‘Severance’ Creator Talks Britt Lower Breaking Out as Helly & New Actors in Season 2
Severance didn’t walk away with any Golden Globes at the ceremony earlier this week, but creator and executive producer Dan Erickson says he sure felt like a winner having grown up in Olympia, Washington, a self-proclaimed awards show predictor.
“I always liked trying to figure out who was going to win which award,” Erickson told TV Insider on the red carpet before the ceremony. “People say it shouldn’t be a competition. Everyone who’s ever done anything wins, but it’s also fun for ex-kids like me who were ‘badass’ in the industry [to be here]. It’s fun.”
Erickson admits he’s not sure whether or not Severance would make it — not because of its vision and content, but because of the plethora of programming in today’s television and broadcast landscape. “I was completely resigned to the fact that there is a lot of TV and that people might not find the show,” he says. But then, the show started to gain traction. “I don’t even know how that happens with all the great television that comes out.”
Erickson points out that the character of Helly, played by Britt Lower, was instrumental in the show’s success. “People connected to Helly, which was the way into the world we created,” he says. “She’s the one who’s experiencing the show with us, realizing how messed up it is. It only comes down to Britt who exemplifies exactly the spirit of revolution in the character. It has brought out things that we didn’t even know were there.”
Season 2 of Severance is currently in production, but Erickson says he’s not yet allowed to talk about what viewers can expect to see. He says he’s excited and humbled to be working with the new cast members, including Gwendoline Christie, Bob Balaban and Alia Shawkat. “There are a lot of great actors who are new to the show,” he says.
Erickson shares that he’s known for a Season 2 pickup since shortly after Severance debuted. What are the creative advantages and disadvantages of having an entire season in the can before the first episode drops? “It’s a good question,” he replies. “I prefer to do it this way [finishing them all before the first one airs]. You can also get into your own head if you start listening to every answer. [As a writer,] you know something is going to come up. We’re just planting the seeds.”
Apple TV+ helped bring awareness to Severance — along with its other programming including Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Schmigadoon and other shows — by placing an outdoor screen last spring at The Grove, a mall in nature that is one of the largest centers of Los Angeles. Tourist spot. Each program had a station with a theme relevant to the show.
Erickson said he visited the Severance station, which had a monitor and a vending machine, with a semi-difficult result. “I broke our screen,” he complains. “I was trying to be cute and pose with it, and I broke the platform that held the TV. It was very embarrassing.”
The Departure, Season 2, TBD, Apple TV+