After a devastating season on Fox's Sleepy Hollow last year when witness Abbie Mills sacrificed herself to save the world, Canadian actress Lyndie Greenwood, who plays Abbie's sister Jenny, admits that she was surprised the writers took the show to D.C. and brought in new cast members and a new Big Bad. But mostly she's surprised the risky move worked.
And worked it has, in a way that's brought back some of the lighter tone of the first season, said Greenwood in our exclusive interview. Now Ichabod Crane has Jenny at his side, a new Scooby crew and a new witness in young Molly to help him battle evil.
Greenwood (Nikita, Lost Girl) chatted with Syfy Wire about her character Jenny becoming Icabod Crane's new best bud, why the new Big Bad may be scarier than the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and why she feels a show called Sleepy Hollow can go anywhere now.
Your character has had such tragedy in her life, especially losing her sister, Abbie, last year. Tell me about what Jenny's gone through up to this point.
Lydnie Greenwood: It's been such a crazy season, really interesting, a lot of changes. It was definitely an interesting progression for Jenny. We'd first seen her in Season 1. She is super cold and closed and we're like, "Who is this distant character?" She had all this resentment towards her sister and we see her come out of that over the next few seasons and learn to trust again and learn to love and finally let herself open up to love. And then boom! Everything is taken from her again. I think what I've learned about Jenny in this season is that her primary goal is to be a good warrior in this fight against good and evil. That is her main goal and so she sucks up her own emotional trauma so that she can get the job done.
She seems to have a good relationship with Crane at this point.
I think they are good for each other. They complement each other well that way. They definitely work well together.
Jenny has this interesting sort of hard edge and then she's gotten a little soft core too in some ways.
I think a lot of that edge comes from just years of having to survive this bizarre fight that she's been thrown into. She's a survivor and she's built up those walls so that she doesn't make herself vulnerable to anything. Because I think we've actually proven that when she opens herself up she does get very hurt. The Jenny that we see now is a more well-rounded version in the sense that she still has this tough edge but she is willing to accept people into her life that can help her and that are good. In the episode when they go back to Sleepy Hollow, episode five, she's basically trying to brush off Jake and Alex again and they say to her, "Look we're here to help. Give us a chance." And she's like, "You know what, okay. I'm going to give you this chance. Thank you for calling me out." So she's learned a lot and she's growing up and she's willing to let people in ... a little bit.
There's been a big change of venue with Crane and Jenny leaving Sleepy Hollow to go to D.C. There are new cast members, a new witness in young Molly and a new Big Bad in Malcolm Dreyfuss. Tell me about this season as far as Jenny is concerned.
I really like where it's gone this season. All of these new characters and the new setting have given the show new life and I love where it's gone this year. It's really fun again. I almost feel like it's got me back to the Season 1 humor, if that make sense. There is a lightness too, even though it's really kind of scary and there is a lot of crazy monsters. This one that I'm watching right now [episode seven], I'm like, "This is a really scary show." I think it's really satisfying. I mean to be with any show for four years you get to see the characters go through so much and come out in such different places. And that's really exciting and satisfying.
What can you tell us about what we have to look forward to for the rest of the season?
This is always such a tough question. I can say that some of my favorite episodes of Sleepy Hollow ever are coming up. I love, love, love episode 11 and 12 of this year. So I'm excited for people to see those. Stuff gets really crazy and it's a lot of fun ... I think the end of the season is just going to be amazing and I can't wait for people to see it.
Anything else you can tell us about what's coming up?
A new character is introduced. A new character that is really, really cool and unexpected. When I read it I was like, "What!" And it's really cool. So I think everyone is going to enjoy the last half of the season. [The finale episodes of the season are] so action packed ... and that's something that I loved to go through. The second half of the season Jenny has a really cool fight scene.
You're a martial artist, right?
I was. I studied for a long time but I haven't practiced in years. It definitely helps with all of the training that I've had when I end up having to do choreography, something I really enjoy and it definitely helps. I'm looking forward to people seeing that. That was a really cool fight moment coming up.
The writers have taken four new characters in a new setting and they seem to be exploring a mix of the historical and modern day in a new way. For example the recent storyline involving the social media fire virus thingy. It's been an fascinating progression.
The writing as been really cool this year. I liked it all throughout but I think that the scripts this year are really interesting and taking on some bizarre concepts that are really difficult, but I think they work because we keep that fun and that levity throughout.
The battle seems constant. With the death of Abbie, how does Jenny face the fact that this battle will probably kill her in the end? If I were in her shoes, I'd be thinking that I'm going to die fighting this battle.
