Published: Friday, 14 January 2011 20:27 | Written by SciFi Vision
On Monday, Syfy will debut its newest series, Being Human. The series is based on the British hit of the same name, but has been touted as a reimagining rather than a remake. The overall story is the same – the show features three twenty-something roommates – a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost. The story follows their lives as they struggle to retain their humanity.
The show stars Sam Witwer (Battlestar Galactica; Smallville) as Aidan, the vampire, Sam Huntington (Superman Returns; Fanboys) as Josh, the werewolf, and Meaghan Rath (Prom Wars; 18 to Life) as Sally, the ghost.
In anticipation of the premiere, executive producers Jeremy Carver and Anna Fricke, who both also serve as writers on the show, as well as two of the show's stars, Huntington and Rath, sat down to discuss the new series.
It was suggested to Carver and Fricke, who are husband a wife, that they should look into Being Human. Frick explained, "When Syfy acquired this format they were sort of looking for someone who could do the genre and who could do the characters and who could do the humor and the relationships and our agent actually suggested us as a team...He said, "What about these two working together?" So it was sort of the first time we had come together to work on a project."
Carver and Fricke thought the original series could have a "new life in a different market," and as fans of the show saw it "as a tremendous honor to be asked to take over this role as well as a tremendous challenge," according to Carver.
They also consider it an homage to the original. "The notion of the fact that we're doing this project at all is a form of honoring their show. And in terms of transcending that show, let me just say that the greatest honor would be to take that show and to be forging our own path, which we are, and create something that's equally as wonderful as what they've come up with, yet different. Which I think - I know all of us here are very proud of the fact that we think we have."
Carver also talked about how they will forge their own path. "One of the things we strove to do from the very beginning was to basically use elements of the original series while reimaging a series all of our own. And I think that starts with many of the new characters and storylines that we created and it is carried to a wonderful degree, might be the wrong word, with the absolutely incredible and distinct cast that we've had the pleasure of working with along with all the other film makers.
"So, I think you're going to see a show that gives a very nice nod to the original version which for fans of the original I think they'll be confronted, in particular, with several situations, characters, moments that they may think they recognize from the original which are then spun out in very, very different ways in our version; in surprising ways."
This will help Syfy's version hold its own against the original. "You're going to come across some similar moments, characters and situations that you have seen in the British version.
"And some of them are going to be treated in the same way and many, if not most of them, are going to be treated in a different way. I can tell you from the writers room perspective is we took a look at this show that we were given the chance to re-imagine and we did a lot of what if scenarios, like, what if this character actually did this? Or what if he took this moment and you spun it into something like this? And I think that's where you're really going to get a pretty fresh blend of familiar and unfamiliar.
"So, our mantra was also sort of start from the same place as you said because, you know, the show has a wonderful premise. So I don't know why you would necessarily screw around with that too much. It's got such a wonderful premise and sort of base to it that we pretty much just try to use that as a launching pad."
According to Carver, as a whole, the cast and crew generally try not to think about the comparisons to the original series. "It doesn't actually occupy a lot of our time, the fact that it's still on, because...we have re-imagined this show into something that we are incredibly, incredibly proud of and something that we think stands on its own two feet." Fricke also added that if Being Human continues past season one, they don't necessarily plan to follow the storyline of the original.
Being Human will also inevitably be compared to other popular vampire and werewolf projects out there. Fricke is a huge fan of those types of shows "I pretty much follow all of them and this show definitely has the elements of genre that you love but I think that what sets this particular version apart, and what we're proud of, is that really at [heart] it is a character-based relationship show.
"You don't have to be a fan of any sort of vampire movie or show or any kind of genre show in particular to still watch this show because, at the end of the day, it's about their relationships and what's happening with each other on a very human level.
"Like when we talk about these characters we talk about they all want what all of us want which is to sort of be normal, to embrace humanity and they, like all of us, are fighting the monster within only they are fighting real monsters."
Huntington and Rath started working on the show after auditioning. For Huntington, it was, "a very traditional audition process coming in meeting the casting people and the executive producers including Jeremy and Anna and our other exec and the director of the first few episodes, Adam Kane. And then you progress along and you eventually end up testing for all the fine people at Syfy and then just kind of get the gig.
"It was unique because I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we were all so in love with the project that it was lucky that we all got to kind of work together."
Rath first auditioned in Montreal on tape, which is how Carver and Fricke first saw her. "I went in with a casting director in Montreal and auditioned a couple of times there and then I met with Adam Kane, our executive producer and director, and then I was flown to LA to screen test and...I'm a jetsetter. And I met with the guys and we all read together and fell in love and lived happily ever after."
The actors really didn't need to do a lot of research for their roles, because their characters are experiencing everything for the first time. Rath said, "She [Sally] died six months ago at the beginning and she doesn't know what's going on. And so it's appropriate that I too am now finding my way and figuring out what I am."
Huntington's character, however, turned into a werewolf two years prior, so he did look into a bit werewolf lore to prepare.
Rath talked about identifying with the supernatural aspect of her character. "I think that the whole being invisible aspect of Sally really helped with this feeling - the emotions, of what she's going through.
"What I like about her so much is who she was in her life and she was someone so passionate and involved and someone who really wanted to make a difference and she's still that same person in her death but everything is stripped away from her.
"She has this longing to be involved and help people and now people can't even see her and she can't even touch anyone. So I think the whole supernatural aspect of that really helps to get into her mindset."
Huntington agreed with her. "It's like the supernatural element of each of the characters is kind of what forms who they are as, for what it's worth, people. For Josh, he is defined kind of by who he has become and it affects every part of his life. He's kind of ostracized everyone who is special to him and now he's become this kind of introvert and he's careful and he's hypersensitive to his surroundings.
"And, so, it affects how you play it. It's - you kind of put yourself in the shoes of the character and what they've gone through. And I think that's kind of what's cool about the show is that it's what makes it more human."
The actors also talked about what they found challenging in their roles. Rath stated that "It is a really, really challenging role first, because Sally just seems like a real person. She's going through so much in this (amount) of the entire season. She starts off one way and ends somewhere completely different. And as an actor it's something so exciting to be able to do and it's really - it's been amazing to explore all those different sides of myself.
