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Sam Huntington & Kristen Hager on the Return of "Being Human"

By Jamie Ruby

Sam Huntington and Kristen HagerThis season Being Human has expanded to include four main cast members, as Kristen Hager, who plays werewolf Nora, has taken on a bigger role. Her dynamic with boyfriend Josh, played by Sam Huntington, is likely to change, as things are much different for the couple now that Josh is no longer a werewolf after having killed his werewolf "maker" Ray. Trouble isn't over for the two, however, as they decide to consult with the witch Donna (Amy Aquino) to get Sally (Meaghan Rath) out of limbo. If that wasn't enough, Liam (Xander Berkeley), the father of the werewolf twins, is back and looking for his children.

Huntington and Hager recently talked to the media about the new season of Being Human, which airs Mondays on Syfy.

Huntington told SciFi Vision that he enjoys playing his character whether he is a werewolf or human. “What’s cool about Josh as a character is, whether or not he’s a werewolf, he’s a really layered guy. He’s a really dynamic character, so you know, the werewolf thing certainly adds a huge other layer, but the character itself is really rich. So for me, you know, it doesn’t change much other than feeling slightly, like, “I’m on the outside, you know, looking in.” ”

Hager told SciFi Vision that even with a larger role this season, she feels the same, "Yes, honestly, I feel the same. It does mean more days on set which I'm all for. So yes, I feel the same. Maybe slightly more included. But yes, for the most part, exactly the same."

Conference Call
Being Human

Kristen Hager and Sam Huntington

January 8, 2013
3:00 p.m. ET

SCIFI VISION: The first question is for Kristen. Do you feel different now that you’re considered part of the main cast or is it just more work for you?

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, honestly, I feel the same. It does mean more days on set which I’m all for. So yes, I feel the same. Maybe slightly more included. But yes, for the most part, exactly the same.

Sam Huntington She’s certainly acting more important. She’s really taking it to the next level.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, yes. It’s gone right to my head. I don’t even talk to anyone on set anymore.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Except to yell and make requests that are wild, crazy stuff. Yes.

SCIFI VISION: Sam, I don’t really know, but I’m guessing that they’re not going to keep the season forever with two humans. But are you happy getting to play a more normal Josh or are you looking forward to going back to being a werewolf, or does it not make a difference to you?

SAM HUNTINGTON: What’s cool about Josh as a character is whether or not he’s a werewolf, he’s a really layered guy. He’s a really dynamic character, so the werewolf thing certainly adds a huge other layer but the character itself is really rich. So for me, it doesn’t change much other than feeling slightly like I’m on the outside looking in.

KRISTEN HAGER: I’ve taken your place.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, exactly. Kristen has now taken my place, and she’s making it known, by the way. But as I was playing it, the character becomes increasingly more and more feeling like he’s left out and I was oddly feeling the same way as an actor - all my wonderful costars get to do this fun stuff and now I’m looking in through the window like the Ghost of Christmas Past.

QUESTION:  Sam, do you and Meaghan have a former supernatural character rehab now? Do you have to help each other out?

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, we formed a support group and it’s been really helpful. There’re only two of us so it’s small but I feel like we’ll build as we look to the supernatural thing doesn’t go anywhere and I feel like we could really help people out. I feel like maybe, so just give it some time.

No, to be honest though, I do now sympathize more with Meaghan in the first two seasons with her being a ghost, not being able to touch anyone, all the restrictions that were on her. I kind of felt similarly once I got cured of my werewolfism, so I definitely felt Meaghan Rath’s pain for sure.

QUESTION: Last season everyone pretty much had their separate storylines but it looks like this season you’re really getting the band back together. Can you talk about how that’s been?

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, we spent some time talking yesterday but I think that this season we’ve really gone back to what worked so well in Season 1 with the roommates and keeping everyone’s storylines connected and that camaraderie between everyone and the writers did a fantastic job this season in bringing that back, so I think everyone’s been really excited about that because we always have the most fun on set when we’re all there together.

SAM HUNTINGTON: And it was a goal for the writers to put us all back together because it was their favorite thing to write, too, I think as well. You know, it’s light and it’s fun and we all work pretty well together.

What’s cool about Josh as a character is, whether or not he’s a werewolf, he’s a really layered guy. -- Sam Huntington

QUESTION: If you don’t mind, I know it’s going back a little bit, but could you guys talk a little bit about shooting the season opener this year and anything that sticks out in your mind production-wise, filming-wise? Anything you can speak of.

