How Being Human is going to differentiate itself from the depictions that other films and television series have given vampires, werewolves and ghosts:
SH: I know the vampires on our show are very different than any other vampire you’ve ever seen. I think all the characters are kind of more or less — he’s a vampire, but it’s tweak because I think the theory is they’ve evolved a little bit. They’ve been around for a really long time.
SW: Also, we’re stripping away any kind of glamorous veneer from the vampire thing. It’s very bottom-feeder, uncomfortable, junky stuff… In the case of Aidan, my character, he was a very morally upright person who was corrupted by what he became because of what the Bishop character did to him, turning him into a vampire 200-odd years back, and then lived a life of — sort of in a drug haze, completely becoming kind of, for all intents and purposes, a sociopath and still maintaining a piece of his conscious inside. And then eventually that grew into something that he had to deal with, and then for the past two years, he’s been trying to stay clean, which is very difficult. And the fun about the character, I think, is he’s rediscovering his humanity.
So, you know, he’s 257 years old, so you imagine he’s seen everything, so what would a character like that be? Well, he’d be very internal, and he wouldn’t be very impressed with anything. And he wouldn’t really have — his emotions, they’d be hard to sort of get them bubbling to the surface. But the fun about it is if — if you were in kind of a drug haze for a long formative period of your life and you came out of it, the world would seem like a very, very scary place, and you would have emotional reactions in the most unexpected circumstances. So that’s the fun we have with this character is that while he is this — you know, he’s wizened and he’s seen all this stuff, at the same time, he will sometimes have panic attacks based on what he sees somewhere, or he will freak out about something because his emotions have been suppressed for, like, 200 years, and he hasn’t really been dealing with life in any kind of human way until just recently. So you have this guy who is very, very off balance. And I think in that way, we provide a character that’s kind of accessible, you know.
SH: (jokingly) And that was off the cuff. He hasn’t thought about this at all… [in terms of the werewolf], I don’t think you’ve ever seen a werewolf like this before.
MR: Also, like, that’s what makes our show different from all the other genre of vampires/werewolf/ghost shows is because, for ours, our characters aren’t necessarily embracing their supernatural powers. And it’s, like, you can take away that element of the show, and the story will still be as compelling because it’s about these people trying to retain their humanity.
MR: It’s amazing. It’s so good. It’s terrifying.
SH: Yeah, it’s really, really disturbing to watch the transformation. the wolf itself is very different than anything you’ve ever seen. Also, I think as far as what he is what the character is when he’s not a werewolf is something probably you’ve never seen. He’s introverted, and he’s just scared he’s going to do something wrong, hurt someone. And so he’s not the type of guy you could picture being a werewolf.
MR: The ghost, I mean, it’s not like she’s not running around haunting people. It’s more about her dealing with her issues with loneliness and trying to find her place in the world and coming to terms with her death. So it’s more about her journey as opposed to, like, the classic scary ghost, like a 21 poltergeist. She’s also coming to terms with her powers and what she can do and what she’s capable of, which is pretty interesting.
SW: What’s really fun about it is that all three of the characters — the genre stuff grows out of emotional metaphors that have to do with just people.
How Being Human uses practical effects and lighting tricks to maintain Sally‘s inability to interact with elements as a ghost:
SW: We’ll be shooting scenes, and we will always be mindful to not — we can’t touch her in any way. So we’ll just be kind of sitting next to each other, and our shoulders will brush. “Cut.” “What? What’s wrong?”
MR: I [also] have these things called “Sally’s hard pillows.” I don’t know if that’s the technical name. So anytime I’m sitting on a couch or lying on a bed, it’s all rigged that it’s literally cement. It’s so hard. And because Sally can’t make a dent in anything because she just floats on top of things, which is so uncomfortable.
SW: Which is great because you always have to recline in a comfortable position.
MR: Yeah, I always have to pretend, like, looking really comfortable. It’s so awkward.
SH: The best is when you don’t realize that something is Sally-ized. So you just go to sit down, and you break your tailbone.
MS: But even just talking about the very hard couch, I think it’s a very good example of — I think there’s nothing worse than watching a show where the ghost is supposed to be ephemeral — I’m, like, a logic freak about this stuff — the ghost is supposed to be ephemeral, and then people’s shadow fall on her or her shadow falls on them. It’s like, “But wait a minute. What? How come she can move that pillow if she’s supposed to be ephemeral?”
SW: You guys are watching shadows too? Wow.
MS: Oh, yes… We really are talking about shadows and — it’s all of it. And it’s stuff that hopefully is relatively invisible. It’s not meant to be belabored when you’re watching the show, but I find those things to be more present or noticeable when they are suddenly there in an unexpected way. So you may not notice — these guys didn’t even notice there are no shadows.
Being Human Panel (31:22)
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Being Human premieres January, 2011 on SyFy
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