"And then there's the physical limitations of it. The fact that Sally can't touch anything, touch anybody, which is also challenging because for me, especially when I get really into something and I get passionate and I get to talking, I'm a physical person, like I'll touch somebody and the fact that I can't do that you really have to rely on the emotion and the words that we've been given. And that's what's been really exciting for me actually."
Huntington looked forward to the challenge. "I've been looking for a role like this my entire career because it's so challenging, because it was so three-dimensional and so interesting.
"And so, yes, it's been really hard and it was really hard and the hours were really tough but luckily we were working with each other and we love each other so much and we got each other through it. It was - we had an unbelievable crew and unbelievable creative people behind us.
"So as challenging as it's been, it's been the love of my life for my career. I've just been - I have kind of a love affair with this show. So, you know, my wife and son, they're okay but the show, you know, for my career and as an actor this has just been tremendous."
The showrunners found the " interweaving of the old and the new that was the biggest challenge," according to Carver. Fricke also added "The biggest challenge inworking out the season with our writers in the writer's room; sort of taking what we enjoyed and holding on to that. You know, we're not going to try to change things that are working beautifully but sort of saying to ourselves, well what if this happened with this character? What if this storyline took this turn?
"And I think that the more we were able to give ourselves the permission to use original storylines and different endings to certain stories that maybe familiar to people who watch the original episodes, the more successful we were."
Carver still considers it an adventure. They also have thirteen episodes to tell the first season compared to BBC's six, and he uses the character of Bishop (loosely based on Herrick), played by Mark Pellegrino (Supernatural; Lost), as an example. "We spent a good portion of this season one investigating the relationship between Aiden and Bishop through flashbacks and we introduced a lot, a lot, of surprising twists and turns in that relationship which really reached - really, really makes the present day, in our minds, that much more richer.
So that was one example in which we took, you know, what we would call a challenge and made it into something that really worked for us."
Fricke added that they decided to change the characters' names from the original, so that they wouldn't constantly be thinking of the British version.
Being Human premieres on Syfy on Monday at 9:00pm, 8:00 central. Until then, to learn more about the show, please read the full transcript following below. SciFi Vision's spoiler-free review of the series is also available, along with other press releases and media available (and more upcoming) on SciFi Vision.
QUESTION: I really enjoyed the premier and the opening five minutes where really great. I was wondering, Jeremy and Anna what the decision was behind opening the series with a set of tracking shots and then switching to the hand-held cameras for most of the series?
JEREMY CARVER: That is an incredibly detailed question which we're happy to open with. You said open with a set of tracking shots? Is that what you said?
Anthony Ocasio: Yes, for the introduction of Josh and Aiden before the title card?
JEREMY CARVER: Okay, I'm just thinking back to the exact shot that you're referring to.
ANNA FRICKE: Are you talking about the shots of Boston?
JEREMY CARVER: No, he's talking about - we're going to get to your answer I just have to recreate the image in my head.
JEREMY CARVER: I can tell you this, let me speak in a more general sense that the idea here was always to do a mixture of, you're talking purely from a filmmaking standpoint, was something that we worked out in conjunction with our wonderful co-executive producer and director of the first two episodes, Adam Kane.
The idea was always to mix sort of a more classic style with a (vera kay) style given how a scene, a character or a moment might call for it.
So, to speak a little bit more generally to your question is that the camera movement and decisions made were very deliberate and are a signature style of the show if that helps. I'm certainly happy to answer more.
QUESTION: Since Josh and Aiden have an entire world to explore and interact with and Sally's pretty much stuck in the house, do you ever find it hard given Sally's confined surroundings and limited interactions to kind of develop the character or provider her with (an illusion) of her story?
ANNA FRICKE: Sally - that is part of her journey throughout the whole season is how does she come to terms with who she is and what she is and how does that relate to her physical capabilities?
So that is something that will be a story point throughout the season of what she can do and where she can go.
And the way we always talked about Sally as a character is her abilities and her ability to sort of transcend her current ghost form is very tied to emotion.
So as she sort of comes more to terms with things she will be able to be more physically capable.
JEREMY CARVER: And also to speak maybe to the heart of your question, which I don't think we're spoiling anything here, is that Sally is not strictly confined to the house for the duration of the show for reasons that Anna just spoke to.
MEAGHAN RATH: I think for an actor also the fact that she is confined to the house for the first bit it really helps with the frustration of the character. So it sort of adds to her physical limitations of what she can do when she can't really add to the performance.
QUESTION: We were wondering, Anna and Jeremy, if you could talk a bit about the process of bringing the show to America and the similarities and differences between this version and the BBC version?
JEREMY CARVER: In terms of the process, the process is a fairly generic one in a sense of (you've got) shows (in) a wonderful premise that was thought it could have a second or a new life in a different market. And Anna and I, when presented with this opportunity, saw it, as fans of the original show, as a tremendous honor to be asked to take over this role as well as a tremendous challenge.
And one of the things we strove to do from the very beginning was to basically use elements of the original series while reimaging a series all of our own. And I think that starts with many of the new characters and storylines that we created and it is carried to a wonderful degree, might be the wrong word, with the absolutely incredible and distinct cast that we've had the pleasure of working with along with all the other film makers.
So, I think you're going to see a show that gives a very nice nod to the original version which for fans of the original I think they'll be confronted, in particular, with several situations, characters, moments that they may think they recognize from the original which are then spun out in very, very different ways in our version; in surprising ways...
QUESTION: With all of the choices people have in the genre with vampire shows and werewolf projects, how would you like them to know this show is different from the other shows that are out there?
ANNA FRICKE: I think that the (at the heart) and, I'm the first to say, I'm a huge fan of all of those shows. I pretty much follow all of them and this show definitely has the elements of genre that you love but I think that what sets this particular version apart, and what we're proud of, is that really at (a part) it is a character-based relationship show.
You don't have to be a fan of any sort of vampire movie or show or any kind of genre show in particular to still watch this show because, at the end of the day, it's about their relationships and what's happening with each other on a very human level.
Like when we talk about these characters we talk about they all want what all of us want which is to sort of be normal, to embrace humanity and they, like all of us, are fighting the monster within only they are fighting real monsters.
