Which Role Was Harder for Victoria Pedretti To Play: Dani From ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ or Nell From ‘Hill House’?

Even though Victoria Pedretti played a key role in The Haunting of Hill House, she played an even more substantial part in The Haunting of Bly Manor. There are a lot of obvious differences between Nell Crain and Dani Clayton. But which did Pedretti find harder to play? [Spoiler alert: Spoilers ahead for The Haunting of Bly Manor].

Victoria Pedretti shared that one ‘Haunting’ role was harder to play than the other

Victoria Pedretti in Episode 1 as Dani in 'THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR' / Pedretti as Nell on her wedding day in 'THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE'
Victoria Pedretti as Dani in ‘THE HAUNTING OF BLY MANOR’ / Pedretti as Nell in ‘THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE’ | EIKE SCHROTER/NETFLIX / Tina Rowden/Netflix

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The Haunting of Bly Manor takes place in the countryside of England, where Dani is hired to be an au pair for two orphaned children. She’s in a new culture, a new country, a new job. All in a way to try and get over the death of her friend and ex, Eddie. Of course, there’s more trauma added onto that due to the fact that she feels guilty about the way Eddie died. Hence why the memory of him follows her around long after she leaves the States. 

Despite Nell being in a very morbid situation and is a generally more terrified character than Dani, she wasn’t harder to tap into. In an interview with TV Line, Pedretti shared that Dani was “a hundred percent” a harder role to play.

“The turning point she is at her life is something really difficult that we all confront,” Pedretti said. “It’s like, who are you going to be now? And living through that journey is really… I’m going through it kind of simultaneously. I’m also 25. We’re going through similar sh*t.” 

And even though Nell was the Bent-Neck Lady, the role of Dani was “more physically rigorous” for Pedretti. She is on-screen more, but she has to deal with running around and even being dragged by the Lady of the Lake. 

She did say she was “nervous about f*cking up completely” during The Haunting of Hill House, but that she’s now pushing herself more in her roles. She’s holding herself to a standard of “not necessarily wanting to just do it, but to somehow exceed my expectations, and to keep growing as an actor, and to be better.”

‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’ also brought a lot of new difficulties to maneuver 

Again, Pedretti was central to both plots, but in The Haunting of Bly Manor, she was arguably the main character, with a lot of screentime and therefore responsibility. Not to mention other new difficulties.

“With so much opportunity and responsibility, I was taking that really seriously,” Pedretti said. “Having different directors added to the stress. Being in a country that I don’t know the culture was stressful. There were a lot of reasons that this season was a lot more challenging.”

On top of that, she said that they had “far less time” to shoot this season than the first, even though they had the same amount of work to do. 

A big difference between the characters is how they express (or don’t express) their true selves

A big part of Dani’s story is the fact that she doesn’t feel like she can have happiness. Due to society’s shame around being gay and also with the way Eddie died — jumping out of their car after Dani told him she didn’t want to go through with the wedding because she is gay — Dani really just shuts down her authentic self. She was used to putting others first and shutting off her feelings, where Nell was a vastly different story. 

“This one was certainly rougher. And Nell, as stressed as she was, wasn’t putting up any fronts at the point when we were meeting her,” Pedretti said. “She wore her heart on her sleeve. The same can’t be true about Dani. There’s something additionally exhausting on playing the façade, especially somebody as bouncy, and energized, and anxious as this person is.”

Also, just down to their appearances and the time they live in, it’s not hard for the audience to differentiate the two, Pedretti told E!

“Exploring, going on this adventure of putting herself in an environment where she’s a fish out of water. I didn’t feel like I had to actively try to differentiate the characters They’re very different.”

The Haunting of Bly Manor is currently on Netflix. 

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