Sunday, January 8, 2012

Q&A with Anna Fricke and Jeremy Carver, Executive Producers/Writers of Being Human (US)

This week we were extremely lucky to be part of  as part of a Q&A call with Being Human (US) Executive Producers/Writers Anna Fricke and Jeremy Carver where we got to get some of the inside scoop on  Season 2 of Being Human (US) starting 16th January (and naturally we will be reviewing and recapping as we did with Season 1).

The full call was wonderfully long and informative and, sadly, too long to reproduce entirely here (and we looove sitting on the secrets precious) but we have included some of the highlights, especially ones that appealed most to us and we think will to you. even cutting it down, there was so much good stuff here, that it's still very long, btu we think you'll appreciate it :)

Operator: Thank you. Our next question is from Renee Martin from Fangs for the Fantasy. Please go ahead with your question.

Renee Martin: Hi, thank you so much for talking with us today.

Anna Fricke: Thank you.

Renee Martin: Earlier last season we met Josh's sister and she was the only gay character on the show. So what I was wondering is, this season are we going to see more diversity in terms of race and sexuality?

Anna Fricke:  Yes actually. We are trying to make a point of that, and one thing and this is a small thing, but we wanted to sort of make a point that even in like in the vampire feeding world that men aren't always feeding off of women and women feeding off of men, we wanted to mix that up a little bit more and show that it's a free-for-all. There definitely is more diversity and trying to think of any...

Jeremy Carver: And we can look forward to Emily making a return.

Anna Fricke: Yes, Emily is also coming back.

Jeremy Carver: But in terms of additional gay or lesbian characters I - I'm blanking on if there's more or we just continue with - what do you think?

Anna Fricke: No I don't think there are.

Jeremy Carver: I don't think we specifically identify anyone as - anyone new as gay or lesbian this season, I don't think. I have to think about it another sec. Sorry we don't - we just (unintelligible) I mean we thought that...

Anna Fricke: Yes but I don't think so.

Jeremy Carver: Yes, I don't think we introduce anyone new, if that helps.

Renee Martin:            Okay thank you, that was my question.

Jeremy Carver: Sure.

Kyle Nolan: So last season many of the plots were similar to the U.K. show, can we expect that the U.S. show will branch off on its own this season?

Anna Fricke: Yes, all the story lines - we made a decision this year to do completely original story lines.

Jeremy Carver: That said, I think given that the show obviously has its roots in the British version, there's always going to be an inevitable crossover just by virtue of swimming in the same pond. But its - but going back to Anna's question, yes there was a great effort to make the series as original as possible this year given that its roots are still in the BBC version.

Jaime Ruby: All right. Well can you talk about the relationships we're going to see this year because I know there's a lot of different stuff coming up with that?

Jeremy Carver: Yes. I mean for Aidan, you're going to see Aidan - Aidan is basically confronted with the fallout from the death of Bishop, who he killed at the end of last year. And he - we are introduced to another sort of - another aspect of the vampire hierarchy in current day America, which involves sort of this overall leader known as Mother.

And Mother basically is going to sort of essentially trade Aidan his freedom - give Aidan - offer Aidan his freedom if he agrees to train her disgraced vampire daughter to be the leader of Boston.

So that opens up a whole can of worms in terms of Aidan having to deal with this pretty unpredictable daughter who he has known frankly, for the - for about close to 100 years.

Along with that we're going to be introduced to Aidan's vampire protégé, who is basically the last vampire Aidan ever turned, and that was back in the early 20th Century. He makes a return to Aidan's life.

So that's the character of Henry, it's played by Kyle Schmid, while the character the vampire daughter is played by Dichen Lachman from Dollhouse. And both of these people will greatly, greatly complicate Aidan's life and will play a major part in sort of leading him down this dark hole that he may end up going down this season.

We can also expect in Aidan to see the return in a way that we don't want to spoil, but we can expect to see our character of Bishop returning in a certain way this season as well.

For Josh, Josh of course is dealing with the fallout or at least is totally unaware that at the end last season, that he scratched Nora when he turned into a werewolf, and so as we come into the new season we find Josh and Nora both anxiously awaiting the rapidly approaching full moon, neither knowing what's going to happen.

