Being Human: Sam Huntington and Kristen Hager Talk Being on the Outside, Wolfing Out, Their Roller Coaster Relationship, and More!
With the first two episodes of "Being Human" Season 3 having now aired, we thought the timing was right to post this Q&A with stars Sam Huntington (Josh) and Kristen Hager (Nora).
Read on to learn more about how Josh is (or isn't) fitting in with the roommates now that he's no longer a werewolf, the challenges of acting while wearing several pounds of werewolf makeup, the ups and downs of Josh and Nora's relationship, their favorite guest stars, and lots more.
Once again, our thanks to Syfy for facilitating the interview.
Q: I’m guessing that they’re not going to keep you human throughout the season. But in the meantime are you happy getting to play a more normal Josh, or are you looking forward to going back to being a werewolf? Or does it not make a difference to you?
Sam Huntington: Well, you know, what’s cool about Josh as a character is, whether or not he’s a werewolf, he’s a really layered guy. He’s a really dynamic character so [while] the werewolf thing certainly adds a huge other layer, the character itself is really rich. So for me it doesn’t change much other than feeling slightly like I’m on the outside, you know, looking in.
Kristen Hager: I’ve taken your place.
Sam Huntington: Yes, exactly. Kristen has now taken my place, and she’s making it known, by the way. As I was playing it, the character becomes increasingly more and more feeling like he’s left out, and I was oddly feeling the same way as an actor, you know. My wonderful costars get to do this fun stuff, and now I’m looking in through the window like the ghost of Christmas past.
Q: So last season everyone pretty much had their separate storylines, but it looks like this season you’re really getting the band back together. Can you talk about how that’s been?
Kristen Hager: This season we’ve really gone back to what worked so well in Season 1 with the roommates and keeping everyone’s storylines connected and that camaraderie between everyone, and the writers did a fantastic job this season in bringing that back so I think everyone’s been really excited about that because we always have the most fun on set when we’re all there together.
Sam Huntington: It was kind of a goal for the writers to put us all back together because it was their favorite thing to write, too, I think as well. You know, it’s light and it’s fun and we all work pretty well together.
Q: Looking at the characters this season, obviously they’re taking some major twists and turns. What are some of the new acting challenges you found with each of your respective roles this year?
Kristen Hager: Acting challenges… Every episode always brings with it a new set of challenges. I feel like this year Nora was more subdued; I don’t know specifically anything [that] stood out this year as being particularly more difficult. Sam, take it away.
Sam Huntington: I would say for me, we touched on it a little bit earlier…it was honestly just a feeling of being left out, feeling left out, you know, of the party. And that was kind of weird and totally unexpected, by the way. I did not expect to feel that way. It was such a surprise to me… it didn’t really hit me until we were on set shooting, and I was like, 'Oh, this is kind of weird; I’m not one of the gang anymore.'
So that was kind of an interesting different challenge I guess. But once again, much like Kristen, I am a really talented natural actor…
Q: We had the opportunity to talk to Sam Witwer already, and he was asked if he could trade - if Aidan could trade places with Josh and be a werewolf instead of a vampire - if he would. And he said yes because being a werewolf is much easier - just once a month. How would you two respond to that?
Kristen Hager: He said being a werewolf is easier than being a vampire?
Sam Huntington: I think Witwer is full of shit, man.
Kristen Hager: He hasn’t walked a day in our shoes. How does he know?
Sam Huntington: No. No, well, I think probably what he’s referring to is the fact that - I mean, I don’t know, like Aidan does have it pretty rough just because he’s done so much damage in his past. So it’s his own damned fault.
Kristen Hager: Yes, exactly.
Sam Huntington: You know what I mean? He’s dug his own grave, if you will. I guess the other thing you could say is werewolves I guess are alive. You know, they’re alive. They have blood moving through their veins so there’s that. But I think really it all depends on the particular supernatural being like Josh.
Kristen Hager: I was going to say I think it’s a case by case, too.
Sam Huntington: I think Josh tortures himself. Josh hates what he is, and that’s something that’s hard to live with. Nora, on the other hand, just loves it.
