June 25, 2024

Adapted from the young adult book series by author Jonathan Stroud, Lockwood & Co is a brand-new fantasy -adventure series from creator Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) on Netflix. Set in a London plagued by ghosts, there are numerous official agencies in the business of protecting the people and maintaining control. Unfortunately, these haunts are getting out of hand, which is where Lockwood & Co steps in. The small, amateur ghost-hunting agency was established by Anthony Lockwood, played by newcomer Cameron Chapman, with the help of the clever George Cubbins (Ali Hadji-Heshmati) and Lucy Carylyle (Ruby Stokes), who possesses paranormal gifts that give the trio an edge over the competition. With Lucy’s impressive paranormal gifts, Lockwood’s determination, and George’s brain, Lockwood & Co may very well be the most skilled defense London has.

COLLIDER VIDEO OF THE DAY

In addition to the rest of the talented cast, Chapman, Hadji-Heshmati, and Stokes command the screen in Lockwood & Co. Their chemistry onscreen and off is quite an impressive feat considering each of them is fairly new to the industry. Before Lockwood & Co, Stokes did have a number of small roles in television and film, most notably as Franscesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton, and Hadji-Heshmati had brief roles on other series like Bad Education and Alex Rider. However, perhaps most surprisingly of all, the starring, titular role in Lockwood & Co marks Chapman’s debut onscreen performance.

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Following Lockwood & Co’s Netflix premiere, Collider’s Steve Weintraub spoke with Chapman, Stokes, and Hadji-Heshmati about the series. During their interview, the three of them talk about fan engagement on social media, what their audition process was like, their favorite episodes, and what they learned in their first lead roles. They also answer fan questions like how their characters take their tea, how they handle emotional scenes, which Netflix show they would love to do a crossover with, Lucy and Lockwood’s relationship, and to dunk or not to dunk. For all of this and more, check out the full interview below.

COLLIDER: I just did an interview with Joe Cornish, and so he told me I needed to ask you guys: Can you please list 20 ways Joe Cornish is amazing?

RUBY STOKES: I’ve got zero. I’m joking. I’m joking. I’ve got 100.

ALI HADJI-HESHMATI: I’ll say one thing though; Joe is very funny.

CAMERON CHAPMAN: Joe is very funny.

HADJI-HESHMATI: He always, even at tough moments on set, would always find a way to make everyone laugh, which I think is a good characteristic for a director to have.

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Joe Cornish lockwood and co image
Image via Netflix

I’m going to start with congratulations on the series. I’ve seen the whole thing. If there were more episodes, I would’ve continued watching. I put on Twitter to a bunch of people I was going to talk to you guys. So this is going to be a mixture of questions that come from me and from fans. Let me start with the most important, have you guys noticed that there are a lot of people doing TikToks on the series?

STOKES: I’ve seen a couple, yeah. I think the production company, Complete Fiction, who made Lockwood & Co have retweeted a couple, so I’ve seen them that way and they’re pretty cool. Pretty smooth.

CHAPMAN: Yeah, I’ve only seen the ones that I’ve been sent, but yeah. Very cool, very cool. Some people need to go into film editing.

STOKES: Who’s sending you TikTok, Cameron?

CHAPMAN: Rachael.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah, Rachael is insane. Rachael Prior, one of our executive producers, is pretty good at sending us the gems.

I looked at some last night and people are dedicated. As I said to Joe, the fact is if fans are doing stuff like this, I do believe that that ties into whether or not Netflix wants to do a Season 2. The fan engagement and social engagement are a really big thing nowadays.

CHAPMAN: It’s nice for us to know that people are investing in it. People care about the show and people love it. And that’s been because it was such a secretive project since 2021 or something. It’s been really nice being able to bring it out into the world, and if that’s how people want to show their appreciation for it, that’s great.

STOKES: Yeah, it’s cool.

Definitely. For all three of you, I’m curious what it was like auditioning for these roles, and at what point did you think, “Oh wait, I actually might get this.”?

CHAPMAN: I knew as soon as I got the script I was-

STOKES: He thought, “I’m made for this role.”

