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'Being Human' Cast on Nudity, 'No Touching' and Keeping Secrets

by Chris Jancelewicz, posted Jan 18th 2011 4:00PM

Yes, on its surface, 'Being Human' is about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost cohabitating under one roof; but it's not all about the supernatural. Imported to North America from the UK (isn't that the trend nowadays?), 'Being Human' takes a sometimes-snide look at what it's like living with a secret and how we all try so desperately to be 'normal,' whatever that is.

Co-starring Sam Witwer ('Smallville,' 'Battlestar Galactica') as the vampire, Sam Huntington ('Not Another Teen Movie,' 'Detroit Rock City') as the werewolf and Meaghan Rath ('18 to Life,' 'Heartland') as the ghost, the trio of 'Being Human' has an incredible chemistry and humorous rapport, which is apparent during the interview. TV Squad sat down to talk to the cast about nudity, secrets and how these roles have impacted their daily lives.

So I went into this thinking, 'Oh man, another supernatural show. More vampires.' But it's actually quite enjoyable.
Sam Huntington: Oh, that's great!
Sam Witwer: Yeah, that was actually my reaction as well. I was like, 'I don't want to do the vampire thing.' But then I read the script and I was hooked.

It has both a comedic and dramatic feel to it.
SH: The cool thing is that the comedy comes from a really natural place, from insecurity and fear.

When you were first approached with this concept, what were your reactions?
SW: There were two reasons why I was a bit apprehensive: One, because it sounds like the set-up for a bad joke -- a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost walk into a bar -- and you don't really know how to take that. And secondly, the glut of vampire stuff that's out there. Why do we need another one? I was going to turn it down, but then a friend of mine texted me and told me not to reject it. Once I read the script, I felt like a total dick for not reading it sooner.

The good news is this show isn't even dealing with the vampire/werewolf/ghost thing -- we're dealing with human issues.
SH: This show will have a life based on the characters and not the genre. Meaghan said that all of our afflictions are metaphors for... Wait, what is it that you said? [Laughs]
Meaghan Rath: OK, it's relatable in the sense that so many people have something that they want to hide, something they're nervous about showing to others. For us, we're monsters and we're trying to embrace the little things in life that other people take for granted every day. That's where the lightness comes in, in those moments. There is so much drama because of our afflictions that the highs are really high and the lows are really low.
SH: [Slams table] That's it! That's what it was!

Those light moments are great -- like when both Sams' characters go to rent an apartment and the real estate agent is all serious and heavy, but then there's a crack about the two of them being gay (which they're not)...
MR: Yeah. [Laughs]
SH: I love that part. It's in almost every scene... There are elements of every genre and they're so wonderfully laced together.
SW: Yeah! It's funny, when we first started shooting the show, they asked us to tone down the chemistry because they were saying the comedic timing was too sharp...

Wait, the romantic chemistry between the two Sams?
SH: [Laughs] Well, it wasn't even the chemistry, it was the blatant making out.
SW: I don't even know if you can call that chemistry, you're too ugly for that. [Laughs]
SH: You're just a hot mess.

I see what you mean about the comfort level, the easy humor.
SW: The three of us were hired based on our chemistry -- and now I feel dirty saying that. But because the characters are all getting to know each other as the series progresses, it actually gets funnier. It also gets quite... Dark. Around episode seven of this first season, we noticed the funny moments are funnier, the sad moments are sadder and the dramatic moments are even more intense.
SH: None of it is forced, either. It all feels organic.

Did you familiarize yourself with the UK version and, if so, did you make any conscious effort to emulate it or differ from it?
SW: I saw one episode and I stayed away from the rest. I didn't want to unintentionally mimic anything that they did.
MR: What we say is we've been given this amazing core, this amazing concept and now it's up to us to use our imagination and bring something new to it, so we made the decision not to watch it.
SH: Make it our own, yeah.

Is there any aspect of playing these types of characters -- a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost -- that in any way affects your daily functioning?
SW: Oh, man... All of us. Our characters are constantly off their game, so who the hell knows what that does to us as people? [Laughs]
SH: I've gotta say, though, not being able to touch Meaghan is weird.
MR: Yeah, because it's so hard not to touch me.
SH: No, seriously, you find yourself (even off-set) saying, "S--t. I brushed up against Meaghan. We have to reshoot!" It really seeps into your real-life behavior.
SW: I don't think Meaghan's been touched in eight months. [Laughs]
MR: [Laughs] Gee, thanks.

I understand that you have to wear a lot of makeup for the werewolf role.
SH: Yeah. I did a 21-hour day for the werewolf transformation, then I had four hours of sleep and then I did a 19-hour day of the same thing. Because I had that full day, I had to sleep in a Winnebago they drove to set for those four hours. It was really just a nap.
SW: He's a trooper. All I have to do is pop in some fangs and put on some white makeup.
MR: Yeah, he's not really that white.

How are you dealing with the whole nudity factor, Sam?
MR: I love it. [Laughs]
SH: Great, Meaghan loves it. You should know that as soon as they yell "Cut!" she just strips down. [Laughs]
MR: It's moral support, really.
SW: She thinks she's invisible, but she's really not. She's actually just naked.
MR: Can't touch me!

As a prospective viewer of this show, what would you tell me about it to get me to watch?
SH: I would say it's a character-based drama with a lot of humor and a lot of pain that has supernatural elements. I would not say it's a show about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost with crazy superpowers.
SW: I'm going to go on the record to say it's really quite good. You don't always say that in interviews about work you're doing. I don't think that someone who sits down to watch it is going to not enjoy it.
SH: I'm going to go a step further and say it's excellent. I can honestly say I think it's one of the best things -- or the best thing -- that I've done in my whole career.
MR: I agree. It's the best thing you've ever done. [Laughs] But seriously, I would say that this is a show where everybody can find something to relate to. It's about humanity and the things we take for granted. It's about overcoming afflictions that people face every single day, whether it's loneliness, isolation or fear.

'Being Human' airs on Mondays at 9PM ET on SyFy in the US and 10PM ET on Space in Canada.

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@peacockjp: Exactly.

This is the best TV series I have ever seen.

April 11 2012 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Even though I love television - I don't really watch that much. Being Human has certainly changed that. These actors - do such a great job - and The writing is neither patronizing - nor does it play down to me. Having directed some television back in the day -- as well as having writing for TV - It is such a pleasure to see what the writers and directors on this show do. I really get into the detailed set decorating. Just excellent. For most of my adult life - I lived on West 82nd street - near the park - and the town house exterior set - just reminds me of home so much. I mostly live in Asheville, NC now - so each show also gives me a little trip back home also. So far - every segment of the show - is a great romp. It has made me decide to buy a DVD recorder - so I can record the show - I will enjoy seeing it on nights when there's nothing else on. Keep up the good work.

February 27 2012 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

there is no way in hell that can or should be legal .

January 23 2011 at 9:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Original version (British) much better and what happened to it?

January 19 2011 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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