Inspired by the real-life investigative reporter who exposed a murder in her hometown when she was only 9, the Apple TV+ original series Home Before Dark follows Hilde Lisko (Brooklynn Prince) and her drive for always pursuing the truth, wherever it takes her. With the last discovery she made still reverberating through the small lakeside town her father (Jim Sturgess) moved his family back to live in, Hilde starts unraveling a new mystery that will set her directly in the path of a powerful and influential corporation, which could lead to dangerous and deadly consequences.
During a virtual junket to promote the second season of the series, Collider got the opportunity to chat with co-stars Prince and Sturgess about the fun of being on a show where you don’t know what’s going to happen next, how the cast would always try guessing where the story was headed, the question they most wanted answered, the fun family dynamic, and their own hopes for a possible third season. Prince also talked about how she’s grown as an actor since making The Florida Project, and Sturgess talked about his fond memories of making Across the Universe.
Collider: I loved the first season and wondered how you could top it with Season 2. Were you a little scared to get the scripts for the season, to see how it was going to be?
BROOKLYNN PRINCE: Yeah, my mom and I actually were going through the scripts like, “Oh, that will be better.” And then, when we watched it come together, we were like, “That’s great. That’s really good.”
JIM STURGESS: It’s fun being on a show where you don’t really know what’s going to happen next and you feel like an audience member while you’re waiting for the next scripts to come in. We’re getting the scripts as we’re filming it, and that’s a new experience for me. It’s a lot of fun. We all talk about it in the make-up trailer and we’re like, “Have you read episode three yet? Have you read episode four?” We’re as shocked and surprised and excited as anybody, to find out what’s going to happen next.
You have this family dynamic at the center and as this emotional core that you can always rely on, but you don’t know where the mystery is going and there are a lot of twists and turns and secrets. Is it fun to have the balance of both of those aspects in one project?
STURGESS: Definitely, yeah. We always try to guess what’s going to happen next.
PRINCE: We’re like, “I think this will happen.” We all talk about it. It’s an ongoing thing until we get the last episode.
Did any of you guess correctly?
STURGESS: I don’t think so, no.
PRINCE: We had these crazy ideas. We’d come up with really weird ideas. That’s how crazy we are. And then, when things finally happened, we were like, “Oh, I didn’t think about that.”
Was there anything that came up in the story that you were most anxious or excited about getting the answer to? Was there one thing that you wanted to learn more about?
PRINCE: Obviously, Richie. We were very anxious about that. We were like, “We want to meet Richie. Please let us meet Richie. Let us find out what happened to him.”
STURGESS: Yeah, none of us knew if he was alive. Nobody knew what had happened to him, other than what you see in Season 1, so we were like, “Okay, where did he go? What happened to him?” And then, the story starts taking a whole other path and Hilde starts investigating obscure weather conditions, birds are falling from the sky, and fish are rising to the top of lakes. We were like, “Okay, where is this going?” And then, amazingly and in a really clever way, it all starts to connect to things that happened in Season 1 and it all starts to come back in on itself.
We get to see more of the family dynamic this season, among this entire family. Do you guys have favorite moments together, as a family, or with some of your other castmates?
PRINCE: Jibrail [Nantambu], who plays Donny, is always a fun one to work with. He scares me a lot. One time, I was walking down from my trailer and he grabbed my ankle and said, “Hi, kid,” from under the stairs and pulled me onto the grass, and my mom was laughing so hard. It’s always great to be around Jibrail. I love family kitchen scenes, where Matt is making his rubbery eggs.
STURGESS: Those kitchen scenes are fun.
PRINCE: Matt is always complaining. Ginny is always off on some something else. Brigit is always making breakfast, making toast and serving yogurt.
STURGESS: I think for the crew, those breakfast scenes are like herding cats. It’s a free for all. You put this family in a room with real food and it all gets out of control pretty quickly.
PRINCE: We all eat on the scene. In the middle of the scene, even when we’re not supposed to eat something, we do.
Brooklynn, you were brought to the attention of a lot of people with The Florida Project, which you made a few years ago now. How different do you feel, as an actor? Do you feel like you’ve grown and changed a lot? Does it feel like you still approach it the same?
PRINCE: I was acting in The Florida Project, but I was just doing what I love. I was being myself and being Moonee. Now, I feel like I have a more diverse sense of my characters and what acting is and really playing those feelings, instead of being a six-year-old.
