We’re just a day away from the Season 2 Premiere of Being Human and Sam Witwer (Aidan the vampire), Sammy Huntington (Josh the werewolf) and Meaghan Rath (Sally the ghost) spoke to the press about several topics heading into the new season. They’re a fun bunch who are much like their TV counterparts yucking it up with the media and with each other. There are spoilers involved, so beware and scroll down and you’ll see two Syfy videos of the actors echoing some of their comments in our discussion.
If you haven’t caught on by now, Season 2 is all about each character being tempted towards the dark side of their respected monster. When asked about the big differences in approaching the development of their characters as opposed to season one, this is what they had to say.
Witwer: In the first season there was so much heavy lifting on everyone’s part to establish these characters and to try make this all work. If season one was about putting these people who are at risk into a safe environment, well season two is all about what is that risk about? And I think it’s inevitable with these people and their adversities, you know specific risks that they have in terms of you know vampire, werewolf and ghost, what do those conditions mean. And basically what it means is these people are in trouble and we’re going to see a lot of that trouble this year. We’re going to see why they need so badly to have a sanctuary because things get a little bit darker this year.
Rath: For me it’s important to keep in mind that these are real people and not to get sucked into the supernatural element of the whole thing. What makes the show different is that we’re playing into the supernatural stereotypes, we are trying to play these as regular people.
So for me it’s a lot about just keeping in mind what I would do in this kind of situation and what’s great about the show is that it’s really acting, what would you do if you were put in this situation. And so I think that’s where the humanity comes from, just being a good person and being with these challenges that sort of question your morality and your values.
Witwer: What we’re trying to do as three actors is we’re trying to bring as much humanity into those events as possible. For example if someone dies–hopefully we’re going to tell a story where you realize that that is an awful sacrifice or that something has happened that is really, really terrible. So we’re really trying to keep our reactions to this entire supernatural stuff very grounded. And in terms of the dark stuff that comes up, I mean the messed up thing is that at first you’ll see our characters react with horror and shame and all this awful stuff. And then as time goes on you might see them kind of get used to it and that hopefully will be a very sad thing to watch.
Aidan though is different because he’s been a monster for so much longer than the other two. Even if we were to paint a broad brush over all of the fictional portrayals of vampires in anguish, Aidan has kept his dark side in check for awhile now.
Witwer: Our take on it with the whole drug addiction analogy is I think really fresh and cool and that analogy, that metaphor is alive and well this season in a big, big way. He wants to fight against it but this year you do see him embrace it a little bit. Kind of against his will, the thing that we have to remember is in the first season if he’s trying to kick the habit in a drug addiction sense well the first thing he’s got to do is stay away from his old drug buddies. And this season we’re going to see an older version of Aidan this year and when I say older we’re going to see a worse version of him, we’re going to see some of his old character traits that he had over the past 200 years start to resurface. We’re going to learn first hand why everyone seems to be afraid of this guy, why Bishop gave him a wide berth and Marcus was wary of him and everyone spoke so highly of him as this maniac.
It was discussed with our conference call with showrunners Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke that Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse) is joining the cast in the role of Suren, who is the daughter of a vampire matriarch named Mother. Suren is placed in the role that Aidan is unworthy of, and she brings with her years of experience with the old Aidan. I asked Witwer about the addition of Lachman and her character Suren.
Witwer: We go into some vampire authority matters and there are vampires that are much, much older than Aidan or even Bishop. I was talking earlier about how we learn about older Aidan, we learn about how he was, rather than how he is, and Dichen represents a lot of that in this season for Aidan. She represents a lot of what he wanted, a lot of who he wanted to be and she’s thrown back into the mix. Imagine that you had a really close relationship with someone back in high school and then you link up with them later. It’s not exactly the same as it was because you’ve both changed.
As for Sally, we’ll recall that she passed up her door to help Aidan. This season Sally will be dealing with the consequences or ramifications of doing that. Was this a gift or a privilege that she turned down? Will she have a new sense of purpose? And what will she learn moving forward?
Rath: Sally acquired these new powers of being able to very briefly touch things [remember how she was able to touch Aidan’s hand when he was severely injured] which was a result of missing the door they think and she meets some new supernatural beings that introduce her to different powers and one being possession which takes her down a very dark path, because it is very addictive. And really her trajectory of the season is trying to fight or give in to this temptation, to this new sort of vice that she’s discovered and what that brings to her and how that breaks her down.
As for the Sally’s drab gray attire, we asked Rath about that at Comic-Con and we assumed that we’ll see her in flashbacks but with some of her new abilities public she was able to expand on her answer.
Huntington: She wears a really cute barrette this year.
Rath: We do get to see Sally in some different outfits and I think you know in the promos that they’ve released you do see Sally in a couple different things.
Huntington: Including her birthday suit, oh yeah.
Rath: That’s true, there is some nudity.
Huntington: Finally some female nudity on the show [Huntington is nude every time he turns from the werewolf back into his human form.].
