Being Human: Sam Witwer and Anna Fricke Talk Season 3 Changes, Old and New Guest Stars, Favorite Moments, and More!
"Being Human" showrunner Anna Fricke and star Sam Witer (Aidan) recently chatted with reporters about Season 3 of the Syfy series, and we have the highlights right here!
Having had the opportunity to speak with Fricke, Witwer, and his co-stars Meaghan Rath and Sam Huntington at last summer's San Diego Comic-Con, we already knew how entertaining they can be, and the pair didn't disappoint us this time either.
Read on to learn more about Aidan's journey during the new year, which of your favorite guest stars will be returning and who some of the newcomers are, US/UK similarities and differences, Anna's and Sam's favorite Season 3 moments so far, and A LOT more. Our thanks to Syfy for facilitating the interview.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your initial reaction when you found out that basically everything about the show is being upended this season and if you had any concern that this might irritate dedicated fans?
Sam Witwer: I was thrilled. I thought it was really fantastic; in fact, the entire cast was really blown away with the move because you want to feel like the things that happen leave an indelible mark on the characters and on the situations, so you want the show to evolve. I think Anna and her writers did a fantastic job in creating a season that allowed us to get really deep with our characters this year. This is definitely the season where we really get to know the characters even better than we did before in a big way.
Anna Fricke: If I could just add to that, I think part of what we've always loved about the concept of the show is that with great pain lies great humor, and it's a very human process that they're going through. And the whole concept of "Being Human" is that it's never going to work out for these people. So even if we do something like shake it up as we did in the first season, something is going to go wrong there, and it's never really going to work out. I guess that’s why I always feel safe and the writers feel safe in playing within those parameters because it's not going to work out. And if it ever does work out, that's the end of the show. So we have some room to play with.
Q: This is for both of you, whoever wants to answer. With Suren dead, is Aidan going to then be a better roommate and friend to the other two? And does this mean he's going to go after Mother?
Sam Witwer: The answer [to your first question] is yes actually - the thing with the Suren relationship is that while there was love there and affection and a lot of attempts at making it work... I don't know how Anna and Jeremy looked at it, but I looked at it like, '[Okay], this is the bad relationship year for Aidan.' It's like that girl you really want to date in high school and then you dated her at 25 and it just wasn't what you thought it was going to be and you just keep trying to make it work and it's fighting you every step of the way because you can't. In the second season of a show; you can't do the love of someone's life. It's probably not the best idea because you have other seasons and other people to meet.
So that was the way I interpreted it, like we're telling the story of a destructive relationship and it's not necessarily either of their faults that it's destructive; it's just that the circumstances and everything that have gone down make it destructive. So he's coming out of that definitely mindful of what it caused him to do to other people, and yes, we definitely see the three roommates interacting a lot more this year, which is great fun for the cast considering we all like each other. Anna, did you have anything to say about [the Mother situation ]?
Anna Fricke: I think that given how Aidan went into the ground at the end of Season 2, going after Mother was the very first thing on his mind I think for a very long time, and as we'll see, when he comes up in this season, he's coming up into a very different landscape. So I think that anything he may have been holding onto underground, he's going to have to let go of. That would be his sort of greatest hope, but things change.
Q: Sally and Aidan have had a bit of a moment; is it something that's going to develop over the season?
Sam Witwer: Sally and Aidan have been roommates for awhile now, and because of certain things there's an unexpected level of interaction between the two that they didn't even know was necessarily possible, so it brought a lot of things into question, and I think they've never actually even asked themselves that question. I think that moment you're talking about is the first time that they go, ‘Oh, wait a second; is this something that could happen? Oh no, no, it couldn't be; it couldn't be.’ It's one of those moments - it's the first time either of them had even considered something like that. As for what will develop, I'll say that we see a lot of really strange scenes with Sally and Aidan this year…
Q: So they find a common ground this year that they did not have before; would you say that's correct?
