Our first press panel of the day was with the cast of Being Human: Meaghan Rath, Sam Witwer and Sam Huntington. We met them all last year before the show first aired, and having met them and see them talk about the show turned me in to a fan then, and it proved out with the show. So it was great seeing them again, and they were fun to talk to as before. First, it was announced that Being Human will return again on Monday, January 16th, at 9pm ET to become part of the strong “Powerful Mondays” lineup. So, what can we expect in it’s sophomore season?
“I thought we were just remaking Season 1,” Huntington said, and Rath added, “It’s a re-imagining.” Always the jokers these three. but more seriously, Witwer said, “Crazy stuff. It gets really dark this year. We mean really, really dark this year.”
“Yeah. It should be called ‘Welcome to the Dark Side’ — ‘Being Human, Welcome to the Dark Side”…This time it’s personal,” Rath added, as a possible title to the season. Huntington also offered, “The dark side of being human, yeah. ‘Transformers: Dark of Being Human'”
He then gets a little more serious, again. “Well, I can say that we kind of all go off on our own independent paths this year, respective paths, that are all obviously interlaced with one another, but yeah, they are quite dark. I think we all had a tremendous amount of growth in the first season. It was kind of leading up to all of us making decisions about whether to kind of, as the ad clearly stipulates, let the temptation in, and I think that — I can speak for my character anyway — it’s really — a lot of it is really about to try to keep others away from the temptation. So it’s a lot of clinging on to what I — what I want, which is normalcy.”
“So, for Sally, she’s dealing with the consequences of missing her door and what that means to her,” Rath said of her own character. “She’s dealing also with a lot of temptation in regards to her exploring more of the rules of the afterlife and really sort of discovering new things that she can do and coming into new powers, a lot of which are very dangerous and addictive and painful for people around her. And so she’s battling with that a lot and meeting a lot of new characters. I think there’s tons of new characters on the show this year. We are very blessed with the new guest cast.”
Guest cast? This season, that includes Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse), who plays a 700 year old vampire named Suran, and Kyle Schmid (Blood Ties), who plays a character named Henry.
Witwer had a lot to say about his character, considering the how long Aidan has been around. “Aidan is — he’s dealing with…really neat identity issues throughout this season because as you — as we saw last year, we went back to it a few times. We went to the ’50s. We went to the ’70s. We are going way back to the ’80s with a keytar player and a band that Bishop was a singer, and there’s this whole thing of, like, ‘But I want to be the singer. You be the keytar player.’
“When we go back to the ’30s — and we discover a time when the vampires weren’t taking these awful day jobs that they didn’t want to be taking, and they didn’t have to hide as hard core as they do in modern day. And then we even go back to 1918, and we learn what happened before then. We discover Aidan perhaps at the height of his — of his influence and power, and he’s doing really, really well. And we learn why they were all scattered and sent into the shadows and they all hide.
“And so, as I talk about this identity thing, we really get a strong contrast for who Aidan was and this ideal Aidan. Everyone is talking about him, and you get to see him. And they talk about he was the ideal vampire, and then we learn — then, of course, we know a lot about how Aidan is trying to be in this last two years.
“And he just keeps having options removed and avenues of escape, and he’s having all of these things taken away from him. And once you have all of your options taken away, you really do learn who you really are, not who you want to be and not who you were, but who you are. And that’s one of the scary things that he goes through this season.”
We also find out that Aidan had an interesting lover in the past…Josh’s grandmother! (They may have been facetious…you can’t tell with them…) And Josh also seems to have a lover of the past return…which complicates things with Nora.
“Nora is still a huge part of Josh’s life at the end of Season 1,” Huntington said. “That continues into Season 2 and gets very, very complicated when said romance from his past comes back. And it’s cool for Josh because his need and his wants in life is the thing that he finds most difficult to achieve. So it’s — and hurting other people is his biggest fear. And he’s a lover, and so it’s really, really difficult for him, which has been really fun for me to play. So I think you guys are going to enjoy it, and it’s going to be something that maybe you’ve experienced yourself in life. So hopefully that will be the case, maybe less painful with less hair and blood.”
“Aidan’s old love interest, you know, is this Suran character that we mentioned played by Dichen Lachman,” Witwer returned. “And it’s interesting because, you know, how many of us have been in situations where we had a major longing for someone, and then, maybe a year or two down the road, we actually have an opportunity to be with that person, and maybe it isn’t everything that you thought it would be. You know? And it’s trying to figure out — because Aidan had this old love back in the ’30s that he had these feelings for, but he was quite literally a different person back then. So to reconnect with that, what does that mean for him? And where is that going to go? And is it the best thing for him? And, you know, does — what does he think about all of this? I mean, does he know that he’s perhaps getting himself into trouble, or is this even what he wants anymore? It’s very strange, but he gets very caught up in this and all of these identity issues that come out of it.”
As for how Sally’s aims, Rath said, “And, well, for Sally, her whole thing is trying to find a purpose. In her death, I mean, that was her goal in life is to have an effect on somebody and feel like she’s contributing in some way to the world, and that never happened. So, in her death, her longings are the same. She wants to feel important and special and unique, and so she falls for someone who is living in life and tries to be with him and will do whatever it takes to be with him, which also falls into the whole dangerous category that we were talking about before.”
What about Bishop, the villain vampire from Season 1 who seemed to finally meet his demise? “We might see Bishop again,” according to Witwer. “I mean, after all, we have 200 years of history being that guy. So you never know when he just kind of shows up. And Mark Pellegrino is just — I mean, he’s tremendous, that guy.” Everyone agreed.
Other interesting tidbits…Witwer says he is “typecast” as a night person – because he can sleep pretty much any time and then wake up in the middle of the night. But his co-stars help. “Well, these guys are the reason I come to work, basically, for me, you know. I’m not a morning person. So every morning I’m like, “Uhhh.” So, if I see them, then I feel better.”
A question from the floor regarded digital vs practical effects, such as the eyes and flying down stairs.
For the flying effects, involved cables, a pole and a body cast for Rath. “There’s a pole coming out of my stomach, and, you know, two or three large men just pretty much tip me over and impale me on this giant stake that’s sticking out of a green studio.” They apparently call the body cast her “bed pan”.
As for how much is digital, Huntington says, “Well, I mean, what I was going to say is it’s, like, 50/50, right? So, like, with — you know, it’s half practical, and the practical side of it enables you to fill in the blanks with CG. So it’s like Meaghan’s bed pan or Witwer’s fangs and eyes like, you know — we call it a “bed pan.” You know, the CG will make his eyes snap black, but then, from that point on, he’s wearing the contacts.
“My stuff is a lot of — a lot of practical, physical makeup effects, which is both fun and exhausting, and it’s in stages. So, in between the stages, there’s computer-generated stuff that kind of takes the in-between and fills in the blanks. It’s really, like, right down the middle, 50/50.”
Again, the interaction between the cast is amazing, and it comes through on the screen as well – I’m not a vampire/werewolf person myself, but they won me over last year and they’ve kept me. We are all looking forward to Season 2!