Kristen Hager: Well, no… She went through her phase where she absolutely loved it, and then by the end of Season Two she’d seen the very, very dark side of what this newfound aggression means and the consequences that come with that. And so it scares her, and by the end of Season Two she’s very much questioning what this is and whether this is what she wanted and is really trying to grasp any sense of humanity that’s left inside of her. So it’s definitely a daily struggle with her, too, and Season Three brings a whole new set of obstacles and struggles that come with being a wolf.
Q: As the season goes forth, what do we have to look forward to from your characters, and what kind of a journey do you see them on?
Kristen Hager: Season Three starts a year and a half after Season Two, and Josh and Nora have had a lot of time, just the two of them, to work on their relationships. So Season Three definitely sees Josh and Nora in a much better place than they’ve been in any of the seasons thus far. And we’ll see much more real, very, very human problems still that they’ll have to deal with day to day in their relationships this season, which is nice.
Sam Huntington: Yes… you know, we went to some really dark places in Season Two, and it’s not that we don’t go to dramatic places in Season Three, we do, but I think that a lot of them are more grounded and relatable. And I think that’s something people are going to really enjoy. There’s a lot more levity this year, simply because all of us are back together again. If you will, the band is back together.
And that was not only fun to shoot, but I think it really is going to come across as being fun to watch…it’s our best season yet. I think we all agree it’s our best season yet. I really hope...
Kristen Hager: Yes, I agree. You see so many new characters and an exciting energy. Not that it wasn’t there before, but it’s like a very newness and freshness to the season this year.
Q: Kristen, do we explore Nora embracing the wolf more and becoming more of an advanced wolf in a shorter time span than what Josh went through? You know, he was trying to repress that so much, but it seems like Nora embraced that much quicker.
Kristen Hager: Definitely. I feel like with Nora she just has so much baggage in her past and gone through so many hardships; it’s like she was a victim honestly for so long that at first being a wolf was scary, but then right away this newfound sense of power that she felt inside, it’s just like it’s very comfortable in her skin. And right away that newfound strength was something that she embraced. And then obviously by the end of Season Two, it had gone so far that it was something that began to terrify her because she saw what she was capable of because you really have no control when you’re the wolf. And so she was really trying to hold on to any semblance of humanity that was still left inside of her. I really tried to relate to that.
By Season Three a year and a half has passed so I feel like Nora just found a very nice balance between really being able to live her life as much as she can as a human being for 29, 30 days a year and on the full moon going and being the wolf and then returning back to a very human life. And that’s where we are at the beginning of Season Three, and obviously things will come up. More wolves will come into town, which will then instill the wolf urges in her once again. And that’s always going to be a struggle for her, the balance of do I love this, do I hate this?
Q: For Sam, you've kind of reached the end game, so to speak, in that you are human in this season. Your motivation to be in this crowd obviously is to still be with Sally, but do you feel kind of like a square peg in a bunch of round holes now? Do you and Sally have this feeling of do we still belong here?
Sam Huntington: Yes, Sally’s an interesting entity unto herself. For all intents and purposes, she’s still very much a supernatural being. But yes, I think Josh has that kind of feeling like he’s pure but he still wants to be one of the gang so - I think you hit the nail on the head - he's feeling like a square peg in a round hole, especially with Nora. He’s constantly just being like, 'I’m still part of this. I’m still… I’m supernatural, too.' And she’s like, 'No, but you’re not. You know, you’re my boyfriend and I love you, but you should embrace the fact that you’ve gotten your wish.'
Kristen Hager: You have your life back.
Sam Huntington: I think it’s unexpected how he reacts to his humanity to get his life back or, you know, curing himself of the curse. I think he probably expected himself to be elated and relieved, and instead he’s feeling like an outsider and it’s not that - because at the end of the day, he’s still in the world. He’s still there, his friend, his girlfriend, the people he surrounds himself with are still these supernatural beings, but he’s not. It’s really cool. It’s fun to play. It’s a really interesting thing.