Sam Witwer: Absolutely, yes. And when I say that they have strange scenes, I mean that these scenes that me and Meaghan Rath have shot are some of the funniest things that I've ever been involved in, in terms of just some of the unpredictable elements. I think those two people as roommates are kind of funny together, and it's just another advantage of having the roommates being together more often: discovering more dynamics of those relationships. Does this huge romance bloom? I wouldn't take it that far; I wouldn't say that's necessarily going to happen. But then, on the other hand, you never know. I suppose the only one that knows is Anna…
Anna Fricke: Yes, the writers are very careful about that kind of thing, and we wouldn't want to do anything between the roommates just for sensationalism sake. So I wouldn't say that's the direction it's going in. We do, of course, always throw around those ideas, but it's like in the final moments of the series maybe X, Y, and Z will happen. Because you really want to be protective of the friendship that these roommates have at the core.
Sam Witwer: Yes. On that, I want to just congratulate the writers because they come up with a lot of wild ideas, but there's never really a time where you look at something in the script and go, ‘My character would not do this,’ you know what I mean? There's never really a time where you look at something that happens, no matter how wild it is, and you can't figure out a way to justify it.
So what Anna's saying is correct. They don't just throw things out and say, ‘Oh, couldn't we get the audience to react?’ It's always very well considered and grows out of what's happened with the characters and what's happening with the characters, so it makes our jobs as actors a lot easier than, say, some friends of mine who are on other shows who have to wildly justify some crazy stuff.
Anna Fricke: Also, obviously, Aidan and Josh would have to end up together, so I mean…
Sam Witwer: Of course.
Q: We find out right away that a plague is killing the vampires and Aidan kind of doesn't like vampires very much so he's going to have a mild dilemma as to whether to try to end the plague and save vampires or just let his rage die out. Any hints of what Aidan's going to do?
Sam Witwer: Which way is he going to go, what's going to happen? You're dead on; you're tuning in to what's going to be a big conflict for him because even if you dislike, even if you profess to hate, a group of people like frat boys, you don't necessarily want frat boys to be wiped off the face of the earth, you know…
The thing is that Aidan does belong to this group of people, and so with their existence threatened, certainly his feelings of loyalty and belonging are challenged. So, yes, we get to see him make some choices that are sometimes questionable, sometimes dead on, sometimes dead wrong concerning that issue, but I can't tell you too much because it would definitely spoil it.
Anna Fricke: I would say that our show has always been a lot about balance - the balance in nature and what it is to be human and playing with that moral ground... that's why [this year] we have the theme of ‘be careful of what you wish for’ because you may get something that you thought you may have been striving for, but a deeper nature in our character kicks in, and I think that's what we'll see in Aidan and the other characters.
Q: I love Bishop (Mark Pellegrino) of course, and he's coming back in some ways. In the British series, his parallel character was revived in a very interesting and weird way. Can you give us any hints about how we'll see Bishop?
Anna Fricke: We obviously love Mark Pellegrino [too], which is why we keep trying to dream up ways to bring him back. The great thing about vampires is that you can always have things live on in flashbacks, and that's obviously part of how we deal with Bishop, and there are other creative ways that we find him.
I know how the British series brought him back, and we have discussed that. If we brought him back in that way, we would want to make sure we just weren't repeating the same dynamic so that particular way may not have fit in well with this season, but the great thing about a supernatural show is that you don't really ever have to say no to anything because anything is obviously possible. So that's a fun idea to play with; that's not exactly how we do it this year, but we do try to find organic ways to work Bishop in because Bishop is a huge part of the makeup of Aidan's long life and is always present with him in a way, so that's how we try to address it.
Sam Witwer: I've been steadily pressuring Anna to bring him back, and I have to give her credit that she stood her ground and has been doing what's right for the series. I keep pushing because Mark is a close friend of mine, and I also just love working with him… I love those scenes; they're fantastic and he's such a great actor, but Anna has been exercising restraint because ultimately you want it to be a dramatically satisfying thing that works within the logic of what we've laid out and so she's taking all my calls and my emails and exercising restraint, and I thank her for that because, you know, my job is to be unrestrained and her job is to say, ‘Okay, but here's what we're actually going to do.’
Q: For Anna, who comes up with the episode titles? I love all the puns and the musical references.
