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'Hunters' shot 'Sound of Music' parody in same spot where Maria taught the von Trapp kids to sing

Captain von Trapp has nothing on Sister Harriet!

By Josh Weiss
Hunters Season 2 First Look

Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, crisp apple strudels, warm wooden mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string, and...oh yeah, Nazi war criminals brought to justice. These are a few of our favorite things.

The second and final season of Hunters — now available to stream on Prime Video — sticks a blade into the saccharine chest of The Sound of Music at the start of its sophomore episode, which reveals that Sister Harriet (played by Kate Mulvany) has become the sing-along governess of a wealthy Austrian family in order to learn the whereabouts of Adolf Hitler (Udo Kier).

Recently sitting down with SYFY WIRE over Zoom, series creator, showrunner, and executive producer David Weil admitted that Episode 2's musical and lederhosen-abundant introduction was filmed in the exact same spot where Maria (Julie Andrews) taught the von Trapp children about Do-Re-Mi. "It was shot where Sound of Music was shot, we actually went to the Alps. It was quite incredible."

"I have never seen a happier crew in my life," Mulvany recalls. "It was like everyone's inner child came out ... I still I still pinch myself and go, ‘Did that happen?’ Because I am a huge Sound of Music fan. So to actually be reliving that was quite extraordinary ... The kids came ready to go. They were amazing. I literally arrived there and had to shoot it that day. But I’m a Sound of Music fan, so I knew all the moves to pull. I knew Alps moves: a bit of skipping, a bit of guitar playing."

The hills ultimately come alive with the sound of vengeance once Harriet murders family patriarch, Rolf Von Klaussen (Erik Passoja), a sinister stand-in for Captain von Trapp and a secret arms dealer for Hitler who refuses to give up the location of his beloved Führer.

While he greatly admires the clear "anti-Nazi message" found within The Sound of Music (the scene where Christopher Plummer rips up a swastika flag is nothing short of iconic and served as a much-needed reminder to oppose fascism a mere two decades after the end of World War II and the Holocaust), Weil always wondered if the 1965 classic "was sometimes romanticizing war," the creator says.

"I wanted to sort of bring a bloody, bold counterpoint to that and have Harriet be a bit more full-throated in her rejection of Nazism. The Sound of Music is incredible. I think it's just different forms of justice trying to be exacted in Hunters and in Sound of Music."

This adroit balance of naive playfulness and unexpected violence can also be found in the season's penultimate episode — "The Home" — which tells a Wes Anderson-y tale of a celebrated Nazi architect (Robert Towers) who is found to be harboring Jewish fugitives during WWII. Using his advanced age as a facade, the kindly old designer lures German officers into his cozy home where they are swiftly dispatched by hidden booby traps.

"I really wanted to tell a folk story, a folk tale, a parable within Hunters Season 2," Weil adds. "Parables and folktales are a really important part of Judaism and Jewishness. So I wanted to imbue the series with one and it became Episode 7. I sort of wrote it in a week [and] I directed it as well. It's a really important and exciting episode to me. What's exciting about it is though it's a story set in the past, it has great reverberations into the future. The heroism of the past actually allows for the heroism that you see in 1979."

Hunters Season 2

The show's final eight episodes mainly take place in '79 — when Jonah Heidelbaum (Logan Lerman) and the rest of the Hunters travel to Argentina to find the man who sanctioned the industrialized murder of 6 million Jews. At the same time, Weil couldn't resist the delectable opportunity to bring back the great Al Pacino as Meyer Offerman for a number of flashbacks to 1975, where the affluent Holocaust-survivor-revealed to-be-a-war-criminal-in-disguise assembles the titular squad of Nazi-tracking badasses. 

And if Meyer was back on the board, then that meant Judd Hirsch (currently at the forefront of awards season buzz for his brief, yet memorable, turn as Uncle Boris in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans) could reprise the part of real-world Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal.

"It was incredible and those are two of my favorite scenes throughout the whole series," Weil says of Meyer's conversations with Wiesenthal in Season 2. "They're almost these mini-plays and it was amazing. We had gone to Al's home — Judd and myself. It was the three of us sitting and I was really just a fly on the wall, watching them rehearse and perform and I was tweaking dialogue. It was an incredible masterclass; it was one of those very pinch me kind of moments to see these two legends discussing art and acting and writing and the great material and the great story of Simon Wiesenthal and the fictional Meyer Offerman."

Hunters Al Pacino AMAZON PRESS

Pacino's return was also a thrill for several cast members, who reunited with the Oscar-winner for the sequences in which Meyer recruits the team one by one. Head below for their praiseworthy thoughts on the acting legend...

KATE MULVANY (Sister Harriet): He’s such a warm, funny, humble soul. I guess we've gotten through the Al Pacino-ness. It’s not him that brings that, it's us that brings that when you meet Pacino. It’s like [gasps] "It’s Pacino!" We kind of got rid of that in Season 1 because he's just so easy to work with. And Season 2 was even more incredible because there really was a lot of one-on-one scenes between Al and the Hunters. And so, it became more intimate and grounded. It was a joy. What a special, special man he is.

LOUIS OZAWA (Joe Mizushima): I remember coming in the day-of and Al was extra fired up. I think, at the time, we weren't being given sides because of COVID for some reason. I had my sides on my phone and I think he took a little offense to it. I think he assumed that I wasn't on-book and he took a little offense. I got a little scared of Al in that moment and then I was like, "This is actually good. I like seeing this part of Al. I’m getting to see Al Pacino." You could see that fire in his eyes and we threw down for hours and hours and hours. At the end of it, he gave me a big hug and he said [Pacino impression] "I think we just broke the sound barrier." I don’t know what that means, but it was so cool to have Al Pacino hugging you and saying that.

JOSH RADNOR (Lonny Flash): My favorite thing is trying to get him talking about old stories and he was feeling really chatty that day. So we got to hear some unbelievably great, old stories and I thought there was something very meta about one of the biggest movie stars from the ‘70s giving a pep talk to this fake movie star from the ‘70s. I don't know if he put that together, but I thought it was very cool that Al Pacino was the one giving Lonny the pep talk.

All eight episodes of the second and final season of Hunters are now streaming on Prime Video.

Jonesing for another thriller inspired by true events? A Friend of the Family is now streaming on Peacock.