By Jamie Ruby
The supernatural series Being Human
recently returned to Syfy with a bang. The series was turned upside-down when fans learned that 15 months after last season's events, Josh (Sam Huntington) was no longer a werewolf, Sally (Meaghan Rath) was brought back from the dead, and Aidan, played by Sam Witwer, was a vampire short on a ready blood supply with a flu having made most available blood poison to them.
Recently star Sam Witwer and showrunner and executive producer Anna Fricke talked to the digital media about the all-new third season, which airs Mondays on Syfy.
Things this season are very different with the characters, and Fricke told SciFi Vision, “The nature of everyone's humanity this season is like an onion and we keep peeling back the layers of if–this, than–this and if I'm this way, than this causes this
. So, it's a very complicated, tangled-up season I would say. Things are not wrapped up; it's developed into other things, if that makes sense.”
Witwer continued, “I will happily report the things that happen to the characters stay on a very semantically consistent track throughout the entire season. So the things that they're dealing with and these early episodes have blossomed into bigger problems later on in the season. Aidan's story for example, it takes a little while to really get rolling but then by the end it's a freight train, which I think is great. You know, it’s fun to start things out slower and get them moving and really double-up the momentum.” Syfy Conference CallBeing HumanAnna Fricke and Sam Witwer
January 4, 20133:00 p.m ETQUESTION:
Could you tell me a little bit about your initial reaction when you found out that basically everything about the show is being upended in the first two episodes; that the whole concept of the show - everybody does become human in a way. And also if you had any concern that this might be too much of a superman-dive type of gimmick that might irritate dedicated fans?SAM WITWER:
I really like it. I suppose the question is for me, considering Anna invented these shake-ups. ANNA FRICKE:
I thought it was awesome. SAM WITWER:
Exactly. I was thrilled. I thought it was really fantastic; in fact, the entire cast was really blown away with the move because you want to feel like the things that happen leave an indelible mark on the characters and on the situations, so you want the show to evolve. You bring up the superman example, the example I would bring up would be Battlestar Galactica
- that I think the best thing they did was that big shakeup going into season 3. I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it.
But I think Anna and her writers did a fantastic job in creating a season that allowed us to get really deep with our characters this year. This is definitely the character season where we really get to know the characters even better than we did before in a big way. ANNA FRICKE:
If I could just add to that, I think part of what we've always loved about the concept of the show is that with great pain lies great humor and it's a very human process that they're going through. And the whole concept of Being Human
is that it's never going to work out for these people.
So even if we do something like shake it up as we did in the first season, something is going to go wrong there and it's never really going to work out. So I guess that’s why I always feel safe and the writers feel safe in playing within those parameters because it's not going to work out. And if it ever does work out, that's the end of the show. So we have some room to play with. QUESTION:
With Surin dead is Aidan going to then be a better roommate and friend to the other two? SAM WITWER:
This is awesome, you're asking the question like when the guy breaks up with the girlfriend that the friends don't like and say, “Okay, so you're going to hang out with us again?”
The answer is yes, actually, the answer is oddly yes. The thing with the Surin relationship is that while there was love there and affection and a lot of attempts at making it work, I don't know how Anna and Jeremy looked at it, but I looked at it is like this is the bad relationship year for Aidan.
It's like that girl you really want to date in high school and then you dated her at 25 and it just wasn't what you thought it was going to be and you just keep trying to make it work and it's fighting you every step of the way because you can't. In the second season of a show, you can't do the love of someone's life. It's probably not the best idea because you have other seasons and other people to meet.
So that was the way I interpreted it, we're telling the story of a destructive relationship and it's not necessarily either of their faults that it's destructive, it's just that the circumstances and everything that have gone down make it destructive. So he's coming out of that definitely mindful of what it caused him to do to other people and, yes, we definitely see the three roommates interacting a lot more this year which is great fun for the cast considering we all like each other. Anna, did you have anything to say about that? ANNA FRICKE:
No, I think that that's putting it perfectly and I don't know if you want to speak to the Mother situation, do you? SAM WITWER:
Oh, I didn't - go for it, you want to hit that?ANNA FRICKE:
Well, yes, and you guys have seen the first couple of episodes, I will say this about Mother; I think that given how Aidan went into the ground at the end of season 2, going after Mother was the very first thing on his mind I think for a very long time and as we'll see, he comes up into the ground in this season, he's coming up into a very different landscape.
So I think that anything he may have been holding onto underground he's going to have to let go of. But that would be his greatest hope, but things change. QUESTION:
Sally and Aidan have a bit of a moment and I know we've spoken about this before. Is it something that's going to develop over the season?SAM WITWER:
Sally and Aidan have been roommates for awhile now and because of certain things there's an unexpected level of interaction between the two that they didn't even know was necessarily possible, so it brought a lot of things into question and I think what it is that they've never actually even asked themselves that question and I think it's that moment you're talking about is the first time that they go, “Oh, wait a second, is this something that could happen? Oh no, no, it couldn't be, it couldn't be.”
It's one of those moments - it's the first time either of them had even considered something like that. As for what will develop, I'll say that we see a lot of really strange scenes with Sally and Aidan this year. QUESTION:
I think they find a common ground this year that they did not have before, would you say that's fair?SAM WITWER:
Absolutely, yes. And when I say that they have strange scenes I mean that these scenes that me and Meaghan Rath have shot are some of the funniest things that I've ever been involved in, in terms of some of the unpredictable elements.
I think those two people as roommates are kind of funny together and it's just another advantage of having the roommates being together more often: discovering more dynamics of those relationships. Does this huge romance bloom? I wouldn't take it that far; I wouldn't say that's necessarily going to happen. But then, on the other hand, you never know. I suppose the only one that knows is Anna. ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, the writers are very careful about that kind of thing and we wouldn't want to do anything between the roommates just for sensationalism sake. So I wouldn't say that's the direction it's going in and we do, of course, always throw around those ideas, but in the final moments of the series maybe X, Y and Z will happen. Because you really want to be protective of the friendship that these roommates have at the core.