Anna Fricke: I'm so glad. I'll tell you, it's getting a little tricky and we're starting to get a little stressed out about it, but it's a group effort. It's not always the writer of the episode - it's often the writer of the episode, but sometimes we'll just mull it over for a few days and someone else will pitch one in.
[Writer] Chris Dingess actually comes up with a lot of titles. He came up with this season's finale, which I will not tell you now but which hopefully you will perceive at the time. It's very simple, but it really made me laugh. We always try to have something that is poignant but also a little funny, which is the tone we try to go for in the show.
Q: For Sam, which side of Aidan is your favorite part to play; is it the wild, bad boy or the vampire struggling to be human?
Sam Witwer: Well, that's a very good question. I mean, there's a lot of sides to that guy. I'll tell you, the thing that I have enjoyed the most is any time that he gets to be a little bit funny - and that doesn't necessarily mean he's ‘ha, ha’ funny. Sometimes he has a response to something that Josh is doing that's humorous. Or he gets annoyed at something that Sally says.
Q: We talked a little bit about the US and the UK versions of the show. The US version started where the UK version did but then veered off in a completely different direction. Is that what we can expect to see in Season 3, or are we going to maybe see little hints of storylines from the UK version?
Sam Witwer: Well, you can't avoid the inevitable overlap with some situations because the premise of the series in both cases is the same. Having said that, they're nothing alike in terms of plot. It's completely and totally different.
Anna Fricke: I was going to say usually the overlap is unintentional, but as Sam was saying, you can't avoid it because we're swimming in the same pond. But I will say that most of the writers have not [watched the UK show]. I purposely [stopped watching] it, not because I don't love the British show, because I do, but because I didn't want to be influenced after Season 1.
But, you know, [sometimes] we'll come up with something [and] think, ‘Oh, we're so great; this is such a great story. We're so original,’ and then we find out, ‘Oh, yes, they had a character just like this on the British series; I had no idea.’ So obviously relapse happens, but we're definitely going down our own path.
Sam Witwer: The characters are so different that it really does lead to different stuff. When I started watching the British series - or when we all started watching the British series, me and the rest of the cast - we got very not worried about stuff like that because Mitchell and Aidan are two different guys - very, very different guys - and Josh, you know, Josh and George and Annie and Sally and - I'm sorry what's the chick's name? Nina? Nina and Nora, yes; they're all very different.
For example, there are some things between, say, Aidan and Nora and Nina and Mitchell that are similar, but they happen in different ways - very different ways. So the fun of having these two entities that are out there, both with the name "Being Human" on them, is that if you like this premise, well, there's a lot of it out there. There are two shows worth of it.
And I'm sure that we're going to have "Being Cuban," the Cuban version, "Beijing Human," which is the Chinese - or the Pan-Asian - version. We're going to do tons of remakes… tons of them so you're going to love it.
Q: If Aidan could trade places with Josh and be a werewolf instead of a vampire, do you think he would do it?
Sam Witwer: Totally, yes, because he only has to deal with it once a month. I mean, how bad is that? Anna will tell you it's always a challenge to write around Josh's werewolf thing because ultimately there's a lot of eventful things that happen around the full moon. You know, we have two main characters who are werewolves, but what happens in the meantime? Oh, they're just hanging out, playing Xbox; it's no big deal. Josh is blissfully happy while Aidan's sitting around jonesing for his next hit. I mean , come on - come on! Once a month, whatever, whatever.
Anna Fricke: Yes, I would say we feel bad in the writers' room because we're always like, ‘You guys, we just had a full moon. We can't do this again.' We're jumping like a month every hour so we have to pace ourselves.
Q: You have the wonderful and beautiful Amy Aquino appearing as a witch this season. Can you tell us about her character?
Anna Fricke: First of all, I think we all agree we are so blessed to have her on the show. Not only does she give a phenomenal performance, she's also a lovely person, which is always nice when it works out that way. So, yes, she's playing a witch on the show, and as it always is with our show, it goes a lot deeper than whatever your supernatural title may be.