CHAPMAN: Yeah. No, I’m kidding. No, I really enjoyed the auditioning process. We all met really early on in it, to be honest. Well, for me early on in the process, and they were very supportive throughout it, and it was quite rigorous but really enjoyable. It never got too precious, or there was never any pressure put on it, which I think really helped. And then meeting these guys made it… It didn’t really feel like working. I wasn’t really thinking, “Oh, I really want this job,” or anything. It just became fun exploring scenes with people that are very generous actors and–

STOKES: That’s very complimentary. Thanks Cameron. Yes, I agree. We are very fortunate that we have a shorthand with each other, I think that was evident as soon as we all stepped into the room and did a chemistry read. We immediately felt comfortable and at ease with one another. And that obviously only grew as we went further and further into filming in the production. But I think we all did self-tapes at the beginning. We all did a couple of self-tapes. I did a self-tape in January. I met Joe, Nira, and Kharmel Cochrane, the casting director on Zoom. Then went in, and I went in a couple of times. I felt like we all went into the room. What about you, Ali? Did you go into the room a couple of times?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah, I’d say I think I had eight in the room.

STOKES: Eight?

HADJI-HESHMATI: That’s including chemistry tests, and then I remember actually–

STOKES: Eight?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah, yeah. Eight. Yeah. So I had, obviously, the first introductory self-tape and then I had a Zoom with Kharmel’s assistant, and then I went in the room and did my audition. I remember Kharmel saying that, “Oh yeah, your self-tape was really bad, but we really enjoyed you in the room so we’re going to call you back again.” Which I always find quite funny.

CHAPMAN: I never knew that.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah.

STOKES: I feel like you told me that once. Yeah. Well, I had Wi-Fi problems. I had awful Wi-Fi problems when I met them on Zoom and Joe went, “Yeah, I’ve seen all I need to see now.” And I was like, “But there’s one more scene.” And he’s all, “No, no, that’s it. It’s fine.”

HADJI-HESHMATI: Which to actor, for an actor that means–

CHAPMAN: It’s done. Yeah.

lockwood-and-co-season-1-social-featured
Image via Netflix

When did you actually think, “Oh, I might book this?” Or it wasn’t until you got the phone call?

CHAPMAN: Yeah, it wasn’t until I got the phone call. I don’t know, I feel like when you are auditioning you get very comfortable with letting go of things when you’ve auditioned. It was very… I really enjoyed that phone call. It was a great phone call.

HADJI-HESHMATI: I do remember there being a thing of when it was us three in the room, you got a very good vibe from Kharmel, Joe, and Nira, and them feeling really happy. But you can’t get ahead of yourself because you also know that the studio, Netflix, they have to approve it and that’s only the first step. So yeah, not until you get the phone call.

STOKES: Not even until you get the phone call. Until your bums in the seat on the first day is when you’re like, “Okay, this is the job for the next 10 months.” But yeah, same as the boys. I don’t think I ever let myself imagine that I’d got the job before I’d ever had word or anything. It was also quite, like you guys said, a rigorous audition process. So it was just going through the steps of the audition and each audition was a different thing, and you’re presented with a different script or a different challenge, or something. Yeah. Not until bum was in the seat.

For all three of you, for fans of the series, what do you think they would be surprised to learn about the actual making of the show?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Oh, that’s a really interesting question.

STOKES: We spent a huge amount of time on location, but I don’t think that comes as a surprise.

HADJI-HESHMATI: One thing that surprised me was the fact that there were sets, and I know it may sound really stupid to people inside the industry, but realizing that all of Portland Row is a set inside Ealing Studios, and we’re not actually filming in a house. That for me is quite surprising.

STOKES: Or the sets actually kind of had two levels. With Portland Row, it actually had stairs. It wasn’t the Portland Row library and front door and all that was on one stage, and then the other bedrooms were on the ground floor on a different stage. It actually went up the stairs into Cameron’s bedroom and Ali’s bed. I swear, or am I lying?

HADJI-HESHMATI: No, you’re not. And the kitchen was separate as well. That’s quite a bit that might be surprising, the fact that you’ll never actually see a shot that goes from the landing area into the kitchen continuously. You’ll only see separate kind of setups.