The people that work on this show are ridiculously talented, I see scripts that come in that blow my mind. -- Sam WitwerSAM WITWER:
Yes. On that, I want to just congratulate the writers because they come up with a lot of really wild ideas but there's never really a time where you look at something in the script and go, “My character would not do this.” There's never really a time where you look at something that happens, no matter how wild it is, and you can't figure out a way to justify it.
So there, what Anna's saying is correct. They don't just throw things out and say, “Oh, couldn't we get the audience to react?” It's always very well-considered and grows out of what's happened with the characters and what's happening with the characters, so it makes our jobs as actors a lot easier than say some friends of mine who are on other shows who have to wildly justify some crazy stuff. ANNA FRICKE:
Also, obviously, Aidan and Josh would have to end up together, so I mean...SAM WITWER:
Of course. QUESTION:
I don't think I'm giving anything away, you'll let me know, but right away we find out that a plague is killing the vampires and Aidan doesn't like vampires very much so he's going to have a mild dilemma as to whether to try to end the plague and save vampires or just let his rage die out. What's Aidan going to do? SAM WITWER:
Which way is he going to go, what's going to happen? You're dead on; you're tuning into what's going to be a big conflict for him because even if you dislike, even if you profess to hate a group of people like frat boys, you don't necessarily want frat boys to be wiped off the face of the earth. QUESTION:
Well in college I would have, but it's okay, right? SAM WITWER:
The thing is that Aidan does belong to this group of people and so with their existence threatened, certainly his feelings of loyalty and belonging are challenged and so, yes, we get to see him make some choices that are sometimes questionable, sometimes dead on, sometimes dead wrong concerning that issue, but I can't tell you too much because it would definitely spoil it. ANNA FRICKE:
I would say that our show has always been a lot about the balance in nature and what it is to be human and playing with that moral ground. And I think for all the characters, I know for all the characters this year
, that's why we have the theme of ‘be careful of what you wish for,’ because you may get something that you thought you may have been striving for, but a deeper nature in our character kicks in and I think that's what we'll see in Aidan and the other characters.QUESTION:
I love Bishop - I love Mark Pellegrino, of course, and he's coming back in some ways. In the British series, he was revised in a very interesting and weird way. Can you give us any hints about how we'll see Bishop?ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, we obviously love Mark Pellegrino, which is why we keep trying to dream up ways to bring him back and the great thing about vampires is that you can always have things live on in flashbacks and that's obviously part of how we deal with Bishop and there are other creative ways that we find him.
I know how the British series brought him back and we have discussed that, what we always want to be careful that if we brought him back in that way, we would want to make sure we just weren't repeating the same dynamic so that particular way may not have fit in well with this season, but the great thing about a supernatural show is that you don't really ever have to say no to anything because anything is obviously possible.
So, that's a fun idea to play with; that's not exactly how we do it this year but we do try to find organic ways to work Bishop in because Bishop is a huge part of the makeup of Aidan's long life and is always present with him in a way, so that's how we try to address it.SAM WITWER:
Yes, I've been steadily pressuring Anna to bring him back and I have to give her credit that she stood her ground and been doing what's right for the series. I keep pushing because Mark is a close friend of mine and I also just love working with him. ANNA FRICKE:
It's one of his favorite scenes. SAM WITWER:
Yes, I love those scenes; they're fantastic and he's such a great actor, but Anna has been exercising restraint because ultimately you want it to be a dramatically satisfying thing that works within the logic of what we've laid out and so she's taking all my calls and my emails and exercised restraint and I thank her for that because my job is to be unrestrained and her job is to say, “Okay, but here's what we're actually going to do.” QUESTION:
It says here that the new season of Being Human
picks up 15 months after the events of last season, blah, blah, blah, so is it safe to say that Aidan is going to be out of the earth by the time the season starts, or what?SAM WITWER:
I remember talking to Dave Howell and I said, “Hey Dave, think about this - think about how in other TV shows, when someone gets shot or something and they're gone for several episodes, wouldn't that be cool to earn Aidan back?” Think about Battlestar Galactica.
Adama got shot and he was just gone for many episodes. And Dave Howell goes, “Yes, yes, that's great, but Battlestar
had like 14 regulars, your show has three, so no.” QUESTION:
Yes. it's not really possible.SAM WITWER:
So Aidan does come out fairly shortly, but I will say that we do earn him back in different ways. He’s not in the first episode that much and I thought that was really cool. And in the second episode, he's not the way he was last year and for the rest of the season, really. There are definitely changes that have happened with this guy and we get to watch him try to put himself back together a little bit which is fun, hopefully.SCIFI VISION:
I don't know if you can tell us, but obviously the way things are this season so different, they're not going to last forever. Is this going to be something that's going to be wrapped up early on or is most of the season are they going to be dealing with being human?SAM WITWER:
Anna, you want to start with that?ANNA FRICKE:
Yes. I wouldn't say anything is wrapped up early on. I would say things actually start to get complicated early on and develop into something else. I mean, the nature of everyone's humanity this season is like an onion and we keep peeling back the layers of this and if I'm this way, than this causes this
. So, it's a very complicated, tangled-up season I would say. Things are not wrapped up; it's developed into other things, if that makes sense.SAM WITWER:
Yes, I will happily report the things that happen to the characters stay on a very semantically consistent track throughout the entire season. So the things that they're dealing with and these early episodes have blossomed into bigger problems later on in the season. Aidan's story for example, it takes a little while to really get rolling but then by the end it's a freight train, which I think is great. It’s fun to start things out slower and get them moving and really double-up the momentum.
