At age nine and age twelve, Amelie Bea Smith and Benjamin Evans Ainsworth just made their debuts in Mike Flanagan’s The Haunting of Bly Manor. Bea Smith and Evans Ainsworth star as Flora and Miles Wingrave, two orphaned children who live on the stately grounds of Bly Manor. The mysterious death of their previous au pair brings Dani (Victoria Pedretti) to be the newest carer of the two, the two become attached to the young au pair and as apparitions begin to follow and haunt Bly Manor’s latest guest, Miles and Flora attempt to protect Dani from the ghostly forces at work.
The two stand strong amongst a wealth of established actors, like Gerald’s Game‘s Carla Gugino, The Haunting of Hill House‘s Victoria Pedretti, The Invisible Man‘s Oliver Jackson-Cohen, iZombie‘s Rahul Kohli, and Sex Education‘s T’Nia Miller.
It was a joy to sit down at The Haunting of Bly Manor press roundtable with Amelie Bea Smith and Benjamin Evans Ainsworth. We talk about their experiences working on Mike Flanagan’s second installment of his Haunting anthology and what it was like working with such an expansively talented cast.
How was it for you two working with each other on The Haunting of Bly Manor? Did you get along?
Amelie Bea Smith: Well, I got to know Ben very well. He’s so much fun and I learned a lot from him. We used to have Friday sleepovers! We spent weekends together and we practiced our scenes together.
Benjamin Evan Ainsworth: Basically, we were the best buds out in Vancouver, Canada shooting the show!
That’s amazing. You talked about working with each other, it’s a family show, even if they’re not necessarily family, they all act like a family. So how was it working with all the other actors in Bly Manor‘s cast?
Benjamin Evan Ainsworth: They were so fun to work with! I mean Rahul [Kohli] was a Liverpool fan and I’m a Liverpool fan, we were just on the journey to winning the league, it was amazing. T’Nia [Miller] was so loving, she brought something new every time we shot. It was really fun and then everyone else, they were just so kind and it was just amazing being around all those people.
Amelie Bea Smith: Everyone was so nice and they were such amazing actors. I learned so much from all of them. Everyone was really nice. I did something different with all of them. Amelia [Eve] and I did coloring, T’Nia brought in an ice crushing machine that makes cups and things with. Victoria [Pedretti], I had a special handshake with and everyone else was so nice as well.
Bly Manor itself is a character in its own right, how was it being on set in that terrifying and grand place?
Benjamin Evan Ainsworth: It was amazing because we did it inside a soundstage. So it was like, from the outside, “Oh, we’re just going to shoot in the sound stage.” When we got in, it was just so elegant and so big. I wasn’t expecting it. It’s actually so big of a house that it was in two sound stages. They couldn’t fit it in one. So we had one floor with one and another floor with the other, which was amazing, just stepping in and just seeing all of the decor of everything.
Amelie Bea Smith: The house is amazing. It’s so beautiful. And the sets were really cool. And you could actually live in it, although it was built on two different stages as Ben said, the top half of the house is in one stage and the bottom on the other. So you couldn’t walk through all of it and in scenes where characters walks up the stairs, you had to film them in two separate scenes.