I think maybe another surprise for the fans would be that there’s a deleted scene when Lucy’s picking flowers out of the Portland Row garden, which I think is the only scene in the Portland Row Garden. But it got deleted.

STOKES: Yeah, that was fun. What else? Actually, not a lot got deleted, as in some lines got redacted or there was some ADR added in, but basically, everything that is in the series was on the script, was on the page. Often you do something, and then they might take out a scene, or something like that, in order to make the episode shorter or the story more succinct. But I think everything that was on the page ended up in the show. No?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Pretty much. Yeah.

Ali Hadji-Heshmati as George Cubbins in Lockwood & Co
Image via Netflix

The series is eight episodes. For each of you, which episode ended up being your favorite and why?

CHAPMAN: Episode 7 for me. I think I just love the arc through five, six, and seven where it’s sort of in real-time moving through one night. I thought it was a lot of fun to create those. There [were] some big set pieces in Episode 6 with the Fitz Party that we filmed at the Barbican in London. That was awesome. And then the filming of the fight on the rooftop with Luke [Treadaway], filming on the beach in on the Thames in East London at night in winter.

HADJI-HESHMATI: The peak of winter. Yeah.

CHAPMAN: Yeah, the peak. Very cold nights filming in London. But I love Episode 7 because I think it’s got a real energy. I think it’s very dynamic. I think all the characters are developed nicely and have a moment to be center stage, and it takes you with [it] from the second it begins. I think it’s a really fun episode. Plus, I love that sword fight with Luke. We worked really hard on that and Luke’s really fun to work with. So yeah.

STOKES: What’s your favorite?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah, I have to agree. Seven. We’ve got so many brilliant set pieces with the auction, the rooftop fight, which is one of my favorite fights in the show, and also all the stuff on the Thames, which is crazy to think that we actually filmed in the Thames. We had a crane on a massive boat and then a crane just for the lights. But yeah, how about you, Rubes?

STOKES: I don’t know, I liked seven because watching seven back for the first time felt the story was coming to a climax, and it was like everything that was involved in the previous episodes was coming to fruition massively. And there were ties, and I like that fight with Cameron and Luke on the top of the building that Lucy gets briefly involved in. And also all the boat stuff between you and Hayley [Konadu], Ali, I really like that.

But selfishly, I like Episode 2 for my character arc for Lucy’s journey. I just think she has a lot of reflection and I, personally, had some really brilliant scenes that I got to sink my teeth into. That was the most where I got to be really emotional. And the Hyde Park scene, I really liked that as well. And then also Episode 4 because we spent the majority of the time shooting that in the cemetery with lots of people. That was really fun because for a lot of the series we spent a lot of time on our own, or as a three. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cameron and Ali’s company, but it was nice to have a sort of different spirit and a different energy on set.

CHAPMAN: You remember what you’re making, you know what I mean? Ivanno [Jeremiah], Luke, and Morven [Christie].

STOKES: Yeah, when there [were] lots of people there. Exactly, and Rihanna [Dorris] and Jack [Bandeira] and Rico [Vina] and Paddy [Holland], we had lots of banter those nights.

Ruby Stokes as Lucy in Lockwood and Co
Image via Netflix

This is the first time the three of you have been leads in a series like this. I’ve spoken to a lot of actors and they talk about how you can’t put so much in one night because it’s like a marathon making a show like this. For all three of you, what did you actually learn making this series that you will take with you into your future endeavors in terms of being an actor and preparing?

STOKES: I think at the beginning you have a huge amount of adrenaline, and one huge thing I learned for myself was pacing myself [on] what I need to do the job. Does that sound really stupid?

HADJI-HESHMATI: No.

STOKES: Pacing myself and the stamina that I have. Towards the end, it was a long shoot, and it was demanding at times and challenging. But, that’s the joy of it. We were really fortunate. What’s really great is that you can step on set every day and there’s a new thing, you are just totally entranced in what you’re doing, and you are having fun, but you’re also facing these challenges. And I think learning to pace myself and understanding my stamina and how long I could go for was a challenge, and something I learned every day. Being in [it], you can get worn out, especially towards the end.

CHAPMAN: I’d come from drama school. So I only knew theater rehearsals with 20 people in a room, max. Coming onto a set where [there are] 300 or so is a culture shift. I think one of the main things that I learned was how pivotal crews are and how generous they are with their time, with their patience, [and] with their advice and wisdom. That’s something you don’t learn at drama school, you don’t learn when you are doing theater because it is far more localized. But that was one of my favorite parts of the shoot, to be honest. Their spirit kept us going at times, and the humor we shared with them got us through some night shoots that were maybe cold or maybe a bit rainy.

HADJI-HESHMATI: No, yeah, I hear that. I completely agree. It’s true. That was really quite well-put, as well. It is true. The crew supported us so much for this job, I think. I know it’s cliché, and I know we’ve said it, but they really did become an extended family to us three, especially because, as you mentioned, it’s the first time the three of us were leads. They were so welcoming and created such a nice environment on set. So I know that’s not an answer to your question, but I just wanted to mention it.

I put on Twitter that I was going to talk to you guys, and I’ve got a few questions I’d like to ask if you don’t mind. Aamna wanted to know how does Lockwood take his tea?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Lockwood or Cameron?

CHAPMAN: Yeah, yeah. Lockwood, not Cameron.

Lockwood and Co Cameron Chapman
Image via Netflix

Lockwood.

CHAPMAN: Yeah. Big, big difference. No, Lockwood’s a milk man. He likes having milk with his, I don’t know. You know, there’s that scene in Episode 5, I want to say, – the one where Jonathan Stroud is in it in the café – where it’s Lockwood, Lucy, and Flo. Lucy puts like six sugars in her tea. Have you noticed that?

STOKES: No she doesn’t!

HADJI-HESHMATI: Does she?

STOKES: She does not.

CHAPMAN: I think she does. Oh, my bad. I was watching it the other day.

STOKES: In the books, it’s the other way around that Lockwood actually has more sugar.

CHAPMAN: Yeah. Yeah. So I think he takes almost as much sugar as I do in mine.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah, they need the energy to get through it.

CHAPMAN: Exactly, exactly. They work night shifts essentially.

This is for Ruby and Cameron. Did you guys expect the audience to be so enthusiastic of Lucy and Lockwood’s relationship?

STOKES: I think romance or a slow burn at the center of a story is always going to be enthralling. But I didn’t think when we would doing it… I can’t say I would realize that would be a huge anchor point for a lot of people. But it’s definitely exciting and cool that it is, and people are tuning into that.

CHAPMAN: I think it’s also, we never sat down and spoke to each other going, “This is what we want to do with it.” It was like–

STOKES: No one ever gave us explicit conversations about it.

CHAPMAN: Yeah, exactly, exactly. I think what we found whilst we were shooting it was, in the scripts their relationship is such a journey, and every day when we went in, and we had a scene together or something, we wanted to bring that chapter of their journey as much as we could to life from the scripts because they become very, very close in quite a short period of time. And I don’t know, they go through quite a lot together for young people.

STOKES: For young adults.

Ruby Stokes and Cameron Chapman lockwood and co Lucy & Lockwood at Ball
Image via Netflix

Hannah wanted to know – and this is for all three of you – did you find it hard to delve into some of the more emotional and vulnerable scenes that your characters had, and what do you do before stepping on set to prepare for them?

HADJI-HESHMATI: We’ve said before in press how a lot of the emotional stuff in Episode 8 is the first thing that I, personally, filmed, and I think Ruby as well. I remember being really anxious about it, and then when you actually step on set and look around and see the support of the crew, but also just acting alongside amazing actors such as these two – Jack Bandeira was there and Louise Brealey – they bring the emotions out of you. Not a lot of work needs to be done on your case. I feel like if you’re just reacting, the emotions come because they are so good at what they do.

CHAPMAN: And the scripts provide it as well.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Exactly.

CHAPMAN: The scripts give you the foundation to work from on it. And then, like Ali said, just working with great actors and a supportive team.

STOKES: I myself found it really exciting that that’s what I loved about the character is that these characters are real people. They’re rooted within truth, and they’re heroes, yes, but they’re going through every single emotion under the sun. Especially being teenagers, as well, like who is not having that experience as a teenager?

