Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, and Meaghan Rath Talk Being Human Season 2
Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, and Meaghan Rath discuss Being Human Season 2, which premieres Monday, January 16 at 9 PM ET on Syfy
Syfy is bringing back its hit genre series Being Human, which premieres Season 2 on Monday, January 16 at 9 PM ET. Series stars Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington, and Meaghan Rath recently held a conference call to discuss the new season. Here's what they had to say below.
I wanted to ask you guys just I know if you could just talk a little bit about what it's been like to film season two and maybe touch upon some of the bigger things people see happening with, like you guys to go back to the set for season two and how it's different to play these characters in the second season.
Sam Huntington: Sure, we loved the show so much, 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, I for months afterwards even the thought of doing season two would make me sleepy. And by - 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. And that's reflective of the first episode, we just get right into the story immediately which was really great.
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.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah.
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.
What about a story line, you know what's coming up, how season two felt different and just like the stories you're getting to tell?
Sam Witwer: It's extremely different, it's very, very different. It's - if season one was about putting these people who are at risk into a safe environment, well season two is all about what is that risk about? And I think it's inevitable with these people and their adversities, you know specific risks that they have in terms of you know vampire, werewolf and ghost, what do those conditions mean. And basically what it means is these people are in trouble and we're going to see a lot of that trouble this year. We're going to see why they need so badly to have a sanctuary because things get a little bit darker this year.
I was wondering, it seems like your characters this season are sort of tempted by the darker parts of their natures. And are put in situations where that comes out. I was wondering how you maintain sort of their humanity when playing the dark parts and what kind of challenges there are in doing that.
Meaghan Rath: I was going to say I mean it's - 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. And so I think that's where the humanity comes from, just being a good person and being with these challenges that sort of question your morality and your values.
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 in form 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. And so it's cool. It sets the show aside, we don't just roll over these issues, we actually tackle them.
Sam Witwer, I was going to ask you if you - what did you do or what did you experience growing up in the Chicago area that prepared you to live the life of an undead vampire?
Sam Huntington: It was the pizza, is that...?
Sam Witwer: Yeah, I ate a lot of Chicago pizza. I hid out in my basement with my band so I didn't see the light a lot. There it is. You know everyone wonders why the hell he's so pale, well it's because I've been training myself to be this pale.
Sam Huntington: You literally can't get a tan now.
Sam Witwer: No, I can't. I think I've lost the ability. Yeah, my skin has lost the ability to create melanin. No, I actually am telling a little bit of the truth in that me and my friends were all night people. And we wouldn't wake up if we didn't have to for school or something we wouldn't wake up till noon or one. And we all knew, don't call your buddy before noon, that's rude, that's not cool. So there's my vampire training right there.
Sam Huntington: And you're still kind of like that when you're not working, you know what I mean? Like I'm afraid to call you.
Meaghan Rath: Still hiding out in your parent's basement.
Sam Witwer: Yep.
I think one of the things that we all know about this show is that you guys as actors and as the characters you portray have these really likeable chemistry and it's a very believable thing because you know you guys actually seem to get along with one another. So from season one to season two and this is sort of expanding on what a previous caller asked, how are you guys interacting differently as actors on set? Do you trust each other more, do you seek out advice from one another about how to deal with a scene? Do you feel more comfortable to bite and push back? How has your chemistry kind of changed as actors this sophomore year?
Sam Witwer: It's true. And I give her the okay whether she should do it or not and sometimes she shouldn't do it. You have to march right back to the producers and tell them you're not doing this.
Sam Huntington: Yeah it's miserable. And I'm on the outside looking in, I'm just sitting there in my trailer waiting it out, you know what I mean?
Sam Huntington: Yes.
Sam Witwer: It's a little bit like that.
Sam Huntington: Brainwashed.
Meaghan Rath: I have Stockholm syndrome.