And Kristen Hager's character has a lot to do this season as well. We're really, really happy to add her. I said we have three regulars; that's not true. We have four
regulars this year, so Kristen is one of the main cast; she's the fourth roommate. So that's a lot of fun to have her bring her own dynamic because now we go off and we actually have stories with her, it's not just branching off of Josh's thing.
So there are a lot of things that happen that are unpredictable and even if you've seen the British series, it's completely different in terms of the dynamics that the fourth roommate brings in. QUESTION:
I'd love to hear from both of you if you can think of one or two aspects that you found most challenging about this season, whether it was a scene, a storyline or a dynamic or, Anna, if it's being the sole show runner, anything like that?SAM WITWER:
What do you think?ANNA FRICKE:
It all seems so easy now doesn't it, Sam? I guess for me and for the other writers, what's always the most challenging is how to space things out because when we come up with these ideas or the themes for the seasons, we have the end in sight, but it's how to get there without making everyone's battles so easy to predict.
Throwing those obstacles there in the middle and keeping things complicated, going this way and that way before we get to the end. And really spacing things out because we all get very excited about the ideas we have and the thematic journeys we're going to go on and it's how to slow ourselves down and throw in some stuff in the middle which ends up actually being some of our favorite stuff, right in the middle there. But,it's basically the journey - it's how to space out that journey.SAM WITWER:
The challenge on my side is that I've always been a nomadic actor, so this is the first time that I've developed a character over three years and you find yourself asking the question, “How do I keep this fresh? How do I keep this new?”
And it doesn't, necessarily. For example, when you first develop a character in the first season, the discoveries you're making about the character are huge and they're momentous and they're going to steer where the character goes in such a huge way and they're very satisfying in that way. You make this discovery about why Aidan talks this way - because it's a cover; okay, that means that every time we go to a different era, he'll be talking different, he'll be walking different. He should be a different person in each of these flashbacks.
You feel so proud of yourself because you feel that you've come up with something.. You don't necessarily have those big, momentous, satisfying, ‘this-changes-everything’ moves later on because the character's established. So the things that you come up with are a lot more subtle. And again, I find them a little bit more challenging because you have to figure out what works within the framework of what you've already established
It's definitely still fun, especially with this character, because they always throw me these flashbacks, like I was saying, and you have to reinvent the character. The biggest challenge is that you have no time to do it. If someone said, “Hey Sam, we're doing this; it's going to take place in 1895, come up with a character,” and they hand you a script, if this is a movie or something, then I'd have time to work up what that character is, in the same way that I developed Aidan when we started this. But in the case of these flashback Aidans, the further back you go, the more different he has to be for me and there's no time to develop any of it because you're shooting constantly and there's never a down moment for you to sit around and work on how you walk.
It's challenging; it's a fun challenge that will never, ever get dull because it's so unusual that you'd have a show on television where you get to play different characters. Last year we did these 1930s flashbacks and half of them were done with one take because we just didn't have any time to shoot it so it's a great training ground. You definitely get a workout on this show, I'll tell you.
They don't pull punches with challenging material which I'm really grateful for because it’s fun. There are a lot of shows that an actor could do but I've never been involved in a show where it demanded that I become a better actor more than this show. There are a lot of things that I didn't know how to do that I feel like I have a pretty good handle on now because of Being Human
, so I'm just thankful that it's never easy. QUESTION:
Anna, I wanted to know who comes up with the episode titles. I love all the puns and the musical references. ANNA FRICKE:
I'm so glad. I'll tell you what, it's getting a little tricky and we're starting to get a little stressed out about it, but it's a group effort. I say it's a group effort, and it's not always the writer of the episode—it's often the writer of the episode, but sometimes we'll just mull it over for a few days and someone else will pitch one in.
Chris Dinga actually comes up with a lot of titles. He came up with this season finale which I will not tell you now but which hopefully you will perceive at the time. It's very simple, but it really made me laugh. We always try to have something that is poignant but also a little funny which is the tone we try to go for in the show. SAM WITWER:
Yes the episode—Chris' episodes—always, maybe, have the best titles, don't they? Sometimes? ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, they do. ANNA FRICKE:
But, usually it's titled by committee. QUESTION:
Sam, which side of Aidan is your favorite part to play; is it the wild, bad boy or is it the vampire struggling to be human? SAM WITWER:
Well, that's a very good question, there's a lot of sides to that guy. I'll tell you the thing that I have enjoyed the most in terms of developing is anytime that he gets to be a little bit funny - and that doesn't necessarily mean he's ‘ha, ha’ funny - that sometimes he has a response to something that Josh is doing that's humorous.
Or he gets annoyed at something that Sally says. I have some friends who make a really well-thought of comedy series and I've watched as through the years they've gotten so good at creating that series, it's called Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- you guys probably watch it. And I've watched his sense of humor which has been fine-tuned to a needle point and he knows how to do that right. Well, I, at one point, went to college with that guy and we were the two comedians of our class.
And everyone thought that both of us would go off and do comedy and all I've been doing since then is just drama—learning how to make people cry or freak out or feel something serious. So the thing I enjoy most of Being Human
is learning how to help bring in comedy into straight situations which, as I mentioned before, there's things I didn't know how to do - I didn't really know how to do that starting the show and have had the opportunity to work out and get better at that.
Especially when you have someone as brilliant as Sam Huntington shouldering the comedic burden, I should have played a straight man when it starts out; it was a good way to wade into it. And then later, as the series progresses, I get my own little comedic moments that have nothing to do with anyone, so that's the part I enjoy the most, just because I find it hard, because I think it's difficult, but again I think that's the most fun. QUESTION:
We talked a little bit about the US and the UK versions of the show and I happen to be a fan of both. What I really like about the US version is that it started where the UK version did, but then veered off in a completely different direction. Is that what we can expect to see in season 3 or are we going to see little hints of storylines from the UK version? SAM WITWER:
Well, you can't avoid the inevitable overlap with some situations because the premise of the series in both cases is the same. Having said that, they're nothing alike in terms of plot. I mean, it’s completely and totally different and I really... ANNA FRICKE:
I'm sorry; I was going to say usually the overlap is unintentional but as Sam was saying you can't avoid it because we're swimming in the same pond but I will say that most of the writers have not - I purposely did watch it, not because I don't love the British show, because I do, but because I didn't want to be influenced after season 1.
