by Natasha Wolff | October 16, 2015 11:00 am
The Knick, the addictive, early 20th-century medical drama from Cinemax back this week for its second season, might take place in a hospital, but very few of its deliciously debauched characters seem to be well. Jennifer Ferrin’s Abigail is no exception; during the first season we saw her lose her nose to syphilis and go to gruesome lengths in an attempt to restore her face. Here, Ferrin talks about the appeal of the character, Abigail’s upcoming trials and whether all the gore ever gets to be too much.
The Knick is kicking off its second season. What can you tell us about it?
Unfortunately, not a lot. I guess what’s great is that Abigail will be back. That’s exciting because there’s so much that was left to the imagination at the end of the first season. Given that Abigail and [Clive Owen’s Doctor] Thackery have such a history, you definitely get to see a little bit more of that, and to get a little bit deeper into their relationship. And then also, since the first season ended with [a cliffhanger], there is the fall-out of whatever that may be, which I’ll leave as a surprise.
This is a dark, edgy series—and your character, who suffers a facial deformity, gets more than her share of that. What made playing Abigail appealing?
Being given the chance to work with Steven Soderbergh was hands-down a no-brainer. And then, of course, getting to work with Clive Owen….
She’s also got a lot of her own drama going on.
You know, I think it’s a fact that at that time women in society were revered for their outward appearance. Once she [lost her nose,] she really had to rely on her inner resources, her intelligence and her sense of humor in the face of that kind of tragedy. You know, she was not only dealing with a husband that was unfaithful, but the loss of her beauty, and I think that makes her a really interesting kind of character for me to play.
What’s in store for her this season?
There’s a lot more of an emotional life that we get to see with Abigail this season, she definitely goes through a physical and emotional turmoil. And it just really was just so gratifying to be able to work with Clive in those kinds of scenes. He’s incredibly available as an actor and that was a real treat.
The series isn’t short on violence or gore. Does it ever get to be too much?
I’m not necessarily squeamish, but when I first did [post-production recording] for the first season and I first saw the nose, I was not so much queasy, but really kind of heart broken. It was really disturbing. You know, I would say that it was more disturbing just to see the level to which someone is sort of mutilated. I could certainly never be a doctor.
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