Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath star as Aidan, Josh and Sally on Syfy’s Being Human. The story of the vampire, werewolf and ghost roommates started it’s second season last week and moves the series far and away from it’s BBC counterpart.
Last year, I talked to them right before the series premiere, they were excited about the show and eager to see how audiences would respond to it. Well, they didn’t have to worry too long. The show garnered great ratings and was quickly given a second season.
I talked to the Sam’s and Meaghan about the new season, how their characters have grown and if there were any specific challenges they had to face in season 2.
Being Human airs on Mondays at 9/8c on Syfy
For the full interview, click the audio link above or download it from iTunes
What it’s been like to film season two? How is it different to play these characters in the second season?
Sam Huntington: I think I can speak for all of us when I say that and so we were all really, really excited to get back.
And you know the funny thing is I personally expected it to feel a lot like just one giant bout of déjà vu and to be honest, like it really just felt as though we never had the hiatus.
It just felt because it was all the same crew and a lot of the same cast it just felt like we had maybe a two day break and then we just rolled into season two, it was bizarre.
But at the same time it was great because I felt like we were able to really just pick up right where we left off which was a really cool spot. So yeah, anyway, like that.
Sam Witwer: Yeah, I guess I didn’t expect it to be – I mean okay there’s me and Sammy and Meaghan and we bonded I think all the way back during our first audition together.
But I guess you know you go away, we were so exhausted after the first season, for months afterwards even the thought of doing season two would make me sleepy.
And when we got back I guess I hadn’t expected to be as happy to see everyone as I was. The crew and all the directors and everyone and that kind of carried for me that carried me through the season.
I wasn’t as exhausted this year, there was something about having a successful season one behind us and knowing the characters and having that momentum that was really positive this year.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah, and I think it was just script wise it was a lot easier to just fall back into it this year because there was no establishing who our characters were and what our circumstances were, we just jumped right into it.
Sam Witwer: Absolutely, and in the first season there was so much heavy lifting on everyone’s part to establish these characters and to try make this all work and now we had a – some – what do you guys think, I think we had a little bit of competence going on this time.
Sam Huntington: So much more, there was so much uncertainty in season one, it’s like imagine like any television show, your season one is you’re kind of biting your fingernails the whole time just saying to yourself God I hope people like this and I hope people watch this.
Sam Witwer: Right and you’re second guessing yourself.
It seems like your characters this season are tempted by the darker parts of their natures. How do you maintain their humanity when playing the dark parts and what kind of challenges there are in doing that?
Meaghan Rath: I think for me it’s important to keep in mind that these are real people and not to get sucked into the supernatural element of the whole thing.
What makes the show different is that we’re playing into the supernatural stereotypes, we are trying to play these as regular people.
So for me it’s a lot about just keeping in mind what I would do in this kind of situation and what’s great about the show is that it’s really acting, what would you do if you were put in this situation.
Sam Witwer: Yeah I think Meaghan is absolutely right with that. For example in television we’ve kind of seen everything including vampires, werewolves and ghosts and we’ve seen people get killed and all kinds of crazy stuff.
What we’re trying to do as three actors is we’re trying to bring as much humanity into those events as possible. For example if someone dies, we’re going to show you – hopefully we’re going to tell a story where you realize that that is an awful sacrifice or that something has happened that is really, really terrible.
It’s all about the character’s reactions and I mean these three characters are the eyes through which the audience watches the show.
So we’re really trying to keep our reactions to all this giant supernatural stuff very grounded. And in terms of the dark stuff that comes up, I mean the messed up thing is that at first you’ll see our characters react with horror and shame and all this awful stuff.
And then as time goes on you might see them kind of get used to it and that hopefully will be a very sad thing to watch.
Sam Huntington: Yeah, I think you just kind of hit the nail on the head. I mean a lot of times on the show I can say I think the characters are almost seeing these horrible things happen for the first time, so they’re almost like the audience.
You know they’re viewing these things and so hopefully that’s what the audience can kind of grasp on to and also it helps as an actor it helps inform what you do.
