Home TVInterviews Interview: Hanna’s Mireille Enos, Dermot Mulroney and Anthony Welsh

Interview: Hanna’s Mireille Enos, Dermot Mulroney and Anthony Welsh

by Leora Heilbronn

Something that we learned early on from watching is that Mireille Enos absolutely crushes it in season two of Hanna. The actress, who we’ve long admired from projects such as The Killing and Katie Says Goodbye, brings it to the next level in the new season of the popular Amazon Prime Video series. Dermot Mulroney, we have of course loved since My Best Friend’s Wedding, is a newcomer on this season of Hanna, but is no stranger to Prime Video after his stint on Homecoming. Anthony Welsh is a welcome addition to the ensemble as well, and when you consider all three actors’ magnetic performances this season, it’s hard not to cheer for the authority figures on this series, instead of the young trained assassins and the titular Hanna. Of course, in the Hanna season two junket, we learned that Enos, Mulroney and Welsh were trained as well…trained pros!

The following is a condensed and edited version of a Zoom video press junket with Mireille Enos, Dermot Mulroney and Anthony Welsh.

Anthony, what was your experience like coming onto this project?

Anthony Welsh: Thank you for your question. Leo serves a specific purpose in Hanna and it was just about trying to find the right tone and mesh well enough with the other actors, but also while pursuing your own path. Usually that’s what it is – trying to find the tone of the show and not try to replicate anything I’ve done before. I think that’s something I try to find when I come onto different projects, especially when the projects are quite close together. What I loved about this show so much was the psychology of trying to initiate these young girls into believing that the story they’re being given is actually a story that they went through. They know it’s fake but they choose to accept or deny, and I found that fascinating – the psychology behind it. I was very keen to explore that.

What was your biggest challenge – for Mireille, coming onto season two, and for Dermot and Anthony, coming onto a new show?

Mireille Enos: Well going into the second season, the dynamics were very different. Season one is all about the mythology of these characters and this long history, and season two leaves most of that behind. We’ve got this new crop of girls and the world gets really large. So for me, the challenge was understanding that our world was much bigger, trying to keep those intimate details and that sense of history, and finding the quiet places.

AW: For me, the challenge of this type of show is that all the characters are presenting as something they wish to be seen as, and behind that there’s so much going on, particularly with Mireille and Dermot’s characters who know things that other characters don’t know and have to think so quickly, and I used to wonder how Leo was presenting as well because I don’t think you get to learn everything about him. So trying to figure out what you present and what you hide. The other thing was Mireille and Dermot are actually American and I had to do the accent, so that was a challenge to make sure that I was matching their level of authenticity as much as possible.

Dermot Mulroney: Nailed it.

AW: Thank you, man.

DM: Yeah, good on you. That was fun to watch too. I’d even add to that, if I may, that it’s kind of an admission but we don’t always know what the rest of story is, even as we’re shooting it.

AW: That’s true.

DM: That applies to most long thread tv shows, so it’s not usual. But the way Anthony played his hand was really smart, where you don’t really play any hand.

AW: [laughs]

DM: But that’s what you’d be doing any way. You try to find ways into the spy genre, as Anthony said, into the tone of the piece which is so beautifully depicted in the first season. And then for Carmichael to realize, of course I was in season one, I was just off camera.

ME and AW: [laughs]

Mireille, how do you feel about the transformation of your character from the ‘bad guy’ of season one to the ‘good guy’ of season two?

ME: Well my nine year-old daughter asked me, “so are you a good guy now? You were the bad guy last year”, and how I answered her was that actually Marissa has no moral compass. She will do whatever is required to accomplish the goal. So last season the goal was to take Hanna off the planet, this season the goal is to keep her on it. Whatever else gets in her way, she has no qualms of just doing what’s required. So I’m not a good girl, [laughs] I’ve just picked a different goal.

Dermot and Anthony, how does it feel to be the men on a show that centres on teenage girls?

DM: Well I always find that very interesting. Because I play opposite teenage girls frequently, I have opinions on how well that age and type of character has been depicted in our culture. When our entire global culture changed in the last couple of months from a couple of different angles, this story takes on deeper repercussions, and that maybe goes without saying. So to answer your question, playing a paternal character in today’s world where I’m telling people how things ought to be, it’s already looked at differently than how it was just months ago. But in our story, you learn through the season how the government functions and how the eggheads in the branches of government start their own rogue group, based on what they believe to be true. So all of those things are being played out in our culture as we speak.

