- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
[This story includes major spoilers to Hunters season two.]
Logan Lerman went from portraying Jonah Heidelbaum as an innocent 19-year-old to a cold-blooded Nazi hunter in season one of Hunters. In the show’s second and final season, a now-grown Jonah goes on one last mission to find and take down Adolf Hitler, who he learns has been hiding in Argentina since World War II and preparing for the Fourth Reich.
In order to take down the dictator, Jonah gets the band of hunters back together for the mission of their lives, with the hopes of killing him and then retiring from hunting with his fiancée Clara (Emily Rudd). The stakes couldn’t be higher, and when Jonah finally captures Hitler, he decides to take him in and try him in court, instead of taking his life.
“I thought it was so interesting to then have an episode to explore a trial, even to put him on the stand,” Lerman, who is Jewish, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It was really interesting for me as a viewer, as an actor, a person in the room, watching these scenes in person, to feel like this almost sense of catharsis, this cathartic release, watching even actors portraying victims of the Holocaust, talking about their trauma in front of a fictional, older Hitler in a courtroom.”
Below, Lerman also discusses Jonah’s transformation over the course of the show, whether or not he feels like the hunters are monsters and the added pressures the cast and crew felt to get the final season right.
The season two finale makes it seem like Jonah isn’t going to retire from hunting after all. Do you think that’s a safe assumption to make?
I think it’s a safe assumption, or at least there’s a conversation for the audience at the end to debate whether or not he’s really willing to let go of it all and move on with his life
Why do you think he would choose to stay in the fight?
I think it’s still slightly debatable if he will or not, it’s a little bit of an open question at the end, but I think there’s part of him that feels like he has to do the job, or no one else will.
Jonah chooses to take Hitler to court instead of killing him as he originally planned. What was it like acting out that change of heart for him?
I thought that was such a brilliant decision by David Weil and the writers in the writing room. I thought it was so interesting to then have an episode to explore a trial even to put him on the stand. It was really interesting for me as a viewer, as an actor, a person in the room watching these scenes in person, to feel this almost sense of catharsis — this cathartic release — watching even actors portraying victims of the Holocaust, talking about their trauma in front of a fictional, older Hitler in a courtroom. It was really interesting. It’s an interesting choice by David Weil.
That decision shows Jonah’s transformation over the course of the show. David said you were one of the best actors he’s ever worked with because you were able to do that. How was it for you to play Jonah’s evolution from an innocent 19-year-old to a full-blown Nazi hunter?
It was great. I mean, it’s been such a good ride for me. I mean, talk about a lot to work with in a character. This arc is a massive one from season one to season two, but I must say I was really excited about season two, Jonah and exploring this side of his character. Where he is in the season. There’s so much more depth to it, and it’s much more complex and rich for me as an actor to play with.
David also explained that Jonah had to dive into this deep pool of darkness to get to where he is at the end of the season, coming to terms with what he’s done. In the finale, he says they’re not monsters and he seems at peace. How do you think he got to that point?
That’s an interesting question. Again, I think an audience can debate that in a way — whether or not the individual, like Jonah, is a monster. I think there’s a part of him that is damaged and can never be repaired in a way. I don’t think I would call him a monster, but I would say that he’s pretty damaged. He’s experienced things that most people should never experience and has normalized violence in a way that is hard to ever… you can never really come back from that, to be honest.
Season two introduced Jennifer Jason Leigh’s Chava, who played such a crucial role in the show. What role do you think she played in Jonah’s life for the short time that she was in it?
That’s an interesting question. These are hard-hitting questions, emotional character questions. I haven’t been in the headspace for Jonah in such a long time, but I think she filled the void. She filled a void for him. First of all, Jonah, at the beginning of the season, is running from himself, and he’s created this new identity. He’s trying to start this new life, and he gets sucked back into his old self and one last mission, one last ride, with the hopes that he can move on, but there’s part of him that still misses his past prior to becoming one of the hunters. And he didn’t have any family really, he just had his grandmother, so to have another family member brings him back to his original self or connection to his roots. I think even that short period of time that they spent together kind of filled the void of not having any real family, connecting to his roots, to his ancestors, to his family, to everybody. I think it meant a lot to him.
