The work of Henry James will cast a long shadow over The Haunting of Bly Manor.
It was announced back in February that the follow-up to the Netflix horror series The Haunting of Hill House would be evolving the show into an anthology series, titled simply The Haunting, with each installment featuring a new story, new characters, and new inspirations. While Hill House was based on Shirley Jackson's 1959 novel, Bly Manor will be based on Henry James' 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw.
However, now we're learning that series creator Mike Flanagan has a little bit more of an ambitious scope when it comes to the upcoming second season. Speaking to Birth.Movies.Death., the Doctor Sleep director said that he'll be taking a lot of inspiration from James' work, much of which isn't found in the pages of Turn of the Screw.
"We’re looking at all the ghost stories of Henry James as the jumping-off point for the season, so it very much is a whole new deal," Flanagan explained. "It’s a cool way to expand on some of the things I loved about Season 1, but within the framework of a new story, without having to be restrained by the decisions we made last time. For Henry James fans, it’s going to be pretty wild, and for people who aren’t familiar with his work, it’s going to be unbelievably scary. I already think it’s much scarier than Season 1, so I’m very excited about it."
Thrice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, James was a prolific author throughout the late 19th and early 20th century, with Turn of the Screw being one of his most renowned. While he had a diverse body of work, he did have a tendency to focus on the internal psyches of his characters — and was willing to shed literary conventions in order to better explore them. The way Flanagan describes it, the show will draw from James' work the way Castle Rock draws from Stephen King's.
It also sounds like The Haunting will be taking a page from another horror anthology, American Horror Story. Flanagan confirmed that "familiar actors from Season 1" would show up in new roles, including Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crain) and Victoria Pedretti (Eleanor "Nell" Crain Vance). He did clarify that there would be some newcomers thrown into the mix, although they're still in the casting process for those roles.
There's currently no scheduled release date for The Haunting of Bly Manor, but Flanagan's upcoming feature, Doctor Sleep, will be in theaters Nov. 8.