Rath: The producers are like, ‘Here’s the deal, you can’t change. You can get out of those clothes but that’s it.’ [Joking] I’m not allowed to get into anything else. So there’s a little bit of that. But this possession door that Sally’s opened has really allowed me to change it up a little bit which has been nice, yeah. But the leggings stay, I hate to break it to you. The sweater stays, too. It’s the uniform.
Josh’s arc though is tied directly to his future with Nora. It’s been three weeks since the events of the Season 1 finale and Josh does not know that he scratched his girlfriend. And while we got confirmation from Sammy Huntington at Comic-Con about the baby, the two of them will be dealing with that unfortunate tragedy too. Sammy Huntington’s explanation of his arc was so spoiler-filled that we’ll bring that up after a few episodes have aired but while we’re talking about Josh and Nora, (who is the show’s unofficial fourth lead) look for a much larger role for her this season. Rath explained that she shares scenes with Kristen Hager this year–how we’ll find out soon enough–
Rath: I can’t really say much about it but I really felt like oh God, this is what I’ve been missing out on?
Witwer: Kristen’s just wonderful this season; she’s so great! We feel tremendously bonded to her as well. She’s one of us.
Carver and Fricke spoke about how each roommate is going to be more independent and that means that there will be a little less of those magic scenes where all three of them are in the house.
Rath: We all are on our own journey and trying to get ourselves out of these really desperate situations. So for the reason that we’re doing completely different things when we do come together there’s a question of can we still relate to each other and how non-judgmental are we actually going to be towards each other?
Something else that viewers can expect to see less of is the hospital. Even though three of the four main characters work there, the hospital was a second haven for the roommates in Season 1. Josh and Aiden could talk openly about various subjects without Sally being privy (when she couldn’t figure out how to leave the house), Aidan gets his blood there, and Josh used the basement to change into the wolf once ever month. Let’s also remember that Aidan introduced the wing of lost souls to Sally, so the hospital was important to all of the characters. With all of this self-exploration planned for Season 2, I asked what role does the hospital serve for them still? By their responses, I could tell that the hospital still serves as something very important.
Huntington: You’ll– [Thinking of how to respond without spoiling, Sammy pauses]. Things that happen in the hospital are pivotal and spring boards a lot of stuff that happens in the season. Yeah, you definitely touch on something that’s true in that it’s not like our home away from home this season like it was last year. I think a lot of that actually is also because each of us is having our individual paths so there’s less of us actually meeting up at the hospital you know? Would you guys say that’s true?
Witwer: Yeah, I think that’s true.
Rath: I feel like I definitely spend more time in the hospital this year.
Huntington: You do, for sure.
Rath: But it’s not – yeah. I wouldn’t say that it was a home away from home–
Huntington: It’s in a different regard too, it’s…
Rath: Yeah, totally. It’s kind of like just as the house is a huge part of the show, so is the hospital, just kind of a different character.
Huntington: To be honest, and Sam and I actually talked a lot about this this season because you know we actually feel kind of differently about it but I could lose the hospital as a location altogether.
Witwer: Whereas I love it. I think it’s really great.
Huntington: Yep. I like it in theory, like the idea that we can go there and it serves as a lot of different sets and it make sense for the characters but logistically I’m not into it for some weird reason, I don’t really like it.
Witwer: I think it’s because they always have you cleaning up you know vomit and for me, you know I’m carrying something somewhere.
Huntington: That’s what it is. That’s it.
Witwer: Somehow, Aidan ditches all the most unpleasant stuff like (cleaning) bedpans; he just doesn’t do it. He’s like, ‘You know, if I ditch it someone else will do it.’
Huntington: That’s right.
“A Look Ahead”
In this last section, the actors were asked more about their experiences as actors, their challenges and discoveries going through this season.
Huntington: You’re always challenged by this wonderful material, this material that makes you really, really think. And you know it forces you to just basically become a better actor. I had several moments this year where I got to places emotionally that I’d never gotten to before on a set. You don’t want to let them (the writers and producers) down. They’ve given you this material and you want to do it justice.
Rath: I have the feeling so often where I came to set and I’m looking at the scenes and I’m like – how – I don’t know how I’m going to do this, when I read the script. I don’t know what I’m going to do and I think that is where you really grow as an actor, when you’re scared. And there was definitely a lot of that this season.
Witwer: We’ve established the characters pretty thoroughly last year and so it’s like, ‘Okay, what new sides of this character can we show?’ When you do a pilot you’re trying to sell the pilot, sell the character, sell this, sell that. So you’re trying to show them as much as you can. But because we didn’t do that [this year] I felt that – we all felt just sort of patient. And so this year it’s like okay well what new can we show you? And I feel pretty confident that all three of us you’re going to see – We do get to know these different sides of these characters in big ways. And the other big challenge this year is that we shot everything a little bit faster. We had less time to do stuff in for various reasons and so there were several times – like Meaghan I said–how am I going to do this, and I had one take to get it right.