QUESTION: Obviously at the beginning of the show, the storyline is very similar. I know you said that you're going to change things up, but do you plan still to keep kind of an overall season-wide kind story arc, or are you completely going to...go in a completely different way eventually?
JEREMY CARVER: I think without revealing too much I think I alluded to it in the previous question. You're going to come across some similar moments, characters and situations that you have seen in the British version.
And some of them are going to be treated in the same way and many, if not most of them, are going to be treated in a different way. I can tell you from the writers room perspective is we took a look at this show that we were given the chance to re-imagine and we did a lot of what if scenarios, like, what if this character actually did this? Or what if he took this moment and you spun it into something like this? And I think that's where you're really going to get a pretty fresh blend of familiar and unfamiliar.
So, our mantra was also sort of start from the same place as you said because, you know, the show has a wonderful premise. So I don't know why you would necessarily screw around with that too much. It's got such a wonderful premise and sort of base to it that we pretty much just try to use that as a launching pad.
QUESTION: How did all of you get involved in working on the show?
SAM HUNTINGTON: It's a very traditional audition process coming in meeting the casting people and the executive producers including Jeremy and Anna and our other exec and the director of the first few episodes, Adam Kane. And then you progress along and you eventually end up testing for all the fine people at Syfy and then just kind of get the gig.
It was unique because I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we were all so in love with the project that it was lucky that we all got to kind of work together.
ANNA FRICKE: Jeremy and I came into it - we actually were not partners before this project. I mean, we're married so we're partners in life...
JEREMY CARVER: (In a business)...
ANNA FRICKE: ...but we actually had separate careers before this and...
JEREMY CARVER: Happy careers...
ANNA FRICKE: Happy...
JEREMY CARVER: Thriving, happy, no (threat), (no home accomplished) careers. Yes.
ANNA FRICKE: We had a happy marriage before and...No, when Syfy acquired this format they were sort of looking for someone who could do the genre and who could do the characters and who could do the humor and the relationships and our agent actually suggested us as a team.
SAM HUNTINGTON: That's so cool. I never knew that.
ANNA FRICKE: Yes. He said, what about these two working together? So it was sort of the first time we had come together to work on a project so that's sort of how we came into it.
JEREMY CARVER: And...
SAM HUNTINGTON: And how's it going? I mean...
JEREMY CARVER: We actually have an appointment at 4:30 with Dr. (Goodman).
SAM HUNTINGTON: Perfect, okay.
JEREMY CARVER: (We discussed) that very question.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Let me know how it goes.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes. So, if that helps with your question and then...
MEAGHAN RATH: Oh, this is Meaghan. Well, I wasn't going to say anything because my process was the same as Sam's. I actually auditioned first in Montreal, that's where I'm from.
ANNA FRICKE: We saw you on tape. We did, that's how magical you are.
JEREMY CARVER: That's true.
MEAGHAN RATH: Yes, so I went in with a casting director in Montreal and auditioned a couple of times there and then I met with Adam Kane, our Executive Producer and Director, and then I was flown to LA to screen test and...
JEREMY CARVER: Jetsetter.
MEAGHAN RATH: I'm a jetsetter. And I met with the guys and we all read together and fell in love and lived happily ever after.
QUESTION: Sam and Meaghan, can you talk about how you identify with the supernatural aspect of your characters in human ways?
MEAGHAN RATH: That's an interesting question. Okay. Well, I think that for me, this is Meaghan by the way, I think that the whole being invisible aspect of Sally really helped with this feeling, the emotions, of what she's going through.
What I like about her so much is who she was in her life and she was someone so passionate and involved and someone who really wanted to make a difference and she's still that same person in her death but everything is stripped away from her.
She has this longing to be involved and help people and now people can't even see her and she can't even touch anyone. So I think the whole supernatural aspect of that really helps to get into her mindset.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, I think what Meaghan said is exactly right. It's like the supernatural element of each of the characters is kind of what forms who they are as, for what it's worth, people. You know I mean, for Josh, he is defined kind of by who he has become and it affects every part of his life. He's kind of ostracized everyone who is special to him and now he's become this kind of introvert and he's careful and he's hypersensitive to his surroundings.
And, so, you know it affects how you play it. It's - you kind of put yourself in the shoes of the character and what they've gone through. And I think that's kind of what's cool about the show is that it's what makes it more human. You know, you really kind of try and literally put yourself in these people's shoes and it makes it actually kind of easy.
QUESTION: Okay, fair enough. And Jeremy and Anna, can you talk about, from a writing standpoint, how is the conflict different for vampires and werewolves than it is for humans?
JEREMY CARVER: How is the conflict different for vampires and werewolves than it is for humans? Well, I'll speak in a broader sense. For most vampires there is no conflict at all; they're a vampire and humans are humans and that's just the way the world works.
And I think where a conflict for a vampire like Aiden comes into play is he wants to be something less than what he really is or, in (average), something more, we're saying human.
But there - from the vampire point of view a human is less than a vampire, right? So Aiden is flipping that around and saying, well, I think being human is more than being a vampire and so thus comes his conflict; this guy who is trying to constantly fight what is, essentially, instinct. And he's got to fight that every moment of every day and we play with that very much in addiction metaphor which we carried throughout the season.
For a werewolf I think you're seeing a character of Josh who relates to being a werewolf maybe how other werewolves we may or may not meet might relate to it. And it's very much tied into who Josh was when he was a normal human being which is rather insecure, rather uncomfortable with himself and his place in the world. And to add to the fact that on the 30th day of every month he suddenly becomes something other worldly is a tremendous, tremendous burden for him to bear.
Now, if we were to just talk about strictly humans I think why the show is so relatable and these characters in particular is that I think there are fairly few humans, particularly in their early to mid 20's, who don't have some aspect of themselves that they don't consider to be monstrous in some way and are constantly struggling to overcome this, choosing rather to share or to hide this monstrosity with friends, lovers, etc. And so in that regard, I don't think that struggles between a werewolf with a conscious, I'm sorry a vampire with a conscious, a werewolf and your typical 20 something human being are really as far apart as we might think.
ANNA FRICKE: I would also say that it sort of goes back to the voiceover in the first episode, the consequences for these monsters is much worse. They want the same things but when they get out of control the consequences are worse.
