LADIES OF THE LAKE returns for an explosive season 2.
Season 2 of the web series LADIES OF THE LAKE is available now for streaming on Amazon. Here, Executive Producer/Writer Michael Caruso and Executive Producer Kyle Lowder (Shawn) preview what’s ahead for season 2, and what happened now that the main characters got away with murder. “This time they weren’t adapting a book,” says Executive Producer Ken Corday, who wrote the novel season 1 was based on. “And I totally trusted them to run with it. They made it better, faster and sexier, and I love it.”
Soap Opera Digest: How did season 2 come about?
Michael Caruso: I was working on another project with Ken [Corday, executive producer of DAYS], and I went into the office for a meeting. He looked up at me and said, “So, I think we should do a second season of LADIES OF THE LAKE,” and he literally could have knocked me over with a feather. I was like, “Wait, what? Another one?” Because while we set it up for a continuation, we always just assumed it was going to be a one-off. He said, “Can you have a treatment for me by next week?” and I said, “Yeah, of course!” So, I called Kyle and I actually didn’t tell him right away; my wife and I pulled a prank on him.
Kyle Lowder: Yeah, I don’t want to talk about that.
Caruso: I’ll tell! So [wife] Barbie made a poster of a woman underwater with a tomb made out of bubbles and we put it in a box —
Lowder: It was my birthday present!
Caruso: We gave it to Kyle and he opens it up and goes, “Well, what is this?” and I said, “Well what do you think it is?” Barbie and I were like, “It’s a woman in the water and there’s a number two,” and he’s like, “Uh, okay…” and he just couldn’t figure it out. We were like, “Are you serious, dude? It’s a two and there’s a woman in a lake!”
Lowder: It was bad.
Caruso: It was really bad!
Lowder: And then I just got it and was like, “Lady in a lake with a two!” All joking aside, when we said we expected the whole thing to be a one-off, we always knew that if Ken came to us and said he wanted to keep this going, we would leap at the opportunity. But you don’t want to get your hopes up, either. That moment where we found out that Ken believed in us enough to give us the opportunity to keep going with this was very special in every way.
Digest: Season 1 was based on Ken’s novel. He hadn’t written a sequel. Where did you start?
Caruso: When I finished adapting the novel, there were elements we couldn’t include for time reasons and financial reasons, and there were several characters that I wanted to use but we weren’t able to. I had some ideas of where I wanted to go, so Kyle came over and I kind of threw everything on the table that I’d been thinking, and then he threw his ideas on the table and we basically had just a really long, late-night brainstorming session of putting together a throughline. When we were happy with that, I went off and I wrote the script and we gave it to Ken. A lot of it was really breaking it down and saying, “How can we improve what we did? How can we make this season better than the first one?”
Lowder: We know what worked and we know what didn’t in season 1. In season 2, we wanted more urgency, a little bit more of an edgier plotline, even down to the specifics of hair, makeup, wardrobe and camera shots. We just wanted this to be a darker kind of season. I originally said, “If season 1 was Sunday brunch, season 2 has got to be Saturday night.”
Digest: Let’s talk casting changes for season 2. What’s going to be different?
Caruso: Because of the fast turnaround time, we had a very small window to determine everybody’s availability. There were some changes that were dictated more by story than anything else. We also needed a male element; we needed there to be new threats and dangers, which is why we brought in Marc Anthony Samuel [Felix, GH], we brought in Rob Wilson [Ben, DAYS] to add some fresh new conflict. We brought in Kathleen Gati [Obrecht, GH] — her character, Margaret Cranston, was actually in the original novel. We wanted to expand the universe and bring in some new people that would be new to the scene and kind of just hold everybody accountable for what they did in season 1.
Digest: Is it a direct pickup from the first season? Has time passed?
Caruso: Six months have passed since the last episode of the first season. The big question that we asked ourselves was, “If all of the women were existing and living for their men in the first one, what are these characters like if they don’t have husbands to worry about? What are these women like if they don’t have to dress to please a man, or if they don’t have to act a certain way to please a man?” This is really kind of about all of these women coming into their own on their own terms, and defining who they are for themselves.
Digest: Arianne Zucker’s [Nicole, DAYS] character has been upped to a series regular. What role is she going to play?
Caruso: At the end of the first season, we see that she has taken the identity of Lisa Roth, as she’s trying to infiltrate the world of the women of Avalon. She’s befriended them and she’s been luring them into a false sense of security while she’s working her schemes to punish them. She doesn’t know for sure of the true involvement of what all of the women did, but she’s still hell-bent on avenging [ex-lover] Hudson’s death, and she wants to go through it one by one.
Lowder: Her line in the trailer is, “Who do they think they were, thinking they could get away with murder? All I want to do is have a little fun.” She’s up for revenge and that’s why she’s infiltrating their society and befriending these women. And that’s how it starts. That’s the essence of the plotline for season 2.
Digest: Are there any other changes we’ll see?
Caruso: We wanted to change the style factor this year. In season 1, it was very floral, very DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES-y looking; it was a very pastel color palette. This year, we went with a lot more metallics and the women are chicer, more modern-looking. It’s still generating a look of wealth, but expanding on that and making it feel even more glamorous in a different type of way. We had a lot more toys and bells and whistles. We had a lot of drone shots, we had a 50-foot crane in the cemetery scene. The plotline is very different. The first season was introducing people to these characters and the story and where they live. In this season, there’s a very juicy, thick plot.
Digest: How do you feel about the finished product?
Caruso: I always tend to be really hard on myself, but I felt like the characters have more of my voice in it. It felt more seamless. I am really proud of it and I mean it in the most humble way possible. I really feel that everybody, the chemistry between the performers, both the men and the women, was so on point this year, and I felt the pacing of it was so much faster in all the right ways that I was much more engaged in the story because of what the performers did, not even so much my writing. It’s one of those things where you just can’t turn it off. That’s the feedback that we’ve gotten, and that’s why we know we accomplished what we set out to accomplish.
Lowder: We went in for a final screening with Ken in the studio with the music and everything and it was a magical moment. You’re like, “Man, we did it!” This season is far more cinematic; that’s the adjective I would use. Everybody that’s watched it has said it feels more like watching a film than it does watching a television show in the traditional sense, and that’s a really great compliment!
Digest: Any chance of a season 3?
Caruso: We discussed that today. I think that the honest answer is that we are going to wait and see what the demand is and see how the audience reacts to season 2. Ken kind of pitched the direction that he would like to see the show go should we continue, so at this point it’s not confirmed, but it is a possibility.
Lowder: I don’t think it’s out of bounds that Ken really believes in this franchise and in us, and I think that in itself is great, but it all comes down to the fact that we’ll just see how this does. This is not a shameless plug, but yeah, if people want to see this going, spread the word!
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