It could be argued that Clara played a similar role, bringing him back to his original self in a way. What do you think she means to him throughout the show?
She’s the future. She’s the new life he can lead. I mean, in a way, there’s like his original self, but he’s been living a lie — completely lying about his identity to her. So, in a way, he’s created this new version of himself for her that he likes a lot, that he likes more than his past, but it’s not really connecting with his original self. I’d say his true self is in there, but it’s definitely all built on lies, and creating a new version of himself that he wants to be.
How were the stakes higher this season?
They are higher, just generally. I mean, Jonah has the knowledge that Hitler really survived and is living in South America, and he’s gotta bring the team back together to bring him to justice. I don’t think the stakes could be higher for these Nazi hunters.
Why did you think Hunters needed another season to accomplish what it wanted to?
I always knew that this was the plan for the show. I didn’t know anything beyond two seasons. I knew that season one would lead to the search for Hitler and play on the conspiracy that he survived World War II. So, for me, it was always this. I never saw past two seasons, and I always thought this was a good ending point for us, and it was always what we kind of talked about creatively and agreed upon. There’s always a version to expand on this, but this feels like it tells the story really well.
This story is timely as ever. What was it like tackling Hilter amid all the antisemitism happening today?
To be honest, those two ideas or things or considerations were not really in my mind. I don’t know. I wasn’t really thinking about modern antisemitism while shooting Hunters season two and like drawing a line, the bigger picture, or bigger conversation. I really think that, for me, it was an interesting story to play with and interesting characters, an interesting dilemma. But I really didn’t over-intellectualize what the story has to say or draw the lines to bigger conversations. To me, it’s a fun, big, explosive action show that I was the star of [that had] a lot of Jewish characters and dealt with historical fiction.
Were there any added pressures to get things right and really have an impact with this season, knowing that it would be your last?
It’s always like that with anything that I’m working on. You always wanna get it right and give your time to the material. It’s a bit of a different process, making a TV show versus what I’m used to — making movies. It’s a little bit more running gun, there’s so much more to do. But the same amount of passion goes into it, to try to tell the story as best as possible, then fully realize it within the time that you have with the scripts, with the material.
You co-produced this season. What was it like taking on that role on top of starring in the series?
Oh, I didn’t have to take anything on. It was given to me. I did the same job of it. I wouldn’t really consider myself a producer on this project. I think they wanted to give me that credit. It didn’t really change my role in the production at all. I just focused on Jonah and my scenes, my words, my character’s choices and just tried to make sure that they lined up logically.
Where do you think Jonah and the hunters go from here?
I have no idea. Honestly, I let it go. When we wrapped season two, I was on to the next project. I move on and don’t look back most of the time. That’s for anything that I work on, really. Any project, once we’re done with production, I’m usually on to the next. But I have no idea. I think there’s so many things and so many directions that David I’m sure would love to explore or could have explored with that, that probably would be awesome and interesting and exciting and fun to watch. But I don’t really answer those questions for myself. I kind of let it be, and then I’m curious to see where it goes. Because it’s the ending, and we’re not exploring that, I really didn’t think about or don’t have a concrete opinion ’cause I think you can go in so many different directions for sure.
Do you still keep in touch with the cast?
I do. We all became pretty good friends and [I] really enjoyed working with them over these two seasons.
Do you have any fun behind-the-scenes stories?
I don’t know about that. Unfortunately, nothing too fun or exciting comes to mind, but I did really enjoy working with these actors. They’re all incredibly talented people but also lovely and fun and funny and enjoyable to spend time with. We had a lot of fun making it.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
Hunters season two is now streaming on Prime Video.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day