Season two of The New Adventures of Peter + Wendy is just around the corner and that kooky gang from Neverland, Ohio, we oh so quickly fell in love with last year is sure to bring back all the feels. New characters, new romances, new obstacles for everyone to (hopefully) overcome, and my excitement is bursting at the seams. When we last left Wendy Darling (Paula Rhodes) she had landed her dream job and was leaving Neverland. She was also leaving her brothers John (Graham Kurtz) and Michael (Brennan Murray) and in a heartbreaking turn of events her OTL (one true love) Peter Pan (Kyle Walters). Cue tears.
Instead of me gushing for the next three paragraphs about how thrilled I am to have the Pan Fam back in full swing, how about we just dive right into this “Darling Interview” because … you know … what’s The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy without John, Michael and Wendy Darling? We caught our Darlings Wendy (Paula Rhodes), John (Graham Kurtz) and Michael (Brennan Murray) on a break from shooting Season 2.
MCKENZIE MORRELL: Let’s talk about that Season 2 trailer, oh my!
PAULA RHODES: Let’s!
PR: Well, the trailer certainly makes it look like it isn’t going to be a bump-free transition, doesn’t it? I think any time one leaves a place and then returns after a trek down life’s path, there’s a pang of sadness that things aren’t the exact same and some awkwardness as you find where/how you fit there now. Or if you do. I certainly feel different going back to my hometown after years away. Some of the feels are good, and some aren’t.
MM: In the trailer Michael tells Peter to “GROW UP!” Coming from him, that’s got to mean things get BAD. Can you tease any of the drama in store for all of us Neverlandians?
BRENNAN MURRAY: Although arguably the most childish character of the series, I think he’s the heart as well. Let’s not forget who helped Peter realize he was in love with Wendy Season 1. That’s right, Michael Darling! So yeah, I think you can expect a lot of heart and wisdom coming from Michael this coming season. He might act like a child but just like a child, he has a lot of love and curiosity; he still dreams big!
MM: It kind of looks like Wendy and Hook might have something going on. Paula, can you confirm or deny any romantic shenanigans between them in Season 2?
PR: I’m sorry, what was the question? I was distracted by rewatching the trailer and seeing both Percy [Daggs III] and Graham shirtless.
MM: You guys have some great new additions to the Peter + Wendy cast for Season 2, Percy Daggs III (HOOK), Meghan Camarena (BILLY JUKES), Satya Bhabha (SMEE), and Jim Beaver (GEORGE DARLING). How was it working with them, and having new faces on set?
GRAHAM KURTZ: Percy is warm and gregarious, Satya is intimidatingly handsome. I once grabbed Meghan’s foot and made intense eye contact (we didn’t have any scenes together, so that was just a choice I made). And Jim is a rock of a scene partner.
MM: Brennan, your character had a great bond with his sister Wendy (PAULA RHODES); how much has Michael changed since Wendy left Neverland?
BM: Change is hard for anyone, especially for Michael, but nothing can keep him down for too long. His need to live and laugh is too strong. Paula is such a fearless little actress, I say “little” because of her size NOT ’cause of her ability, so comedically, she’s super fun to play off of. But I gotta say, I’m a sucker for the sap scenes with the sis. Try saying that five times fast. Ha ha! But seriously, Paula did some amazing work this season as did everyone involved, I’m so excited for you all to see it.
MM: I see so many great new sets in the Season 2 trailer, does this mean the gang is going to talk some sense into Wendy?
GK: Wendy’s actions had a profound effect on everyone. Opinions will be shared. The sets were bigger and fancier. No more producers’ couches and beds for us.
MM: “So that’s what a mental breakdown looks like” is most definitely going to be my favorite one-liner from your character this season. Can you tell us any of your favorite Michael-isms from season one?
BM: I love how much of a catch Michael thinks he is. “Once someone feels their body pressed up against mine, they usually get addicted. This was a one-time thing!” Ha ha! Anyone with enough confidence and who’s able to laugh at themselves is totally cool in my book. At least that’s what Michael and I think. Last season Michael was trying to be a famous reality star and while his dreams are still big, they have shifted a bit in Season 2. Many new Michael-isms to come!
MM: Wendy wrote a book! If you were to write a book, what would you write about? What genre?
PR: Ooooh, well, I have written some things. I wrote a chapter in the MsInTheBiz.com book, Thriving in Hollywood!: Tenacious Tales and Tactics from Ms in the Biz (available on Amazon), and I write a series there I call Artists’ Issues. I also wrote a few books growing up and have a children’s book series I’ve been creating with my dad (who illustrates them). But I love fiction and epic fantasy and did begin (I need to finish!) a tale I started telling via social media (I think its first chapter or so is storified in our archives) ala Wendy telling a story to the Lost Boys. Been working on making that into a script lately.
MM: Describe your Darling siblings in 10 words or less.
PR: John: A big hearted child playing at being a grown up. Michael: A fun loving adult playing a child.
GK: Michael – birthday cake served on a hot air balloon over Disneyland. Wendy – stalwart, intrepid, driven, effusive, short, soulful, stylish, short, sincere, un-tall.
BM: Wendy: Innovative, pure, kooky, kind, courageous, small, big, beautiful. John: prideful, peaceful, endearing, strong, uptight, tall, trustworthy. My real brother, Kevin: smart, hairy, stylish, humble, creative, friendly.
MM: Alright, it’s just us girls now – tell me what it’s really like working with Kyle Walters (PETER PAN)?
PR: Kyle is an extremely capable (wearing many hats) creator who does SO much for this show in lieu of sleep. He has a bit of a superpower there – getting more done (and done so well) than small armies accomplish for other shows. He’s kind of like a mini studio in and of himself. That’s going to serve him very well in his future adventures. He’s also very caring and sensitive and generous. The guy’s an artist. I’m quite lucky to have him in my circles now, along with the entire Pan Fam.
MM: Is there any hope for Peter and Wendy to reconcile? At least as friends?
PR: I sure hope so! I mean, the book is so very bittersweet, is it not? Rather like childhood can be. But there are always opportunities, each day, for each of us to find a path that isn’t tragic. It takes both parties wanting a certain ending, at the same time, and working together for it to come to life. That requires a very mature form of cooperation. I’m right there with you waiting to see where these characters will ultimately end up. Stay tuned!
MM: Why should everyone be watching The New Adventures of Peter + Wendy?
GK: Watch us because the check-out line is a mile-long and they refuse to open another register.
PR: Because not wanting to grow up, or have to be a “grown up,” is a universal struggle that all of us, regardless of actual age, goes through. It’s kind of facing our own mortality. This show explores different personality types’ approach to that hurdle with whimsy, wit and heart. There is someone you will relate to. It’s chalked full of love and humor and high production values and hey, the episodes are only like five-minutes long. Thank you in advance for visiting Neverland, Ohio! Also, faeries.
Season 2 returns June 12 airing Fridays and Saturdays.
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Peter Pan is a character created by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie. A mischievous boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood adventuring on the small island of Neverland as the leader of his gang, the Lost Boys, interacting with mermaids, Native Americans, fairies, pirates, and occasionally ordinary children from the world outside of Neverland. In addition to two distinct works by Barrie, the character has been featured in a variety of media and merchandise, both adapting and expanding on Barrie’s works.