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THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Stars Talk Season 2’s Fathers-and-Sons Theme

THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE Stars Talk Season 2’s Fathers-and-Sons Theme

Amazon’s critically beloved The Man In the High Castle, inspired by Philip K. Dick‘s Hugo Award-winning novel of the same name, is unlike any other show on television. Its high-concept alternate universe premise is integrated into a drama about everyday life, so that we’re not only watching a program about governmental tyranny, but also about human experiences. One of the big through line themes for the upcoming second season, in fact, appears to be that of fathers and sons. Luke Kleintank, who plays Joe Blake, talked to us about exploring this theme come this new string of episodes, which will introduce Sabastian Roche as Joe’s long estranged dad.

“I did a film with Sebastian and he played my father in Phantom Halo before this, so I recommended him for the role,” Kleintank said. “We already had the chemistry. Me and him go way back. It’s such a poignant thing for his character and to season two. It really forms everything he is in season two. You will meet his father and he’s an important man. That throws Joe into the lion’s den of the Nazi empire. He has to learn how to deal with that and cope with that, all the emotions of seeing his father for the first time—he’s never met this man in his life—and now being in this whole new world. It’s scary as hell for him but it’s also really tempting.”

And that’s why Kleintank was most excited to finally get to portray that father/son relationship on the show. “That dynamic means a lot because in season one we don’t really know what Joe’s doing or why he’s doing what he’s doing,” he said. “They mention his father as this ambiguous thing that’s floating around that we don’t really know about. So that, his father, really defines him in season two.” As for where Joe begins his story in season two, “It picks up right where it left off.”

Man In the High Castle

“He’s right on the boat and he’s heading back to New York City essentially to become a hero with the film because he has the film,” Kleintank said. “[Juliana, played by Alexa Davalos] changed him. She changed his outlook on certain things in life. He’s a young guy who’s a Nazi and that’s the world he grew up in, so she opened his eyes to being a better man. He still thinks that doing the right thing by the Reich could possibly be a good thing. He’s just confused, really. He’s trying to figure it all out. I think he has the potential of being a great hero and I think he’s slowly finding that within himself.”

According to Kleintank, Joe hasn’t really decided yet if he completely agrees with the Nazi way of life, or if he wants to join the resistance. “In the beginning of the season, he’s pissed off at Smith for making him do the things that he had to do,” Kleintank said. “Joe doesn’t believe that he had to do these things. He asked for Juliana’s safety and Smith didn’t grant it. Smith pretty much threw him to the wolves. He has a lot of resentment about that. He’s pissed and he’s fearful of Smith. But you’ll see this season that he gets a little more cajones so he’s not as fearful.”

The Man In the High Castle

Speaking of Smith, he’s going to be quite consumed with his own personal drama in season two, as he tries to hide his son’s diagnosis of a serious degenerative disease called Landouzy-Dejerine Syndrome. Since it’s classified as a class A congenital disorder, that means Thomas (Quinn Lord) would be sentenced to death if the Nazi party found out he was sick; in season one, Smith was even ordered by his son’s doctor to admit the lethal injection himself but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Smith begins season two doing anything he can to protect his son, even though it means going against the government he’s dedicated his life to.

“Smith’s predicament was pretty soundly set up at the end of the first season,” said Rufus Sewell, who plays the character on the series. “He’s in a terrible position and a great position at the same time. In one sense, he’s at the top of the world in terms of his position in the Reich and getting pats on the head from the Fuhrer. He has really never been positioned better in the hierarchy. He’s done very well by his boss. But at the same time, everything he does is in some cracked idea of protecting his family, or at least he telling himself that. But his son is very much in danger from those same forces that he’s hooked himself to.”

He continued, “He’s split which is something that I hoped would happen more and more with this character. He gets divided. I don’t believe he’s ever been straightforward good or evil but a mix of those two things. That’s why it’s so interesting to play a Nazi that is a mix of good and evil. He certainly has his doubts and is dealing with things as they come, one at a time. I’d like to think there is a high potential for change in his future.”

But Smith isn’t just hiding Thomas’ diagnosis from the Nazis. He’s also hiding it from Thomas himself.

“[Keeping that a secret] is going to affect the father/son dynamic in many ways,” Sewell said. “It’s a large part of the story. I couldn’t tell you how, but it’s basically the key part of my story. [I was most excited about] exploring the story of my son and making sure that that stayed true to what a human being in those circumstances would do. That, to me, was the most important. I’m really gratified that we’re going deeper and deeper into that.”

But what about the issue at the very center of The Man in the High Castle: the mysterious movie reels depicting an alternate reality (ours) where the Allies actually won WWII? Both Kleintank and Sewell promised they will continue to play a big role in the series moving forward.

“The idea gets kind of turned on its head quite interestingly towards the end,” Sewell teased. “It’s quite clever. They’re still in play but they’re not the only thing.”

The Man in the High Castle season two is now streaming in its entirety on Amazon Prime.

Images: Amazon

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