Creator David Wells Explains Why The Show Is Ending

Jan 16, 2023

[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for Season 2 of Hunters.]

In the Amazon Studios series Hunters, the world’s most infamous Nazi, Adolf Hitler, is far too much to resist for the team of Nazi hunters that were fighting to rid the world of all surviving Nazis before they had the chance to bring the Fourth Reich to power. Now, they must put their differences aside and reunite to work together again, in order to complete the seemingly impossible task of taking out the villain of villains while he’s in hiding.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, creator/executive producer David Weil talked about the show’s second and final season, the huge responsibility of taking on Hitler as a character, what led them to end the series after two seasons, the possibility of spinoffs or future revisiting of this world, which character surprised him the most, bringing Al Pacino back for Season 2, the challenge of creating unique fight sequences, and the projects he’s focusing on next.
Collider: I loved this season. As much as I would love to see more of the show, I also love the way you ended things.

DAVID WEIL: Thank you so much. That truly means so much.

There are a few characters that seem like impossible mountains to climb, like God and the Devil, but also Adolf Hitler, when it comes to including them in a story, as well as casting them. What was it like to take on Hitler as a character, and do so through this very strange husband and wife dynamic?

WEIL: It was a huge responsibility, honestly. In invoking Hitler in Season 1, which was important to me because of what we would do with him in Season 2, growing up, I always felt such fury that Adolf Hitler was never brought to justice. In this show, with its fictionalized elements, and especially in Season 2 with its alternative history bent, I wanted to try to achieve a sense of catharsis and wish fulfillment for an audience, where we could actually have our hunters, our heroes, and Jews among them, bring him to justice and deliver justice. It was a grave responsibility to bring this character to life, and it required an actor like Udo Kier, who has real gravitas and real terror, and who can really access the darkest death of this sociopath that’s the most evil man in modern history.

Image via Amazon Studios

What were the conversations like, with both Udo Kier and Lena Olin, in figuring out what those scenes would be, especially for the courtroom?

WEIL: We had many, many conversations. We had many great consultants working with us, especially in the courtroom scene. We had the great Eli Rosenbaum, from the Department of Justice, who has tried Nazis before and who really was so vital to that process. One of the things that was also unique was trying to make the trial of Adolf Hitler feel as urgent and relevant today as possible. With some of his language, some of the things that he says are the same lies and myths that white supremacists and neo-Nazis and antisemites parrot and mimic today in social discourse. What was cathartic about the trial was being able to poke holes in those myths, to be able to shoot them down, and to be able to expose him and those ideas for the fallacy and the lies that they really are.

We had previously talked about how you had thought about five seasons of material for this show. Did you make Season 2, knowing it was the last season? How did you figure out how to get as much story as you wanted to tell into this season?

WEIL: It’s such a good question. I went to Jordan [Peele] and Monkeypaw and Amazon during the writing and development of the season, because the moment I invoked Hitler, at the end of Season 1, I wanted to ensure that we exacted justice in Season 2, as that had been prolonged enough in real life. At the beginning of our talk, the ending just felt right. Honestly, as a writer and creator, I’ve thought about, “Where do I go next, with at least this particular story within the Hunters saga and Hunters universe?” There’s always room for spinoffs or future tales, but with our hunters going after Hitler, this felt like a very fitting and cathartic end.

Image via Amazon Studios

When you started this series, did you have a good sense of who each of these characters would be? Were there any that became unexpected, along the way, or were they who you thought they would be?

WEIL: To be honest, Sister Harriet is one who certainly surprised me, even as I was writing her. And once Kate Mulvany came into the role, it became such a thrill to play to her strengths. She’s a chameleon, as an artist and actor. It started to be an investigation of whether everything we know about Sister Harriet is true. Who is she really? That was definitely a character who surprised me.

When you killed Al Pacino’s character, did you know that you’d be bringing him back? Did you have this way to weave him into the story, as part of your plan?

WEIL: To be frank, no. It was always a dream. I’ve wanted to work with Al forever, on anything and everything, and getting to work with him was honestly such a gift. But it was toward the end of Season 1, when we were doing ADR for the first season’s final episode, where he and I started having conversations. We love working together, and we love this character of Meyer Offerman. He’s so rich and interesting, paradoxical and complex. We started to chat about how we could bring him back and how we could continue to mine some stories with him. Centering Meyer around the origin story of the hunters felt like a really great way to bring him back into this season.

Image via Amazon Studios

I thought it was also really brilliant what you did with Jennifer Jason Leigh and her character because she fills that hole in the present, and is another character that’s so layered that you don’t really know what to expect from her.

WEIL: Absolutely. And their scene together was one of the most electric days on set because they’ve worked together before and they’re both such legends. Jennifer is such a kind and incredible collaborator, and she’s a chameleon, as well. She can play the fury and the fierceness. She can play the delicacy and the demure qualities of this character. What excited me in writing Chava, when I started writing Season 2, was how unexpected she was. There are facets and masks that she wears that surprise even Chava, and certainly surprised Jennifer and myself, as we continued to explore her. I think she’s a great addition to this season.

You’ve finished Hunters. You’ve done Solos. What’s next for you?

WEIL: I’m working on a series for Amazon, called Citadel, that’s a big global spy thriller. It was great working with the Russo brothers (Joe and Anthony), who are unbelievable. That will come out next year. I’m the showrunner on that. And I’m also creating and showrunning a series about the FTX/Sam Bankman-Fried scandal for Amazon, as well. Those are the two that are immediate on the docket.

How weird is it to do something like that, that’s still happening? With Hunters, you can go back and change history for fun. How do you tell a story while history is still writing itself?

WEIL: It’s a really interesting process. It is a 24/7 creative process of investigation and of seeing what actually happens in real life, and then trying to craft a story around those true events. It’s quite amazing.

Image via Amazon Studios

There are some really interesting and imaginative fight scenes and sequences, throughout Hunters and especially this season. What was it like to create some of that? How challenging is it to create something that we haven’t seen before?

WEIL: It’s so challenging and it’s so difficult. One of the things we keyed in on this season was how to make action its own language. What story are we trying to tell with the action within this series? That comes with great collaboration with our stunt coordinator, our fight coordinator, and the amazing directors this season. We just wanted to keep trying to better ourselves. We’re never complacent with the ideas. That extended to production design, costume design, makeup, and hair. Every department head was so brilliant and so collaborative. We were always trying to make the best version and make something no one has ever seen before.

I would imagine that you learn from every project you do. What did you learn from directing this series? Are there things that you learned from directing, that you feel will help, especially with these next projects you’re doing?

WEIL: Absolutely. Directing allowed me to become a better writer and a better editor, and to know what’s actually necessary on the page and what may be a bit indulgent, so to speak. As a director, you’re really conducting the orchestra. It’s also about how to communicate with all different kinds of artists and collaborators, and have a very clear point of view about things. On the page, you can sometimes decide, “Maybe I’ll do this or that.” Directing, you have to be incredibly decisive. That muscle was one that I certainly flexed in the director’s chair, for episode seven.

Hunters is available to stream at Prime Video.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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