I don’t need to tell horror fans to stay out of the woods. If you don’t know that by now, do you even watch horror? The new original Peacock show, The Girl in the Woods, a drama with monsters based on a series of shorts from Crypt TV, reminds me why I stay out forests. They’re big, full of weird noises and even weirder stuff, and there are way too many places to hide. Not for me to hide, but like, for scary things to hide. To celebrate the release of the show, I chatted with star Reed Diamond about his character, Hosea, why he took the part, and his favorite scary movie.
PopHorror: Hi Reed! I loved the show so I’m really excited to speak with you.
Reed Diamond: Oh good!
PopHorror: I’m also a huge fan of Franklin and Bash, so this is a delight for me.
Reed Diamond: I’m beyond honored. Thank you!
PopHorror: So what intrigued you about The Girl in the Woods and made you want to be a part of it?
Reed Diamond: I can you tell this so clearly. This is literally everything that my daughter, who is about to turn 13, is looking for in a television show. She wants compelling horror and she wants realistic LGBTQ+ representation. Those are the two things she’s looking for in a show. And as soon as I read this, I was like, “Oh my God! This is built for my kid. This is exactly what she’s been clamoring for.” That was the initial thing.
I had to do this because I was so taken, and obviously I love my character, but I was so taken by the relationships between the young people and how realistic and how authentic they were. The nuance and the subtlety, I just found incredibly compelling. From a personal point of view, I just loved this character. He’s no Damian Karp [Diamond’s character in Franklin and Bash]. He’s slightly different. I just love the two hats he has to wear. He’s in charge of this community that he is protecting—literally guarding a portal to the underworld, the shadow world, to hell, whatever it might be—and I’ve always been fascinated by those societies, rosicrucians or the illuminati. People had to protect knowledge, right? To go through these periods of time where this sacred knowledge has to be passed on, so the colony has this incredible responsibility of having to know how the world really is and keeping humanity safe because humanity couldn’t handle that knowledge. And then at the same time, as a parent, how he has to father and the choices he has to make to keep her strong in the world in the way that he knows the world to be. With him, I kept thinking about that Johnny Cash song, A Boy Named Sue.
But what I love about these scripts, and I said this to Casey [writer J. Casey Modderno] on probably my last day of shooting… I kept fawning over Casey every day when I would start. I was like, “These scripts are so amazing!” I had all eight, and usually when I’m doing a series like this, I’ll read all of the scripts all the way through maybe five or six times, and I’ll start concentrating on my scenes and my character and what I’m doing. But I just found these scripts so incredible that I literally read through all eight every two days for maybe six to eight weeks, and every time I did I found another layer. I told Casey how impressed I was. You’ve got this compelling horror, you’ve got this mythology that I think is really well thought out and I love, and then you’ve got these amazing relationships between the young people. You’ve got this theme on parenting because all the parents parent in a different way. How do you parent in this day and age? And then you’ve got the current economic themes about crumbling American cities and what they need to do to survive and how you have to live in this world, so there was so much to piece through. We shot the show in June or July, and I probably read the pilot in March or April. Casey only started writing this in January.
PopHorror: Oh, wow!
Reed Diamond: Oh, I know! I always thought she was impressive, but that’s like doubly so, right? It was such a treat to be a part of such a well-crafted piece. It’s an exciting group. All the people at Crypt TV are super cool and young and vibrant. The cast was just… The highlight, so far, of my daughter’s life—she’s been to the Franklin and Bash set, that was her first set—but on this one, she got to have dinner with Mischa [Osherovich]. I think, so far, it’s the coolest thing I’ve been able to provide for her out of my career.
PopHorror: That’s so amazing! I love that you had her in mind when you were looking at this. And I also look for compelling horror and LGBTQ representation. I went into this completely blind so I was pleasantly surprised when I started watching it.
Reed Diamond: Great, great.
PopHorror: It adds even more layers to it. Was there anything that you were adamant about bringing to your character when you first read the script?
Reed Diamond: There was. Usually the parts that I get, I know right away when I pick up the script. This is the one that I’m supposed to play, this is the right place for me. There’s something that I have to say about this character. There’s some connection cellularly that I have with this person. When I read it, immediately I thought, “I know exactly how I’m going to play this. I know who he is and where this is all coming from.” And apparently, that resonated with the powers that be. I always felt with him. He’s ostensibly outwardly, seems maybe even villain or evil, right? There’s something about that. But I never saw him that way.
In the colony, they have that phrase, the form of greeting or salutation where they say, “Warmth.” And that was such a key, for me, into this world. Everything he’s doing is coming from a place of pure love. It’s love… love for humanity and love for his daughter. His head is heavy who wears the crown. I have this responsibility to the world, to humanity, to my community and to my child, so what it takes for him, what Hosea truly believes his form of parenting, is he has to make her as strong as possible, but it comes not from coldness or callousness, even though it may manifest in that manner. It comes from pure love.
It was funny, because when I first showed up to set, the only creative conversation we had, and maybe the only creative disagreement I had, but I showed on the first day and Krysten (director Ritter) says to me, “Have you seen Will’s [Yun Lee] work?” “No, I haven’t.” “He’s so intense.” “Well, yeah. Will’s amazing.” She goes, “You need to be more intense.” And I said, “Oh, I can’t. No, no. That’s Will. Arthur is intense.” A: I couldn’t compete with that, and that’s not where I see this guy. It’s not how I built him. It’s all for love. That’s Arthur’s job. That’s why I use him, especially as a leader. You have to make the most of the people around you, and use them to their greatest strength. I’ve always approached him and saw that all of his motivations come from love. It was nice to weave all of that in, even in the moments where it’s outwardly so harsh, that underneath there’s something else burning inside.
PopHorror: What is up next for you, Reed? Is there something you’re currently working on?
Reed Diamond: It’s been a busy summer. I started off with this, and I just played Mark Felt—Deep Throat—in Gaslit, the Watergate series with Sean Penn and Julia Roberts. That should be coming out, I guess, relatively soon. And I just got to go play on Better Call Saul last month, so that was really fun.
PopHorror: That’s exciting! One last question for you today. What is your favorite scary movie?
Reed Diamond My number one favorite scary movie of all time is Alien. The original Alien. I remember seeing it in 1979. I’m 11, and I remember that opening sequence of just the ship moving through space and the sound of it. And that tagline, “In space, no one can hear you scream,” and just thinking about how you’re trapped with this lethal monster alien, and there’s nowhere to go. Horror has always been my thing, and with my daughter, it’s her passion. She curates everything we watch.
Thank you so much, Reed, for taking the time to chat with us. Be sure to catch The Girl in the Woods streaming on Peacock now.