Mike Flanagan has a habit of using a core bunch of actors for his various horror projects, and indeed his latest Netflix series The Haunting of Bly Manor brought back many familiar faces from The Haunting of Hill House.
But one star who he had to think hard to find a role for in the new series is his frequent collaborator – and wife – Kate Seigel, who has previously appeared in several of his works.
Seigel said she and Flanagan initially couldn’t think of a role from the source novella The Turn of the Screw that would be well-suited to her, and so they came up with an alternative plan.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, she said, “As he [Flanagan] was telling me about the story of The Turn of the Screw, I’m looking at him going, ‘There’s no part for me here. I’m not the young naive governess, I’m not the other governess, I’m certainly not Mrs. Gross, so there just isn’t a part here.'”
She continued, “This is so ridiculous and I apologise in advance to Mike but I was like, ‘Why can’t you just write me something where I get to wear a bunch of beautiful clothes and lounge around? Because everything I’ve been doing has been running around, my heart’s breaking, my sister’s screaming at me in a car. I just want to wear pretty dresses and be warm.’ I’m not saying that’s the reason episode eight exists, but I’m not saying it’s not!”
And she added, “He was waiting for something I would enjoy doing and could excel at. Especially an episode like this, where it’s a bottle episode and you’re gonna see all-new characters, you needed a familiar face right at the beginning of it so fans would stick with the episode.
“I kind of ground it. Viewers are going to be interested because I’m from season one so they know this is something to watch. It’s a bit of a trick to keep people watching episode eight.”
Seigel’s character Viola ends up dying after contracting a terminal disease (read our explainer about the lung in The Haunting of Bly Manor) and becomes the first ghost to haunt Bly Manor – the terrifying Lady of the Lake.