But we'll come up with something we think, “Oh, we're so great, this is such a great story. We're so original,” and then we find out, “Oh, yes, they had a character just like this on the British series; I had no idea.” So obviously relapse happens, but we're definitely going down our own path. SAM WITWER:
Yes, the characters are so different that it really does lead to different stuff. When I started watching the British series - or when we all started watching the British series - me and the rest of the cast, we got very not worried about stuff like that because Mitchell and Aidan are two different guys –very, very different guys and Josh, you know, Josh and George and Annie and Sally and - I'm sorry what's the chick's name, Nina? - Nina and Nora, yes; they're all very different.
For example, there are some things between say Aidan and Nora and Nina and Mitchell that are similar but they happen in very different ways. So the fun of having these two entities that are out there, both with the name Being Human
on them, is that if you like this premise, there's a lot of it out there. There are two shows worth of it.
And I'm sure that we're going to have Being Cuban,
the Cuban version, Beijing Human,
which is the Chinese - or the Pan-Asian version. We're going to do tons of remakes, tons of them so you're going to love it. QUESTION:
If Aidan could trade places with Josh and be a werewolf instead of a vampire do you think he would do it? SAM WITWER:
Totally. Yes, because he only has to deal with it once a month. I mean, how bad is that? Anna will tell you it's always a challenge to write around Josh's werewolf thing because ultimately there's a lot of eventful things that happen around the full moon. You know, we have two main characters who are werewolves, but what happens in the meantime? Oh, they're just hanging out, playing Xbox; it's no big deal. For some reason, that the episodes don't happen there is because Josh's blissfully happy while Aidan's sitting around jonesing for his next hit and I mean, come on - come on! Once a month, whatever, whatever. ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, I would say we feel bad in the writers room because we're always like, “You guys, we just had a full moon. We can't do this again.” We're jumping like a month every hour, so we have to pace ourselves. QUESTION:
You have the wonderful and beautiful Amy Aquino. She's appearing as a witch this season. Can you tell us about her character? ANNA FRICKE:
First of all, I think we all agree we are so blessed to have her on the show. Not only does she give a phenomenal performance, she's also a lovely person, which is always nice when it works out that way. So, yes, she's playing a witch on the show and, as it always is with our show, it goes a lot deeper than whatever your supernatural title may be.
She’s a very complicated woman with an interesting past and I think what's the most fun about her character is that she's very tongue-and-cheek and no-nonsense and we're trying to turn the whole witch thing on its head and we have a lot of fun with her and she's very powerful. And she also brings out a lot of power in Sally, so that will be something that is really interesting and hopefully compelling to watch. And she's named after my mother, which is not supposed to be an insult. SAM WITWER:
The thing with Amy is that, with the type of show that it is, it's challenging to get it right performance-wise and Amy is one of those actors who arrived on the set and the moment she spoke she understood exactly how to deliver that dialogue. She just knew exactly the tone of the show and so we just fell in love with her right away. ANNA FRICKE:
I would say that what we have in Amy is similar to what we love about Mark Pellegrino, which is what we look for in villains on our show—villains who don't act like villains, per se, who take this dialogue and deliver in an off-hand manner. And can say things like, “Well, obviously
I'm going to kill you now,” without adding a lot of sturm und drang to it. She brings that nonchalance mixed with great power and malice that Bishop does. SAM WITWER:
Yes, she humanizes it all - she really brings it, both of her feet are on the ground in the same way that Bishop could make anything that he was saying sound totally reasonable. ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, exactly. QUESTION:
This season's going to be a game-changer, so how would you both like to be remembered creatively? SAM WITWER:
As a game-changer - that's what I want. What do you want, Anna? ANNA FRICKE:
I think we've really hit our stride this year and I think, Sam, I don't know if you said it on this call or earlier, but we like to think of all the seasons this way: when all the characters come to these crossroads and everyone's on their A-game this year you know, so I guess I'd like it to be seen as that. SAM WITWER:
Yes, ideally—I'm just going to be completely honest—I'd like people to remember it as the season where everything very much came together and you have a picture of the show that when you're auditioning for something and you're investigating whether or not you want to do a job, you see the show in your head and you have to have an idea of what you're getting into.
And this season is very, very close to what I saw in my head in terms of what the show could be. It's very satisfying on my end and the side of the cast to be a part of it when you really feel like it's working so well. I really do feel like this is our strongest stuff. QUESTION:
Since it's different and it really is a game changer, did you guys set the bar a little higher or on an even keel personally and professionally as you entered into the season? SAM WITWER:
I think you got to work harder, I always feel like yes, [if] there's anything you can possibly do to make it .8% better you have to launch into that and I think everyone really did. Everyone was super-interested in making this the best that we've done and we've learned a lot in the past two years, so there's a lot of practical experience that's going into the making of this and what would be the point of doing the show if you're not trying to make it better and better?
And I, again I've seen the majority of the episodes this year in various stages of completion and I'm really, really happy with it - I'm very happy with it. I think it's easily the best Being Human
has been, so - do you want to add to that Anna? ANNA FRICKE:
I think that's absolutely true, I think I absolutely agree and on some level it's easier only because we've been doing this for awhile and we have pretty much the same group of people so we all feel very comfortable, there's a great creative trust there. But I would say by this season the creative trust is the strongest that it's been and it's really made us all strive to make sure that we're covering all the bases. QUESTION:
What it's like for you as an actor, Sam, and also Anna to actually pick the show up 15 months later? That must have been a bit of a challenge for both of you to do something like that. ANNA FRICKE:
From the writing standpoint it was actually very freeing, we really felt like we could spread our wings a little bit because between seasons one and two we passed what, three weeks, a month, and you don't have a lot of room to move and to really have people change.
