British actress Sonya Cassidy was eager for an American adventure when she got cast in AMC’s surreal series “Lodge 49.” It was her first U.S. role, and made all the sweeter when the show earned critical acclaim after its debut last year.
Now the “Lodge” gang is back — season two premieres Monday with surfer dude Dud (Wyatt Russell); his pragmatic twin sister, Liz (Cassidy), and all the folks in the strange fraternal order that Dud has stumbled upon. The show’s magical, meandering qualities really appeal to Cassidy, who admits to being a J.R.R. Tolkien fanatic (she loved reading “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy as a kid). Not that this series is a fantasy. No, it’s not that simple.
Cassidy, 32, recently spoke by phone with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio. He caught her back home in London, sitting in her living room and looking out on her beloved back garden.
“Lodge 49” was your first role in a U.S. production. Now that you’ve shot two seasons, is America rubbing off? What’s something really American you’ve caught yourself doing?
I have moments of pause now before I start to say, um, the “boot” or the “trunk” of a car, “trousers” or “pants,” or “pavement” vs. “sidewalk.” I don’t have a car in London, so I’ve probably driven more in the U.S. than I have my whole life in England. So when I get back here even I have to remind myself, “Oh, yes, we drive on the left.”
Where’d you drive in the U.S.?
This year, when we were filming in Atlanta, I drove to Asheville, North Carolina, and took in a bit of the Appalachian Trail, which is just beautiful. Asheville reminds me of Bristol, where I’m from in the Southwest of England. Very friendly, lots going on. On the West Coast, I did Joshua Tree [National Park]. We don’t have deserts in the U.K., as you’re probably aware, so to stay in a desert felt very special. I so enjoyed the chance to soak up more of the U.S. — to explore and satisfy my “inner hobbit.” Because I’m basically a hobbit in a woman’s body.
In “Lodge 49,” Liz is the responsible one. How practical are you?
Oh, I’m very practical and pragmatic. I like to think Liz and I share certain things — that’s what made me connect so quickly to her. Like Liz, I have a brother and I’d walk over hot coals for him. Even though he can drive me mad sometimes. (She laughs.) Well, back in the day. What I like about season two is that we see Liz discovering things in herself. She’s far more … cool than I will ever be.
So how do you describe this hard-to-describe show?
If you caught season one, it opens with Dud on the beach with his metal detector … and he finds something strange [a ring etched with the face of a lynx]. And from that, his life goes down avenues he never expected. Our show is like the lynx ring in the sand of television. If you stumble upon it, your television viewing experience will be vastly enriched. I don’t know of any other show like ours, where you can go from really laughing to profoundly moved — and it feels so natural. I have to say, if I read a book, or go to the cinema, I don’t Google what I’m going to read or watch. I don’t like to know what’s coming.
With a lot of films now, you watch a trailer at the cinema and they basically show you a three-minute version of the entire thing — with spoilers.
So after shooting season two and returning home to London, what did you really miss? What Britishy thing did you do first?
The very first thing I did, when I landed at Heathrow, I got a cup of tea. (She chuckles.) This is kind of silly. It’s not like you guys don’t have tea. Of course you have tea. But for some reason, it never quite tasted the same. So I made a beeline for a good brew. And it was like … nectar. It felt lovely to be back. I really do love this city. If London were a person I’d call it after a few glasses of wine and tell it how much I love it. (She laughs.) It would be like my drunk dial.
Let’s hope London doesn’t block your number.
Not that I find myself in that position very often, mind you.