KRISTEN HAGER: What happened in the season opener? Basically Sam and I, it was just us searching for Sally and Aidan the whole time so it was great to just - we worked, so I think we started with a bang. We were in every day, all day which is a very good start to the season. And also, right away, in episode one, these new, one specific character, the witches introduced them, (unintelligible) so it just was this whole new fantastic, exciting energy to the season which is such a great way to get back into things.

SAM HUNTINGTON: I just remember digging a bunch of people up. Honestly, I look back on episode one and I’m like, “You dug a lot of holes. You dug a lot of dead people up.” That was weird. I remember, in particular one time, there was this one really long shot. We were in the cemetery and the hole was only about, what, like two feet deep, but they were shooting a really long angle so we had to be on our knees pretending to be like six feet deep. And it was so funny watching it back.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, Sam was amazing. It looked like he was, and the director came over to me and was like, “Kristen, it doesn’t look like you’re standing or digging.” So I didn’t know what to do. So if you watch closely, you watch the episode and rewind, you have to look for that moment, the long shot of us digging up Sally, you’ll totally tell that Sam is - that I’m completely kneeling and Sam will look very believable.

QUESTION: I love that scene. Also the scenes with Donna, I thought those were really, really fun scenes.


KRISTEN HAGER: With Donna? Oh yes, I loved - they’re some of my favorite that we shot all year. I absolutely love all that stuff.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Kristen was pretty adorable. And as we were shooting it, she was super giddy about it the whole time saying ‘This is so cool.’

KRISTEN HAGER: Exactly. The Craft was one of my favorite movies as a teenager.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Oh gosh, bringing it back.

QUESTION: Looking at characters this season, obviously they’re taking some major character twists and turns. What are some of the new acting challenges you guys found with each of your respective roles this year?

KRISTEN HAGER: Acting challenges - every episode always brings with it a new set of challenges. I feel like this year Nora was more subdued. I feel like every day is, like, new challenges - I don’t know specifically anything stood out this year as being particularly more difficult or - I don’t know. Sam, take it away.

SAM HUNTINGTON: No, you dealing with Leah was a new thing, right?

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, but just a new threat to the character. As an actor, I don’t know if it was more challeng- you know what I mean?

SAM HUNTINGTON: I would say for me, we touched on it a little bit earlier, but for a little bit I’d become not a werewolf anyway and so for me it was a feeling of being left out, feeling left out of the party.

And that was kind of weird and totally unexpected, by the way. I did not expect to feel that way. It was such a surprise to me when I read initially and it didn’t really hit me until we were on set shooting and I was like, “Oh, this is kind of weird, I’m not one of the gang anymore.”

So that was kind of an interesting, different challenge. But once again, much like Kristen, I am a really talented natural actor…

Sam Huntington and Kristen HagerKRISTEN HAGER: Nora has her challenges. I guess I was in more so obviously, longer days but I love my job, this is one of my favorite jobs I ever had so I don’t even mind the long hours.

SAM HUNTINGTON: She’s the best, too. Having her on set is so much fun. I always want more of Kristen. And even in previous seasons, when I watched an episode and she’s not in it, it’ll take me a second. It’ll be like, something’s missing.

QUESTION: We had the opportunity to talk to Sam Witwer last week, and I asked him if Aidan could trade places with Josh and be a werewolf instead of a vampire if he would. And he said yes, because being a werewolf was much easier. How would you two respond to that?

KRISTEN HAGER: He said being a werewolf is easier than being a vampire?

SAM HUNTINGTON: I think Witwer is full of shit, man.

KRISTEN HAGER: He hasn’t walked a day in our shoes. How does he know?

SAM HUNTINGTON: No. No, well, I think probably what he’s referring to is the fact that - Aidan does have it pretty rough just because he’s done so much damage in his past. So it’s his own damned fault.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, exactly.

SAM HUNTINGTON: You know what I mean? He’s dug his own grave, if you will. But and I guess the other thing you could say is, werewolves, I guess, are alive. You know, they’re alive. They have blood moving through their veins, so there’s that. But I think really it all depends on the particular supernatural being, like Josh.

KRISTEN HAGER: I was going to say I think it’s case by case.

SAM HUNTINGTON: I think Josh tortures himself, Josh hates what he is and that’s something that’s hard to live with. Nora, on the other hand, just loves us.

KRISTEN HAGER: Well, no, of course. She went through her phase where she absolutely loved it then and then, by the end of Season Two, she’d seen the very, very dark side of what this new found aggression means and the consequences that come with that. And so it scares her and so, no, by the end of season two she’s very much questioning what this is and whether this is what she wanted and is really trying to grasp any sense of humanity that’s left inside of her. So no, it’s definitely a daily struggle with her too and season three brings a whole new set of obstacles and struggles comes with being a wolf.