And so it made it a lot of fun starting off the year because you had some room to play with them. Who knows what happened to these people, how did they get into this dynamic, what happened here? So it was a lot of fun for the writers and it was a lot of fun for Sam, I assume, because you got to grow so much facial hair and starve yourself. SAM WITWER:
Totally. It was amazing, yes - starve myself, grow facial hair, arrive on set hungry and hairy, that's the way to do it, that's the way to start any season. And no, it was great, it was really cool because you do get to breathe a little bit of fresh life into the characters when you're rediscovering them 15 months later and every one of them has gone through some pretty big changes. That's an understatement, things have changed quite a bit.
And so yes, we get to start and what do they say - what do they call it, in medias res? - in the middle of things and that's a lot of fun, so yes. QUESTION:
And speaking of guest stars I'm glad you guys are getting Xander Berkeley this year and bringing back Kyle Schmid too, I think that's going to be fun. SAM WITWER:
Yes Xander's a tall, handsome man and Kyle has flowing locks and it's really fantastic, you're going to love the way these guys look. QUESTION:
Going back to the character of the witch this year, at the end of the first two episodes we noticed that she goes back and digs up Ray's body. Is there going to be an expansion as to why she did that and what consequences there may be for what was done to bring Sally back? ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, there will of course be consequences for everything. I will say it's a long arc so it's nothing that you'll see immediately, but hopefully it's something that goes into the back of your mind because there's so much going on with our characters this season that hopefully it's something that will sneak up on you later and you'll say, "Oh that's why," but it's not something that's immediately played out. SAM WITWER:
Yes absolutely…I've seen some episodes and you'll see something and you'll go, “Oh, that doesn't - how does that work and that's not quite right,” and then you'll see the episode or the next two episodes and it will make perfect sense.
Nothing really dangles for too long, the writers are very good at making sure that everything led to something else. QUESTION:
Sam, how does being buried for so long impact Aidan's state of mind and work within the framework of what's already been established for who he is? SAM WITWER:
It's crazy. For one thing, he's never been what you would term a sane individual, he's the guy who was a serial killer for 200 years and then you put him in the ground and I suppose what we decided is that eventually if you don't have any new blood, your body goes into kind of a shutdown mode but you’re still there, you’re still somewhat conscious, you're just kind of dim.
And it sucks, it's really terrible and in terms of the long-term impact, when he comes out he doesn't really know how to be the smooth Aidan that we met in season 1, he doesn't really know how to talk to people. Even seeing his friends for the first time it's very, very strange for him because he's been talking to them in his head for a year and a half but to actually speak with them or be able to touch them is a very, very strange thing for him.
So we get to see him work his way out of that but I don't think he ever really fully recovers in terms of his social ability, I don't think he's as socially adept this year as he was in the first two years. QUESTION:
Anna, since Kristen is now a regular, can you talk a bit about how Nora factors in more this season? ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, absolutely. Kristen Hager gives a phenomenal performance this season and I think what's great about opening up the storylines with having her as a regular is the reality of your roommate's girlfriend moving in and being around all the time. A lot of it is just very basic human stories of how a girlfriend changes a dynamic. SAM WITWER:
Totally. ANNA FRICKE:
But also Nora as a werewolf has always been a very fast leading character in terms of how she's different from Josh and what being a werewolf means to her. And so having somebody with that point of view on being a werewolf under the same roof as these other guys I think is very interesting because she approaches things differently and she has some very passionate views about things and it's just an interesting dynamic.
So she's very strong and she does some things that throws the house off kilter and she does some things that pull the house together. QUESTION:
Do you think in this season or in future seasons Aidan will be able to balance out his need to become human or his want to become human with that predatory vampiric aspect of himself? SAM WITWER:
Well, he's either going to balance himself out or he's going to die. I think that if you see something like that that's got to happen at the end of the season or the series. I'm not convinced that he's going to have a happy ending, I think he may just be too far gone.
Having said that, he does a couple things this season that border perhaps on the heroic which is awesome I think, after all the reprehensible things that he did last year. But then one of the fun things is that we also deal with the consequences of some of the things that he did last year. There are things that Aidan did that I know that some fans had a very, very adverse reaction to and I think they were right to have that reaction, I was glad they had that reaction.
We go deeper into what caused him to do some of those things and then we also deal with the fact that he's conscious that he did them, he's not happy that he did them and he's not the only person that's unhappy that he did them. I'm being intentionally vague here because I don't want to give away some really nice, fun surprises, but the guy - last year he killed what, like 30 people, two of which were innocent human girls, so we definitely see some fallout from that.
I actually want to ask Anna whether this was conscious but the vampire blood addiction has evolved. He's always going to be an addict, for example if you're an alcoholic you don't just wake up one day and say I've kicked it, I'm no longer an alcoholic. That's always going to have an influence over you, but what's interesting is that there's a slightly different take that's happened this year a little bit in that he at times is almost like a traumatized war vet who's trying to return to society.
Anna, was that something you were conscious of or is that something that just happened? ANNA FRICKE:
No, we were conscious of that, in terms of how you would be after everything - because last year, last season in a way - now Sam and I are just going to have a private conversation, but last year in a way was war for Aidan in terms of the blood and the violence and everything that you went through - Mother and Surin and how that all played out, we really did see you as a post-traumatic stress disorder victim this season coming out of the ground and where that finds you and your entire view of society has been shaken, so yes, yes. SAM WITWER:
Absolutely, and one of the interesting things also is that Aidan has also literally been to war a few times and we get to explore a little bit of that and some flashbacks. The flashbacks we do this year are the most ambitious flashbacks that we've ever done, in fact I never thought we would attempt the story that we told this year.
