Breeders returns with its second season starring Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard. It revolves around two parents who find the process of parenting extremely challenging. Based on the life of Martin Freeman himself, the season 2 of the show showcases a time jump and the children are much older now.
The challenges are different and so are the struggles. Martin Freeman dishes out on what all we can expect in Season 2, whether Paul is a good father and the hardships of filming Breeders during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
Martin Freeman spills a lot of things that are going to be new this time around and he also makes us aware of the tonality change between the first and second season.
Martin Freeman: The children are 10 and 12 (Luke turns 13 in Breeders Episode 1) now, so they’re played by different actors. Getting older versions of Luke and Ava was really tough, but moving the series on a few years was one of the good ideas we had. You can do more with kids who are a bit older, and the issues that are presented when they’re that age are very different. Access to social media, phones, personal safety, bullying, who you’re hanging out with, and whether they’re good people or bad people. Kids have much more of a mind of their own at that age, so you have to balance how independent you allow your children to be with how much you’re wanting to not let go.
Martin Freeman talks about the struggles of letting children take their own decisions.
Martin Freeman: A lot has been said about how our generation is much more fearful for our kids at a time where they have literally never been safer. We know we mollycoddle our children, I don’t know anyone who would argue with that, and in a way that we weren’t mollycoddled when we were young ourselves. But everyone’s struggling to find a way to do it. We’re all scrabbling around trying to do our best, so it’s not surprising that it goes astray sometimes. There’s no manual for parenting and everyone’s just trying their best, but we all mess up in different ways, and often in a different way to how our own parents messed up. Although having said that, there are things that I say to my kids that are purely my mum’s voice coming out of my mouth!
Q. Martin Freeman plays a very frustrated father who is having a wild time balancing the upbringing of his two children. But is his character, Paul, a good father?
Martin Freeman: He’s very aware that he has a temper that isn’t always going to serve him well when it comes to his kids’ therapy bills! He knows that he reacts negatively at times, but he’s also demonstrably a very loving, tactile father. Paul and Ally are tactile parents who also care for their kids, and anyone who’s ever been honest about what it is to be a parent can relate to that. We’re not making it for people who are somehow pretending that they live in Instagram. When people at dinner parties are going on about how great parenthood is, we all know there’s a lie of omission happening there. Of course it’s amazing, it’s absolutely amazing. But it shouldn’t be that brave to also go, “It’s really hard as well.” Everything in life is hard if you want to be good at it. God knows I really want to be a good parent, and I know that’s a life’s work, so you’ve got to keep going back to the drawing board, you know?
Q. Where do we find Paul in this series? Is the therapy working for him?
Martin Freeman: No, the therapy hasn’t worked. He says it hasn’t really worked for him. That’s not the way he’s going to get through. I do think he’s less angry though. With the kids being older, it affords us more of an opportunity to see the parents in a wider variety of situations, rather than cleaning up after their kids –metaphorically and literally! The kids in the first series were lovely little people and characters, but now we have a Luke and Ava who can bite back a little bit.
Q. Evident from the trailer of Breeders season 2, there is a lot of swearing. But is it still as uncomfortable as it was in the first season?
Martin Freeman: There are some words that are verboten, but there are some words that are a handshake with the parents, which is helpful. They sometimes go, “You can say that, it’s fine.” Or, “We say that in our house, so it’d be crazy for you to pretend not to say it now.” So, if I’m having a really good dialogue with Luke, then it’s easier if I can swear for real, and he can hear it for real. Swearing is many things. It can be funny, but it can also be aggressive, obviously, in those situations. So just saying, “Gosh, darn it” isn’t going to have the same effect. It’s just not.
Q. What sorts of challenges did you face because of Covid?
Martin Freeman: Everything went pear-shaped! We were supposed to be doing it in April, but it was the last day of August by the time we were able to start filming. Alex, who plays Luke, definitely looked more like a 12-year-old when he was cast, but by the time we started recording he was as tall as me! I mean, there are very big 12 and 13-year-olds, I’ve seen them at my son’s school, it can happen, but we had to be mindful when we were filming the flashbacks because they were growing at a rate of knots. There were definitely challenges on set too. It’s weird at first, then it becomes less weird, and it becomes normal. It’s just more time-consuming because you have to clean everything. The stuff that you took so much for granted before, in normal life, you just can’t do it without checks and balances, so you’ve got to go through this procedure – that thing’s got to be cleaned, only that group can be on set, and then they’ve got to leave, and the other group can come on – all of that. But it’s still very doable, and I think this country is doing it quite well, because lots of productions are coming here.
The Movie Culture Synopsis
Breeders season 2 is currently streaming on Sky TV and Martin Freeman plays the role of the beyond frustrated father, Paul.