by LAUREN CODLING
AN ACTOR with a “mystery role” in the upcoming season of The Haunting of Bly Manor has revealed the reason behind the secrecy surrounding the show.
Kamal Khan will be starring in the latest series of the hit show, due to be released on Netflix on Friday (9). Loosely based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, the supernatural horror drama will centre on a young tutor haunted by apparitions in a country house. Khan, originally from London, will play an as-yet unnamed character.
The British Asian actor is sworn to secrecy and his role won’t be revealed until the series airs. “(The secrecy) is really to make it flow for the audience, so they are able to enjoy it as the story develops,” he told Eastern Eye. “Not even all the cast members know everything.
“It’s part of the enjoyment of the show that you don’t know everything straight away, just like you wouldn’t want a really specific synopsis of the episode. Otherwise, you may not bother with the next episode.”
However, keeping his work a secret isn’t a new experience for Khan. In the past, he has had to keep quiet about other projects. Khan has provided voice-overs for several popular games, including Xcom Chimera Squad and Crucible, but could not reveal any details to friends or family.
“There is a level of extreme secrecy around it in the gaming world, you can’t even tell anyone that you’re in it,” he laughed. “At least I can actually say I’m in The Haunting of Bly Manor!”
The show is a follow-up to The Haunting of Hill House, which first hit TV screens in 2018. Based on Shirley Jackson’s novel of the same name, the series was a huge hit and made stars of its leads Victoria Pedretti and Oliver Jackson-Cohen.
On its website, the Telegraph gave the first series a five-star rating, describing it as “the most complex and complete horror series of its time”. Author Stephen King and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino are among the show’s famous fans, with the latter calling it his “favourite Netflix series, with no competition”.
When asked about being offered a role, Khan said he was “over the moon” when he heard the news. “I was pretty excited to go in and be part of it and meet with (director and creator) Mike Flanagan and the rest of the team,” the British actor said. “I definitely feel blessed and hopefully it leads on to other things too.”
Khan grew up in Northwood, Middlesex, but is now based in Los Angeles, California, after moving to America more than a decade ago. He had already began to carve out a successful career in the entertainment industry in the UK – starring as Romeo in the West End production of Romeo and Juliet – so he decided to pursue his career in the US.
As well as his acting career, Khan is a singer and musician. One of his goals when moving to Los Angeles was to perform at the House of Blues on Sunset Boulevard, which he accomplished in 2013. “I was following my dreams when I came out here,” he said. “But it’s not easy. I’ve never seen such competition as I’ve seen in Los Angeles.”
The Covid crisis has meant many in the entertainment industry have struggled for work, with films and television shows pausing production. Khan said it was no different for him.
“Yeah, it has been very challenging,” he admitted. “And it’s not just actors, either. Directors, producers and writers are struggling. It’s been really tough – there are only so many Zoom meetings you can do.”
During the pandemic, Khan said he has been learning to transition to a
new online world. He auditions for roles via WeAudition, an online platform where individuals can attend video castings or rehearse. “There are platforms out there that we can use,” he said. “So it has been tough, but there are ways around it.”
As well as his work on Bly Manor, Khan will soon feature on a new audiobook called Sculpting the Elephant. He will also be featuring in another gaming project soon – although he is unable to reveal any details.
He laughed: “I guess you could say I am pretty used to the experience of having to keep quiet (about my work).”
The Haunting of Bly Manor will premiere on Netflix on Friday (9).