And now that we've done it I'm super glad that we did because it worked, had it not worked I would not have been glad. I would have been like, "See, I told you we shouldn't have done that." ANNA FRICKE:
That was awesome, it was awesome. SAM WITWER:
But the flashbacks this year are way more ambitious than anything that we've tried and we get to explore some of these issues that we're telling you about right now. So it's interesting, we're discovering the guy doesn't just have - for example, let's think back to when he killed those two girls in his bedroom, when you watch that scene, he does it almost without knowing that he did it.
They start screaming and he takes care of it before he knows that anything took place and he's stands there with this... ANNA FRICKE:
Aidan loves what happens next. SAM WITWER:
Yes he does - lots of neck snaps, but he stands there almost confused, like what did I just do? And that had a lot to do with his training and his experiences as a vampire, that he is a killing machine and he's been made into a killing machine and to just shuck that off is not necessarily easy.
What's funny is I think I with your husband I think every now and then we've sent pieces of the Rambo monologue from the end of First Blood
, you don't just turn it off, that whole thing. So I'm sure season 4 Aidan's going to be running through the woods, there's going to be a cop who doesn't want a drifter through his town played by Brian Dennehy, it's going to be great. QUESTION:
A lot of serious show owners have a five-year plan for the series and then when they get renewed for a fixed season they're like, “Oh, great, we can go beyond that.” Do you have a five-year plan for Being Human
or do you just go, “Hopefully SyFy will keep renewing us and we'll go from there?” ANNA FRICKE:
Obviously it's all planned out. No, I wish I could say that it is but no, we don't have a five-year plan. I think every series has a natural end when it's best not to go beyond. I think some shows maybe last a bit too long and obviously we want to keep it going forever because we all love working together, but everything must come to an end.
But I don't have a five-year plan. I think that always as we're going through the season we have a sideboard of all the other storylines that we would love to tell but that we run out of room for but that don't really fit here and one of the writers will go off on a tangent of like, “and this could be great and then in season 5 we can do this and dah, dah, dah.” And obviously as we end every season we're leaving ourselves threads for the next season.
So we have all these threads for season 4 that hopefully we'll remember. But in answer to the question I don't have a five-year plan, we take it season by season and always leave ourselves room for the next one and live in this optimistic world where we definitely have a lot of storylines we could play out, but we take it as it comes. QUESTION:
Sam, how much influence or input do you have on Aidan's character? SAM WITWER:
Too much. QUESTION:
Do you ever go to the writers and say, "Hey, for a back-on story I would love Aidan to be a pirate," or something that you would like to live out? SAM WITWER:
Yes, vampirates – yes, that's happening. No, they are very generous when it comes to taking input from the actors and we've all worked together for awhile now so there's a trust built up. But the understanding that has to take place is that as the actors one of our jobs - I mean hell, our primary job is really to help the writers and the show runner to get to where they want to go.
Our job is not to call up Anna and say, "Hey, I think that Aidan should have a machine gun and be fighting terrorists, I think that would be awesome," that's not my job. My job is to say, "Oh, okay, the story goes that Aidan is heading in this direction and this is going to happen, have you thought about this, this and this as little wrinkles to that story or ways that we could get there?" If you're suggesting wild lines that have nothing to do with what the writers are doing then you're wasting everyone's time and... ANNA FRICKE:
What about Amy, she said to expect... SAM WITWER:
Yes, exactly. It's something that sometimes people miss, there are some actors out there that all they can think about is, “Oh, I can't wait to have influence and be able to tell people what I think should be done,” and it's like, no that's not really the job, dude. ANNA FRICKE:
We're definitely not the kind of writers who say, “Don't speak to me, just say what's on the page,” because I really do believe - and maybe this is just from having a theater background - if it doesn't make sense or resonate with the actor we either want to talk it out until it makes sense.
But if they can't connect to it than something has to change, either we have to clarify things or we have to change things, but if it doesn't resonate for both sides - for both the actor and the writer – then I think you're missing an opportunity. SAM WITWER:
Absolutely, the writers have a lot of information about where this stuff is going and it's their job to steer the ship, it's our job to row really, really good.
Because there's a lot of things that happen this season that were germs of ideas that I threw out before the writers started writing the season, but having said that I don't really take much credit for that because I didn't implement those ideas and I didn't make them work. I didn't write good scenes and I didn't create a way that that actually fits into a larger framework. So it's awesome that we have opportunities to say, “Hey, what about this, what about that?”
Look, you have four actors here who know these characters inside and out, who know the show, who know the tone of the show, who know to perform the tone of the show, so it's just an extra well of ideas, it's like here are more ideas and use the ones that work for you and the ones that don't, ignore them. So that's really the working relationship that we've developed from the show, which is awesome.
Because as an actor when you have a chance to put some ideas out there and some of them actually get implemented and you really do feel 500% more committed to the project because it's this big collaborative creature that you want to see survive that you're emotionally invested in a big way.
So Anna runs a very collaborative ship, but again having said that, that's only because the actors understand that our job is to implement these stories and to help everyone get to where Anna steers the ship. So I think that's why we have a collaborative environment. I think if we had an actor that was coming up with some wacky stuff or ego-based ideas, I don't think it would be as a collaborative environment.
