EW – Just like with the Stephen King-based It, Mike Flanagan‘s Netflix horror series needs two casts to tell the freaky story at its core. To be fair, though, King’s novel came out in 1986, 30 years after Flanagan’s source material. So Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House did it first.
As shown in EW’s exclusive behind-the-scenes video for The Haunting of Hill House, the 10-episode series adaptation introduces the Crains across two different time periods: when the family were first being plagued by malevolent forces inside what is now the most haunted home in rural Massachusetts, and 25 years later to see them reconvene as traumatized adults to finally face their demons.
There are the model parents, the son who grows up to write a book based on their experiences, the level-headed daughter, the child with a sensitivity to ghosts, and the totally troubled twins.
Carla Gugino (Olivia Crain), Henry Thomas (young Hugh Crain), Paxton Singleton (young Steven Crain), Lulu Wilson (young Shirley Crain), McKenna Grace (young Theo Crain), Julian Hilliard (young Luke Crain), and Violet McGraw (young Nell Crain) portray the Crains before they succumbed to parasitic poltergeists.
The adult cast, then, is populated by Timothy Hutton (Hugh Crain), Michael Huisman (Steven Crain), Elizabeth Reaser (Shirley Crain), Kate Siegel (Theo Crain), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Luke Crain), and Victoria Pedretti (Nell Crain).
“More important than the horror for me was always the human drama,” Flanagan, who created, directed, and executive produced the show, says in the video (above). “If we loved these characters and if we could truly empathize with them on a personal level, we wouldn’t be able to stop ourselves from being afraid for them.