She’s a very complicated woman with an interesting past, and I think what's the most fun about her character is that she's very tongue-in-cheek and no-nonsense, and we're trying to turn the whole witch thing on its head. We have a lot of fun with her. She's very powerful, and she also brings out a lot of power in Sally, so that will be something that is really interesting and hopefully compelling to watch. And she's named after my mother, which is not supposed to be an insult.
Sam Witwer: The thing with Amy is that, with the type of show that it is, it's challenging to get it right performance-wise. Amy is just one of those actors who arrived on the set and the moment she spoke just understood exactly how to deliver that dialogue. She knew exactly the tone of the show, and so we just fell in love with her right away.
Anna Fricke: I would say that what we have in Amy is similar to what we love about Mark Pellegrino, which is sort of what we look for in villains on our show - villains who don't act like villains, per se, who sort of take this dialogue and deliver in an off-hand manner. And can say things like, ‘Well, obviously I'm going to kill you now,’ without adding a lot of Sturm und Drang to it. She brings that sort of nonchalance mixed with great power and malice that Bishop does.
Sam Witwer: Yes, she humanizes it all - she really brings it - both of her feet are on the ground in the same way that Bishop could make anything that he was saying sound totally reasonable.
Q: This season's obviously going to be a game-changer so how would you both like it to be remembered creatively?
Anna Fricke: I think we've really hit our stride this year… all the characters come to these crossroads and everyone's on their A-game this year so I guess I'd like it to be seen as that.
Sam Witwer: I'm just going to be completely honest. I'd like people to remember it as the season where everything very much came together… When you're auditioning for something and you're investigating whether or not you want to do a job, you see the show in your head and you have to have an idea of what you're getting into. And this season is very, very close to what I saw in my head in terms of what the show could be. It's very satisfying on my end and the side of the cast to be a part of it when you feel like it's working so well. I really do feel like this is our strongest stuff.
Q: I want to ask what it's like to pick the show up 15 months later. That must have been a bit of a challenge for both of you to do something like that.
Anna Fricke: Well, just from the writing standpoint, it was actually very freeing. We really felt like we could spread our wings a little bit because between Season 1 and 2 just three weeks [or] a month passed, and you don't have a lot of room to move and really have people change. So it made it a lot of fun starting off the year because you had some room to play with them - who knows what happened to these people, how did they get into this dynamic, what happened here? So it was a lot of fun for the writers, and it was a lot of fun for Sam I assume because you got to grow so much facial hair and starve yourself…
Sam Witwer: Totally. It was amazing, yes - starve myself, grow facial hair, arrive on set hungry and hairy, that's the way to do it, that's the way to start any season! It was great; it was really cool because you do get to breathe a little bit of fresh life into the characters when you're rediscovering them 15 months later and every one of them has gone through some pretty big changes. Things have changed quite a bit. So yes, we get to sort of start - what do they call it, in medias res - in the middle of things, and that's a lot of fun.
Q: Speaking of guest stars, I'm glad you guys are getting Xander Berkeley this year and bringing back Kyle Schmid, too. I think that's going to be fun.
Sam Witwer: Yes, Xander's a tall, handsome man and Kyle has flowing locks, and it's really fantastic. You're going to love the way these guys look.
Q: Anna, since Kristen is now a regular, can you talk a bit about how Nora factors in more this season?
Anna Fricke: Yes, absolutely. Kristen Hager gives a phenomenal performance this season, and what's great about opening up the storylines with having her as a regular is… a lot of it is just the reality of your roommate's girlfriend moving in and being around all the time. I mean a lot of it is just very basic human stories of how a girlfriend changes a dynamic, but also Nora as a werewolf has always been a very fast leading character in terms of how she's different from Josh and what being a werewolf means to her. And so having somebody with that point of view on being a werewolf under the same roof as these other guys I think is very interesting because she approaches things sort of differently and has some very passionate views about things, and it's just an interesting dynamic. She's very strong, and she does some things that throw the house off kilter and [other] things that pull the house together.
Q: Sam, do you think in this season or in future seasons Aidan will be able to balance out his need to become human with the predatory aspect of himself?
Sam Witwer: Well, he's either going to balance himself out or he's going to die. I think if you see something like that, that's got to happen at the end of the season or the series. I'm not convinced that he's going to have a happy ending - I think he may just be too far gone.
