Monday, January 16, 2012

Being Human Q&A With Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath

Hello everyone, this week we had a chance to participate in a tele conference with the start of Being Human U.S.  Unfortunately, the transcript of the call is really quite long and we aren't able to share all of it with you.  Below you will find a few what we deem to be the best questions and responses.

Bill Brennan: Hi everyone, thanks so much for joining us today, we’re very excited with the season two premiere of Being Human, it’s this Monday, January 16 at 9:00 Eastern Pacific.

And we’ve got Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath with us today. So with that I’ll turn it over to the Q&A with Sam, Sam and Meaghan.      

Renee Martin: Being Human was originally a British show, Being Human UK so I was wondering if any of you have watched it and do you feel this coming season is a chance to break away from the original because I do know that the first season very closely matched the first season of Being Human UK.

Sam Witwer:
Well this season - sorry, Meaghan you want to go?

Meaghan Rath: No, go ahead.

Sam Witwer: We as actors we didn’t watch the British series when we were shooting our first season because we wanted to do our own thing. We wanted to make sure that ours was its own animal.

And then afterward we watched it. We watched everything. I love their show and I truly dig on it and I got Sammy and Meaghan started by buying them the box sets for season one and they watched it since then, watched more of it since then.

And you know we’re all into it, but the writers, our writers hate it. No just kidding. Our writers, no our writers for the same reason that we avoided watching season one, they’ve avoided watching season two because they want season two to be its own animal.

So any - there is a little bit of cross over here and there in terms of things happening sometimes in similar ways. But it’s really coincidental considering our writers didn’t even know. So it’s interesting, whenever something would happen that was similar I’d read it in the script and kind of laugh.

Because they have no idea, but you know it’s for the most part extremely different.

Renee Martin: Okay so do you think then this difference will stop the ongoing comparisons between the two shows because right now there’s currently a lot of online talk about which version is better.

Sam Witwer: No, it won’t stop it.

Meaghan Rath: I don’t think it will stop, no, because it is the - founded on the same situations, they’re both the same show. But I mean that’s okay with me, I don’t mind that because I also like Sam was saying I’m a huge fan of the British one.

And I’m very positive in the second season that it does differ in a huge way. And you know and I’m - we’re the same family but different kind of - we’re different cultures and I don’t know, I’m happy to be associated with them and I’m excited for the day that we actually meet.
Sam Huntington: Yeah me too, I really want to meet them. I think also we’d probably be singing a different tune if it was more negative. To be honest I think they’ve been so kind to us, you know primarily.

The people who are fans of the BBC series or were first fans of the BBC series have really embraced our show and I think if they were really hating on it we’d be ready for them to be like uh guys, you know what we are our own thing.

And like listen, we embrace that, the fact that this season we are like Sam said like there’s some small cross overs but for the most part we are - and they are unintentional. We are our own beast.

And - but yeah, I think we’d be a lot more eager to have the comparisons cease if they were negative comparisons. Right?

Sam Witwer: No, absolutely. I think that people have their preferences and it isn’t - for example if someone says hey I like the British version better, I’m not going to sit there and go whoa you’re wrong.

I’ll be like no, I see why, it’s different, there are different things. Personally when I watched the two shows, when I was watching you know just going through theirs and watching our season one versus their season one.

And I was kind of torn because I’d see stuff and I’d go oh they really nailed that moment in a way that we didn’t’. They - yeah, that’s better.

Oh I like this better about theirs, and then I’d see other stuff and go oh but you know what, I like ours better on this, or we had a better take on this, and so I personally I mean considering I’m so close to it I could never say which is objectively better.

And frankly I don’t know that most people could objectively say that, I think it’s more of a taste thing.

Sam Huntington: I think one of the reasons is because you watch them at the exact same time on two different televisions.

Sam Witwer: Very strange, it was like stereo but I found a way to actually lock one of my eyes on one television and one of my eyes on the other.

Sam Huntington: Is that why you look like some kind of platypus this year, it’s bizarre.

Sam Witwer: I look the guy from Young Frankenstein, I look like Igor.

Sam Huntington: That’s exactly right.

Sam Witwer: But - and that’s also why I was vomiting that day because it really had...

Sam Huntington:
A really negative effect physically.

Sam Witwer: Yeah.

Sam Huntington: Sorry, are you still there?

Renee Martin: Thank you.

Sam Huntington:
There you are.

Renee Martin: Thank you very much.

Sam Witwer:
Thank you.

Meaghan Rath: Thank you.

Curt Wagner: Sam hello from Chicago.

Sam Huntington: Hey what’s up Curt?

Meaghan Rath: Hello.

Curt Wagner: 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.

Sam Witwer: Well Sam - Meg go for it.

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.

Curt Wagner: All right, thanks, and then 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.

Curt Wagner: All right cool.

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.

Curt Wagner: Awesome. All right, thanks guys.

Sam Witwer: Thanks sir.

Chris Piers: Hey guys, thanks for the time.

Sam Witwer: Chris.

Sam Huntington: Dude, no problem.

Meaghan Rath: Hey.

