Lovecraft Country Showrunner Misha Green Discusses the Power of Horror and the Horror of Marginalization

From Lovecraft Country.
From Lovecraft Country.
Image: HBO

In a new interview, Lovecraft Country showrunner Misha Green (Underground) goes deep on some of the intriguing, powerful ideas behind the upcoming show.

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Taking place in the middle of the 20th century, Lovecraft Country is the story of a family caught up in a mysterious history and foreboding horrors, starring Jonathan Majors as Atticus “Tic” Freeman, a Korean War veteran spurred on by a mysterious letter and the promise of an old birthright. The journey, which juxtaposes the horror genre and the terrors of American white supremacy, changes him and his family forever.

“You know, being an ‘other’ in this world, you’re walking around in a horror movie at all times, you’re always on edge and wondering when the monster is going to jump out and get you,” Green told Comics Beat. “I feel like that’s the experience of African-Americans and queer people in America. So, for me, it’s not a hard step into a horror movie because I’ve always lived in a horror movie, you know, and I think that is why it’s always been my favorite genre.”

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Horror, then, for Green, particularly in Lovecraft Country, is a particular way to explore racism and marginalization, as well as simply to confront one’s own demons.

“A theme that is always in my head and why I love the horror genre is because it addresses what we’re willing to do for metaphorical and physical survival. That is an exploration for every character. How far are you willing to go to stake your claim? Your legacy? To stake who are you as a person and say, ‘I’m worthy to be here?’” she said. “That’s something I see people struggling with a lot and I struggle with it a lot. How do you make sure that you stand your ground and you find your place in the world, even if that place is not the place everyone else tells you it’s supposed to be? For me, TV is character-driven and those are the types of characters I want to watch.”

Continuing, she added, “So, I said to every writer in our room, get prepared for therapy. We’re going to feel icky. We’re going to be like, oh, we don’t want to go there. But I feel like it’s important to go there because that’s when you’re sharing something, saying that we’re not alone. We’re all fucking unbalanced in our own little heads, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get to stand and be counted.”

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From here, the interview zig-zags across a lot of interesting subjects, including Lovecraft’s obvious racism and unavoidable influence on the genre, the choice to change the antagonist to a white woman instead of a white man, and Green’s love of Gospel music and its influence on the plot of the show.

The entire thing is a great read in advance of the show’s premiere. In more Lovecraft Country news, Rotten Tomatoes TV has posted a behind-the-episode featurette for the show’s first episode. While you may not want to watch it until after you watch the show itself, it’s a compelling preview of the arc of the first episode and how it comes to be.

Lovecraft Country, starring Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Jonathan Majors, and Aunjanue Ellis, premieres tonight, August 16th, on HBO.

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

Momentarily off-story here, but I wanted to post this link:

ACLU Mobile Justice app - could have been useful for our heroes in the story, but alas...

Just in case of an encounter with a Fixed News adherent or a cop.

Anyway, back to the story, I suppose I’ll have to dust off my very 1st edition of Deities and Demigods ... the one with Cthulhu and Elric in it.

*humblebrag*