Having said that, he does a couple things this season that borderline perhaps on the heroic, which is awesome I think, after all the reprehensible things that he did last year - but then one of the fun things is that we also deal with the consequences of some of the things that he did last year. There are things Aidan did that I know some fans had a very, very adverse reaction to, and I think they were right to have that reaction; I was glad they had that reaction.
We go deeper into what caused him to do some of those things, and then we also deal with the fact that he's conscious that he did them, he's not happy that he did them, and he's not the only person that's unhappy that he did them. I'm being intentionally vague here because I don't want to give away some really nice, fun surprises, but last year he killed, what, like 30 people, two of which were innocent - two innocent human girls - so we definitely see some fallout from that.
I actually want to ask Anna whether this was conscious, but Aidan's vampire blood addiction has evolved. He's always going to be an addict. For example, if you're an alcoholic, you don't just wake up one day and say, 'I've kicked it; I'm no longer an alcoholic.' It's like, no, that's always going to have an influence over you, but what's interesting is that there's a slightly different take that's happened this year in that he at times is almost like a traumatized war vet who's trying to return to society.
Anna, was that something you were conscious of, or is that something that just kind of happened?
Anna Fricke: We were conscious of that, just in terms of how you would be after everything [that happened] last season. Last year in a way was war for Aidan in terms of just the blood and the violence and everything that you went through - Mother and Suren and how that all played out. We really did see you as a post-traumatic stress disorder victim this season coming out of the ground and where that finds you, and your entire view of society has been shaken.
Sam Witwer: Absolutely, and one of the interesting things is that Aidan has also literally been to war a few times, and we get to explore a little bit of that [with] some flashbacks. The flashbacks we do this year are the most ambitious that we've ever done; in fact, I actually never thought we would attempt the story that we told this year. Now that we've done it, I'm super glad that we did because it worked; had it not worked, I would not have been glad. I would have been like, 'See I told you we shouldn't have done that!'
Anna Fricke: It was awesome.
Sam Witwer: The flashbacks this year are way more ambitious than anything that we've tried, and we get to explore some of these issues that we're telling you about right now. Let's think back to when he killed those two girls in his bedroom; when you watch that scene, he does it almost without knowing that he did it, you know. They start screaming, and he takes care of it before he knows that anything took place…
Anna Fricke: Aidan loves what happens next.
Sam Witwer: Yes, he does - lots of neck snaps! But he stands there almost confused, like, 'What did I just do?' And that had a lot to do with his training and his experiences as a vampire. He is a killing machine; he's been made into a killing machine, and to just shuck that off is not necessarily easy.
Q: Do you have, say, a five-year plan for "Being Human," or do you just think, 'Hopefully Syfy will keep renewing us and we'll go from there?'
Anna Fricke: I wish I could say that it is [planned out], but no, we don't have a five-year plan. [But] I think every series has a sort of natural end it's best not to go beyond. I think some shows maybe last a bit too long, and obviously personally we want to keep it going forever because we all love working together, but everything must come to an end. But I don't have a five-year plan.
As we're going through the season, we have a sort of sideboard of all the other storylines that we would love to tell but that we run out of room for [or] that don't really fit [or] one of the writers will go off on a tangent like, 'This could be great, and then in Season 5 we can do this and blah, blah, blah,' and obviously as we end every season we're leaving ourselves threads for the next season.
So we have all these threads for Season 4 that hopefully we'll remember. We sort of take it season by season and always leave ourselves room for the next one and live in this optimistic world where we definitely have a lot of storylines we could play out, but we sort of take it as it comes.
Q: Has the hospital become obsolete, or is it still a gathering point away from the apartment house?
Anna Fricke: The hospital's still very much in play. We talked about not doing the hospital, but it's a great symbolic place of work, and we always liked the idea of why Aidan worked there. On the one hand it makes sense for him to be around the blood supply, but on the other hand it's penance, you know, it's helping after all the people he's killed.
