In The Haunting of Hill House (2018) Netflix series, the character of Hugh Crain, the father of the family, is played by two different actors - one plays the father in the 80s and the other plays the father in present day.

I can understand why they would have adult actors and child actors to play the Crain children, but I did not understand why they chose to have different actors play the young and old Hugh Crain instead of just using make-up to make the same actor look 30 years older. This exact technique is actually used to show an older Mr. and Mrs. Dudley at the end of the series. The same actors who play the characters in the 80s are shown with make-up to make them appear to be years older.

1 Answer 1


I don't have a direct source for this but my speculation based on the story is, that because he's

so fundamental to the end of the story, as he's the one that thought he was protecting everyone by not explaining what he thinks he understood about Hill House/Olivia and because of the sacrifice he makes, I feel like the choice to have him be played by a different actor, makes us feel the weight of time and how these things have changed the character with the unspoken burden he put on his children by concealing information and distancing himself from the family.

IMO Timothy Hutton makes one feel that weight, where Henry Thomas just seemed so much lighter, causal, and unburdened and I think that is the point. The Dudleys don't really change. They're characters that seemed to understand Hill House from the start of this story and are more secondary, informing the Crain's story and tying into the mythology of the house.

To help support my answer, the following interview with Mike Flanagan talks about the reason the story isn't just taking place in Hill House and why he chose to go that route, -what it does for the story, which matches with some of my speculation

Mike Flanagan Interview Snippets:

I was also really intrigued by exploring the aftermath of a haunting ― typically, in horror stories, the unlucky victims of a haunting leave the house, or exorcise the demon, and then the credits roll. I was really fascinated by the question of what happened after, and how someone would carry that trauma ― or even some of the ghosts themselves ― with them into their lives.

  • 1
    Excellent answer. I imagine this had a large part to do with it.
    – sanpaco
    Oct 20, 2018 at 1:55

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .