With all eight episodes of Hunters season two now streaming on Prime Video, we were able to catch up with Academy Award-nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight; Weeds) post-release to talk about her pivotal role in the final season.
Leigh joined the cast as Chava, a mysterious new Hunter who has been in this war against the Nazis far longer than her new allies and shares a very unique connection with Jonah (Logan Lerman) that will ultimately help him do what he must to take down Hitler once and for all.
Among the many things we discussed, she tells me more about what convinced her to join the series, playing mentor to Logan Lerman, working opposite Al Pacino, the show's explosive conclusion, and a whole lt more.
Read on for our full interview with Leigh and please remember to SUBSCRIBE to my channel!
ROHAN: You're playing a huge role this season as Chava. Can you tell me more about creator David Weil's initial pitch to you that convinced you to come on board?
JENNIFER: First of all, I really, really liked David very much, and I had seen season one, and tonally, I just never seen any show quite like it. His passion and how personal it was, but also the kind of insane energy of it was something I had never done before, and it just seemed like it would be very exciting and challenging, and like joining something that's really kind of a wonderful, completely new kind of show in a way.
ROHAN: Jonah is still carrying the weight of The Wolf's deception in season one, so when you're coming in as this new mentor figure to him, how did you want to change your approach to those interactions?
JENNIFER: Well, I don't know how much I can give away or not give away? Obviously, nothing is obvious with Hunters, but the dynamic was really, may I say a familiar one, and there's a lot of grief in it, but also love. She's not someone that exposes her feelings easily, but she's been sort of someone watching over him for a long time.
ROHAN: Chava remains very mission-focused all season. She never celebrates their wins or mourns their losses, she just remains focused on the ultimate goal. Was that an interesting challenge to play?
JENNIFER: Yes, I think it makes her path very clear, and anything extraneous is an obstacle, and she's just incredibly single-minded. That in a way made her a lot of fun to play in a way too, because other things come in, and she just can't, she can't let them in a way.
ROHAN: Since Chava is a previously unknown player in this war, did you develop any additional backstory for her? Especially in terms of her big secret?
JENNIFER: Well, I worked a lot with David on that, and he was really, really helpful in helping me form a backstory for her, and what happened with her and her sister, and when the last time they saw each other was. He also told me a lot about his grandmother, who, of course, inspired the whole idea in the first place, and even sent me recordings of hers that she had made about her life, which was so beautiful, and her handwriting as well, in some letters that she had written. She was quite an incredible woman, and tough and funny and loving, and so, that was incredibly helpful and very personal.
ROHAN: Near the end of the season, she has a conversation with Jonah before he makes his move against Hitler. Do you think she knew what he was going to do or do you think she was expecting something different?
JENNIFER: I think she's expecting something different.
ROHAN: This show is so incredibly well-cast. What was your experience coming in as a newcomer and joining the Hunters family?
JENNIFER: Oh, they were incredible. I mean, the whole cast is very close. They really care about each other. They make every new person feel like you've been there the entire time. I had these long monologues and nobody ever even yawned. *laughs* We were shooting like 14-hour days, and they were just there, so present, so giving, so generous of themselves. I mean, it could not be a nicer group of people.
ROHAN: You get to share the screen with the legendary Al Pacino, can you tell me more about working opposite him?
JENNIFER: Well, he's probably one of my most favorite actors on the planet, so it was incredible for me. I mean, he was the actor that really changed sort of what my view of what acting could be when I was 14, in Dog Day Afternoon. I had just never seen a performance like that. I had worked with him once before, on-stage, and he's such an incredibly good person, and funny, and so smart, and there's just no one like him. I feel eternally grateful that I got to work with him, and hopefully, I'll get to work with him again, because he really does give so much and he's a force.
ROHAN: While you get a scene or two with Al Pacino, you spend most of the season working opposite Logan Lerman, who is this incredibly gifted young actor. Can you tell me about your experience working with him?
JENNIFER: We have a lot of scenes together, and he's really lovely. He really cares about this project. He's really in it in all the ways that you want to be in something, and you want to sort of witness and he's so young, but he's really grounded, and he has a lot of different interests, and he's very open. He's just a really super sweet, sweet, fun guy.
ROHAN: This season really ups the action, with some incredible sequences like the hotel shootout. What was your experience with the action scenes and was there one that stood out?
JENNIFER: They were like stress inducing, I just think I haven't done a lot of things. I mean, I've done lots of movies with guns and things, but in the past, not recently, and it does get your heart rate going.
ROHAN: You're working with this actor, who is literally portraying evil incarnate. At any moment during production, did you find yourself relating to Chava's mission when you see Hitler on-set and why she's so hellbent on taking him out?
JENNIFER: Well, I think, you know, when you think about Hitler, of course, if you had that opportunity you would take it. You would seize it.
ROHAN: What did you think of the show's ending? Do you think it was the proper conclusion for this story?
JENNIFER: I mean, I think yeah. David worked really hard to figure out the conclusion to the story that he thought was right. I haven't actually seen it yet, because I've been working, so I'm really looking forward to that. Everybody that I've talked to has really been loving it, and I guess they're able to sort of binge the whole thing, and so, that's exciting. I'm excited to see it.
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After an accident derails their exploits in Europe, The Hunters must band back together to hunt down history's most infamous Nazi—Adolf Hitler—who's hiding in South America. Meanwhile, a look to the past reveals Meyer Offerman (Al Pacino) encountering a dangerous threat that could unravel his secret and expose his true identity, with explosive reverberations for our Hunters.
Al Pacino returns for the epic series conclusion of Hunters alongside previously announced new series regular Jennifer Jason Leigh and returning series regulars Logan Lerman, Jerrika Hinton, Lena Olin, Josh Radnor, Tiffany Boone, Carol Kane, Louis Ozawa, Kate Mulvany, and Greg Austin.
Hunters is produced by Amazon Studios, Monkeypaw Productions and Halcyon Studios. The series is created and executive produced by David Weil, who serves as showrunner; Jordan Peele and Win Rosenfeld from Monkeypaw Productions; Phil Abraham, David J. Rosen, Jerry Kupfer, and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon. David Ellender and Matt Loze from Halcyon Studios also serve as executive producers.