QUESTION: Hey, as the season goes forth, what do we have to look forward to this season from your characters and what kind of a journey to do you see them on?

KRISTEN HAGER: I feel like season three definitely starts a year and a half after season two and Josh and Nora have had a lot of time, just the two of them and a lot of time to work on their relationships. So season three definitely sees Josh and Nora in a much better place than they’ve been in any of the seasons thus far.

And I feel we’ll see much more of a real, very, very human problems still that they’ll have to deal with day to day in their relationships this season, which is nice.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, we went to some really dark places in season two and it’s not that we don’t go to dramatic places in season three. We do, but I think that a lot of them are more grounded and relatable. And I think that that’s something that people are going to really enjoy. There’s a lot more levity this year, simply because all of us are back together again. If you will, the band is back together.

And that was not only fun to shoot, but I think it really is going to come across as being fun to watch, I hope, and so I think it’s our best season yet. I think we all agree, it’s our best season yet.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, I agree. You see so many new characters and an exciting energy that - not that it wasn’t there before, but it’s like a very newness and freshness to the season this year.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes. Agreed.

QUESTION: And so, guys, who’s the better kisser?

SAM HUNTINGTON: Between me and...?

KRISTEN HAGER: Between who?

QUESTION: Between you two?

SAM HUNTINGTON: I’ve never kissed myself.

KRISTEN HAGER: I’ve never kissed myself.

SAM HUNTINGTON: I’ve kissed Kristen a lot. She’s excellent.

KRISTEN HAGER: And vice versa.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, damn, that’s right. That’s right. No, I practice on my arm. So I get a lot of practice with my arm, and my wife.

QUESTION: Kristen, do we explore Nora embracing the wolf more and becoming more an advanced wolf in a shorter time span than what Josh went through? He was trying to repress that so much but it seems like Nora embraced that much quicker.

KRISTEN HAGER: Definitely. You want me to elaborate on why that is?

QUESTION: Do we continue to explore that and how she’s able to maybe open the viewers up to the world of the wolves more than what Josh did?

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes. Well, I feel like with Nora, she just has so much baggage in her past and I’ve gone through so many hardships and it’s like she was a victim, honestly, for so long that at first being a wolf it was scary but then right away this newfound sense of power that she felt inside, it’s very comfortable in her skin. And right away that newfound strength was something that she embraced.

And then obviously by the end of season two, it had gone so far that it was something that began to terrify her because she saw what she was capable of, because you really have no control when you’re the wolf. And so she was really trying to hold onto any semblance of humanity that was still left inside of her. I really tried to relate to that.

So by season three, a year and a half has passed so I feel like Nora just found a very nice balance between really being able to live her life as much as she can as a human being for 29, 30 days a [month] and on the full moon going and being the wolf and then returning back to a very human life. And that’s where we are at the beginning of season three and obviously things will come up, more wolves will come into town which will then instill the wolf urges in her once again. And that’s always going to be a struggle for her, the balance of do I love this, do I hate this?

QUESTION: For Sam, does the fact that you reached the end game, so to speak, that you are human in the season, your motivation to be in this crowd, obviously is to be with Sally, but do you feel kind of like a square peg in a bunch of round holes now? I mean, do you and Sally have this almost like, “Oh, do we still belong here?”

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, Sally’s an interesting entity unto herself. Because for all intents and purposes, she’s still very much a supernatural being. But yes, I think Josh has that feeling like yes, he’s pure but he still wants to be one of the gang so he’s feeling - yes, I think you hit the nail on the head, like a square peg in a round hole and he’s not able to - especially with Nora, I think.

He’s constantly just being like, “I’m still part of this. I’m supernatural too.” And she’s like, “No, but you’re not. You’re my boyfriend and I love you but you should embrace the fact that you’ve gotten your wish.”

KRISTEN HAGER: Have your life back.

SAM HUNTINGTON: I think it’s unexpected how he reacts to his humanity to get his life back or curing himself of the curse. I think he probably expected himself to be elated and relieved and instead he’s feeling like an outsider because at the end of the day, he’s still in the world. He’s still there, his friend, his girlfriend, the people he surrounds himself with are still these supernatural beings but he’s not. It’s really cool. It’s fun to play. It’s a really interesting thing.

QUESTION: Looking at your relationship alone, you guys have been on quite a roller coaster. What’s it been like for you to play that and to see it evolve from point A to where you are right now?

