After the breakaway success of The Walking Dead, AMC has gradually turned into more of a home for prestige horror programming. The genre has found new life on television in ways that it never has before. While the works of Stephen King are a constant source of material for horror films and television, his son, Joe Hill, is also no stranger to seeing his works get adapted. One of Hill’s most acclaimed novels is N0S4A2, a massive story that covers a decades-long fight between forces of good and evil, all while warping Christmas and its iconography into the stuff of nightmares. With the first season of AMC’s television adaptation of N0S4A2 nearly over and the entire thing available on demand, we caught up with Hill, showrunner Jami O’Brien, and the show’s star, Ashleigh Cummings (Vic McQueen) at San Diego Comic-Con to talk about the essential chemistry between the cast and what lies ahead for Vic and her mission against Charlie Manx.
Hill emphasizes how crucial the casting process is to adapated works: “The one thing that you can’t count on is chemistry. Either it happens or it doesn’t.” The story’s major protagonist, Vic McQueen, is such a complex role and it wasn’t an easy process to cast the part. “It’s a challenging role,” explains executive producer, Jami O’Brien. “A lot of ladies would either bring Vic’s vulnerability or her bad ass side, but when Ashleigh came in she just had it all, as well as the necessary chemistry where it counts.”
Vic goes through a highly personal journey throughout the first season of N0S4A2, but her relationship with the few supporting players is just as important. “Every time Vic and Maggie are together it’s just so much fun,” admits Hill. “It’s so Butch and Sundance. That’s been such a fun surprise to watch come to life.” On the other side of the spectrum for Vic is the villainous Charlie Manx, with whom the character shares a strange connection. “He’s [Zachary Quinto] such a nice guy that Ashleigh initially wasn’t sure that she’d be able to hate him!” says Hill, which Cummings verifies. “It’s kind of terrifying because Zach is such a great dude and the antithesis of Charlie Manx.”
While N0S4A2’s pained characters are what drive the show, O’Brien and Hill are also eager to explore the later chapters of the source material. “The first season only covers about a third of the novel,” O’Brien shares. “There’s a lot in the novel that we haven’t seen yet, but we’ve been able to hint at what’s ahead.” With the recent announcement that AMC has granted the series a second season, thankfully the ongoing saga of Vic McQueen and Charlie Manx will get to continue.
News of the series’ second season renewal at San Diego Comic-Con was also celebrated with the release of a 13-minute standalone short film, titled “Ghost,” that fills in some important details about the history of the show’s mysterious Wraith. Answers on this dangerous vehicle and the wicked Charlie Manx will surely be plentiful in season two, but with all of the traumatic events that Vic endures in the first season, let’s hope that next year will allow for a little more levity. “I think I actually got to smile once in the season. That’s a spoiler,” Cummings jokes, “But that was nice.”
The final two episodes of N0S4A2’s first season will air back-to-back on Sunday, July 28th at 9pm (ET) on AMC.
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Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.