Since the first episode of FROM, I’ve been captivated by this series about a group of people stuck in a town they can’t seem to escape, and if that wasn’t scary enough, they have to avoid monsters with an appetite for flesh that come out at night. Season 1 wove such a fascinating tale of horror, survival, and a community that has formed from the people trapped somewhere in Middle America.
Ahead of their panel at the 2023 ATX TV Festival, I sat down with Harold Perrineau (Boyd) and executive producer/director Jack Bender to discuss Season 2 of FROM, especially Boyd’s wild arc this year.
Spoiler alert! If you’re not fully up to date on Season 2 of FROM, proceed with caution.
There have been so many twists and turns for Boyd in Season 2. What was your reaction to the worms, and to later using them to kill one of the monsters?
Harold: Every time something crazy like that happens, I pick up the phone and call John Griffin. “John, what the hell was that?” At the end of the season, I did the same. Profanities came out of my mouth. I turned into a 15 year old. I still get super excited about it. Actually the actors all call each other, like Corteon [Moore] who plays my son, inevitably I get a ring and he’s like “Did you read it?” I get excited about the worms, and last year there were spiders. It’s just creepy.
In some cases, the humans are more frightening than the monsters.
Jack: It was a challenge in this world [of TV and film] where there are so many monsters and vampires and ghouls depicted. Harold is in Danny Boyle’s second movie, 28 Weeks Later. Danny is a brilliant director who came up with that horrifying way to depict these monsters. It was challenging [to figure out] how we do this [on From] in a way that we haven’t seen all the time, because there’s plenty of it that’s been brilliantly done. We went through many versions of what those monsters would look like, and the key was in the script. It was one of the things that attracted me to the script when I first read it: the monsters never run, because they know they’re going to get to us. They seduce you as these benign, lovely, iconic characters that we’ve seen before, like the milkman. And yet, if you invite them in — psychically or literally — you’re gone. I also looked at the movie Seven, which I think is genius. Seven basically shows the monstrous effect of what this killer did. You only see the bodies afterwards, and they’re horrific. And I said, “What if we avoid the devouring and all that stuff, and we go out on that instant, then see [the body] afterwards?” It was our formula, which managed to avoid a lot of the cliches, and gave us a new way to do it that made sense. Then we have our great team that creates all those devoured people.
Even though some people saw that the worms weren’t all a figment of Boyd’s imagination, is he still going to face resistance from that group or some of the other townspeople?
Harold: Boyd is off kilter this season. That one thing is not enough to convince everybody because new things are happening. Worms under your skin is crazy, right? And then the next thing to happen is crazier still. It’s unfathomable. Boyd’s still going to face resistance because it’s escalating in ways that no one there could have imagined.
Jack: And it’s his self-doubt because he’s his own judge and jury saying, “I’m losing it.” We’re probably our own worst enemies and critics. There’s that duality in him from being the rational soldier who knows how to get his troops out of danger, and now he can’t get himself out. He’s definitely off kilter and struggling this season in a way we haven’t seen [before] and it builds to an incredibly beautiful, complex, horrifying climax.
What would you say is Boyd’s biggest challenge this season, since he’s contending with more than just monsters?
Harold: His own mind is his biggest foe. Whether the others are brushing him off or not, he can’t even tell anymore. Someone pushed him into a tree and then he was in a well! There’s no way to wrap your mind around it. That’s the biggest challenge.
Jack: The scariest part of Parkinson’s Disease, which he is suffering from, is what that does to the mind eventually … and his awareness of that.
And of course, he’s seeing a creepy ballerina and dead Father Khatri.
Jack: With shows like this, you have to cut to the bone, and if people are going to die, they have to be people you really care about and it’s got to hurt. I’m always the guy who’s telling John and Jeff, our writers and exec producers with me, we’ve got to be careful, because if everybody comes back, then we’re never going to really be scared when they die. It’s a tightrope walk. We always discuss it, creatively argue about it, and we find the balance. So far, I don’t think we’ve fallen off the cliff of who comes back and why.
Photos by Melissa Girimonte