I don't think she'd have it any other way. I think that's her life. This is what she's here for and I think without it she wouldn't probably really know what to do at this point. She's always going to find ways to live within the supernatural realm from beneath the surface of reality for most other people. She doesn't walk the same path as everyone around her and I think without that she wouldn't know what to do. She wouldn't know who to be. So this is it for her, and yes, this probably will kill her someday.
A new concept was introduced last week involving Malcolm and Molly's visions that he would be President of a changed United States with an older Crane his prisoner who has obviously lost the battle against evil. It was kind of disturbing, especially in today's world.
Yeah. It's very of our times. I think that's the case with entertainment a lot of the times. You see world issues reflected in what's been written. I think we can all feel it when it comes out in our art. And I don't know if that was intentional but it definitely reflects a general feeling in this country right now.
With only five episodes to go this season, it seems like the stakes then become higher in a way. I mean there have been apocalyptic events, but somehow this seems more real.
I know. Right. It's interesting to make the stakes higher. Because where do you go after so many monsters? The Horseman of the Apocalypse, where do you go? Well, you bring it back to a place that is almost scarier because it seems a little more plausible. Right? There's potential there for that kind of thing to actually happen. So in a way that raises the stakes even more than some crazy monster that you can never even really conceive of.
What's has been your biggest challenge this year?
To be honest, it's been a really kind of easy season in the sense that the new people are so easy to work with. We have the same crew that we did last year, so that's working really smoothly. I bought a house. So it's felt very comfortable. Nothing has gone horribly wrong. I will say after four years I feel like I know Jenny better than anyone else. Tom would probably say he knows Icabod better than anyone. So sometimes you get a script and you think, "Oh, that's not how Jenny would say that," or, “Something happened four years ago that that contradicts.” So every now and again you get something that you have to say, "Oh, that doesn't work. I need you to potentially rewrite something.” But that's not really difficult. I think that's just part of having a show go for four years. It's hard to keep track of what's actually happened. That's why you need to collaborate.
I imagine that's true especially with different writers who haven't been writing since the beginning.
Exactly. You've got to pay more attention, be on your toes a little bit to make sure that you catch anything like that. But it's been a really pleasant, lovely season (laughs).
What has surprised you this season? The think you weren't expecting.
Honestly, this sounds so cynical ... but I honestly didn't know if it would work. I didn't know if this entirely revamped thing would work. Moving to D.C., all these new characters, Abbie Mills gone. What? But it actually does. I was really pleased to see that this new direction really brings new life to the show and simultaneously kind of takes it back to where it was initially. The vibe of where it was initially. So I'm pleasantly surprised.
It seems to open up the world in a way. Initially I wondered what they were doing because the show is called Sleepy Hollow and you think the episodes will always have to stay there. But no, they don't.
No, they don't. And I think when you change something like that, you realize we have many options. We can do this thing [beyond] D.C. Like imagine what can come next now that that wall has come down. It gives a lot of freedom to the writers to do a lot more of interesting stuff. I think it was a really smart decision.
I also think the new Scooby team seems to be working out really well.
I love Nick and Alex so much. So fun, they are both so talented as well, those actors. It's really been a joy to have them.
And then you have the whole aspect of the new witness being a child, which I think has brought out Jenny's mamma bear in a way.
She knows witnesses ... I felt that was another interesting aspect to Jenny that we haven't seen and I was really happy that they wrote it with this mamma bear, like you say, this teacher. She's now the seasoned one. She's got seniority. She is the one that's been through it all and she has to teach all these newbies how to really survive in this world. She saw witnesshood destroy her family, killed her sister and so she's really can't stand by and watch that happen again to a child. She's there. She wants to make sure that Molly is given every chance possible to make it through this okay. Working with Oona [Yaffe, who plays Molly] is great too. She's so smart, this kid. It's crazy. She's a really good little actress.
If nobody's ever seen Sleepy Hollow, why should they tune in?
I think a lot of people really like genre now. They're starting to realize that sci-fi and fantasy can be written really well and can revolve around awesome characters. And I think Sleepy Hollow is a really fine example of that. It's a really cool genre show that's based on fascinating characters and well-written scripts. And then on top of that we've got really cool monsters and a lot of action. I mean the lead character, what a fascinating character, Icabod Crane. The show is so great because it brilliantly weaves this history into it. So you've got all this genre and you've got all this twistory.
Here's a look at tonight's Sleepy Hollow.