That was a really exciting prospect for myself that [there were] action-packed scenes, but there [were] also intimate and quiet scenes and vulnerable scenes as well. And I personally, when I did some of the stuff with the tape recorder in Episode 2, and I think Hyde Park, as well, in Episode 8 when me and Al were in the dungeon – what was that thing called? The crypt. Yeah, I guess it depends what headframe you are in in the moment. I think sometimes it comes quite easily because you’re able to bounce off of each other like Ali and Cameron said.

Also maybe if it’s an environment on the day where there are elements that you can’t help. Like a studio, it’s super easy to get emotional in a studio, right? Because you can zone into your headspace and just immediately be in the moment. Whereas when it’s a really huge wide shot, and it’s a huge scene to film, I think helps to listen to… I think I listened to Adele. “Easy On Me” had just come out, and I found it really emotional, and I definitely played that a couple of times throughout shooting in order to just put me in the right frame of mind for an emotional scene.

One of the things about the show is that if the VFX don’t work, you don’t buy into this show at all. The VFX on this are very good, and what Joe did with the ghosts and working with the VFX teams. So I’m curious for you guys, what was it like watching it for the first time and seeing what the post-production crew had done to help bring this show to life?

CHAPMAN: It was really cool. It was really cool because the chief of VFX guy, he was really present with us and never shied away from showing us his drafts or his mock-ups of what it was that we were in the scene with. Whether that be a ghost or something with a sword maybe, or something about the setting changing under the effects, which was really helpful for us, I think. Helpful for me, anyway. And then seeing it on the screen, it brought almost like a, “Oh that’s the show we made.” It was like, “Wow, that’s not what I was looking at. I was looking at an LED mannequin being like on a stick being sort of wielded around a hallway.” It was really cool, and I think VFX departments are sometimes unsung heroes of this industry. Yeah.

lockwood and co skull in jaw vfx
Image via Netflix

Lisa wanted to know if you could cross over with another Netflix series which show would you love to cross over with?

HADJI-HESHMATI: Oh, damn.

CHAPMAN: I say Dark.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Yeah, you guys love Dark.

CHAPMAN: The German show. I don’t know, it would probably not be a great fit, but–

STOKES: How would it work? It would be like Bickerstaff coming out of that cave or something.

CHAPMAN: No, we’d come out of the cave with our swords just running off, away from something.

STOKES: And learn to speak German as well.

CHAPMAN: Yeah. And then I can give you a fist bump.

STOKES: Yeah, exactly. It’d be like, “This is your mother.”

CHAPMAN: Oh, my God. No, I’ve just– I’m going to tell you after because it’s a spoiler for the books. I just realized there is a storyline that could really link into Dark, but we’re not… You know what I mean?

STOKES: It really is. Oh my god. Yeah, it’s what I think would maybe link well is… I was going to say Stranger Things links very well with what Cameron’s saying about what happens later in the books, the parallel-ness links well, but I think Dark or an equally atmospheric show.

Lucy, Lockwood and George in Lockwood and Co

I’m not joking around when I say this to you, on Twitter, the amount of times that people mentioned tea and biscuits and things involving the three of you, it was a lot. So I am going to end with this question because it represents so many people on Twitter. Someone named October asked, for all of you, how do you like your tea and best biscuit? And to dunk or not to dunk?

STOKES: Oh my God. To dunk – also, October’s such a cool name if that’s their name – but to dunk 100%. I like the crummy bits at the bottom. I can’t lie, when I come to the end of my tea and there’s stodgy crap on the bottom of it. I yam that stuff up. I like it.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Oh, I like a nice not-too-strong tea. So the tea bag in for only 20 ish, 30 seconds. Bit of milk, a custard cream, two custard creams.

CHAPMAN: Jammy Dodgers.

HADJI-HESHMATI: Well Jammy Dodgers are their own event for me and they’re very–

CHAPMAN: Steven, do you know what Jammy Dodgers is?

I don’t. Also, not sure if you guys have been to America or spent a lot of time in America, but I will tell you that tea is really a British thing. In America, it’s select people drinking tea.

You can watch all of Lockwood & Co Season 1 on Netflix.

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