Sam Witwer: So if this is partially answering your question like we really like hanging out. We really do and this year the three characters they get split up a little bit and they go off on their own little journeys and for us that just made us appreciate every time that we had a scene together all the more. And you know I think there's like one or two scenes with us at least in every episode with all three of us. But I think our favorite episode to shoot was this episode that's coming up down the line. Where we're in every scene together throughout the whole episode. That was kind of, for us it was like oh this is the way to do it, this is the way to do the show. Who needs other actors?
Sam Huntington: Yeah, it's what the show is about and to be honest like we were comfortable with each other instantly on set. Our relationship in that regard hasn't changed. I feel like we like pretty much learned who each other were by half way through the first season, not even and have - our friendship has grown and built and everything. But we have so much trust and faith in one another and like I just know, when we're in a scene with one another, it's going to work and there's going to be that shorthand and it's going to be fun and it's going to be loose and it's going to be natural. So you just have that confidence going into it and then in all seriousness like I think we also - I can speak for myself anyway - when I have a question or if I have a concern or if I am struggling with a piece of motivation I always ask Sam or Meaghan what they think. And because I respect and love them so much and trust them so much so it really is truly as lame as that sounds it's kind of true and also I feel very fortunate to have that relationship with them.
Sam Witwer: I think something that's really cool about our relationship is this thing with me and Sammy and Meaghan is that both of those actors can do a whole bunch of stuff that I can't. And I think that's really awesome. Like there's not a lot of overlap in terms of personality and ability so we all have our own turf with which we have to play with but at the same time I love watching an episode and seeing what they're doing. Because it's like wow, look at all the stuff that they're bringing that I frankly don't know how to do. I love watching them and then stealing from them when I can.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah, I think the best thing about it is that the trust level has gone up so much and for me these two guys are the people I trust most on set and you always feel like in scenes you're in good hands. Like you're never questioning the direction the scene is supposed to go in because it just always works every time we're together. We just are able to feed off each other in a way that I've never experienced before.
Sam Huntington: There's a scene in episode one, it's actually online right now, it's the scene that they teased, the scene in the kitchen where Kristen comes down and she's like you know I pulled this you know high school reunion invitation out the trashcan and Meaghan's very funny, Kristen (Hager)'s very funny. Anyway, obviously it's episode one so you get the set and you know we're shooting that scene I'm like God is this - is it - like I couldn't tell what I was doing, like it was still so fresh in the process of season two and we were like getting back into it. And I was like this feels good but I really hope it's working and then you see that scene and it just - I personally think it's fantastic. Like it just nails the relationship, it picks back up exactly where it left off. And I was just so happy to see that.
Sam Witwer: And also Kristen Hager is just wonderful this season, she's so great. She is such a talented actress and we - and it should be noted we feel tremendously bonded to Kristen as well. You know she's one of us and is really awesome when we see someone that we've worked with for so long and that we bonded with come to set, it's like oh it's her, it's Kristen. You know she's there a lot so that's good.
Sam Huntington: Yep.
Is there like a specific scene or moment or something that is going to happen this season that you're kind of really excited to see the fan's reaction to?
Sam Witwer: Totally. Oh my God yeah.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah, I'm sorry, we couldn't even start about it right now because we would be fired. But there are huge moments for each of us this season that happen sort of mid way through for - yeah for all of us. I don't want to say too much, Bill's going to kill me. But there's definitely a lot to look forward to, some really shocking things happening.
Sam Witwer: Yeah, definitely.
Sam Huntington: Shocking is the right word. Definitely.
Sam Witwer: Yeah. I'm still shocked. I'm a state of deep shock even right now.
Sam Huntington: You sound shocked.
Sam Witwer: I'm shocked. Oh my God.
Well is there anything maybe that was really challenging this year, specifically that you could talk about or is that all?
Sam Huntington: Well yeah, I mean like 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. You asked if there are moments that we're excited about, yeah, those are some of the moments, that are emotional and big and it's crazy, it's what's so cool about the show.
