Finding Christmasland with NOS4A2
By Pauline Perenack
After debuting the show NOS4A2 at WonderCon a few months ago, AMC brought it to Comic Con to talk about the current season, what viewers can expect in the battle between Manx and Vic in the final episodes of this season, and ultimately delighted fans in the room with news of an upcoming season two.
Filling out the panel for the evening was showrunner and executive producer Jami O’Brien, author and executive producer Joe Hill, and stars Zachary Quinto and Ashleigh Cummings. After a wonderful moment where Cummings kept pointing out “Wally” in the crowd to a confused Quinto who figured out she had found “Waldo” and Cummings laughingly realizing he’s called “Waldo” in the US, and not “Wally,” the four started talking about the current season of the show, and what’s coming up. Here are some of the things discussed:
- The premise for the show was developed when Hill saw a car with a license plate of GHOST. He already had the idea for Vic in his mind, and was able to marry the two ideas to create NOS4A2.
- O’Brien jokingly said that production owns more Wraiths than anyone else in the world. The first was found in Canada and the second in Massachusetts. Neither one does well with stunts, so they also built a stunt Wraith.
- Cummings initially thought she was reading for a guest spot, since the teenage Vic in the book isn’t around too much (there’s a lot of focus on young Vic, and older Vic). However, she found the character to be very complex, and to be a heroine, but not an average heroine. Instead, Vic is really flawed. Her superpower is her creativity and her heart, which usually isn’t seen in the superhero world.
- Quinto initially said no to the character of Manx, but since the scripts for all episodes had already been written, friends of his convinced him to read them to see if he liked them. The scripts drew him in, and the connection he had with O’Brien sealed the deal. Reading the book and the graphic novel only drew him in more.
- The show itself is “loyally disloyal” to the book. O’Brien said that Marti Noxon told her that books and shows are sisters, but not twins. They take place in different mediums so can never be exactly the same.
- O’Brien knew she wanted the teenage Vic through the majority of the series, and to be the one to take audiences through the journey.
- Cummings feels that the horror genre is a great landscape to focus on big topics.
- Quinto knew that his makeup would be an important part of the process, and he needed to feel confident in that process. It was a contingent to him joining the show. The most intense makeup takes about 4 hours to put on, and about 25 minutes to get off.
- The kids in the show are mostly local. Quinto felt it would be a big deal for them to see him in the makeup chair so that they knew what was going on. The overall wellbeing of the kids was very important to everyone in production.
- Star Jahkara Smith had no prior acting experience. O’Brien found her through YouTube videos Smith made. Smith was also in the Air Force until about two weeks before filming began.
- The book shows a lot of juxtaposition around the character of Manx. Episode 3 was the first time the show really depicted this same juxtaposition. (The moment Manx is buying air fresheners as one of the children are eating a worried mother in the Wraith).
- Quinto really recommends that fans read the book while watching the show.
- There will be a lot of backstory for Manx in season two.
- Cummings said that she was Vic McQueen in that there are parts of her childhood in Vic.
- Hill is a big fan of the crackle of energy that exists between Quinto and Cummings.
The season finale of NOS4A2 airs Sunday, July 28 on AMC.