The actor, who played troubled sibling Luke Crain in Hill House, this time takes on the role of Peter Quint – a villainous character from Bly Manor’s source material The Turn of the Screw who is given an updated story in the new series.
The Invisible Man star, who says he signed up to the new project on the basis of a phone call from Flanagan, has teased some details about the character, saying he didn’t want to play him as a straight-forward villain.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Jackson-Cohen said, “I said, very early on, we can’t play him as a villain. It was a similar conversation that director Leigh [Whannell] and I had on Invisible Man. We didn’t want him to be the black moustache-twirling [guy]. I think the same thing applied with Peter.”
He added, “Mike and I were both really interested in blurring the lines. What Peter does in Bly is toxic. It is about masculinity and it is about ownership and it’s about possession. I kept on saying to Mike, ‘He’s a little boy that’s really badly hurt and he’s put on all of these masks in order to appear to be this thing.’″
Comparing the role to his Hill House character Luke, Jackson-Cohen said there was a crucial difference between the two.
″Luke chose to be good, he had a will to be good. Peter is struggling,” he said.
The Haunting of Bly Manor arrives on Netflix this week and tells the story of an American nanny (Victoria Pedretti) who arrives at the eponymous property to look after two children and soon discovers that the manor is home to some chilling secrets.
It is a revisionist take on Henry James 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw and also incorporates elements of some of James’ other works.