The first season of Hanna saw the titular character free Clara from the Utrax facility in Romania, as Erik Heller (Joel Kinnaman) succumbed to injuries in a preceding battle of bullets and blades. Season two, releasing on Amazon Prime on July 3 sees Hanna adapt to her new journey with a more focssed intent as she finds herself responsible for a set of genetically-modified soldiers who, just like her, are to adapt to a wholly different world.
Other major projects
- David Farr wrote the screenplay for the 2011 feature film version starring Saoirse Ronan and Eric Bana which preceded the series. He was also the writer and creator of BBC/AMC miniseries The Night Manager starring Tom Hiddleston, Hugh Laurie and Olivia Colman.
Hanna, as a series, won audiences’ attention globally for its grounded appeal while still retaining style. In a global roundtable with media, the series writer David Farr, and actors Esmé Creed-Miles (Hanna), Yasmin Monet-Prince (Clara), Mireille Enos (Marissa), Dermot Mulroney (Carmichael), Anthony Welsh (Leo), Áine Rose Dalye (Sandy) and Gianna Kiehl (Jules), MetroPlus lets you know what is in store for the new punch-packed episodes.
David has long been vocal about crafting Hanna to be an “existential heroine.” Over the years, other films have featured a Hanna-like character but have often ended up being just a “lycra-clad fetishised female killer,” which is the very antithesis of Hanna’s credo. “I have two young daughters,” explains David, “and they’ve always cried out for female role models that weren’t Mary Poppins or these very clear things that you’re to tell young women that they should be like.”
Females in focus
David is working closely with three female writers because the new season is all about identity — not just that of Hanna but also of Clara, Sandy and Jules. “We were partly exploring the notion of the female voice, and Esme as an actress is really politically active in that way. In a way, Hanna the film talked about this ten years ago when people weren’t talking about it the way they — the new generation — are now. In season two, you’ll see Hanna’s much more political role but also the whole landscape of these young trainees who are creating identities so they can go out into the world.”
David points out that Hanna’s plotlines are not to be preachy — at the core, it is an action-thriller about identity, and is therefore inherently political. “By nature, I’m a political writer, and the writers I worked with — most of whom are British playwrights — brought things to the table I never would have been able to. An action piece can become cliched, but it is character that saves you from it.”
At 20-years-old, Esme — who expresses a keen interest in a career behind the camera as well as in front of it — agrees with David in that Hanna helps fill a massive void in entertainment, given many young women have empathised with Hanna. “It’s a fantastic example of thriller and drama and I think that’s always going to resonate. Working with such a brilliant team on the first and second seasons, I had really high hopes that it would speak to audiences in this way, for which I’m very grateful.” She adds that through the show, audiences will see Hanna continually experience plenty of emotional upheavals, adding to her growth as a woman, a fighter and a caretaker of Clara after the events of season one.
Much like Hanna, Sandy and Jules are exploring their identities outside of Utrax, as women adapting to different worlds. Despite not being main characters on paper, Áine and Giana feel their personas have a longevity thanks to mindful writing. Áine explains, “Their journeys are in the beginning stages, as they’ve come from being blank canvases in season one. It’s an exciting prospect to play someone from the birth of all their human qualities, which gives longevity because there are so many places they could go.”
“They’re essentially babies,” agrees Giana, “but walk and talk like grown-ups. They’re going through this accelerated development because they’ve been given these lives and identities so quickly, and in just the course of the first two episodes, there’s such a transition because they’re reacting to everything around them!”
Season one also saw a major transition from Marissa, an off-book CIA agent who is determined to unravel Utrax by the thread. Marissa ended up saving Hanna and her fellow trainees, against the orders of the CIA. Though she began the series as a main villain, her mission evolved as did the circumstances — a step away from the much more vengeful Marissa in the film played by Cate Blanchett. Mireille (whom we have seen in The Killing along side former Hanna co-star Joel Kinnaman) says she admires Marissa because she “just gets things done, whether there is something that needs to be done or someone out of her way. She’s super motivated!”
Nefarity meets charm
Season two brings a stronger focus on the nefarious activities of Utrax, the facility which produces genetically-modified soldiers like Hanna, Clara, Sandy and Jules. At the summit of this terrifying pyramid is Carmichael, played by Dermot Mulroney who has called the character an “approachable villain.” He adds that he admired, as more was revealed to him, just how deep Utrax’s programme goes and “how impenetrable the conspiracy has been for over 15 years, as well as the breadth of what [Carmichael] has been able to slowly and meticulously design.”
Dermot adds he is fascinated by Carmichael’s so-called moral compass which is “pointed towards protecting the status quo to the extent that he designs an entire programme to eliminate future threats.”
An integral part of the Utrax framework is Leo Garner (Anthony Welsh), a charismatic second-in-command and Carmichael’s right-hand man. Coming from a theatrical background like David, Anthony says much of Leo’s appeal is the characterisation, adding, “The biggest thing is that sense of company you have on stage. If I think about Leo and how he presents, he’s quite charming and likeable which is disarming because it can get his agendas across, especially with the female trainees.” If history is anything to go by, one should be wary of the secondary as much as the primary.
Agreeing, Dermot chimes in, “It’s not just science and warped DNA; it’s psychological. That shows how deep the programme goes, that there is a job that Leo is really good at!”
It looks like season two will see more worlds colliding and Hanna forced to take on more responsibility for her vengeful actions against Utrax. But one thing of which we can be sure is that Hanna will retain its intelligence owing to David Farr, his writing team and a talented cast.
Season two of Hanna airs on Amazon Prime on July 3