Makayla Lysiak shines in Season 2 of 'Mr. Mercedes', a series that she's only allowed to watch parts her parents have approved!

The young actress discusses the new developments in her character Barbara in season 2 of Mr. Mercedes, which premieres on August 22.

Makayla Lysiak shines in Season 2 of 'Mr. Mercedes', a series that she's only allowed to watch parts her parents have approved!

AT&T’s Audience Network is bringing the Stephen King adaptation 'Mr. Mercedes' back for a second season this Wednesday (22 August). While the first season faithfully translated the hard-boiled crime thriller to the small screen, season 2 promises to bring us into an “eerier, more gothic world”.

The show, which is executive produced by King himself is based on his famous 'Bill Hodges Trilogy', with the first season adapted from the first book of the same name. The new season, which is based on the final book of the trilogy, 'End of Watch', retains most of its star-studded cast, which includes the likes of Brendan Gleeson (as Detective Bill Hodges), Harry Treadaway (as Brady Hartsfield), Jharrel Jerome (as Jerome Robinson), Scott Lawrence as Detective Peter Dixon, Breeda Wool (as Lou Linklatter), Nancy Travis (as Donna Hodges), and Holland Taylor (as Ida Silver). 

While the lead cast undeniably steals the spotlight, with Gleeson and Treadaway locked in the classic good vs. evil trope, there are some glimpses of some great performances from the supporting cast as well. One such performance comes from 14-year-old Makayla Lysiak who plays the role of Barbara Robinson, the teenage sister of Hodges' faithful sidekick Jerome. With Jerome now attending Harvard, Barbara is now living with her parents, uncomfortably dealing with living under her brother's shadow. 

A Southern California native, Makayla knew right away that she was destined to act when she was cast as Dorothy in a school production of 'The Wizard of Oz'. Makayla’s drive and dedication to the craft was supported by her parents. She was all of just 9 years old when she first started acting and 'Parenthood' marked her first appearance in a scripted series. From there, she appeared on hit shows such as 'Instant Mom,' 'New Girl,' 'Speechless' and 'The Fosters,' among others, and is now set to feel out the shoes of Barbara Robinson in Mr. Mercedes.

The way-too-mature for her age actress admits that she was drawn to the role because of the complicated layers that Barbara experiences as a teenager and hopes to explore them as each season develops. While away from the camera, Makayla continues other creative processes. The multi-faceted young lady is a painter, singer, screenwriter, photographer and budding filmmaker too. She also admittedly enjoys hanging with her three siblings and playing with her two furry dogs, Sophia and Katie.

Makayla Lysiak takes on the role of Barbara Robinson, the sister of Jerome Robinson (Jharrel Jerome) in season 2 of Mr. Mercedes, which premieres Aug 22 on Audience Network.
Makayla Lysiak takes on the role of Barbara Robinson, the sister of Jerome Robinson (Jharrel Jerome) in season 2 of Mr. Mercedes, which premieres Aug 22 on Audience Network.

In an exclusive interview with Meaww, Makayla discussed the change in dynamics between Barbara and her brother, new developments in the second season, being star-struck by the prolific cast and learning more about the art from some of the industry's finest. In a heart-warming email exchange, the young actress also revealed how her parents screen the episodes and then show her suitable scenes. It's no surprise considering the fact that the rated-R show explores some uncomfortably deviant themes with a gratuitous smattering of graphic violence. Read the full interview with the very talented Makayla below.

I had the chance to preview the first two episodes of the new season, and it looks like your character Barbara is stepping into some teenage angst now. What’s different for Barbara compared to season 1?

To me, Barbara feels like a completely different person this season. I feel Barbara has a lot of pressure on her. Barbara may feel like she’s expected to be as smart and as perfect as her brother Jerome. This burdens her and causes a spiral into rebellion, back-talking, and acting out.

There also seems to be some tension between Barbara and Jerome, at least from what I’ve seen so far. How do you view the relationship between the siblings?

I do think Barbara is somewhat jealous of her brother Jerome. Her father is always speaking highly of Jerome, bragging about how incredible he is. Barbara has a sort of resentment towards that. She constantly feels like she’s living in her older brother’s shadow.

You’ve had the chance to work with some big names from the industry. What’s it like to work alongside the likes of Brendan Gleeson, Harry Treadaway, Jharrel Jerome and Holland Taylor?

It is such a blessing getting to share a screen with these legendary actors. The thought of working with the brilliant Holland Taylor, Jharrel Jerome, and Brendan Gleeson was intimidating at first, but the cast showed nothing but kindness towards me. Holland and I would run lines together on the shuttle to set. And Brendan even gave me a big bear hug the first time I met him! The cast and crew were warm and welcoming.

The show explores a lot of rated R themes and has a fair share of graphic content that might not really be suitable for a fourteen-year-old. Have you watched the show yourself?

I have watched the show, at least the parts suitable for my age. My parents view the episodes beforehand and then show me the scenes I can watch.

Makayla Lysiak on the sets of Mr. Mercedes. (Photo credits: Twitter / @agentsNMK)
Makayla Lysiak on the sets of Mr. Mercedes. (Photo credits: Twitter / @agentsNMK)

What about the books the show is based on? Have you read them or any of Stephen King’s works? Are you a fan of the horror/thriller genre?

Honestly, I’ve never ventured into the horror genre of novels, but after seeing how Stephen King’s writing came to life through film, I’m interested in exploring more of his works. But I LOVE Stephen King’s film adaptations. I’m a huge fan of “Misery”, “The Green Mile”, “IT”, and “Shawshank Redemption”.

I’ve learned that you also pursue screenwriting, photography, and filmmaking on the side. Have you picked up anything inspiring from the sets of the show for your endeavors?

Of course, I have. Seeing creative people making jaw-dropping content is always motivating for me. I took a ton of inspiration from the writing of David E. Kelley and Denis Lehane. The way they craft and structure their episodes and dialogue is truly brilliant. One day I aspire to be as talented as them.

What can we expect from season 2 of Mr. Mercedes?

You can expect a lot of unexpectedness from season 2 of Mr. Mercedes! It’s a rollercoaster filled with tons of twists and turns. The story plays out so well and always leaves you wanting more. Every week I’d couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next script and see how the series unfolds.

Anything else you have lined up for the rest of 2018?

I have a lot lined up for the rest of this year. I just finished working on a series for the online teen network "Brat". I am featured in the first episode of season 5 of “The Last Ship”, premiering in September. I’m also in a movie out now “What Still Remains”, which is currently available to watch. Much, much more to come.

Watch Makayla and the rest of the cast kickstart a new saga in the Bill Hodges Trilogy as season 2 of Mr. Mercedes premieres Wednesday, August 22 at 10 pm on  AT&T Audience Network via Direct TV.