'Hemlock Grove's' Famke Janssen says show gives her nightmares

Famke Janssen. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Famke Janssen. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Sean Fitzgerald, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:20 PM ET

Working on Hemlock Grove wasn’t the easiest thing for Famke Janssen.

The supernatural soap opera, executive produced by horror auteur Eli Roth (Hostel, Cabin Fever), recently returned to Netflix for a second season, bringing along all the requisite gross-out moments and gallons of fake blood. But the thing is, Janssen doesn’t like blood.

“I’m squeamish,” she says. “So if I have to go to a hospital to get blood taken, it’s a real negotiation. How many tubes? Somebody has to sit with me, they’ve gotta talk, they have to sort of, lie me down… that’s how I feel about blood. It scares me. I’m not a fan of it. I’m the antithesis of Eli, who would probably love to wake up in a puddle of blood, and then drink it.”

Janssen, known mostly for her roles in films like GoldenEye, Taken and as Jean Grey in the X-Men movies, stars in Hemlock Grove as Olivia Godfrey, the wealthy and conniving villain of the show. Aside from being uncomfortable around blood — which is kind of funny, considering that her character is an Upir, or a type of vampire — the actress also admits that working on the series gives her nightmares.

“Dark things affect me, yeah, and I have a hard time shaking them,” she says, adding that her active imagination doesn’t need much stimulation to get going. “So, I wasn’t watching fully when scary things happened on set. I tried to stay clear of it as much as possible.”

Hemlock Grove, a Netflix Original that debuted in April 2013, follows the mysterious happenings of a small town in Pennsylvania. And while the first season didn’t receive the same accolades as other Netflix properties like House of Cards or Orange is the New Black, it seemed to find its niche audience of genre fans that enjoy dramas featuring werewolves and vampires.

The first season closely followed the plot details of the 2012 novel by Brian McGreevy, but the new batch of episodes gave the writers the freedom to undercover new creepy layers of the story.

Charles H. Eglee, also known as ‘Chic’ Eglee, joined the team for the second season, bringing along extensive TV experience from working as the showrunner for Dexter, The Shield and The Walking Dead. Eglee, who admits that he’s “not really a genre guy,” says that he places a real emphasis on character development so that Hemlock Grove isn’t just filled with mindless gore.

“There’s a certain promise, when you see Eli Roth’s name, that you’re making with the audience,” he says. “So, you certainly want to deliver on expectations. But those moments are not designed to be exploitation. They’re moments that are earned and come out of the fabric of storytelling.”

And while both Janssen and Eglee think that the show’s story can continue in many intriguing ways, neither of them are willing to comment on the possibility of a third season, which hasn’t been confirmed by Netflix yet.

“Trust me, I’m really good at keeping secrets,” says Janssen, “but I honestly don’t know (about a third season).”

Perhaps taking a break from Hemlock Grove will give Janssen’s sensitive stomach and vivid imagination a welcome chance to recover, especially since the second season ended in such an intense way. We won’t spoil it here, but Janssen says it was the grossest moment of her Hemlock Grove experience.

“I was really getting nauseous just from the idea of all of it,” she says with a laugh. “It was way too far for me. I’m sure Eli was feeling like a little pig, happy in its own s---, just thrilled with the amount of gore and blood, but for me, that was too far.”

The second season of Hemlock Grove is currently available to stream in its entirety on Netflix right now.

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