I'm just thinking on the part of the show runner or the writers, I wouldn't open up the door to that, that's really dangerous to start. ANNA FRICKE:
People die, people die really easily on supernatural shows and it's not hard to kill someone off. SAM WITWER:
Exactly, that's the thing. If you open up the door to some crazy stuff then yes, you're going to have some deaths because actors are just going to need to be, you don't want to work with them, you have to get rid of them. QUESTION:
What is it that is going to affect Aidan the most in this season that is carryover from last season, is it the death of Surin, is it being put in a physical prison for all those months or is it being away from his friends? SAM WITWER:
Really all of the above, you're going to see a guy who feels very, very isolated and desperate because not only does everyone he - everyone he's known for the past, I don't know, hundreds of years, they're all dead, but also food is a problem, just living food supply is a very, very difficult problem for him. So he's in a doubly desperate situation this year and we'll see how he figures his way out of it or dies. You never know because like I said I give a lot of ideas and it may of killed me for it, you never know. QUESTION:
Could we then assume that the function of the hospital is obsolete or is there still a gathering point away from the apartment house [for] Josh and Aidan and is there a new sanctuary for all the roommates? SAM WITWER:
You want to fill that, Anna? ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, the hospital's so very much in play, we talked about not doing the hospital but the fact is is that it's a great symbolic place of work and we always liked the idea of why Aidan worked there. On the one hand it makes sense for him to be around the blood supply but on the other hand it's penance, it's helping after all the people he's killed.
And it's also a little bit of martyrdom of forcing himself to be around this and to be around people who are able to die peacefully when he himself cannot. So we like the symbolism of the hospital, we also like the convenience of people working at a hospital where they can meet up in the locker room and the hallways and the cafeteria and have a place to cross storylines. So it's still very much in play and also people's roles have changed there and it brings up some new dynamics. QUESTION:
Aidan's been without blood for all this time, does he adapt to that and would the hospital even bring him back after being missing in action for so long? SAM WITWER:
Well, definitely in terms of the addiction side of this guy, that whole thing - he has been through, they lock you and McGregor in a room and a babysitter crawling on the ceiling - he's been through all that. He's been through the Trainspotting
trial dry out so he will always be an addict but his relationship to it is a little bit different and he'd have to be around for longer for it to return to the way it was.
For example, he doesn't need as much blood to just get by, on the other hand if he drinks too much he gets drunk a lot faster, he's a lot more sensitive to it I guess is what I would say and that has to do with the fact that he hasn't had any blood for a year and a half. So the first thing that happened in that casket was horrible withdrawal and then him going through all that and then eventually his body just shutting down, so it was a big nightmare. QUESTION:
Somebody touched earlier on the relationship between the characters Sally and Aidan altering with this new season. What about with Josh? He's suddenly the odd man out, what can we expect from Aidan with his interactions with Josh? Because his curse is lifted, Aidan remains a vampire, remains challenged but Josh is literally human again and is there any tension as far as, “Hey man, you're out, you're no longer one of us?” SAM WITWER:
There is definitely that tension this year, definitely because he's not afflicted, but at the same time, in a way that the show starts because Aidan brings Josh, they get a house together and Aidan comes up with this idea and then he protects the house, that's evolved to where Aidan doesn't really know what his place is there and Josh is the glue that brings everyone together.
I think that's the more accurate way to look at it because whether Josh is human, werewolf, whatever he is, his instinct will always be to have this family unit with everyone together under one roof - and would you say that's true, Anna? ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, and I think what's interesting about the dynamic of what happens with Josh this season is that he feels he is more conscious of the change he's been through than everyone else as opposed to everyone looking at him and saying, “Gosh, you're so lucky you got out.”
He's actually feeling like, “You guys, I'm still part of this, I'm still one of you, I'm not out of the loop now.” So you actually see interesting dynamics of him saying, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, I'm still tortured, I still understand what you're going through, because part of what he's clinging to with his relationships to the roommates and I think it plays out and hopefully a really cool way. SAM WITWER:
Yes, Josh is really interesting in that he's really come a long way this year that I've seen in episodes where something happens and if you had maybe just seen season 1 and skipped to season 3 you'd expect a much different reaction out of him, but Josh is really - he really comes into his own as a man this year.
And for him it really seems like a very character-heavy season from Sam Huntington the actor, which I just thought was great. I remember him saying very early on it's like he was discussing his plot and he said - we're asking because we're always concerned with our own stuff “What is my plot, what is my plot this year, Sam what do you think it is?”
And because we'd write a bunch of scripts and I said, “It doesn't matter because your part is just scene after scene after scene of interesting character moments. Why would you care about plot when you have that kind of great stuff to do?” And he agreed, he's like, “You know what? You're right, this is really great stuff.” ANNA FRICKE:
Yes, it's a great emotional journey for him this year, which is not to say that there's no plot, but... SAM WITWER:
There's definitely a big, my God when he steps up it really means something. Boy it's - there's some climatic Josh stuff that I just thought was thrilling to see, again after seeing him come into his own, it's really, really cool. QUESTION:
I know there's been a lot of shout outs to Aidan's 200-year life before he met up with the roommates and all these flashbacks, has there been talk about one-shot movies or episodes... SAM WITWER:
Like series? QUESTION:
Yes, something where it's just Aidan in the past - has there been talk and would you be interested in that? SAM WITWER:
Yes, that's interesting because after the flashbacks this year I'm fascinated because there is a real story that's being told if you line up all these flashback sequentially. For example, we spend something like four episodes telling something like one flashback story this year. And we don't always go sequentially, we jump around sometimes to different points of that story, we’ll start in one place and then the next episode you'll see what happened a few months before that.
We jump around because it's always thematically based on what's happening to Aidan today, so it isn't necessarily about telling a linear story in the background but it does sometimes turn out that way. But we generally tell this one coherent story and if you were to line up all of Aidan's flashbacks there - it all makes sense, there's a very interesting progression for this character in terms of how his attitude has changed and where he came from and how that goes.
And I really can't wait for the next chapter of that because I think we're primed to tell something that I've been waiting to do for a long time. I shouldn't say anything because maybe Anna has a completely different idea. But someone asked earlier, Mark Pellegrino, it's like there's so much more stuff we can do with him in the evolving story of Aidan's past.
And as for me, would I love doing a web series where it's just me and Mark Pellergrino having some crazy, weird adventure? Of course that would be insane, but I also think that we'll have the opportunity to do that throughout the life of the series as well. So to see it in context - because one of the things that I thought was masterfully done this year is that I'd say we have four flashback episodes and it's all part of one story. I was really impressed with how they thematically linked up with what was happening [in] modern day, that was the big impressive thing.