AW: I couldn’t have said that better myself. I’ll leave Dermot with that. [laughs]

ME: I think what’s been true is that for a long time it’s been en vogue to have women be the tough character. I’ve heard a lot of stunt men say that “I’ve spent my whole career being beaten up by women who are five feet tall”. So I don’t think that is new but I think if there is something that David (Farr) is doing in this, which is interesting because he’s actually talking to young women’s identities in relation to society. It’s nature versus nurture, and this could also apply to men but it just so happens in this show to apply to young women, that these girls who have been created as these military machines are now being told ‘you also have a soul, you have an identity”, and we go on a journey with them in their trying to figure out if who they are and whether their worth is something unique or if it’s simply what they’re being told, which I think young women do deal with as they grow up. Body image and smarts or achievement or what their value is tethered to is a huge issue right now.

What was the day-to-day like for you off-set in terms of establishing bonds?

DM: I’ll answer first, if you don’t mind, because I was so privileged to join Mireille who did such an amazing job in Hanna season one. I’ll answer for Anthony too on what a thrill it is to join a show that is already teed up and going so well, so in some ways that makes our job easier. But for me, the thing that made it the most wonderful job to work on was Mireille and Anthony, two people that I was in scenes regularly with. I can say that instantly we became friends, we had a great time working together – you should see Mireille just turn on that intensity that plays out for the whole season. She really pulls that character out and it’s great fun to watch from the front row.

ME: Yeah, we had some fun on set. Once the camera starts rolling, we have to be serious, but when it’s off we have some good laughs, it’s great.

DM: We were shooting much of it in the most peculiar place.

ME: [laughs]

DM: Every time we turned a corner on this grand estate, outside of London, there was some other bizarre set or scenario, so the whole place felt like we were entering some bizarre estate.

Brief Take: What did you like best about working with each other?

ME: Dermot makes me laugh like crazy, which is so fun when you’re spending 14 hours on a set every day, it’s really nice to have playmates that you can laugh with.

DM: And the scenes that you see with Carmichael and Wiegler are the high point of the show, as it turns out, but tracing it back from that, it was always a high point of my week to know that I got to work with Mireille. We really did have a great companionship on this piece, all of us. I tipped my hat to this earlier but now that I’m the sort of older cast member, certainly I am on this, it’s amazing to see that happen across two or three generations of ages in this cast. It was a real collaborative thing between ages.

ME: And on top of that, there’s obviously this great respect for each other’s talent too, so when you don’t have to worry about that, when you know that in the conversation of the scene that’s just going to be alive and creative and wonderful, then also when you’re off camera and it’s easy and lovely, you can’t ask for more.

AW: Yeah, the sense of camaraderie…it was a joy to come to set every day, I have to be honest with you. I think we even have video footage of…do you remember doing something with lipstick?

ME: [laughs]

DM: It’s true. It was a pre-Tik Tok type video kind of thing.

AW: Yeah, we were just having a really good time. Aside from that, I didn’t get to work with Mireille very much this season and even though we had a couple of scenes, they were quite later on in the season. But I felt so welcomed by a team that created something wonderful in the first season, that I felt like I was just as invested and appreciated as if I were on the first season. I was honoured, actually.

ME: I want to say that the thing that I admired so much about being on set with Anthony is that, and you see this on the show, it’s just remarkable, it’s an energy that no one else has, this amazing heavy calm. It’s such a pleasure to be around, he has this stillness and calm when he’s working that’s just gorgeous.

AW: Aww man, thank you.

DM: With a show like this really, by now the way that things are done, we have to watch the whole show to answer these questions and help promote the show, and there are so many things that you only learn once you see it. These are all shot in pieces that don’t involve me being there that day, so really to see what Esme Creed-Miles creates with Hanna is fascinating to watch. The scenes that I have with her, Carmichael and Hanna together are peak moments in the narrative, but working with Esme is its own adventure, I’ll say it. She’s a very enigmatic person, I found, and without labelling anybody she was fascinating to work with, and also I’m working with Hanna because I’ve seen Hanna and there’s no leap for me as to who that character is. Of course the same applies with Marissa, but Esme operates a certain way on the set that’s really fascinating. I learned a lot from her, and then to see it all put together, to see how brilliantly she coloured her character along the narrative is really quite brilliant to behold.

Hanna season two will launch on Amazon Prime Video on July 3

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