So when a vampire goes on a date and becomes really passionate with a woman and looses control she could die. When a werewolf sort of gives into his lustier side or his angry side...
JEREMY CARVER: ...people could die.
ANNA FRICKE: People could die. So it's just sort of...
JEREMY CARVER: That's two dead women for those...
ANNA FRICKE: There are highs. I think that their highs are higher and their lows are lower and that's sort of the difference between the monsters and the humans.
JEREMY CARVER: True. So true. My wife...Thank you.
QUESTION: So, I have to say, one of the obsessions about the show online and what everybody's talking about, is the fact that this is kind of a reimaging or remake of the BBC series. So, kind of a long story here, but I had one of our interns go back, I wanted to see what was the last time when a show was kind of done at the same time, or with the same basic character concept here. And I got a really surprising answer...What I got back was that the last time that this was really done was actually in America with Bozo the Clown in the 1950's.
JEREMY CARVER: Fantastic.
Woman: That is awesome.
QUESTION: And, again, this is the intern, we don't pay them a lot so maybe it's like...
JEREMY CARVER: So he's lying. He's a liar.
QUESTION: Maybe the first time that franchised TV, or that concept, the same show being done by multiple places at multiple times. I just wanted to know what you guys think about that? Are you really reintroducing that concept of franchised TV here or what do you think about that?
JEREMY CARVER: This is not to fly in the face of questioning the question, and I think I sort of speak for everybody, and I mean everybody, is that we actually think not a lot of it.
It doesn't actually occupy a lot of our time, the fact that it's still on, because, like you said, we have re-imagined this show into something that we are incredibly, incredibly proud of and something that we think stands on its own two feet.
So we don't spend a lot of time in comparisons or even like - we're aware of the third season of the British version is coming up shortly, I believe, but from Anna and our standpoint and from many of the casts standpoint, I mean, I haven't seen beyond Being - season one.
ANNA FRICKE: And I would say also that I don't know if after this season, if we're lucky enough to continue the show, I don't think we necessarily plan on continuing to follow their storylines.
JEREMY CARVER: I mean, the question is we don't know but I always go back to the fact that what a thrill and a challenge it was to be given the project. The notion or the idea that it's running at the same time, I don't know. It's never - it's just - we're so deep into what we're doing here that we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the original version but we're...
SAM HUNTINGTON: ...doing our own thing.
JEREMY CARVER: ...doing our own thing.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, I mean, I stressed out about so much, in life just in general. Just about everything, little things, you name it. This is something that I really don't want to stress out about because I think the people who are predisposed to not like the show will tune in and hopefully be very, very pleasantly surprised by it's quality because it's fantastic.
But if they don't, it's probably because they're predisposed to hate it and there's really nothing we can do about that. So it's like - whether it's neither here nor there and, like Jeremy said, I think the world of everyone who's involved in the British series. I've seen a little bit of it and think it's tremendous but we're doing our own thing and I don't think we can stress out about it.
But I do think it's really, really cool that Bozo the Clown was the last this has happened. Bring it back. I think that's fantastic.
MEAGHAN RATH: How did that work out, that's what I want to know?
SAM HUNTINGTON: That's a good question. I'll ask my dad.
QUESTION: The most (popular) series ever I think. But going beyond that, Sam and Meaghan...I just want to ask you both, you have some really challenging roles - a werewolf and a ghost. Can you talk about some of the challenges of playing your character?
MEAGHAN RATH: Yes. For me I mean I agree. It is a really, really challenging role first because Sally just seems like a real person. She's going through so much in this (amount) of the entire season. I mean, she starts off one way and ends somewhere completely different. And as an actor it's something so exciting to be able to do and it's really - it's been amazing to explore all those different sides of myself.
And then there's the physical limitations of it. The fact that Sally can't touch anything, touch anybody, which is also challenging because for me, especially when I get really into something and I get passionate and I get to talking, I'm a physical person, like I'll touch somebody and the fact that I can't do that you really have to rely on the emotion and the words that we've been given. And that's what's been really exciting for me actually.
SAM HUNTINGTON: I will reiterate, I've been looking for a role like this my entire career because it's so challenging, because it was so three-dimensional and so interesting.
And so, yes, it's been really hard and it was really hard and the hours were really tough but luckily we were working with each other and we love each other so much and we got each other through it. It was - we had an unbelievable crew and unbelievable creative people behind us.
So as challenging as it's been, it's been the love of my life for my career. I've just been - I have kind of a love affair with this show. So, you know, my wife and son, they're okay but the show, you know, for my career and as an actor this has just been tremendous.
QUESTION: Before you were talking about working together and Sam was talking about how you all get along so well, that's one of the things I wanted to know because one of the things that really makes the British series work is that chemistry not just between the main characters but everybody who works on it.
So, how well do all of you guys get along working on the show?
SAM HUNTINGTON: Swimmingly, from everyone all across the board. You know, I've been asked a lot since we've wrapped, so what was it like? And I can say, speak completely from my heart when I say, it's probably - you know, obviously the material is amazing and it's a dream come true, really, but I've got to say, for an experience the people have made it for me, everyone, all across the board.
So, we're really, really lucky. Really, really lucky because potentially, you know, you never know how long the show could go and I felt a lot about how awful it would be if I didn't love everyone so, so, so, so much.
So, it's been a pleasure.
JEREMY CARVER: You know to add, I mean you're doing this show which may be - (the set) of the show is less unique now than maybe it was a couple of years ago but you're dealing with a show where the writers (room) is in Los Angeles, the set is in Montreal and you're dealing with, which is novel to me, I'll speak for myself, the notion of dealing with a French/Canadian crew.
So it's just a little bizarre walking into the set of a show that's for the Syfy Channel and everyone's speaking French. There's a little - it took me a moment to orient myself but...
ANNA FRICKE: He had a French application on his iPhone...
JEREMY CARVER: I did, I had...Yes. And...
SAM HUNTINGTON: Hilarious.
JEREMY CARVER: But the - I'm talking about everybody on that set were some of the most dedicated professionals...
SAM HUNTINGTON: For real.