The results of which have sort of an explosive effect on their relationship, plus we'll see some more people from Josh's past reenter the picture in a surprising way.

As for Sally we've got a ghost who considerably missed her door last season, she chose not to take that door or at least she chose to save Aidan instead, and she deals heavily with that fallout. And she will be introduced to basically lots of new ghost characters this year who will be sort of tempting her with new, sort of spectral -- if that's the proper term -- spectral temptation that will also, excuse me, lead her down a much darker path.

So Sally as well will have a certain number of folks from her past in unexpected ways. So everyone is dealing with not just new and twisty monster sort of things that come from a natural extension of being the type of monster they are, but also dealing with people that they dealt with in, you know, a "previous life before they were monsters," except Aidan. Aidan with is with mostly people he's dealt with as vampire.

Liz Henderson: Hi, thanks for taking the time this afternoon. Can you talk about what has been the most challenging story line to create so far?

Anna Fricke: Sorry, we're just conferring with each other for a second. I think that we - for us this season, but I'm glad that we did it because I think it's a necessary aspect of Aidan's background to tell, but it's been a little tricky to figure out the realm of vampire politics. Because vampires are obviously by nature so old, and things go so far back, we just wanted to make sure that we got things right, and I think we did.

But that was it was a lot to take on and it was an exciting challenge, but you know, when you're talking about people who are thousands of years old it gets a little complicated. So that was a challenge for us this year I would say.

Jeremy Carver: I agree.

Carla Day: Hello thanks for talking with us today. With the vampire politics kind of overtaking that story line, will there be some similar organization or coming together of ghosts and/or werewolves?

Anna Fricke: Yes, I mean I think it's safe to say that this season we sort of see a new form of every monster. So we have the new sort of form of vampires and we will also see different kinds of ghosts and a sort of different ghost society that we had touched into before, and also a different kind of werewolf.

And so while it may have that same mob structure with the vampires, I think yes, we do see a sort of greater world and hierarchy in the ghosts and in the werewolves.

Jeremy Carver: Yes, I'll go in further to say for example, in the werewolf world, I think last year, we had Josh introduced to just one other wolf, isn’t that right, Ray?

Anna Fricke:  Well and the professor.

Jeremy Carver: And the professor, correct. Sorry I forgot that. And this year we are basically starting to expand frankly the types of werewolves that we're seeing, and there will be a particular type and - that Josh comes across that will greatly alter his world. And we'll be seeing that there is basically more than one kind of species of werewolf in our world, and we're really excited about that.

Likewise with Sally, she's not just making friends with ghosts, as a result of turning up her door - I'm sorry, turning down her door, we're also going to be introduced to a different, I'll call it, species of ghost, that she may have unwittingly caused to come into her world by virtue of essentially screwing with the heavens as it were and passing up her door.

Melissa Miller: So my favorite part of pretty much of any supernatural show is - or any show, is the sort of smaller relationship stuff. And I know you've said that they sort of have their own paths this season, but is there some more like, romance? I liked the romance between Josh and Aidan, is there some of that to look forward to this season as well?

Anna Fricke:  Yes, absolutely. I mean that's also our favorite kind of story to tell. And we always try to make a point of having those roommate moments with all three of them, and also the romance which we love writing as well.

I think Aidan and Josh definitely have a lot of great conflict this season, they get pretty enmeshed in each other's lives due to decisions they've both made and yes, definitely there's more of that to look forward to.

Jeremy Carver: Yes, it's - the notion of these three as roommates and having to deal with each other through the good, the bad, the funny, the not funny, I mean maybe we take that for granted. But we're with you, that's the DNA of the show, that's why the show essentially works. I mean nothing is more alive than the three of these on the screen together, or some combination of.

Ernie Estrella: How much do you guys do you get to play or how much do you enjoy playing with the traditional knowledge of these monsters and then adding new stuff to it?

Jeremy Carver: Well we always, I mean it's always a balance right, because there are certain expectations. I mean part of the fun that goes back to the BBC series was particularly how they played with the vampires in that they could exist in sunlight et cetera, et cetera.