STURGESS: It’s been amazing for me to watch that growth too. It’s amazing to see the energy that Brooklynn had and guide that and put it in the right direction and watch her become an actress. I’ve watched her really understand and learn her craft. It’s not a wild talent. It’s a honed in, proper craft now. She really, really knows what she’s doing. It’s amazing to be around that and watch that grow.
PRINCE: Thank you.
Jim, you did Across the Universe nearly 15 years ago, and that still holds up as a very unusual project that can’t really be compared to anything else. What do you remember about that experience? Do you have memories that still stand out the most to you from making that?
STURGESS: Yeah, for me, that was a life-changing moment. That had a big impact on my life and changed the course of my life forever, really. I was a guy from England. I was playing in a band and playing music. And then, suddenly I was in New York. I’d never been to America before, and I was living in America and shooting a movie. I have so many memories of making that film. We were all a group of young actors. We’re all still friends that we’re all bound by that experience that we had. We all lived in the East Village in New York City, and we had a pretty amazing and wild time making that film. It’s something that I’ll never forget. Anytime I go back to New York, it just reminds me of that special time in my life.
PRINCE: I love Across the Universe. I watched one clip of it and was like, “I need to watch that now.”
STURGESS: I’ve been in my trailer and I’ve heard her singing “Strawberry Fields” outside of my door, and then she’d run off and disappear. She knew the music before she watched the film because she listened to the soundtrack.
PRINCE: Yeah, I knew the soundtrack, but I knew The Beatles before I knew Across the Universe, so I knew the words before.
This season, you also dig into Pop-Pop’s declining health, which is a pretty heavy subject and it’s not easy for either of your characters. What was it like to explore that and to have that emotional angle this season?
PRINCE: Anytime we think about Pop-Pop, my mom and I start crying because we love Pop-Pop so much. Hilde loves Pop-Pop because Pop-Pop was her number one supporter, even when she was just scribbling words onto a page and giving it to Pop-Pop and saying it was the latest newsletter. Hilde sees Pop-Pop as someone who’s always been there for her, in a judgment free zone. The reason I feel so close to Hilde’s relationship with Pop-Pop is because the relationship I have with my grandma is very much like the relationship that Hilde and Pop-Pop have with each other. Pop-Pop is a big part of the family and they love him. Hilde will stop at nothing to get him better.
What’s the best thing for you guys about playing father and daughter, and what is it about you that gets on each other’s nerves the most, on a really long day on set?
STURGESS: Good question.
PRINCE: This is the time where the truth comes out.
STURGESS: Let’s dig for that truth.
PRINCE: I love Jim too much that I don’t really have a pet peeve. The worst thing though is when I come into my trailer and it smells like farts. I yell, “Jim, did you fart in my trailer?,” and I hear footsteps running away.
STURGESS: That’s for telling that, B. Me and Brooklyn spend a lot of time together. We spend a lot of time making up silly songs and just generally being ridiculous, when we’re left alone for more than five minutes.
PRINCE: I know what your pet peeve is. It’s when I knock on your door and I ding-dong-ditch you when you’re putting on your pants.
STURGESS: Every morning when I’m getting changed, there’ll be a knock at my door. Of course, you have to get ready and open the door to find out what people want, because people knock on your door all the time. But there’s never anybody there. It’s always Brooklynn hiding around the corner. It would be funny, but at five o’clock in the morning, it’s not so funny.
And yet, you keep falling for it.
STURGESS: People knock on your door all the time because they need you to go to hair and make-up, or they need you to do this or that, so you always have to answer the door.
PRINCE: That’s why I still knock on his door.
STURGESS: And I fall for it.
I love how we do get answers to things that were still left over in the first season, but there’s also this new mystery in the second season and everything gets resolved by the end of the season. It makes it feel like wherever you go in Season 3, it could be totally wide open. Have you started to think about what could come next? Do you have a personal wishlist of what you would like your character to be off doing next?
PRINCE: We don’t know what happens next. I wish that Hilde does not get a boyfriend or fall in love at all.
STURGESS: I wish that Hilde does not get a boyfriend. He’s struggling enough as it is. If Hilde got a boyfriend, it would send him over the edge.
PRINCE: I hope that Hilde gets everything sorted out next season. She deserves that. And I want Trip to become mayor because Trip deserves to become mayor. She’s amazing. We love Trip.
Home Before Dark is available to stream at Apple TV+, with new episodes on Fridays.
Our handy, extensive guide is updated weekly with all-new picks.
About The Author