JEREMY CARVER: I mean, they were absolutely the real deal when it came to a crew. I mean, all the way up to the top and because people were so professional and cared so much about what they did, there was a certain trust that set in. And when that trust sets in I think people are - frankly, a certain fear goes away and a certain comfort level kicks in where everybody could afford to be very much themselves because they knew the person they were dealing with was, I'll use a Vietnam reference though I wasn't there, was in the shit with them.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes.
JEREMY CARVER: You know, and I mean these guys up on set worked such grueling, grueling, grueling hours that - the fact that they've emerged with even stronger friendships intact is quite remarkable, I think.
SAM HUNTINGTON: I've got to say just real quick too, it's (tough to submit) the material too because everyone believed in it so much that they really, really cared to make it the best that they could.
And, like you said, it goes all the way up just all the way across the board. So that's probably why that was the case because that's not always the case.
ANNA FRICKE: I don't really think I've ever worked with a cast that's so tightly knit and gets along so well. Usually there's one jerk in the bunch or one diva and that's really not the case here. And I mean even from the beginning, from the audition process, I actually thought that the three of these guys knew each other beforehand because they were that at ease with each other.
But I've just never seen a cast - you know, like part of it is they work grueling hours and they're isolated in Montreal together but I've never seen a cast that so genuinely cared not only about what was going on with them in the episode but what was going on with everybody. Because we always try to make a point after the table reads, since we're not there, to talk to everyone if there are any questions, is there anything that you want to talk about? Any concerns?
And what I've always noticed with this amazing cast is that it's not always about them it's about, well, what's going on with Sally's character, Josh's character? And how does that relate and it's just really refreshing to see. It's a really generous, gracious, cast.
MEAGHAN RATH: I just want to add that also I think what's amazing is that for the three of us actors, the energy between us in life is very similar to the energy of the characters. And I often feel like the Sam's are my older brothers which is feel is like sort of Sally's whole situation.
They're very protective of me and it's nice. I feel very safe all the time with them and they're the best scene partners you could ask for. I mean, I never have to worry going into a scene with either of them that something won't be there. And if there's anything that I'm worried about beforehand I know that if I just sit there with them in the moment it will all work out because they're so talented.
QUESTION: Have any of you met - yes, hi. Have any of you met the people who do your job on the British version of the show?
SAM HUNTINGTON: I haven't. We met Rob Pursey who is just a lovely guy. He's one of the original creators. He's one of the creators of the original show...
MEAGHAN RATH: If we met I think there would be a tear in the times pace...
SAM HUNTINGTON: I think there might be. A whole might open up and the universe...
JEREMY CARVER: This goes to the earlier question because they're running at the same time.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, yes. Yes, that's true. Oh my God, there's some weird sucking thing that...
MEAGHAN RATH: That's how we get to the (source)...
SAM HUNTINGTON: No but actually, you know what, desperate to. Would love to...
MEAGHAN RATH: Yes.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Would love to even just like Skype with them or like at some point just talk to them even if they hate the show I would still love just to hear and meet them and talk to them.
I don't think they will hate it but...
MEAGHAN RATH: We want to fight.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Meaghan wants to fight everybody.
QUESTION: Let me just ask you this as a big fan of both what you're doing currently and also the original series, how do you honor the original series and yet transcend it?
SAM HUNTINGTON: I think simply the fact that we're doing it says a lot. I think we honor it because it's such great source material. It's such an amazing show and we want to do it. You know what I mean? And it's a great platform to create something individually vibrant and different and fun and cool and I can speak as a cast member.
I think the world of the British cast and thought about that everyday and how to honor them and how to respect them. But I think ultimately what we're doing is exactly that, is honoring them.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, I think that...
SAM HUNTINGTON: Hopefully.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, I think Sam is exactly right. The notion of the fact that we're doing this project at all is a form of honoring their show. And in terms of transcending that show, let me just say that the greatest honor would be to take that show and to be forging our own path, which we are, and create something that's equally as wonderful as what they've come up with, yet different. Which I think - I know all of us here are very proud of the fact that we think we have.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Absolutely, 100%.
QUESTION: Jeremy and Anna, as writers, what do you find your biggest challenge then as you're taking their original stories and then building on them and changing them and going forth?
ANNA FRICKE: I think you pretty much just said it. It was sort of watching - and we made a point of not watching the episodes of the original first season repeatedly. We sort of watched them and enjoyed them and then tried to sort of put them out of our minds so that we could have the freedom to use them as a springboard and not be too married to them.
So I think that that was the biggest challenge in working out the season with our writers in the writer's room; sort of taking what we enjoyed and holding on to that. You know, we're not going to try to change things that are working beautifully but sort of saying to ourselves, well what if this happened with this character? What if this storyline took this turn?
And I think that the more we were able to give ourselves the permission to use original storylines and different endings to certain stories that maybe familiar to people who watch the original episodes, the more successful we were.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, I think, and you and Anna both stated it well, it's that interweaving of the old and the new that was the biggest challenge.
But, you know, often beyond the challenge it was a great, great sort of adventure, that's right, he just called it an adventure, given the - we were put in a position where you've got this whole canvas laid out in front of you. They've got six episodes, we've got 13 and we're basically saying, okay, well we like this but what if we did this?
And I'll give you one sort of concrete example is we've got a character played by the wonderful Mark Pelligrino who is loosely modeled after the character of Herrick in the original show. And we said to ourselves, well, gosh, you had this amazing, amazing relationship here in the present, these two have known each other for 200, 250 years; there ought to be a history there worth telling.
So we spent a good portion of this Season One investigating the relationship between Aiden and Bishop through flashbacks and we introduced a lot, a lot, of surprising twists and turns in that relationship which really reached - really, really makes the present day, in our minds, that much more richer.
So that was one example in which we took, you know, what we would call a challenge and made it into something that really worked for us.
ANNA FRICKE: And that was also on a very basic level why we decided to change their names, the character names, so that we wouldn't be constantly thinking of the original.
We just wanted to think of it as like, look at this cast and look at these actors and think about, who are these people?
JEREMY CARVER: And to add, and I'll just keep going here, we can write all the scripts we want and we're very proud of the scripts that were written, but once you find and identify the best people possible to play these roles and you walk on to that set on Day 1 and they open their mouths, you're just instantly transported into a different kind of show...