Meaghan Rath: I'm sorry, for me there was every single day I felt like I was being pushed by the writers and the creators just for what they had planned for me. I have the feeling so often where I came to set and I'm looking at the scenes and I don't know how I'm going to do this, when I read the script. I don't know what I'm going to do and I think that is where you really grow as an actor, when you're scared. And there was definitely a lot of that this season.
Sam Huntington: Yeah and also you don't want to let them down. You know they've given you this material and you don't want to let them down, you want to do it justice.
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 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? We do get to know these different sides of these characters in big ways. And the other big challenge this year is that we shot everything a little bit faster. We had less time to do stuff in for various reasons and so there were several things that I had to do that I was very - like Meaghan was saying like how am I going to do this, and I had one take to get it right. And so that was a little bit frightening but I think it all turned out all right, I've seen the stuff. And it's like okay, well I think it works.
Meaghan Rath: They edit you really generously
Sam Witwer: They are. It's not what he's doing on the set, it's what the editors do to him. The others are - I was about to swear, the others are absolutely fantastic. They're really, really good, I've seen them save me on countless occasions. And Huntington, forget about it, I mean there's no performance on set, it's all in the editing room.
Sam Huntington: It is. It's literally I show up and basically it's gibberish. You'll notice that I never say a line on camera. It's just all back of my head. And then Witwer has to go in and loop it for me. He has to go in and actually be like wow this is what I'm saying now.
I'm wondering, you all get along so great, are we going to be seeing a lot of tension between the roommates this year and if so is it hard to keep a straight face when that happens?
Sam Witwer: We will be seeing tension between the three in ways that we didn't see in the first seasons, things get pretty serious and I'll say this, - the scenes feel really good when you do them. There's some scenes that we have where we're kind of at each other's throats, I hope that doesn't give too much away. And it feels really good in once sense to do because you know that you're really cooking, like when it's really working you feel great about that. On the other hand I don't like having to shout or be mean to Sammmy or Meaghan, you know what I mean? That's the tough part.
Meaghan Rath: I like when you yell at me.
Sam Witwer: But she loves it, she loves taking it.
Sam Huntington: She's an odd duck. But you know what, you said is it hard to keep a straight face, generally speaking you know when it's a really, really rough moment for one of us it usually means it's a rough moment for all of us. And we always you know like we love each other so we always generally respect when somebody needs a moment or somebody needs to gather themselves for a take. I usually give Meaghan a really hard time, but beyond that.
Meaghan Rath: It's unreal the hard time that he gives me. No consideration at all. For the most part you're great, but then there's the odd moment where I'm trying to focus and you're like fake vomiting on me.
Sam Huntington: Yeah, it's good times. Those are the nights that I sleep well, you know? But I lead a good day.
Sam Witwer: Or I really got her today, I really made her feel bad about herself.
Meaghan Rath: But yeah this season you will see a lot of tension between the three roommates because we all are on our own journey and trying to get ourselves out of these really desperate situations. So for the reason that we're doing completely different things when we do come together there's a question of can we still relate to each other and how non-judgmental are we actually going to be towards each other?And that generates a lot of tension between us.
Sam Huntington: And you know the temptation this season is just a beast. You know what I mean? Just a beast.
So you know as you continue to develop your characters into season two, I'm curious to know, you know is there anything you've been surprised to learn about yourselves along the way?
Sam Witwer: You mean about ourselves as people or the characters?
About yourselves as people.
Sam Huntington: I learned that I have a really deep belly button.
Meaghan Rath: I think for me I feel like that's the way I've grown as a person since I started acting and it's a strange thing but every new experience you go through, every different set, every character I feel it forces you to find something in yourself that has been there. But you never knew it existed so you're just trying to access different parts of your emotional life or things - feelings that you've suppressed over the years. And it changes you, especially when you connect to a character so much and you love that character, it really forces you to question what would I do in this situation and what does this mean to me and how can I put this situation into my own words? And that's for me how I mature and grow.