Staying with the BBC version they took great, great liberties with their ghost character, Annie right, its name is Annie, in that she - not only should she - could she touch things but she could be seen by people if I'm not mistaken. I think their Season 2 she was totally able to be seen by folks.

Anna Fricke:  Yes, she is.

Jeremy Carver: We took our ghost character in much smaller steps but you'll remember at the end of last season, one of the sort of like good-bad, immediate good-bad things that happened after Sally missed her door was that she discovered that she was able to connect more to Earthbound objects, which of course also implies that she is more Earthbound now that her daughter is gone so that's the good and bad of it.

So we'll see in Season 2 Sally is able to basically interact with inanimate objects on Earth more, but we get a huge kick it out. Look one of our favorite, if not favorite scene from Season 1, was Josh and Aidan in the bathroom in Episode 7...

Anna Fricke:  Seven.

Jeremy Carver: when Aidan has that reaction to garlic, in which we spun that to be that, the garlic lore doesn't actually ward off vampires, but that it was something that if a vampire eats garlic it would expose him even more.

Anna Fricke: We always tried to sort of take the lore and just try to do what makes sense to us. We just like to be able to follow it in a way that is going to make sense to us in a logical way.

Ernie Estrella: Okay. Is there any chance that you'd be looking at other kinds of monsters, variations, or are we going to be rooted basically with these three monsters through the series?

Jeremy Carver: You're going to see - well I wouldn't speak for the whole series, but I'll speak for the season in that this season you're going to see variations like I was trying to say before. You're going to see variations of the species we've already introduced, but we're not necessarily seeing new monsters.

 Jeremy Carver: Everything is - say, you might see a third cousin type of werewolf that you have seen before or it's in the same family tree of monsters, but we're not introducing for example...

Anna Fricke: Fairies.

Jeremy Carver:...fairies.

Jason Hunt: What efforts are you guys making to differentiate your supernatural creatures from all of the other versions that are out there?

 Anna Fricke: I think what we try to do most and what we always try to focus on is the core of the show, which is being human. Which is sort of keeping everything grounded on an emotional level for these characters, and keeping them in touch with their humanity and trying not to get too caught up in fantastical or arch storytelling, right? And I mean even in terms of like the Mother character we have, who is sort of like a Queen Elizabeth character in this vampire society, she and her daughter are actually a biological mother and daughter meaning that she turned her own daughter into a vampire. And so with something that I think has the show apart a little bit, in that you know, there are actual blood ties there.

 Jeremy Carver: Yes, I think Anna's hitting on it nice. To - it's not questioned - it's not necessarily a question of, how do our politics differ, it's how do our characters differ? And we really, really - when we introduced this sort of like new line on the vampire hierarchy, we do so by focusing very heavily on the characters themselves.

Anna Fricke:  I think what sets this show apart from some of these other genre shows, again of which I'm a big fan, is that they - our monsters are trying their best not to get enmeshed with their other monsters.

You know, Aidan, like at their heart, Aidan sort of wants nothing to do with the other vampires and Josh wants nothing to do with the other werewolves and Sally, you know, just wishes she had taken her door. And like all they want, again, just like to hit it home, all they want is to be human. And so they're always trying to do that, trying to have human relationships, trying to have normal lives, I think that ultimately is what differentiates it.

Jamie Ruby:  Okay, hi again. I just wanted to ask, "Can you talk a bit about - I know they show them in some of the promos, the group of werewolves that are kind of, "Want-to-be werewolves rather than human," can you talk a bit about that and how it's going to affect Josh?"

Anna Fricke:  We thought it would be interesting to show Josh is so set on being human and curing the werewolf cause - curing the werewolf curse rather that we wanted to explore the idea of monsters who don't view themselves as monsters basically, that werewolves who see being a werewolf as their natural state and that they feel more comfortable in that way.
And we sort of likened it to transgender people who like really, firmly believe that they should have been born a different way and they're just trying to make that transition. That's kind of how we approached those characters.
So someone who - we just wanted to show a different point of view than the one that Josh has which is, "I'm cursed, I hate it, I just want to be human." We wanted to show the sort of opposite side of that spectrum. Someone who actually feels trapped in their human body.