Chris Piers: All right, so in addition to playing you know vampires, ghosts and werewolves we’ve had Sam and Sam have each played zombies, what is it that - you know what is it about monsters that’s resonating with the viewing public these days?

I’m thinking you guys have had some time to maybe mull some of that over.

Sam Huntington: Well I mean in all seriousness I think there’s a lot of people out there who are undead and I think that they really relate to you know the undead on our show and I think that’s what sets our show aside.

Sam Witwer: I think that our society has good points and bad points but we’re a little bit more self aware I suppose as Americans...

Sam Huntington: Oh you’re going deep.

Sam Witwer: Yeah, I’m all check this out, about...

Sam Huntington: You used the word America that was...

Sam Witwer: Things - oh I’m going to go for America, about things that - check this out, check it out, are you sitting down Sam?

Sam Huntington:
I am literally.

Sam Witwer: Okay cool. Now stand up and listen to me.

Sam Huntington: And put your hand on your heart.

Sam Witwer: No, I think that it might have something to do with the fact that our country - it’s come to our attention that we’re not always just the sterling good guy, that there’s some gray area in there and that our heroes don’t always live up to our expectations.

And it’s a little bit of a - the 70s was a cynical error - era, let’s go with era.

Sam Huntington: It was an error.

Sam Witwer: And the 70s was a cynical era but I don’t know that they felt as messed with in terms of the media machine and constantly feeling manipulated and pushed around and feeling like perhaps we’re pushed into participating in things that are maybe not the best things morally.

So maybe it’s that moral uncertainty that makes people lock in to all this dark stuff, you know looking - because what are zombies? Zombies are ourselves only completely corrupted and messed up.

What’s a vampire? Same type of theme, werewolf, ghost, I mean these are sort of the darker aspects of our nature and I wonder if it’s just - where the country has gone.

I mean for example you drive by Warner Brother’s studios which is just down the street from where I live and it used to be - there’s this building and they have this painting of all the DC comics superheroes all along the wall right?

And it used to be Superman was in the middle, and he was flanked by Batman and Wonder Woman and then you’d have all the other people. Well now Batman’s in the center and Superman’s off to the side.

And you’re just like wow, when did that happen? When did you know...

Sam Huntington: When Batman made a hundred gajillion dollars.

Sam Witwer: Well it’s like that, but people are relating more to Batman than they are to Superman. It used to be - I mean if you went back to like the 40s or the 50s you think anyone like - Batman was second place to Superman.

Superman was the guy, like oh this is us, Superman is us, and now it’s like I think it might be Batman, we’re a little bit messed up, you know?

Meaghan Rath: That’s a great answer Sam.

Sam Witwer: How about that, it’s the same thing for example I don’t know if you’re a video game person but it’s one of the things that people have suggested as to why the Star Wars character and the force unleashed game Star Killer is popular.

Because it’s like he’s messed up, he’s like Luke Skywalker but he’s messed up.

Sam Huntington: I actually think that my answer about...

Chris Piers: Sam you’ve given me a lot to think about.

Sam Huntington: ...more people being undead, I think that’s the...

Meaghan Rath: He’s questioning his wife right now.

Chris Piers: Yes I am.

Sam Huntington: That was a very three dimensional answer. I liked that a lot. I listened to it, I almost put you on speaker phone so that my whole family could hear you.

Sam Witwer: Everyone gather around the speaker phone, you need to listen to this.

Sam Huntington: Listen to this, this is important.

Sam Witwer: Do we have another question?

Chris Piers: No.

Sam Huntington: Hello?

Meaghan Rath: What’s happening?

Sam Witwer: Did we lose him?      

(Royal Nonsarch): Hi guys, thanks for talking to us today.

Sam Huntington: Oh yeah.

Meaghan Rath: Hey.

(Royal Nonsarch): My question is basically since you guys have had a full season behind you, and playing these characters do you guys have a ton of input in terms of plot points or the direction of where each character is going to go.

Sam Huntington:

Meaghan Rath: No, not at all.

Sam Witwer: Well with a caveat. If we get far enough behind yes we do.

Sam Huntington: Yeah right.

Sam Witwer: And I felt like I had quite a bit of input by the end but that was really - that wasn’t necessarily out of design it was more necessity. There were problems that needed to be solved and as - you know all three of us while we’re not responsible for the macro shape of the show, we do at this point, I think we can safely say we know our characters better than anyone.

So there was for me, I can’t speak for Sammy and Meaghan but there was for me a little bit of diving in and helping solve certain problems and saying hey, listen, here’s what Aidan would do, you know?

Sam Huntington:
Yeah, WWAD?

Sam Witwer: That’s right.

Sam Huntington: Yeah, I mean there were moments that you’re like you know you have you know very minimal but a certain amount of contact with our writers, the show runners and so if you have a question or something you can always ask or if you have a concern sometimes it gets listened to.

But yeah, I mean generally speaking they make the - Sam said it right, you know on a macro level they kind of - they pilot the ship.

Sam Witwer: They do and they do a really good job of coming up with really interesting turns and twists.