KRISTEN HAGER: It’s been great. As I always say, as a viewer, I love watching the Josh and Nora relationship. The writers give us fantastic stuff to work with and they have right from the very beginning, very challenging stuff which is always great as an actor. And yes, they keep delivering fantastic stuff for us to do so we haven’t seen the end of the Josh and Nora journey, for sure. But I can definitely say that by season three, as I have been saying, our relationship is in a much more solid and happier place than it’s been the past two seasons.

Kristen Hager and Sam HuntingtonQUESTION: That’s cool. And for Sam, it seems like for Josh it’s almost like be careful what you wish for because when you get it, it might not be exactly what you need or want.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Well, that’s it, man. That’s the tagline for the season. It’s be careful what you wish for. And it holds true for all of us, really, because we all did what we had to do to get what we wanted and it all comes with a price. And with Josh lifting the curse, he was never really out to lift it for himself. He was really out to lift it for Nora.

And so it’s totally bittersweet. It’s not what he wanted or expected and with all the characters. Once Aidan is free, he arrived in a world that is vastly different than the one that he left when he was buried. And it’s dangerous and it’s scary and it’s new and he has to learn how to live in it. So that’s a huge catch for him. And so yes, that’s a very appropriate theme and one-line summation of the season.

QUESTION: I was hoping you could talk a little about the whole dynamic in the house with having Nora move in, and how that changes the dynamics.

KRISTEN HAGER: Well, Josh and Nora have been living there by themselves for a year and a half so obviously their goal has been to bring back Sally and Aidan. But then once Sally and Aidan get back, then we’d all figure out how to live with each other.

And I feel that what the audience will come to see is that Aidan and Nora have the hardest time with that dynamic because we had our moments in season two where we butted heads. And so that carried over into season three. So I think it’s safe to say that there’ll be a few conflicting moments between Nora and Aidan this season.

SAM HUNTINGTON: I was just bummed out that Nora didn’t redecorate Josh and Nora’s room. This place - we could just have a paint job and maybe some new sheets. It’s still the same shithole. Dead frogs and teeth on the walls and just the weirdest...

KRISTEN HAGER: We were all excited but the room wasn’t real impressive.

SAM HUNTINGTON: It’s like a room from the movie Seven. It’s like, oh God. But...

KRISTEN HAGER: Josh is very protective of his belongings.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Very protective. He must be because none of them left. Well, that was kind of nice. But yes, so I’m just joking. But it was kind of funny. And it’s good news all around and that Nora gets more screen time. She’s a fun character. And her and Josh are amazing together and it’s good stuff. I have Meaghan Rath calling me on the other line so I’m sorry if I’m beeping.

QUESTION: I think we all know that relationships are pretty tough and take some hard work. And I think it’s fair to say that Josh and Nora have had their share of complications with their relationship in the past. So what do you guys think is keeping Josh and Nora together at this point? Is it just pure love or is there a sort of codependence there?

SAM HUNTINGTON: I think it’s both of those things actually.

KRISTEN HAGER: Well, I feel like - yes. Hardships bring people together or split them apart and in their case, it brought them together. I feel like now we’re stronger than ever because of all the stuff that we’ve been through together.

SAM HUNTINGTON:And that rhymes so you should give her extra points for that.

QUESTION: A-plus. I’ve heard you say in interviews that this season has a lot to do with the consequences of your actions and both of you, separately and as a couple I guess, did some pretty nasty things last season. So do we see some of Josh and Nora’s past come back to haunt them in the third season?

KRISTEN HAGER: Absolutely. Definitely. I can speak for Nora. That’s a huge arm for her this season. We find out she went off and around the world. You find out where she went and what happened and all the consequences from that really bubble up to the surface in season three.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Which is cool in my opinion because a lot of the times when you have a fantasy-based show, it’s so easy to gloss over the things that the characters do and the negative things, it’s easy just to forget about them. So I was really, really happy that the writers were like, “No, no, no—you people are definitely going to pay for what they did,” and it’s really cool. It’s really, really cool. And they did a wonderful job with ramping up the danger and the tension.

KRISTEN HAGER: And it adds to, again, the whole humanity of the show. We talk over and over again about yes, it’s supernatural but these are human beings and the way we deal with all the situations on the show is how would any of you deal with it, how would any human deal with that? And so again, that’s a great aspect to the show is that everyone has to pay for what they do.

QUESTION: I see that you had a lot of guest stars in season three. Who were some of your favorite guest starts to work with?