Rath: I think for me I feel like that’s the way I’ve grown as a person since I started acting and it’s a strange thing but every new experience you go through, every different set, every character I feel it forces you to find something in yourself that has been there. But you never knew it existed so you’re just trying to access different parts of your emotional life or things – feelings that you’ve suppressed over the years. And it changes you, especially when you connect to a character so much and you love that character, it really forces you to question what would I do in this situation and what does this mean to me and how can I put this situation into my own words? And that’s for me how I mature and grow.
Witwer: I think we’ve all three learned to trust ourselves a little bit more in terms of our creative instincts. I’ve learned that if the editors have it even in pieces, even if I never got through a full take without blowing something, if the editors have it in pieces, fine, leave it alone, go to sleep, it’s fine, done.
With the monsters and supernatural genre seemingly near capacity, we as television fans can’t help but eat more up. Movies, comics, television series, it doesn’t matter. We eat it up, not like it’s a fad diet, but instead like it’s our sustenance, especially when it’s written and acted as well as it is in Being Human. Huntington answered with a tongue-in-cheek response but Witwer tried to tackle the reasons as to why monsters resonate with TV viewers in a very interesting manner.
Witwer: I think that our society has good points and bad points but we’re a little bit more self-aware I suppose as Americans–
Huntington: Oh you’re going deep.
Witwer: It’s come to our attention that our country–we’re not always just the sterling good guy, that there’s some gray area in there and that our heroes don’t always live up to our expectations. The 70’s were a cynical era, but I don’t know that they felt as messed with, in terms of the media machine and constantly feeling manipulated and pushed around; feeling like perhaps we’re pushed into participating in things that are maybe not the best things morally. So maybe it’s that moral uncertainty that makes people lock in to all this dark stuff, you know looking – because what are zombies? Zombies are our selves, only completely corrupted and messed up. Another example, you drive by Warner Brothers’ studios, – there’s this building and they have this painting of all the DC Comics superheroes all along the wall right? And it used to be Superman was in the middle, flanked by Batman and Wonder Woman and then you’d have all the other people. Well now Batman’s in the center and Superman’s off to the side. And you’re just like wow, when did that happen?
Huntington: When Batman made a hundred gajillion dollars.
Witwer: Well it’s like that, but people are relating more to Batman than they are to Superman. If you went back to like the 40s or the 50s, Batman was second place to Superman. Superman was the guy, like, ‘This is us, Superman is us’ and now it’s like, ‘I think it might be Batman’; we’re a little bit messed up, you know?
Eloquently said. And to close this Being Human Season 2 Preview I had to include a question that was asked about the constant comparisons to the original UK series from which Syfy’s version is based on.
Witwer: We as actors we didn’t watch the British series when we were shooting our first season because we wanted to do our own thing. We wanted to make sure that ours was its own animal. And then afterward we watched it. We watched everything. I love their show and I truly dig on it and I got Sammy and Meaghan started by buying them the box sets for season one and they watched it since then, watched more of it since then. And you know we’re all into it, but our writers hate it. No just kidding. For the same reason that we avoided watching season one, they’ve avoided watching season two because they want season two to be its own animal. So there is a little bit of cross over here and there in terms of things happening sometimes in similar ways. But it’s really coincidental considering our writers didn’t even know. So it’s interesting, whenever something would happen that was similar I’d read it in the script and kind of laugh. Because they have no idea, but you know it’s for the most part extremely different.
Despite all of the efforts to be different, none of the stars believe the comparisons will stop.
Rath: No, because it is founded on the same situations, they’re both the same show. But I mean that’s okay with me, I don’t mind that because like Sam was saying, I’m a huge fan of the British one. And I’m very positive in the second season that it does differ in a huge way. We’re the same family but different kind of – we’re different cultures and I don’t know, I’m happy to be associated with them and I’m excited for the day that we actually meet.
Huntington: Yeah me too, I really want to meet them. I think also we’d probably be singing a different tune if it was more negative. To be honest I think they’ve been so kind to us. You know primarily, the people who are fans of the BBC series or were first fans of the BBC series have really embraced our show and I think if they were really hating on it we’d be ready for them to be like, ‘Uh guys, you know that we are our own thing.’ And listen, we embrace that, the fact that this season there’s some small crossovers but for the most part they are unintentional. We are our own beast. And – but yeah, I think we’d be a lot more eager to have the comparisons cease if they were negative comparisons. Right?
Witwer: Absolutely. I think that people have their preferences. For example if someone says hey I like the British version better, I’m not going to sit there and go, ‘Whoa you’re wrong.’ I see why. It’s different; there are different things. Personally when I watched the two shows, our season one versus their season one. I was kind of torn because I’d see stuff and I’d go, ‘Oh they really nailed that moment in a way that we didn’t’. Yeah, that’s better. Oh I like this better about theirs,’ and then I’d see other stuff and go, ‘Oh but you know what, I like ours better on this, or we had a better take on this,’ So considering I’m so close to it I could never say which is objectively better. And frankly I don’t know that most people could objectively say that, I think it’s more of a taste thing.
Being Human Season 2 starts Monday, January 16 on Syfy at 9pm ET/PT and kicks off a new Powerful Monday lineup followed by the American premiere of the Canadian hit-show, Lost Girl at 10PM.