By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Today, Amazon Prime Video unleashes six new episodes of LORE, the series based on the hit podcast by Aaron Mahnke. At this month’s New York Comic-Con, RUE MORGUE got some comments from a few of the cast about their roles.
LORE tells its sextet of horrific tales based on true historical accounts (as discussed by executive producer/showrunner Sean Crouch in an exclusive interview here). These range from familiar fiends such as “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory and graverobbers Burke and Hare (co-starring HELLRAISER’s Doug Bradley, who talks about the episode here) to some that many viewers may not be familiar with, including the “Prague Clock,” a.k.a. the “Prague orloj.” Set in the 15th century, this episode features Elie Haddad, who describes the scenario: “People say that the clock is cursed; it hasn’t been working for 60 years. The Black Plague is all over the city, people are dying, and numerous people have tried to fix it, but they all have failed. [I play one of] two brothers, who are Turks, who hear about this opportunity to come to Prague and fix the clock and be part of something special. So they say yes, and they go, and then…things happen,” he teases.
LORE was filmed on location in the Czech city, which Haddad found advantageous. “I had the luxury of being in Prague for the shoot, so I kind of lost myself walking around the streets, and actually going to see the real orloj. I did as much research as I could. If you go to Prague today and ask people about the cursed clock, you will probably hear 200 different versions of what they think the legend is about. But I truly based my work on the script, because for me, it was the bible. And then it was more about understanding who the character is, what he needs, the relationship that he has with his brother, and make that real and tell the story the best we could.”
Haddad adds that the role had particular meaning for him, though “I’m not going to talk about it, because it’s personal. It has to do with my relationship with my brother. It was special, really special.”
Another part of the LORE that will be new to many audiences is told in “Jack Parsons: The Devil and the Divine,” starring Josh Bowman and Alicia Witt (pictured above). The former explains, “Jack Parsons was a rocket scientist; he invented solid rocket fuel and paved the way for people like Neil Armstrong. He was also part alchemist, part magician. He created this church called the Thelema Church, which I guess you could say was a black-magic sex cult of sorts. It was kind of the birthplace of Scientology, because he started it with L. Ron Hubbard; those two were in bed with each other, literally and figuratively [laughs]. He was a libertarian and into free love; we tell this story from the late ’30s to the early ’50s, and that was not the thing then. That came later, in the ’60s. But it was very much about free love for him, and sex, drugs and…rocket fuel,” he smiles.
As for the supernatural side of Parsons’ story, “He had this experience when he was 13 of summoning the devil, and so he got very into conjuring demons, and he got into this thing called the Babalon Working, which was where he was trying to conjure up the Scarlet Woman. He thought he was going to impregnate her, and she would give birth to the Antichrist.”
A redheaded artist and poet named Marjorie Cameron does enter his life at this point, thought she’s flesh-and-blood instead of supernatural. Witt, who plays the role, says, “Jack believes she’s the one he brought into being, but she’s not going to go for that—the idea that she didn’t exist before him, and she’s just this object to him. That’s an element of conflict they have, but they are, I think, twin flames. They are so intrinsically linked, and part of the same being, that it’s unthinkable to Marjorie that this religion Jack is a part of could be as unsavory to her as it actually felt. It’s an incredibly complicated, passionate and tortured love story.
“What resonated deepest for me,” she continues, “was the sense that when you love someone that deeply, you find it unthinkable that you could ever be separate from them. But at the same time, when you’re a strong-willed, independent, tempestuous artist type, no one is going to control you and hold you down. There’s a lot of pride and something much, much deeper at play between those two, and that’s something that has come up in my own life a lot in the last three years or so. So when I read the script, I didn’t know it was based on true characters; I just read it as this beautiful love story of two people who are going to be together, whether in this life or the next or 25 lifetimes down the path.”