Because you’re like okay well what if this person was killed, what would the ramifications, what emotionally what would that mean to me and how would that affect me and how would that affect every aspect of my life.
Is there anything that was really challenging this year, specifically?
Sam Huntington: That’s what’s cool about the job to be honest is you’re challenged every day you go to set. You’re always challenged by this wonderful material, this material that makes you really, really think.
And you know it forces you to just basically become a better actor. I had several moments this year where I got to places emotionally that I’d never gotten to before on a set.
Sam Witwer: Yeah, the real challenge I think this year was, we’ve lived with these characters for a season now and so it’s like okay, what can we show – what new sides of this character can we show?
I talked about how last year we had the tremendous luxury of going in and not really doing a pilot, just going in and knowing that we had 13 episodes. So we could be leisurely about when we were going to show certain sides of the character.
When you do a pilot you’re trying to sell the pilot, sell the character, sell this, sell that. So you’re trying to show them as much as you can. But because we didn’t do that I felt that – we all felt just sort of patient.
Like okay, well I’m not going to show you anything in the first episode, how about that?
Sam Huntington: Or I’m going to show you this little piece and I’m going to do the best job I can at this one bit, you know?
Sam Witwer: This one little thing and later on you knew that there were going to be opportunities to show more and more of the character and so this year it’s – we’ve established the characters pretty thoroughly last year.
And so this year it’s like okay well what new can we show you? And I feel pretty confident that all three of us you’re going to see – well not pretty confident – we’ve all seen like nine episodes so far.
We do get to know these different sides of these characters in big ways. And the other big challenge this year is that we shot everything a little bit faster.
You guys have a full season behind you. Playing these characters, do you have any input in terms of plot points or the direction of where each character is going to go?
Sam Huntington: No.
Meaghan Rath: No, not at all.
Sam Witwer: Well with a caveat. If we get far enough behind yes we do.
And I felt like I had quite a bit of input by the end but that was really – that wasn’t necessarily out of design it was more necessity. There were problems that needed to be solved and as – you know all three of us while we’re not responsible for the macro shape of the show, we do at this point, I think we can safely say we know our characters better than anyone.
So there was for me, I can’t speak for Sammy and Meaghan but there was for me a little bit of diving in and helping solve certain problems and saying hey, listen, here’s what Aidan would do, you know?
Sam Huntington: Yeah, I mean there were moments that you’re like you know you have you know very minimal but a certain amount of contact with our writers, the show runners and so if you have a question or something you can always ask or if you have a concern sometimes it gets listened to.
But yeah, I mean generally speaking they make the – Sam said it right, you know on a macro level they kind of – they pilot the ship.
Sam Witwer: They do and they do a really good job of coming up with really interesting turns and twists.
How long did it take you guys to shoot this season? How many hour days did you have?
Meaghan Rath: It took about five months, we started in July and finished in December. And the days can go pretty long, sometimes 14, 15 hours depending on the day, depending what point we are in the schedule, how behind we are?
Sam Witwer: Your occasional 18, 19 hour they throw in. But there were more of those 18, 19 hour days last year than there were this year.
Being Human was originally a British show. Have any of you have watched it and do you feel this coming season is a chance to break away from the original?
Sam Witwer: We as actors we didn’t watch the British series when we were shooting our first season because we wanted to do our own thing. We wanted to make sure that ours was its own animal.
And then afterward we watched it. We watched everything. I love their show and I truly dig on it and I got Sammy and Meaghan started by buying them the box sets for season one and they watched it since then, watched more of it since then.
And you know we’re all into it, but the writers, our writers hate it. No just kidding. Our writers, no our writers for the same reason that we avoided watching season one, they’ve avoided watching season two because they want season two to be its own animal.
So any – there is a little bit of cross over here and there in terms of things happening sometimes in similar ways. But it’s really coincidental considering our writers didn’t even know. So it’s interesting, whenever something would happen that was similar I’d read it in the script and kind of laugh.
Because they have no idea, but you know it’s for the most part extremely different.