ANNA FRICKE: Yes, it's immediately a different show, yes.
JEREMY CARVER: These are a different kind of amazing actors and it's just - they make it incredibly easy to loose yourself in our version of Being Human as opposed to dwelling on the version that is running concurrently on BBC America.
JEREMY CARVER: Or whenever it is but...So, all those reasons.
QUESTION: Just a quick question for Sam...Were you concerned about taking on a role that's going to require you to, you know, not have cloths on often?
SAM HUNTINGTON: Ah, yes.
QUESTION: Was this an issue and how do you deal with that?
SAM HUNTINGTON: You just shut off, right? I mean...I would imagine it's a lot like being a prostitute.
No, I - well, I don't have to imagine that hard. It was a rough early 20's for me but, no, honestly literally I think it's like the first paragraph of the first episode of the first...script is Josh stands naked in the woods.
So I pretty much knew going into, even the audition process, that this was something that was going - that this could be a reality for me. And, to be honest, it was terrifying, but in all seriousness kind of liberating and it got really easy after a while.
You know, needless to say there's certain tricks that you can employ to hide your good parts or, mediocre parts in my case, but you just kind of get used to it.
And the other thing that actually came into play was the fact that I was so comfortable with everyone on set, it was across the board that it wasn't really - you know, it was like standing naked in front of your buddies. You know, it wasn't - it got really, really normal. It got really normal oddly.
So, yes, at first there were a lot of nerves but those actually got squelched very, very quickly.
ANNA FRICKE: Did you think we were going to make you strip in the audition?
SAM HUNTINGTON: You did. Do you remember the third one that was...
ANNA FRICKE: Oh, right. Maybe I fainted.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Maybe I did it and...Yes, yes, yes. Maybe you weren't there that day. It was just Jeremy that day. I always thought it was great because it was at your house but...
But, no, yes and I actually - I think it actually also adds a lot to the vulnerability of the character so I think I was always actually kind of happy when that was - when nudity was the case because it helped me, it really helped me be more vulnerable. So that's a huge part of it and an important part.
QUESTION: I just want to say going into hearing about you guys remaking this series I was actually dreading it and not looking forward to it at all. And when I got the first three episodes from Syfy I was sort of nervous to put it in and you guys proved me wrong.
It is amazing.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Oh, you are awesome.
ANNA FRICKE: That's great to hear.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Thank you so much.
QUESTION: I've actually already watched it twice and I'm pretty disappointed that I have to wait to February to see a new episode so...Most of my questions have already been answered but I guess for Jeremy and Anna I was just wondering what you guys are brining to the show from your time on previous shows?
I know you all have worked on things like Supernatural and Everwood and I was just wondering what you all are brining from those experiences to the show?
ANNA FRICKE: I think the combination of Supernatural and Everwood sets up for we can do monster street fights and family dinner scenes.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, yes.
ANNA FRICKE: That's sort of it in a nutshell. I mean, just like speaking for the shows that I've worked on, I definitely worked on relationship shows basically and like that's definitely what I gravitate towards, sort of two people in a room talking.
So I'm always very comfortable with that aspect although I think also this show gave us an opportunity to - no writer likes to be pigeonholed and it's very easy to be pigeonholed based on what was the last show you did.
So I think we were both excited to break out and show that we can do other things that maybe were not expected of us.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, I think it's probably very easy to sort of categorize myself as (genre) and Anna as relationship when that's really just not the case. Like Anna just said, and I'm saying now, in the case of what we last worked on, I think more important almost in the shows that you worked on - well, in terms of their content is in terms of running a show is how to make a good television show.
And that goes from good storytelling over the course of a season in terms of your scripts and your cast and everything. You pick up things from the bosses that you've worked for and hopefully you've learned or studied or watched in terms of how to, I mean, this is the boring version, but basically to run an organized fun productive place to work.
I mean, I guess that's more of a management side of the issue. For me from supernatural I practically was terrified of horror films before I worked on Supernatural. (Slide) a little bit in that interview but...
ANNA FRICKE: Yes, I had to prep him for the Supernatural interviews because...
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, a couple of white lies in that interview but I quickly - I caught up. So in terms of genre, I mean, there are certain (commissions) of genre that you need to be sort of steeped in so you're at least - even if you're twisting it you know what you're twisting.
ANNA FRICKE: But I think what we, this is Anna again, look for and we have two other tremendous writers Nancy Won and Chris Dingess and ultimately the core, like our writers room, is comprised of storytellers.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes.
ANNA FRICKE: You know, Chris and Nancy have worked on a wide variety of shows as well from Reaper to Brothers & Sisters, Eastwick and, you know, they also have worked on sort of both sides of the playing field.
And at the end of the day they were really looking or, like I said, storytellers, personal stories, personal experience and that's what drives it at the end of the day.
JEREMY CARVER: And just to go one tiny step further is, for those of you on the phone who have enjoyed what you've seen so far, I mean, I think I can absolutely promise you that it only gets better and the stories get so much richer and deeper and more original. And the conflicts and the moral situations our characters find themselves in just pile up as the season goes on and I just - I mean, honestly, you know we would be all lying if we said we didn't enter into a project like this with a certain amount of trepidation and expectations.
And I think that all of us to a person are so proud of what's coming down the pike and what you're all going to see beyond what you've just seen.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Definitely.
JEREMY CARVER: Because we've obviously - we've seen it all.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes.
JEREMY CARVER: And it is - the gentlemen we were just speaking to has said he's already watched it twice. I mean, you can imagine how many times we've seen the episodes and I can honestly tell you from the bottom of my heart is that when you see the same episode, I've probably seen Episode One 30 times at least in its entirety, and it just never gets boring. And it's even more so for the episodes that are coming down the pike. So, that's my promise to you.
SAM HUNTINGTON: No, it's true though. Like its still funny like even after Episode Three I feel like the overarching story really kind of begins for us almost. It's like the first three or...
MEAGHAN RATH: It's somewhat of a relief to get past that point...
SAM HUNTINGTON: It is - it's a lot...Like in any show there's a lot of (exposition). Now, this is Sam speaking, in the first three episodes by default, that's any TV show, you have your kind of startup period but then you really start cooking and, boy oh boy, it's a ride. It's a ride.