Q: Looking at your relationship, you guys have been on quite a roller coaster. What’s it been like for you to play that and to see it evolve from point A to where you are right now?
Kristen Hager: It’s been great! As I always say, as a viewer, I love watching the Josh and Nora relationship. The writers give us fantastic stuff to work with, and they have right from the very beginning, very challenging stuff, which is always great as an actor. And they keep delivering fantastic stuff for us to do so we haven’t seen the end of the Josh and Nora journey for sure. But I can definitely say that by Season Three, as I have been saying, our relationship is in a much more solid and happier place than it’s been the past two seasons.
Q: For Sam, it seems like for Josh especially it’s be careful what you wish for because when you get it, it might not be exactly what you need or want.
Sam Huntington: Well, that’s it, man. I mean, that’s the tagline for the season. It’s be careful what you wish for. And it holds true for all of us, really, because we all did what we had to do to get what we wanted, and it all comes with a price. And with Josh lifting the curse, he was never really out to lift it for himself. He was really out to lift it for Nora. And so it’s totally bittersweet. It’s not what he wanted or expected. And [it's the same] with all the characters. Once Aidan is free, he arrives in a world that is vastly different than the one that he left when he was buried. And it’s dangerous and it’s scary and it’s new, and he has to learn how to live in it. So that’s a huge catch for him. And so yes, that’s a very appropriate theme and one-line summation of the season.
Q: I was hoping you could talk a little about having Nora move in - having the girlfriend now move in - and how that changes the dynamics.
Kristen Hager: Well, Josh and Nora have been living there by themselves for a year and a half so obviously their goal has been to bring back Sally and Aidan, but then once Sally and Aidan get back, then we’d all sort of figure out how to live with each other. And I feel that what the audience will come to see is that Aidan and Nora have the hardest time with that dynamic because we had our moments in Season Two where we butted heads. And that carried over into Season Three. So I think it’s safe to say that there’ll be a few conflicting moments between Nora and Aidan this season.
Sam Huntington: I was just bummed out that Nora didn’t redecorate Josh and Nora’s room. This place - we could just have a paint job and maybe some new sheets. It’s still the same shithole: dead frogs and teeth on the walls and just the weirdest…
Kristen Hager: We were all excited, but the room wasn’t real impressive.
Sam Huntington: It’s like a room from the movie Seven. It’s like, 'Oh god!'
Kristen Hager: Josh is very protective of his belongings.
Sam Huntington: Very protective. He must be because none of them left. Well, yes, that was kind of nice. But yes, so I’m just joking. But it was kind of funny. And it’s good news all around, and Nora gets more screen time. She’s a fun character. And her and Josh are amazing together and it’s good stuff.
Q: Well, I think we all know that relationships are pretty tough and take some hard work. And I think it’s fair to say that Josh and Nora have had their share of complications with their relationship in the past. So what do you guys think is keeping Josh and Nora together at this point? Is it just pure love, or is there a sort of codependence there?
Sam Huntington: I think it’s both of those things actually.
Kristen Hager: Well, I feel like hardships bring people together or split them apart, and in their case it brought them together. I feel like now we’re stronger than ever because of all the stuff that we’ve been through together.
Sam Huntington: And that rhymes so you should give her extra points for that.
Q: A-plus! I’ve heard you say this season has a lot to do with the consequences of your actions, and both of you, separately and as a couple, did some pretty nasty things last season. So do we see some of Josh and Nora’s past kind of come back to haunt them in the third season?
Kristen Hager: Absolutely. Definitely. Nora went off and around the world. You find out where she went and what happened, and all the consequences from that really bubble up to the surface in Season Three.
Sam Huntington: Which is cool in my opinion because a lot of the times when you have a fantasy-based show, it’s so easy to gloss over the things that the characters do and the negative things - it’s easy just to forget about them. So I was really, really happy that the writers were like, 'No, no, no - you people are definitely going to pay for what they did, and it’s really cool. It’s really, really cool.' And they did a wonderful job with really ramping up the danger and the tension.
