The multi-talented Patti LuPone may be best known for her stage work and her classic voice, but she’s becoming an ever-growing presence on television. (Watch out, Emmys!) The Tony and Grammy-winning actress is one of several to join Showtime’s gothic horror series Penny Dreadful for its Season 2, building upon an already top-notch cast. Additionally, Helen McCrory and Simon Russell Beale, who play a spiritualist and an Egyptologist respectively, have been promoted to series regulars.
LuPone’s role is still being kept under wraps, but she’s described as “a mysterious character of great importance in the life of Vanessa,” played by Eva Green. Pretty much everyone in Vanessa’s past is mysterious and of potential great importance, and the Season 1 flashback episode that delved into her life was arguably the series’ most concise episode. It’ll be hard for LuPone to add more dramatics to this atmosphere-drenched production, but I’m hoping for something over the top. If you've got LuPone, you USE LuPone.
If you want to see more of LuPone's small screen work, check out her recent as-herself appearances on HBO's Girls and her God-fearing neighbor in American Horror Story: Coven. She's a kook and a half.
Joining her in Season 2 is fellow Tony Award-winner Douglas Hodge (Diana), who will play Scotland Yard investigator Bartholomew Rusk, who is on the job trying to nab the culprit behind all of the awful murders happening in London. (Bartholomew Rusk is a name worthy of an action movie hero.) Recurring Vikings actress Sarah Greene will play Hecate, the powerful daughter of Evelyn “Madame Kali” Poole (McCrory), and newcomer Jonny Beauchamp will play a young guy whose past is quite unlike anyone else’s.
McCrory’s promotion comes as Season 2 vaults her séance-loving Madame Kali up to the role of antagonist, presumably going after Vanessa and her demon-conjuring talents. Beale’s over-the-top Ferdinand Lyle was always a delight, spouting exposition with a theatrical pizazz. My guess is we’ll get to hear him offer insight into the past of vampires,werewolves, zombies, Godzillas, flying spaghetti monsters and everything else floating around out there.
When Penny Dreadful returns, we’ll see what happens with the newly-revealed werewolf Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett), the possibly resurrected Brona Croft (Billie Piper) and her quasi-hubby The Creature (Rory Kinnear), and Sir Malcolm (Timothy Dalton), who was last seen putting an end to the daughter that he searched for during the entire season. Some people just can’t catch any breaks. LuPone to the rescue!
Creator John Logan is kicking production off this month in Ireland for Season 2, and audiences will be able to catch up with all of London’s gloomiest literary characters when Penny Dreadful returns to Showtime next year.