Sam Huntington: Yeah.

Meaghan Rath: Definitely.

(Royal Nonsarch): Okay and my other question was really quickly I guess how long did it take you guys to shoot this season, and like how long - how many hour days did you have and stuff like that?

Meaghan Rath: It took about five months, we started in July and finished in December. And the days can go pretty long, sometimes 14, 15 hours depending on the day, depending what point we are in the schedule, how behind we are?

Sam Witwer: Your occasional 18, 19 hour they throw in. But there were more of those 18, 19 hour days last year than there were this year.

Meaghan Rath:

Sam Huntington: And also consecutively last year, that was what was weird, that’s what really took - you’d have a beastly three days and it would just take it out of you for like three weeks, you know?

That kind of was the unfortunate thing about the end of last season is it was just hellish you know?

(Royal Nonsarch): All right, thanks a lot guys, looking forward to the rest of the season.

Sam Witwer: Thank you.

Meaghan Rath: Thank you.

Sam Huntington: Awesome, thanks man.   

Dustin Adair: Hi, I’m actually here with my writing partner (Molly) and we have probably the most important question you’re going to be asked all day.

Sam Huntington:
Do it.

Sam Witwer: Okay, I’m sitting down.

Dustin Adair: We know that in casting Aidan was supposed to be like the super sexy vampire and Josh was supposed to be the comic relief. How do you guys deal with the fact that Josh is totally sexier than Aidan?

Sam Huntington: Oh God, it’s hard for me. I can tell you right now that will be the one - you are the one person who feels that way and I think you should come over tonight for dinner.

Sam Witwer: See now my thing is this, they had a lot of hopes for the Aidan character and only one or two out of the 15 have they actually achieved having hired me. So it’s nothing - this is not anything new in terms of the disappointment about the Aidan character.

I think it’s safe to say it’s pretty much a failure of a character. So it’s - this is...

Sam Huntington: In the sexy regard.

Sam Witwer: No, not just the sexy regard, but dramatically you know especially dramatically. Like the guy doesn’t necessarily pull his weight.

Meaghan Rath: He’s a dud.

Sam Witwer: Well look, every show has a dud character. My thing is they pay me the same amount whether the character’s a dud or really works so for me it’s a win-win.

It’s easier. Well it’s a lose-win actually, it’s a lose in that I’m not doing good work, win I’m getting paid to not do good work.

Dustin Adair: And we just have one quick follow up.

(Molly): Why - can you tell us why vampires are such messy eaters?

Sam Witwer: Okay, I’ve asked the same damned question, I’m like look, he’s eating. Why is it all over my chest, come on.

Dustin Adair: We know that you guys drink blood, I mean we don’t need to see...

Sam Huntington: It’s like the vampire equivalent of a Carl’s Jr. commercial.

Sam Witwer: That’s true, I have actually on a few occasions been able to clean it up like you know they wanted to have blood all over the place, I’m like okay guys, he has been doing this for 200 years, he’s better at it than you guys are leading on.

So no, he’s eating, it’s in here, it’s by the mouth, and maybe just a little bit on the lips and they agree with that. But one thing I will say is that if someone loses their mind, if Aidan has been starving for a long time and then starts going for it and starts getting super high, then I get the blood getting everywhere.

But that’s our mythology.

Meaghan Rath: It’s like a drunkard and their beer.

Sam Witwer: What’s that?

Meaghan Rath: That’s like a drunk person spilling their beer all over the place.

Sam Huntington: That’s exactly right.

Sam Witwer: It’s a drunk person spilling their beer, basically.

Sam Huntington: are you making fun of me?

Dustin Adair: We would never make fun of you Sammy, we love you very much. You are the best thing in Dylan Dog.

Sam Huntington: Oh thank you, honestly I’m blushing, thank you so much.

Meaghan Rath: He’s a (unintelligible) celebrity.

Sam Huntington: What’s that?

Molly: How does it feel to be such a big Twitter celebrity? You tweet all the time.

Sam Huntington: I do, Meaghan is nipping at my heels, she’s a huge...

Meaghan Rath: Well these days, these days I’ve been tweeting a little more than you.

Sam Huntington: You tweet a lot.

Meaghan Rath: I’ve been slacking in the last couple days.

Sam Huntington: I love it, I’ve got to say - I discovered Twitter, when was it that - Meg you and I joined at like the same time, when was that? That was like...

Meaghan Rath: Yeah I think it was right after the premier of the first episode.

Sam Huntington: Sure, okay season one, and I love it, like I absolutely love it. I love my followers, like I love hearing all their comments and you know hearing about their days.

I love it, I think it’s a really cool community, I’m really into it. And I like being able to you know when people write me back and they say oh that just made me smile or that just put a smile on my face, I like that.

That’s why I’m actor, so like why not do that on a kind of a smaller scale, it’s cool, you know? And I feel like I have a relationship with a lot of my followers so it’s neat.

Meaghan Rath: Yeah.

Dustin Adair: Well great, thank you so much you guys.

Sam Huntington: Thank you guys.

Sam Witwer: Thank you.