Showtime's sequel series Penny Dreadful: City of Angels (from original series' creator, writer and executive producer John Logan) had been on a bit of a "casting spree" over the past several months, though it did find the time to share a look at the upcoming series (see below).
Pointing to "the worldwide resurgence of political extremism, atavistic nationalism, dangerous demagoguery, and the vehement racism and antisemitism" as inspiring his return to the franchise, Logan and series star Natalie Dormer are sitting down with EW to discuss what viewers can expect (and revealed two exclusive first-looks at Dormer's Magda).
Here are some of the highlights:
● Logan wants fans of the first season to prepare for a different Penny Dreadful than they're used to:
"[City of Angels] is about the social and personal cost that goes into making a great modern metropolis and how the various forces at play in 1938 are the very forces that are playing now. One hundred years before our show, Los Angeles was Mexico. I wanted to tell a story about a Latino family under pressure because of all the forces at play—not only in freeway building but also in crime, law enforcement, and immigration policy."
● Dormer will be doing (at least) triple duty as shape-shifting "agent of chaos" Magda, portraying three distinctly different human manifestations – each with a story to tell: "The audience will discover who those identities are as they continue to watch the show". The writer-director-producer-actress added:
"There was an opportunity to get in the dressing-up box and play a range of iterations. You have a number of characters all under the guise Magda morphs into for the price of one."
● Another thing Dormer wanted us to know? Magda's not exactly a fan of us humans:
"She's fundamentally a skeptic of humanity. She says in the first episode, 'I give human beings a choice, but they choose time and time again to be seduced by the more baser, selfish roles.'"
At the end of August 2019, Showtime introduced the world to 1938 Los Angeles in the form of a first look at detectives Tiago Vega (Daniel Zovatto) and Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane) – and announced that production on the series was currently underway.
Here's the cabler's original tweet, followed by a better look at the preview image:
Welcome to Los Angeles, 1938.
— Showtime (@Showtime) August 27, 2019
Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels stars Daniel Zovatto, Nathan Lane, Natalie Dormer, Jessica Garza, Johnathan Nieves, Adriana Barraza, Michael Gladis, Rory Kinnear, Kerry Bishé, Brent Spiner, Amy Madigan, John Logan, Lorenza Izzo, Adam Rodriguez, Thomas Kretschmann, Dominic Sherwood, Ethan Peck and Lin Shaye.
Here's an updated rundown on the upcoming series' cast of characters…
"Penny Dreadful: City of Angels" – Cast of Characters
A spiritual descendant of the story set in Victorian-era London, the next chapter will employ a new vision, new characters and storylines. It opens in 1938 Los Angeles; a time and place deeply infused with social and political tension. When a grisly murder shocks the city, Detective Tiago Vega (Zovatto) is embroiled in an epic story that reflects the rich history of Los Angeles: from the building of the city's first freeways and its deep traditions of Mexican-American folklore, to the dangerous espionage actions of the Third Reich and the rise of radio evangelism. Before long, Tiago and his family are grappling with powerful forces that threaten to tear them apart.
Zovatto's Tiago Vega is LAPD's first Mexican-American detective, forced to grapple with racism, childhood trauma, and faith issues in 1938 Los Angeles.
Lane's Lewis Michener is a veteran officer in the LAPD as well as Vega's partner and mentor, wise to the ways of the world and ruthless in pursuit of his goals.
Nieves' Mateo Vega is Tiago's volatile younger brother. While essentially goodhearted, he lacks the clear strength and ambition of Tiago, so he's vulnerable to both his own capricious emotions and various influences around him.
Garza's Josefina is the youngest of the Vega family. She plays the part of the quiet and overlooked sister, but possesses a powerful spirit waiting to be unleashed.
Barraza's Maria Vega is the powerful matriarch of the Vega family. Maria will go to any lengths to protect her children from the dangerous world of 1938 social politics, as well as from the chilling supernatural forces invading their lives.
Dormer's Magda is a supernatural demon who can take the appearance of anyone she chooses and manifests in a number of guises throughout the story. Charismatic, clever and chameleonic, Magda is an invaluable ally – and could also be a deadly enemy.
Kinnear's Dr. Peter Craft is a successful German pediatrician and the head of the German-American Bund, an organization he hopes will keep the United States isolated from the growing threat of war in Europe.
Bishé's Sister Molly is a charismatic radio evangelist. A beautiful singer and gifted orator, Molly captivates her many faithful followers even as she grapples with the complex demands of her life.
Madigan's Miss Adelaide Finnister is the mother of the charismatic radio evangelist Sister Molly (Kerry Bishé). Miss Adelaide shrewdly manages the church's finances and oversees the growing religious empire.
Spiner's Capt. Ned Vanderhoff is the Precinct Captain at the Hollenbeck police station in Boyle Heights – the boss of Tiago Vega (Zovatto) and Lewis Michener (Nathan Lane). A veteran officer under a lot pressure, Vanderhoff struggles to keep a lid on the volatile and changing city.
Shaye's Dottie Minter is a friend and ally of Detective Lewis Michener (Lane) Cunning, wry and clever, Dottie is an invaluable operative in the battle against Third Reich espionage in Los Angeles.
Gladis' Councilman Charlton Townsend is the ambitious head of the L.A. City Council's Transportation Committee; a man of killer instincts and ruthless political wiles.
Izzo's Santa Muerte is the Angel of Holy Death and sister of the charismatic demoness, Magda (Dormer).
Rodriguez's Raul Vega is the eldest son of the Vega family and a righteous union leader and advocate for his people.
Kretschmann's Richard Goss is an aristocratic and mysterious German architect with grand plans for the future of Los Angeles: a manipulative master builder with unsettling connections to City Hall.
Sherwood's Kurt is the chauffer and bodyguard for Richard Goss (Kretschmann). There's more to Kurt than meets the eye: an unexpected depth and surprising background.
Peck's Herman Ackermann is the charismatic second-in-command at the German-American Bund. His aggressive politics, heated rhetoric, and personal magnetism inevitably create tension within the group and for the Bund's leader, Peter Craft (Kinnear).
Logan and Michael Aguilar (Kidding) serve as executive producers for Showtime's Penny Dreadful: City of Angels, along with the Neal Street Productions' Sam Mendes and Pippa Harris, the originals' executive producers. James Bagley will serve as co-executive producer, with Logan's Desert Wolf Productions producing. Paco Cabezas (American Gods, Deadly Class) is on board to direct several episodes.