QUESTION: My question is for Sam and Meaghan. A lot of people had some good questions before so they have been narrowing mine down.
But one thing I wanted to ask, you know, this is a fairly major gig for you guys as actors and once you found out you got the part I wanted to know what kind of research you did into the roles as both a ghost and the werewolf?
MEAGHAN RATH: Okay, well, I'll start. Well, I'm a big believer in ghosts myself...
ANNA FRICKE: I didn't know that.
MEAGHAN RATH: Yes, I am. As a matter of fact, the first house I ever lived in was haunted and so I've sort of been, and my parents are kind of into that too, so I've sort of been bred on that my entire life.
But as far as research goes I really was experiencing everything for the first time with Sally. I mean, Sally doesn't - she died six months ago at the beginning and she doesn't know what's going on. And so it's appropriate that I too am now finding my way and figuring out what I am.
So I was just sort of going through it as she was.
SAM HUNTINGTON: That's funny. That's very similar to the Josh character in that, yes, it's very new to him too. He turned into a werewolf two years ago, or got turned into a werewolf two years ago, and so he's going through a little bit more. He's, you know, obviously he hasn't come a long way in those two years he's just kind of been biding his time until he really doesn't know what's going to happen.
So he - as far as the research, yes, I looked a little bit into werewolf lore and ultimately I think what we're doing is really original and so I kind of was looking at Josh as a character more than the genre aspect of him.
So yes, I mean, a lot of it was the wonderful material that we were given and just kind of working that and forming that into what I thought that the character was and luckily it was not hard because I've always felt very close to it.
So yes, I mean, I hope that answers your question a little bit. It was easy and yet wonderful.
QUESTION: My first question actually is for Sam. Your character is different than what's usually portrayed on shows, a lot of current shows, there's a typical werewolf.
I wanted to know what direction do you plan on taking Josh that will keep him unique?
SAM HUNTINGTON: That will keep him unique, I think it's built into the character, you know? I mean, like you just said, it's the atypical. It's not the typical werewolf, you know. And that's what attracted me to the role and something that I carry through the season. The wonderful writing has definitely been, you know, my guide.
But, yes, I mean his humor has a lot to do with it. His kind of hatred for who he is has a lot to do with it and I think that's what opening can be interesting for people to see too.
So as far - I try to carry a lot of that humor and a lot of that almost innocence of Josh throughout.
QUESTION: Just in general, how easy or challenging it's been to have Montreal pose as Boston and why Boston?
ANNA FRICKE: I think it has been somewhat of a challenge because we can't...I mean, the show it's not the town. We're not going to ever really be able to have like huge aerial shots of Boston. And I think we chose Boston for a few reasons.
I think we sort of said in the beginning when we were discussing it that you hadn't really seen New England in this kind of show. You know if you look at Twilight you see the Pacific Northwest and Vampire Diaries and True Love you see sort of southern gothic.
And we really wanted to take actually something that we really liked from the British show which was to have sort of an urban working class neighborhood feel.
And I'm also - I'm from New England and actually so is Sam Huntington.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes.
ANNA FRICKE: I'm from Hancock, Maine and he is from Hancock, New Hampshire.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Something we found out very early on.
JEREMY CARVER: Headline.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Bonded us, yes, exactly. Right. Oh my God.
ANNA FRICKE: And my dad lives in Boston. I went to high school in Boston. So Boston just sort of had a good feel for us. We obviously are very limited in terms of what we can show of Boston.
JEREMY CARVER: But Montreal, that said, has proven to be wonderful as a backdrop.
SAM HUNTINGTON: It's amazing. Yes.
JEREMY CARVER: It's got just enough locations and the exterior feel to double for Boston and choosing one more thing to add like Anna was just saying in terms of choosing Boston, I mean, it also tied in really nicely to our character back stories particularly of Aiden and Bishop.
Bishop turned Aiden during the Revolutionary War and Bishop himself came over as a settler originally from Europe to basically make his way in the new world as a vampire, you know, seeking sort of new territories to hunt and to prosper in which goes some to his back story in this season.
So, Boston has proven very well to sort of tie into sort of tying our vampires coming over to the founding of America. And also it occurs to me that our vampires are very much a New England breed of vampires in that they are not - you're not going to see our vampires wearing leather dusters and leather chaps. You know what I mean? With like dagger tattoos across their forehead, although...He begged for a dagger.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Oh, yes.
JEREMY CARVER: But so I would say our vampires are very much of the New England modest variety if that makes sense. If you're familiar with the sort of New England mindset which is a sort of more hard scrabble, modest mindset that is very much the sort of way our vampires assimilate into society to sort of fall into this mindset which I think is kind of cool to our show.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, it is cool. I never actually thought about that but that's cool.
SAM HUNTINGTON: That's cool though. That's good, that's real unique.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, there's a lot of brick in Montreal too. It looks a lot like Boston.
ANNA FRICKE: Yes.
JEREMY CARVER: It's good. You know, having spent a lot of time in Boston, it's a great double for Boston so...
QUESTION: To Jeremy and Anna, of all the actors that auditioned for the parts, what was it about Sam and Meaghan that made them stand out?
ANNA FRICKE: Oh, awkward.
JEREMY CARVER: (They're sitting) right here.
JEREMY CARVER: Let me - Meaghan just started listening by the way. She's been signed of this whole time.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, Meaghan just put (her mark on the way).
JEREMY CARVER: She just perked up. She just took her glasses off, you didn't see it.
ANNA FRICKE: You know, especially because this show obviously already exists I think it was - like that first day of casting I remember we were so...It was so hard for us to figure out...You know you have these original actors in your mind, which you don't want to have. You just want to find like what is our version and what is our voice and we don't want to be thinking about looking for that person.
And, you know, these were hard roles to cast because you cannot just think of it as individual characters. You have to think about these people as a trio and how are they going to relate to each other? And that's something that we've spoken about already is the fantastic chemistry with these guys.
And, I have to say, and I'm not just saying that because they're sitting here, like Sam and Meaghan really from the get-go, and again, Meaghan we didn't even get to see in person because it was on tape from Montreal really sort of stood out of like, yes, that is the spark and the life that we're looking for in the Sally character.