SAM HUNTINGTON: Amy Aquino plays just a wonderful character named Donna. And she is so talented and so wonderful and so easygoing and she’s brought so much to the table, brought a newness and a freshness to the table that was so cool. Right off the bat, episode one, so it really kicks it off in a neat way. And also she just came so prepared and cared so much. And that is so great to see when someone comes in and just cares about the show and cares about wanting to do a good job and do the show justice and not let anybody down. And it’s just really refreshing and wonderful. So she stands out in my mind for sure.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, Amy was fantastic. I completely agree with everything Sam is saying. And then I had a new character that Nora definitely has a very interesting relationship with this whole season as Xander Berkeley, he plays Liam, the purebred twin, Connor and Brent from last season, he’s their father. And he comes back. In episode two he arrives and he’s looking for answers because he hasn’t seen or heard from his children in over a year.

And so yes, I have a very interesting storyline with him. And he was great to work with. Fantastic bad guy, , really good at his job. Knew what he was doing. And yes, great - we had some great scenes together.

QUESTION: When you were growing up, did you like to watch werewolves and vampires and stuff like that or was this new to you?

KRISTEN HAGER: Me, I loved it always. Like I was saying before, I think each girl at some point in their youth goes through a vampire phase. So yes, I definitely always, always, always loved vampires and anything supernatural and fantasy stories. And I still even now like the idea that there could be ghosts among us.

QUESTION: It obviously takes a lot of CGI and special effects make up to turn you guys into werewolves. Maybe Sam, not so much this season but can you talk about the process you have to go through in a transformation sequence? How long it may take makeup-wise and the stages you have to go through for one of those longer sequences where they show you in different stages of transformation.

SAM HUNTINGTON: It’s crazy, man. It’s crazy. You’re talking about the really excruciating ones, right? You’re talking about the ones that are really the sons of bitches.

QUESTION: Yes.

SAM HUNTINGTON: It depends on, so there’re different applications. There’s the...

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes, like, there’re four stages of the werewolf.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, yes. And yes, you have your chest piece, you have your back piece, which those are the real beasts, if you will. Those are the real toughies because they take the longest to apply and then you have to paint them in. And then there’s a face application. Have ever had that, Kristen?

KRISTEN HAGER: I haven’t had the face, no.

SAM HUNTINGTON: It sucks. It’s not super fun. And so that’s a whole thing. And then you have your hands which, believe it or not, just the claws, they’re the easiest to apply but they’re perhaps the most annoying...

It’s hard to get them off but then also, peeing is tough. Peeing is really hard. So the makeup is a real bitch. And also when you put it all on, it takes, I’d say it takes six, seven hours, when you put it all on in stages. It’s pretty intense. And then beyond that once you get into it, you have to perform in it.

And it’s not just performing, it’s screaming and wailing and straining and acting like you’re in the most physical pain of your life and so that unto itself is exhausting. But the good news is, the makeup is so uncomfortable that it’s really hard not to be aware of it. So it actually helps get you there. So I guess that’s good. But it’s still a great job. It’s the best job.

I’ll always say as an actor, when you’re a young person you dream of being an actor in TV and movies. You’re not saying, “Oh, I really want to play an accountant.” You’re like, “I want to play a friggin’ superhero or I want to play a monster” or I want to play anything that’s visceral and fun and interesting. So I feel like we’re really lucky to have these jobs.

SCIFI VISION: I know we get to see the twins’ father. Are we going to see the sister again? Because as far as I remember, she’s still alive.

Kristen Hager and Sam HuntingtonSAM HUNTINGTON: Yes.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes. Well, I don’t know how to answer that. She’s on another show, the actress.

SCIFI VISION: Yes, I know that.

KRISTEN HAGER: So she’s still around and we definitely find out where she is, et cetera. But I can’t say whether we see her or not. You have to tune it to find out.

SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes. Nice. Nice work.

SCIFI VISION: All right, that works. And then this is a fan question from Twitter. Do you have a favorite prop or set or something like that on set?

KRISTEN HAGER: A favorite prop. Sam, your favorite prop?

SAM HUNTINGTON: In the living room, there’s a statute, a little statue in the living room that we’ve named Dog: The Catman Dude because no one can really tell what the hell it is. But he’s actually featured quite a few times on the show. And I feel like he’s going to be the one piece of set decoration that we’re all going to fight over taking home when the show finally runs its course. But I think Meaghan Rath is going to win.

KRISTEN HAGER: Yes. I think so too.

SAM HUNTINGTON: I think Meaghan wins. Speak of the devil. Hi honey. I’m good. I’m on my conference call with everyone. Yes.
Sam Huntington and Kristen Hager

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