‘Penny Dreadful’ Post Mortem: Reeve Carney on That Bloody Love Scene

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[Spoiler Alert: Only read on if you have watched last night’s episode of “Penny Dreadful.” Plot points discussed ahead.]

Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray in 'Penny Dreadful.' (Showtime)
Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray in ‘Penny Dreadful.’ (Showtime)

It’s a pretty normal thing with a show like Showtime’s Penny Dreadful” to find your jaw resting on the ground with some of the things show creator, John Logan, comes up with and puts into his series.

However, even I was awestruck at the bloody three-way that happened in last night’s episode. Dorian (Reeve Carney) and Lily (Billie Piper) have brought young Justin (Jessica Barden) into their home and while it may have seemed more like a parent/daughter scenario, things quickly turned more erotic after a little dose of murder. With a three-way occurring while all three were covered with a bright shade of blood, the threesome created something visually compelling while also cementing the relationships, which will serve them well moving forward in their devious plans.

I talked to Carney recently about the particular scene and what went into making it.

[l-r) Jessica Barden, Billie Piper and Carney form a three-way partnership of sorts. (Showtime)
[l-r) Jessica Barden, Billie Piper and Carney form a three-way partnership of sorts. (Showtime)
Tell me about shooting what I’m calling “the bloody three-way.” I’m guessing that took awhile to shoot, right?

Reeve Carney: Thankfully, it didn’t take that long to shoot. It’s safest when you really do think of yourself as someone else. You know, actors have different tricks to tell the most truthful story as possible [and] maybe a substitution from your own life. [laughs] But there’s no way to do that with a bloody three way! In those moments, it’s just easier to to pretend to be someone else. “OK, I am Dorian Gray. Here we go!” That’s sort of how I did it.

I will say I couldn’t have had any partners [than Billy and Jessica] and I don’t mean that in a crude way. They are just wonderful girls. Very respectful and really professional and really fun and they don’t make you feel like you’re being a creep because I’m not trying to be a creep. It felt like going to camp or something. [laughs] It was pretty funny when they said, “OK, it’s time for the blood!” It actually was a really fun day because of how outlandish it was.

Here’s an exclusive video showcasing the Dorian-Lily-Justine relationship on ‘Penny Dreadful’:

What can you say about their plan moving forward? Is it about ruling the world or to bring the outcasts into the family?

RC: I think it’s sort of like a revenge/justice situation and I think Dorian respects that aspect of it. Obviously, he’s quite a progressive thinker, especially for that era, and the concept of feminism are more like the present day, obviously not 1892. Dorian is totally on board with that line of thinking.

I do see Lily as more bloodthirsty than Dorian in this particular case. I don’t think that Dorian has any particular reason to paint everyone with the same brush, so to speak, or to take out any frustrations that he may have with one person on a group of people but Lily has a lot of reasons to do that because of her past as a prostitute and being abused by men so that makes it more bloodthirsty. And I think Justine, as well, has the potential to go there just because of her past and I think you see that in episode two. I think Lily is after exacting revenge on these people who probably deserve it.

“Penny Dreadful” airs Sundays at 9 pm on Showtime.

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