Zachary Quinto Is the Soul-Sucking Charlie Manx in AMC’s ‘NOS4A2’

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From the mind of horror author Joe Hill — you may have heard of his father, Stephen King — comes AMC’s new 10-episode supernatural thriller NOS4A2 (Sundays at 10pm ET/PT beginning June 2.)

Based on Hill’s 2013 novel of the same name, NOS4A2 centers on 18-year-old heroine Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) of Haverhill, Mass., a talented artist and motorcycle enthusiast with the smarts but not the financial means to go to college. To escape her constantly quarreling parents, Vic rides her motorcycle through backwoods trails, where she encounters an old wooden covered bridge that is actually a portal that takes her to whatever lost item she seeks.

Vic’s ghostly transit system puts her on a collision course with Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto), a 135-year-old man whose secret to longevity is a steady diet of children’s souls. Manx road-trips through the country in his Rolls-Royce Wraith, seeking out discontented kids and luring them into his car with promises of big fun in Christmasland, where it’s Christmas every day and unhappiness is against the law.

“Nightmares — and good horror fiction — take the things we love and infect them with the uncanny,” Hill says. We preview NOS4A2’s nightmares along the road to Christmasland:

About That Title
It’s somewhat of a gamble marketing a TV show whose name is a vanity license plate — just use the 1922 silent vampire film Nosferatu as your pronunciation guide. “One of the wonderful things about the book is that there are a lot of word games in it,” says showrunner Jami O’Brien. “One of the characters is a Scrabble master and librarian. And I think that the title itself — Manx talks about it deeper in the book than where we get in the first season — it’s a joke. And it’s also a puzzle. And I think both of those things speak to the humor of the book and the humor of the character and is kind of a fun twist on the vampire genre.”

United Inscapes Of America
You don’t have to be familiar with Hill’s stories and graphic novels to lose yourself in the world of NOS4A2, but it helps. Like his father’s massive body of work, Hill’s stories take place in one universe, with recurring elements interwoven throughout the narratives. In NOS4A2, Manx refers to a map labeled “United Inscapes of America,” with such places as Lovecraft Keyhole (from Locke & Key), the Night Road (from Heart-Shaped Box) and Treehouse of the Mind (from Horns) indicated on it. There’s even a spot in Maine marking Pennywise Circus (from King’s It), which means Hill’s mythology might overlap with his father’s.

Making Manx
Quinto is most famous for donning Spock’s Vulcan ears in the updated Star Trek films, but he gets a full makeover as Manx in NOS4A2. “I had been looking for a project and a character that would give me the opportunity to really transform and into whom I could disappear,” Quinto says. He suggested to the producers that they bring on Joel Harlow, Trek’s Oscar-winning makeup artist, to mold Quinto into Manx at his varying life stages. “[Harlow] came onboard and really helped us shape who this guy is aesthetically and create this incredible look, through which my choices as an actor were still able to live and be shared,” Quinto says. “So, all in all, it was a really incredible journey. Sometimes four hours of a journey in the makeup chair but, you know, you gotta put in the time to get the goods. So, I feel grateful for that.” How did Quinto pass time? “Meditate, listen to podcasts, read,” he says. “Sometimes sleep, but not often. There’s a lot of poking and prodding at my face.”

About Ryan Berenz 2012 Articles
Devotee of Star Wars. Builder of LEGO. Observer of televised sports. Member of the Television Critics Association. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin. Connoisseur of beer. Consumer of cheese. Father of two. Husband of one. Scourge of the Alaskan Bush People. Font of Simpsons knowledge. Son of a Stonecutter.