Nearly 40 years ago, actor Henry Thomas landed the role of a lifetime. A year after his film debut as Harry in the 1981 film Raggedy Man, he found fame playing his most iconic role: Elliott, the little boy in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
He then went on to star in Gangs of New York, Doctor Sleep and, in 2018, the first season of the supernatural horror anthology series The Haunting of Hill House, in which he played the main antagonist, Hugh Crain.
Now he returns for the series’ second spooky season —The Haunting of Bly Manor — but this time he’s stepping into new shoes.
“It was an amazing opportunity to play a new character,” he tells 9Honey Celebrity. “It was kind of difficult to think of a way of going back to the Crain family and somehow continuing that on. But it was a lot of fun and exciting to have a chance to play a character from a totally different world with a totally different set of problems.”
Thomas stars as Henry Wingrave in The Haunting of Bly Manor — the owner of the manor and the emotionally distant uncle of the two children who live there. Henry hires Dani Clayton (Victoria Pedretti, You) as the new au pair of his niece and nephew.
The former child star enjoyed working with his younger castmates, Amelie Bea Smith, nine, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, 10.
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“I find kids these days to be very professional,” he says, reflecting on his own experiences. “More so than I think I ever had to be as a child. They’re very savvy, but they’re also very well prepared and they’re professionals.
“They’re competent performers as well, so I have nothing but respect for them.”
Given the nature of the show, the actor also revealed some of his biggest fears as a child and as an adult. And they’re extremely relatable.
“My biggest fear as a child was snakes because I was bitten by a snake when I was a boy and I was deadly afraid of them,” he explains. “I think now, aside from the state of the world, the biggest thing that scares me — I’ve grown really claustrophobic. I don’t like being inside. I have a fear that the world is moving into a more ‘inside’ world.”
When asked about his experience in self-isolation amid the coronavirus pandemic, Thomas did admit it grew strenuous in its final days.
“It got a little difficult towards the end. But I made it,” he laughs.
The Haunting of Bly Manor is available to stream on Netflix in Australia from Friday, October 9.
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