Sam Huntington: We've all been kind of at this acting thing for quite some time and done a lot of different, different work, different jobs, everything presents different challenges. And you know it's a fun gig but it's really hard. And this year I've got to say like this year for some reason more than last year, and it's probably because of a lot of the stuff that I was given to perform, I really felt like my range broadened. I felt like I learned a lot of things about myself and about where I'm able to go emotionally and these are lessons that I'm going to take through the rest of my career. Because it's going to be really short, let's be honest, I mean no, but it's weird that you know you can have a relatively large body of work and then there can be this one thing that just kind of changes everything. And you learn kind of a lot of who you are as an actor and it's been a joy. And I've been able to experience it with like you know these guys who are like my besties.
Sam Witwer: I think we've all three learned to trust ourselves a little bit more in terms of our creative instincts. I've learned that if the editors have it even in pieces, even if I was a little bit you know never got through a full take without blowing something, if the editors have it in pieces, fine, leave it alone, go to sleep, it's fine, done. And then the other thing that I've learned speaking of sleep is I am 40% nicer of a person if I'm well rested, 48%. I mean a lot of people are like 20% nicer if they are well rested, I am 48% nicer if I'm well rested.
Sam Huntington: Literally almost 50% nicer.
Sam Witwer: Almost 50%, I mean for me if I don't have a lot of sleep, my political and diplomatic skills are gone. I have no ability to say anything other than what I absolutely mean and I don't care about how I said it.
Sam Huntington: I think you give yourself a hard time about that.
Meaghan Rath: I agree, you're not that bad.
Sam Huntington: You're not that bad one, and two I think you're probably saying that because you got more sleep this year and it was a nicer experience as far as that goes.
Sam Witwer: I think I was nicer this year.
Meaghan Rath: Well I think you should give yourself a little more credit, I'd say you're 42% nicer when you're rested.
Sam Huntington: Forty two, I'm with Rath, I'll go 42.
Sam Witwer: Got it, no she's right, maybe it is 42, maybe I've been too hard on myself.
Meaghan Rath: It's a little more than 40%.
Sam Huntington: Just a scosh.
Sam Witwer: But not approaching 50 like we were thinking before.
Sam Huntington: No.
Meaghan Rath: No, no, no, God, give yourself a break.
Sam Huntington: Round it down, you know what I mean?
Sam Witwer: Yeah, round it down.
I was wondering if there are any interesting or favorite guest stars this coming season that you'd like to mention.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah.
Sam Huntington: There you go.
Meaghan Rath: There are a lot of guest stars we can't talk about.
Sam Witwer: Yeah, unfortunately.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah.
Sam Witwer: Yeah, she's really wonderful.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah, and you know I actually had a couple scenes with Kristen this year and I I can't really say much about it but I really felt like oh God, this is what I've been missing out on? Like she's awesome, I really like her.
Sam Witwer: Yeah, and Mark Pellegrino, I mean he built the show with us for God's sake so it's always wonderful to have him back. He's just a tremendous actor, he's a tremendous actor and a cunning warrior and he was a good friend.
Why do you think that Aidan seems to be so much better than other vampires as far as trying to keep his dark side in check?
Sam Witwer: Why is he trying to keep his dark side in check, well it's interesting, again not knowing what other vampire shows are doing these days or vampire movies, I haven't really watched them so I don't know how new the idea of a vampire trying to become a good guys is. But our take on it with the whole drug addiction analogy is I think really fresh and cool and that analogy, that metaphor is alive and well this season in a big, big way. And why is it, why is it cool, what's better about it, yeah, I don't know. I like the fact that that all things considered if you take away the addiction this is a principled guy. I like that about the character and I don't know, I really don't know. I couldn't tell you.
The others all seem to either embrace it, really get into it or just you know go with it, whatever and he seems to want to fight against it.