And it's also a little bit of martyrdom of forcing himself to be around this and to be around people who are able to die peacefully when he himself cannot. So we like the symbolism of the hospital, [and] we also like the convenience of people working at a hospital where they can meet up in the locker room and the hallways and the cafeteria and have a place to cross storylines. So it's still very much in play. Also, people's roles have changed there, and it brings up some new dynamics.
Q: After Aidan's been without blood for all this time, how does he adapt to that?
Sam Witwer: Well, he doesn't need as much blood to just get by; on the other hand, if he drinks too much, he gets drunk a lot faster. He's a lot more sensitive to it I guess is what I would say, and that has to do with the fact that he hasn't had any blood for a year and a half. The first thing that happened in that casket was horrible withdrawal and then him going through all that and then eventually his body just shutting down, so it was a big nightmare.
Q: What's up with Josh? He's suddenly the odd man out now that his curse is lifted. Aidan remains a vampire, remains challenged, but Josh is literally human again. Is there any kind of tension as far as like, 'Hey, man, you're out. You're no longer one of us.'?
Sam Witwer: There is definitely that tension this year, definitely, but at the same time Josh is the glue that brings everyone together. I think that's the more accurate way to look at it because whether Josh is human, werewolf, whatever he is, his instinct will always be to have this family unit with everyone together under one roof.
Anna Fricke: I think what's interesting about the dynamic of what happens with Josh this season is that he feels he is more conscious of the change he's been through than everyone else as opposed to everyone looking at him and saying, 'Gosh you're so lucky you got out.' He's actually feeling like, 'You guys, I'm still part of this, I'm still one of you, I'm not out of the loop now.' So you actually see an interesting dynamic of him saying, 'Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, I'm still tortured, I still understand what you're going through.' He's clinging to his relationships to the roommates, and I think it plays out in hopefully a really cool way.
Sam Witwer: Josh is really interesting in that he's really come a long way… if you had maybe just seen Season 1 and skipped to Season 3, you'd expect a much different reaction out of him, but Josh really comes into his own as a man this year.
Anna Fricke: Yes, it's a great emotional journey for him this year…
Q: There have been a lot of shout-outs to Aidan's 200-year life before he met up with the roommates and all these flashbacks. Has there been talk about maybe a movie or a web series or something along those lines?
Sam Witwer: That's interesting because after the flashbacks this year, there is a real story that's being told if you line up all these flashbacks sequentially. For example, we spend something like four episodes telling one flashback story this year. And we don't always go sequentially; we jump around sometimes to different points of that story. We'll start in one place, and then [in] the next episode you'll see what happened a few months before that.
We jump around because it's always thematically based on what's happening to Aidan today so it isn't necessarily about telling a linear story in the background, but it does sometimes turn out that way. But we generally tell this one coherent story, and if you were to line up all of Aidan's flashbacks there - it all makes sense, there's a very interesting progression for this character in terms of how his attitude has changed and where he came from and how that goes.
Would I love doing a web series where it's just me and Mark Pellegrino having some crazy, weird adventure? Of course that would be insane, but I also think that we'll have the opportunity to do that throughout the life of the series as well.
Q: Can you talk about a favorite moment from this season?
Anna Fricke: Oh gosh, I'm trying to think what wouldn't be a spoiler. It's been a really great season - I don't know if I can isolate one. It's just generally been great because we've had so much more roommate crossover and interaction than we've had before. It's also I think been a wildly funny season.
Sam Witwer: There was a scene me and Meaghan Rath shot where Meaghan just decided to [do] full on everything that me and Sammy do to her when the cameras aren't rolling. She just started to do it while the cameras were rolling and it's all in the episode... it wasn't necessarily how the scene was crafted [but] we got the dialogue out, the story points were told, but she just went for it. She just started sexually harassing me basically, and it's all in the episode.
Be sure to tune in Monday, January 21st, for the upcoming Episode 3.02, "(Dead) Girls Just Want to Have Fun."
Josh plans on proposing to Nora. Nora meets Liam, the twins' father. Sally hooks up with an old acquaintance - with deadly consequence. Aidan reunites with Henry and looks for blood.
Got news? Click here to submit it!
Be human in the comments section below!