The Haunting of Hill House star Victoria Pedretti is returning for the show's second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Created by Mike Flanagan, The Haunting of Hill House reshaped Shirley Jackson's classic gothic horror novel of the same name into a modern drama about a family whose lives are forever changed after they spend a summer in an old mansion called Hill House. The show went on to become a critical darling and one of Netflix's most-discussed original series last year, thanks to its twisty narrative, rich themes, and stylized filmmaking. And of course, the show's cast was equally important to its success.
As such, when Netflix announced that the show is becoming an anthology series - with its second season, The Haunting of Bly Manor, being an adaptation of Henry James' 1989 horror novella The Turn of the Screw - it left fans of season 1 wondering if The Haunting of Hill House's primary cast would also be coming back. Star Carla Gugino has since confirmed that it's possible, but cautioned that she would be playing a brand-new character if it happens. Now, at least one Hill House actor has solidified a deal to appear in Bly Manor.
According to Deadline, Pedretti is set to star in Bly Manor as Dani, a governess who's hired to look after two children at the eponymous (maybe/probably haunted) mansion. Pedretti broke-out with her performance in Hill House as Nell - a member of the Crain family at the heart of the story - and has since signed on to star in season 2 of Netflix's psycho-thriller series You. She will also play a role in Quentin Tarantino's new film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, next month.
It was Nell whose death at the beginning of Haunting of Hill House sets the season's overarching narrative in motion, and Pedretti's performance was a big part of what made the character so compelling. She ended up playing a major role on the rest of the series too, in between the flashbacks to Nell's life before her passing and the scenes where Pedretti portrayed the Bent-Neck Lady (aka. the ghostly version of Nell who, in a bit of supernatural time-travel trickery, ended up haunting herself while she was still alive). By the sound of it, Bly Manor could end up being more of a showcase for Pedretti than an ensemble piece in the vein of Hill House, with her character Dani at the heart of the season's spooky proceedings. Then again, that depends largely on how Flanagan plans to re-imagine Turn of the Screw for his show.
Beyond that, Pedretti's casting suggests that the Haunting series will take a leaf out of fellow horror anthology American Horror Story's book and feature a core group of actors who eventually show up in two or more seasons (depending on how long the series ends up running for). That should further allow for a sense of connection between different seasons, in addition to the themes and stylistic choices that are carried over from one Haunting entry to another. Flanagan's storytelling has often thrived when he's worked with the same actors multiple times in the past (for example, Gugino also starred in his Gerald's Game adaptation), so that also bodes well for Pedretti's return here.
The Haunting of Bly Manor premieres on Netflix in 2020.