Sam Witwer: He wants to fight against it but this year you do see him embrace it a little bit. Kind of against his will, the thing that we have to remember is in the first season if he's trying to kick the habit in a drug addiction sense well the first thing he's got to do is stay away from his old drug buddies. And this season he can't so we're going to see an older version of Aidan this year and when I say older we're going to see a worse version of him, we're going to see some of his old character traits that he had over the past 200 years start to resurface. We're going to learn first hand why everyone seems to be afraid of this guy, why you know even in the first season Bishop gave him you know a wide berth and Marcus was wary of him and everyone was you know spoke so highly of him as this maniac, this really dangerous guy. And this year we kind of start learning why.
Sam Huntington: You see the old Aidan.
Sam Witwer: That's right.
Sam Huntington: As opposed to the moderned Aidan.
Being that your characters are all going to be playing a lot apart from one another how much will the hospital come into play, that's where three of the four characters work but is it going to be kind of like that home away from home as it was in the first season?
Sam Huntington: The hospital is pivotal. Things that happen in the hospital are pivotal and kind of spring boards for a lot of stuff that happens in the season but yeah, actually you kind of definitely touch on something that's true in that we don't. It's not like our home away from home this season like it was last year. And I think a lot of that actually also is because you know each of us are having our individual paths so there's less of us actually meeting up at the hospital you know? Would you guys say that's true?
Sam Witwer: Yeah, I think that's true.
Meaghan Rath: I feel like I definitely spend more time in the hospital this year.
Sam Huntington: You do, for sure.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah, I wouldn't say that it was a home away from home, I think it's just a....
Sam Huntington: And it's in a different regard too, it's...
Meaghan Rath: Yeah, totally, it's kind of like just as the house is a huge part of the show, so is the hospital, just kind of a different character.
Sam Huntington: To be honest, and Sam and I actually talked a lot about this this season because you know we actually feel kind of differently about it but I could lose the hospital as a location altogether.
Sam Witwer: Whereas I love it. I think it's really great.
Sam Huntington: Yep. I like it in theory, like I like the idea that we can go there and it serves as a lot of different sets and it make sense for the characters but logistically I'm not into it for some weird reason, I don't really like it.
Sam Witwer: I think it's because they always have you cleaning up you know vomit and for me, you know I'm carrying something somewhere.
Sam Huntington: That's what it is. That's it.
Sam Witwer: Somehow Aidan ditches all the most unpleasant stuff like bedpans, he just doesn't do it. He's like you know if I ditch it someone else will do it.
Sam Huntington: That's right.
We heard a little bit about Aidan's journey this season and what we have to look forward to from him, what about Josh and Sally, what kind of a journey are your characters on?
Sam Huntington: Okay, well Josh you know we pick up the second season, it's three weeks after the end of the first season, so Josh has unknowingly scratched Nora and Nora is keeping it from him. So once again to reiterate something that Bill Brennan had said at the beginning of the phone call like well we can talk about this but don't print it until after it whatever. But yeah, so Josh you know unknowingly scratched Nora, she's keeping it from him and so at the end of the first episode they both turn into werewolves and Josh finds out. And you know he was on a path to go back to medical school and that basically all comes screeching to a halt when he finds out that Nora's a werewolf and his new trajectory becomes to try and find a cure for her. And so through doing that it changes his relationship with Nora drastically and Nora takes the news of being a wolf and the physiology of being a wolf very differently than Josh did. And so the theme for the season is temptation is a beast but for Josh really it's trying to keep the people he loves away from temptation of others and then himself being tempted. And it has very unfortunate results, so there you go.
Meaghan Rath: Yeah and for Sally it's basically she's dealing with when we first see her in season two she's dealing with the consequences of missing her door at the end of season one and what that means for her. She's acquired these new powers of being able to very briefly touch things which was a result of missing the door they think and she meets some new supernatural beings that kind of introduce her to different powers and one being possession which takes her down a very dark path, because it is very addictive. And really her trajectory of the season is trying to fight or give in to this temptation, to this new sort of vice that she's discovered and what that brings to her and how that breaks her down.