottish actor Dougray Scott sat down with CableTV to discuss his role as Norman Godfrey in Hemlock Grove. The series is the second original program offered exclusively to Netflix subscribers.
Q: How did you get involved with Hemlock Grove?
Scott: They sent it to me and I read the script, which I liked very much. Then I read the novel, which I liked very much as well and I thought it was a good idea. I liked the character very much and I thought it was very different, the whole genre is different from what I have done before. I liked the relationship between the actors and I felt Netflix was a new kind of medium to show drama on. I thought it was a really good thing to be involved in right from the beginning.
Q: Was there something specific that drew you into playing Norman Godfrey?
Scott: I think the comedy [laughs]. He is an interesting guy. He starts off on the edge of a nervous breakdown and then that kind of happens. Then his relationship with Olivia (Famke Janssen) takes off and it becomes exciting and volatile at times. His relationship with his daughter, Letha (Penelope Mitchell), and Shelly (Nicole Boivin) is very interesting. He is a guy who is clinging on to what he desires, which is a normal life, and yet everything around him is pulling him in the completely opposite direction. Having an affair with his dead brother’s wife is never going to make you feel at ease and comfortable and relax. He is a very complicated character and I think I am always attracted to something like that.
Q: In the beginning, he had a strong stance and was going to go with his own family and get away from Olivia. Then, over time, he kind of falls into his desires and goes a different route. As an actor, how do you try to play that and still make him a likable character?
Scott: I think the reality is that a lot of people watching will understand the dilemma he faces. It’s not the right choice leaving his wife and going with Olivia, but in his mind that’s what he thinks is going to bring him happiness. Being the sort of character that he is, the thing that he thinks is going to bring him the most happiness is the thing that is ultimately going to bring him so much turmoil. I think that it’s very truthful in a sense. A lot of men try to do the right thing and try to keep the status quo and hurt as few people as possible. In the end, I think what many people think will give them happiness causes them the most pain. It’s a situation and a journey that a lot of men relate to. It’s not something that I would like to experience, but it’s certainly something that I completely understand.
Q: I feel like Norman’s relationship is completely different with Letha, Roman (Bill Skarsgard) and Peter (Landon Liboiron). Why does he help them?
Scott: His daughter is connected with the two of them. One of them is his nephew and the other is his daughter’s boyfriend. He loves his daughter very much and he has a very interesting relationship with her—very protective. He showers her with love and I don’t think he is quite ready to let her go. He is mindful of the fact that she is very young, she’s 17, and she is embarking on a sexual relationship. He thinks she is actually certifiably insane as well because she thinks she got pregnant from immaculate conception.
His relationship with Roman is very complicated in that he is the son of Olivia and probably his son as well. I think that no one knows that except him and Olivia, and it’s a secret that is implied in the series. I am not sure how obvious it is. So not only has he been having an affair with his dead brother’s wife, but he is also the father of the son that his dead brother thought he had. His relationship with all three of them, as you say, is different. But I think, ultimately, he is a very good man, a very caring man. He is incredible selfish and incredibly destructive at times, but ultimately I think he has a very good heart.
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Photo credit: Dougray Scott from Netflix’s Hemlock Grove. Credit: Gavin Bond for Netflix.
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