Kristen Hager: And it adds to, again, the whole humanity of the show. We talk over and over again about yes, it’s supernatural, but these are human beings, and the way we deal with all the situations on the show is how would any of you deal with it, how would any human deal with that? And, so again, that’s a great aspect to the show that everyone has to pay for what they do.
Q: I see that you had a lot of guest stars in Season Three. Who were some of your favorite guest stars to work with?
Sam Huntington: Amy Aquino plays just a wonderful character named Donna. And she is so talented and so wonderful and so easy-going. She’s brought so much to the table, a newness and a freshness that was so cool. Right off the bat, Episode One, so it really kicks it off in a neat way. And also she just came so prepared and cared so much. And that is so great to see when someone comes in and just cares about the show and cares about wanting to do a good job and do the show justice and not let anybody down. And it’s just really refreshing and wonderful. So she stands out in my mind for sure.
Kristen Hager: Yes, Amy was fantastic. I completely agree with everything Sam is saying. And then [there's] a new character that Nora definitely has a very interesting relationship with this whole season. Xander Berkeley plays Liam, the father of the purebred twins from last season. In Episode Two he arrives, and he’s looking for answers because he hasn’t seen or heard from his children in over a year. I have a very interesting storyline with him. And he was great to work with. Fantastic bad guy, you know, really good at his job. Knew what he was doing. We had some great scenes together.
Q: When you were growing up, did you like to watch werewolves and vampires and stuff like that, or was this new to you?
Kristen Hager: I loved it always. I think each girl at some point in their youth goes through a vampire phase. So yes, I definitely always, always, always loved vampires and anything supernatural and fantasy stories. And I still even now like the idea that there could be ghosts among us.
Q: It obviously takes a lot of CGI and special effects makeup to turn you guys into werewolves. Maybe Sam not so much this season, but can you talk about the process you have to go through in a transformation sequence? How long it may take makeup-wise and the stages you have to go through for one of those longer sequences where they show you in different stages of transformation.
Sam Huntington: It’s crazy, man. It’s crazy. You’re talking about the really excruciating ones, right? You’re talking about the ones that are really the sons of bitches… It depends on [the stage] so there’re different applications.
Kristen Hager: Yes, there’re four stages of the werewolf.
Sam Huntington: You have your chest piece, you have your back piece; those are the real beasts, if you will. Those are the real toughies because they take the longest to apply, and then you have to paint them in. And then there’s a face application. Have ever had that, Kristen?
Kristen Hager: I haven’t had the face, no.
Sam Huntington: It sucks. It’s not super fun. And then you have your hands, which, believe it or not, just the claws, they’re the easiest to apply, but they’re perhaps the most annoying… It’s hard to get them off, but then also peeing is tough. Peeing is really hard. The makeup is a real bitch. I’d say it takes six, seven hours when you put it all on in stages. It’s pretty intense.
And then beyond that, once you get into it, you have to perform in it. And it’s not just performing, it’s screaming and wailing and straining and acting like you’re in the most physical pain of your life, and so that unto itself is exhausting. But the good news is the makeup is so uncomfortable that it’s really hard not to be aware of it. So it actually helps kind of get you there. So I guess that’s good. But it’s still a great job. It’s the best job.
When you’re a young person, you dream of being an actor in TV and movies. You’re not saying, 'Oh, I really want to play an accountant.' You know, you’re like, 'I want to play a friggin' superhero or I want to play a monster or I want to play anything that’s visceral and fun and interesting.' So I feel like we’re really lucky to have these jobs.
Q: So we know we get to see the twins’ father. Are we going to see the sister again? Because as far as I remember, she’s still alive.
Kristen Hager: Yes, she is, [but] I don’t know how to answer that. She’s on another show, the actress. She’s still around, and we definitely find out where she is, etc. But I can’t say whether we see her or not. You have to tune it to find out!
Be sure to tune in Monday, January 28th, for the upcoming Episode 3.03, "The Teens They Are a Changin'."
Nora and Josh meet a teen werewolf. Sally tries to deal with Troy’s ghost and meets Max, a new love interest. Aidan and Henry continue the blood search.
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