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SFX - - The Haunting Of Hill House -

“we wanted the house to be full of im­plied or ex­plicit faces that were al­ways star­ing at the char­ac­ters – or the au­di­ence,” Flana­gan re­veals. “Al­most all our wall­pa­per has dif­fer­ent fa­cial pat­terns in­side it. they’re in the door­knobs too – some are an­i­mals, some hu­man. then there’s the place­ment of win­dows in re­la­tion to fire­places: we laid out eyes and an open mouth in all the rooms. it’s a sub­con­scious thing, but it cre­ates this sense of un­ease.”

that’s not the only thing to look out for. there are ref­er­ences aplenty – some more ob­vi­ous than oth­ers.

“when you get to episode five you’ll see russ tam­blyn, who played Luke in the robert wise film,” Flana­gan re­veals. “he plays a char­ac­ter called Dr Mon­tague. one of my favourite parts of pro­duc­tion was giv­ing him a tour of hill house – that was ab­so­lutely sur­real! we went through the novel find­ing story points, char­ac­ter mo­ments, and some­times spe­cific lan­guage, and find­ing ways to pep­per them through the se­ries. i wanted the film to be an ir­rev­er­ent trib­ute to the book, and to robert wise.” other nods are more dis­creet. take the stone lions. in Jack­son’s book, eleanor is fas­ci­nated by a house which has a pair sit­ting out­side, and talks of hav­ing some on her man­tel­piece. “we had our own stone lions placed care­fully around the house,” Flana­gan says. “But also there’s a ho­tel the char­ac­ters stay in: the stone Lion inn. Lit­tle easter eggs like that were de­light­ful for us. i hope the fans can grab onto them.” it’s been Flana­gan’s first ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing in this medium, but it sounds like it won’t be his last. “i’ve wanted to get into tele­vi­sion for a long time,” Flana­gan says, “be­cause of how much larger the can­vas is – how much time you can spend with the char­ac­ters, and how thor­ough you can be with their arc.” But next time Flana­gan may think twice be­fore choos­ing to di­rect ev­ery episode of a se­ries him­self... “i ap­proached it like a 10-hour movie, and it re­ally felt that way. By day 50 of our shoot, know­ing that we’d not yet reached the halfway mark, that was some­what over­whelm­ing. i’m work­ing on a movie now and it seems in­cred­i­bly re­lax­ing. it’s like, ‘we only have to do two hours – that’s noth­ing!’ it feels like a long va­ca­tion!”

Michiel Huis­man and Tim­o­thy Hut­ton star as fa­ther and son.

This is why you don’t carry foun­tain pens in your pocket.

The Haunt­ing Of Hill House be­gins stream­ing on Net­flix on 12 Oc­to­ber.

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