I mean, I have to say no one ever really came close so that was like...
SAM HUNTINGTON: All the other girls who auditioned for this role are crying.
ANNA FRICKE: I know, now I feel...
ANNA FRICKE: Now I feel bad but it's true.
JEREMY CARVER: Casting is such a subjective thing, right.
ANNA FRICKE: It's brutal. It's brutal.
JEREMY CARVER: So for an actor it's got to be an utterly brutal process.
ANNA FRICKE: It's awful.
JEREMY CARVER: But likewise for people in our position it can be an equally brutal process because even when you see what walked in the door on a piece of tape you don't know what you're getting until you truly see what you're getting and, then like Anna was saying, until you actually put them next to the other people they're going to be acting with.
ANNA FRICKE: Yes, sometimes you don't know what you're looking for until you see it.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, there's this group...
ANNA FRICKE: Then you're like, oh, there's the guy.
JEREMY CARVER: This group is - the chemistry of this group is so vitally important and so when these three got together it was so instant and so kinetic that it paid off in every way. But I just want to back up to say that our directive was to look everywhere.
ANNA FRICKE: Yes.
JEREMY CARVER: And this show is being shot in Canada so we had casting directors in Canada, in the United States. We looked all over Canada...
ANNA FRICKE: We did a New York casting session, we looked all over Canada.
JEREMY CARVER: Los Angeles, New York...And when I say we saw hundreds and hundreds of actors and the cast that we have now it was undeniable from the first moment that we saw these three.
It was undeniable and it was - so it was in that regard, it's very, very easy. I mean, I'll speak to these three people. They made it very, very easy.
ANNA FRICKE: I'll say about Sam Huntington, this is awkward because he's sitting across from me but...
MEAGHAN RATH: Just glaring at him...
SAM HUNTINGTON: Oh, no...
ANNA FRICKE: But, I mean, looking for Josh, finding the character of Josh, was always going to be one of the most difficult things because we really feel like Josh, because he is sort of - he is the most human. He is sort of the heart of the show. He sort of has the most to loose. We really needed someone to have that vulnerable and heartbreaking quality but who was also funny, you know. And Sam really brought that to the floor. He was really - you feel for him in that room immediately.
And Sam Witwer, I remember when he walked in...
JEREMY CARVER: We were like oh my God.
ANNA FRICKE: I remember when he walked in and, you know, you have your paper with everyone's name on it and you're making notes...
JEREMY CARVER: And then you see his abs through his shirt...
ANNA FRICKE: No, no, no...
JEREMY CARVER: She was like, I'm sorry, your names Sam (Wooer)...
ANNA FRICKE: No, I wrote down...
JEREMY CARVER: With woo...
ANNA FRICKE: No, I wrote a note to Jeremy like that guy...
JEREMY CARVER: You wrote down make him take his shirt off...
ANNA FRICKE: No, no, no...
SAM HUNTINGTON: Poor Anna...Oh man.
ANNA FRICKE: I wrote down that guy's a killer. So we see - look, vampires...And we joked about when we started this casting process like are there any hot vampires left to cast? I feel like they've all been cast and we got a lot of, no offense to anyone who auditioned, we got a lot of sort of bruiting, pretty, sexy people who didn't have any depth to them.
And Sam really brought in, I believed that he had a haunted past as a vengeful killer but I also believed that he was vulnerable underneath that.
MEAGHAN RATH: Like a scorned underwear model.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes, look...
SAM HUNTINGTON: Or Zoolander...(My names) Zoolander.
JEREMY CARVER: We're teasing Sam Witwer but the fact of the matter is with him, and all three of the roommates, you would flounder and die on day one if all you brought to this were appearances. I mean, the paces that these stories put these three people through, it was the theme from the scenes we had them read to the scenes we had them read together were all very deliberate because we knew where they were going when they didn't necessarily know.
And we had to know that they could do what was coming, what was in store, because we knew what was in store. I mean...
ANNA FRICKE: And all three of them have to be heartbreaking and funny. Like they all go through the ringer in this business.
JEREMY CARVER: Yes.
ANNA FRICKE: So, you know, you have to be able to see all sides.
JEREMY CARVER: So I think we've rehabilitated our assault on Sam Witwer.
SAM HUNTINGTON: I think so, I think so. That guy can take it. He's too talented. He's too talented.
QUESTION: And just my last question, for everyone in the room, what's your advice to actors?
SAM HUNTINGTON: Just in general? Just in general?
QUESTION: Yes, just in general. Yes, yes.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Well, this is Sam speaking. I think there's a lot of different people at different levels in their careers and I think that there's different advice for people at different points.
There's a lot of (stick-to-itiveness) that needs to go into it and there's a lot of hard, hard, hard work and determination and there's also a lot of...You have to have a really, really, really thick skin because nine times, 9.99 times out of ten, you don't get the job and it's in a really devastating way and it's something that you really want and that's just the way it works.
And so, yes, I think you just work on your craft and just try to know, in your core, that everything happens for a reason. And if it's not this one, it's the next one.
This all sounds very depressing.
MEAGHAN RATH: It's really depressing.
SAM HUNTINGTON: But I've got to tell you like, for the most part, it is kind of depressing so you just...
SAM HUNTINGTON: No (shit). So you've got to kind of stick with it and perfect yourself as best you can.
MEAGHAN RATH: This is Meaghan. I think just to add to that is for this process specifically it was like, for me at least, I was so - I started off so in love with the materials, the scripts, the characters that at each step I got to it became more and more scary for me because as it became more real and plausible it's also that much more heartbreaking if you don't get it, because you can loose it all in a second.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes.
MEAGHAN RATH: But I think my best advice would just be to work as hard as you can constantly. I mean, it has to be something that's on your mind all the time and I think just working on your craft and developing your skills is really what's going to set you apart from most people.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Work on it everyday.
MEAGHAN RATH: Yes.
SAM HUNTINGTON: I can honestly say I think I'm a better actor now than when I started this series six months ago.
MEAGHAN RATH: Well, that's what's great about a series is that you can practice every day.
SAM HUNTINGTON: Yes, yes, yes. Yes, that's really all this was for me. Just (practicing acting). (Go), kind of just really figuring things out.