That it wasn't just, “Oh, we're telling this story, isn't it cool? Oh, we're back in the past.” No, no, it completely informs on what's happening to him today. And then it leads to a climax in that story in the same way that it leads to a climax in his modern day story, so it's very well done. SCIFI VISION:
Sam, you said you're not in charge of picking out the stories per se, but would you ever be interested in writing for the show? SAM WITWER:
Would I be interested in expanding my part on the show? Of course. In terms of writing it, yes I've written, and I have yet to have anything produced but I've written and have actually something that I wrote in development right now with some buddies over at Glenn Howerton's company and stuff like that, so it is something I'm interested in.
But having said that, the voice of the show is so very specific and it stems from Anna and Jeremy and they also brought on a lot of their friends to help them write it and some other people that also happen to know how to write in that voice. I would be hesitant to say that I am incapable of writing in that voice. The last thing I would want to do is say, hey guys, let me write an episode and just create more work for them because they have to rewrite it.
Do I feel like I'm a fair writer with a good knowledge of story structure? Yes I do, this show takes very, very experienced hands to do correctly. So I wouldn't want to underestimate that task for the sake of going, “Yes, I could do that too.” My editorial sense I think is pretty good, I think that's something that I offer the show and I think I came up with some ideas that are thematically relevant.
So I enjoy participating in that way and I enjoy pushing things along and using my sense of storytelling and story structure to offer whatever suggestions I have for the writers, which Anna will tell you I do perhaps too much. But yes, I think that's probably where it lives, I think they're very generous with the freedom that they give me as of right now.
I think I'm good at what I do, I think I'm good at the suggestions that I offer but my ego isn't so large to think I can do everyone's job - I can't, there's no way. The people that work on this show are ridiculously talented; I see scripts that come in that blow my mind. And the thing is I don't - because you're working so fast, you never have a chance to really tell the writers that, so I'm telling them now in this interview that what they turn in is extraordinarily good.
All they ever hear from me when we're working is, “Oh, this has got to be fixed; oh, there's a problem here; oh, there's a problem there.” ANNA FRICKE:
We're used to it, but... SAM WITWER:
Yes, so long-winded answer to that question but I'll tell you what, I'm very interested in learning as much as I can, I can say that. And if that leads to some sort of expanded role in one way or another on this show or some other show then I'd be very happy to do that because I'm interested in a lot of different things. SCIFI VISION:
Okay great, and for both of you, can you talk about a favorite moment this season or whether it's in front of a camera or behind the camera? ANNA FRICKE:
Oh, wow. SAM WITWER:
You have any ideas? ANNA FRICKE:
Oh gosh, I'm trying to think that wouldn't be a spoiler. It's been a really great season - I don't know if I can isolate one - just generally it's been great because we've had so much more roommate crossover and interaction than we've had before. Also I think [it’s] been a wildly funny season, I'm just trying to… everything would be a spoiler that I can think of. Do you have any specifics there? SAM WITWER:
There was a scene me and Meaghan Rath shot where Meaghan Rath just decided to full on, everything that me and Sammy do to her when the camera's aren't rolling, she just started to do it while the cameras were rolling and it's all in the episode. ANNA FRICKE:
That was probably one I was very interested in. SAM WITWER:
Yes, , and it was great. We got an email from Anoch, because it wasn't necessarily how the scene was crafted, I mean we got the dialogue out, the story points were told but she just went for it.
She just started sexually harassing me basically and it's all in the episode and it makes sense to me because look, me and Meaghan and Sammy have spent so much time together we may as well be roommates and this is the type of stuff that happens between us and so now that stuff is starting to make it on scene just because because Meaghan Rath's insane and beautifully talented, so there's those moments.
The unpredictable moments, the moments that you'd read something on the page that a writer wrote and you go, “Okay, who could have seen that coming?” That little character moment or this little wrinkle in the storyline or when an actor did something that you're like, “Okay, no one could have ever predicted that this person would do this.” And in fact if someone pitched this, you'd have to say no this is a terrible idea, no we can't do that, but then you see them do this weird thing and you're like, oh I guess it works. All right, I guess that's going in. So that's always fun. QUESTION:
Anna, the first episode cliffhanger was resolved with a couple of lines and I was wondering if there had ever been a plan to actually shoot the scene? ANNA FRICKE:
The first episode cliffhanger? QUESTION:
Meaghan finally wakes up and she's got the other two inside of her and that's where it ends and I'm thinking, “Oh my god, what's that going to be? Is that going to be all three of them inside of her or what?” And then in Episode 2 we get, “Oh yes, we had to dig up the other two bodies” reference from Sammy and that was pretty much it. So was there ever an intention to show that part of the rest of Sally's revival? ANNA FRICKE:
Oh, that's very interesting. Are you implying that Nick and Stevie were actually physically with her? QUESTION:
Yes, that's what my husband and I were thinking when we were watching it. ANNA FRICKE:
Oh, no. That's interesting. Obviously this is all a spoiler but the blood magic is such that - all we mean is that they also woke up in their graves, basically. Sally because she's there, her corpse is lying all wrapped up and mummified on the bed, so basically they had the same sort of waking up only they were buried alive, so that's like that rush of going there and saying, “Oh, we have to go get them right now, they will be buried alive.” SAM WITWER:
Yes, since most of the episode has Sammy and Kristen digging up a grave, which happens more than once. I think the idea was well, we could do a whole episode about them digging up graves and rushing the bodies back to Donna and say, hey can we rub that stuff on them? How much more of it do you have? Oh, there's a whole web series about how inconvenient that night was. ANNA FRICKE:
It was really a horrible night, yes. I'm sorry I didn't fully understand your question, but yes, the intention was more that they woke up buried.