Being Human: Meaghan Rath Talks Being Undead, Roommate Romance, Craving Brains, and More!
We conclude our series of Q&A's with the stars and showrunner of Syfy's "Being Human" with Meaghan Rath, who plays the recently reanimated ghost Sally.
Read on to learn more about Sally's new "undead" status, the chemistry Rath and her fellow cast members enjoy, what (if anything) she misses about being a ghost and how she's transitioned into being able to finally touch people, her dream guest star, picking out Sally's wardrobe, whether or not she'll now be craving brains, and lots more.
Q: Can you talk about what’s been most challenging for you to continue filming this series?
Meaghan Rath: Really what’s been the most challenging for me is taking these fantastical situations and making them personal for me. It’s always a challenge to relate to what these characters are going through to our real lives. For example, last season, how do I justify murdering 20 people and still remain likable in some way? So that’s always been a challenge for me. This season was super difficult as well because it’s like okay, well now I’m a reanimated corpse so not only do I have to deal with the fact that I’m dead, but now I’m brought back from the dead and what does that mean to me? And it’s all very complicated.
Q: Along the same lines, has it been difficult for you to bring your character to life?
Meaghan Rath: I don’t think so because the essence of who this person is her character and about her personality as well as her circumstances. That’s a big part of it, but really what our show’s about is looking at who these people are and sort of playing against type and the supernatural element of the whole thing. So I really just see her as a person so I wouldn’t say it’s been super difficult. She’s very similar to myself so it’s been kind of fun.
Q: Can you pick a most memorable moment or scene from the series so far?
Meaghan Rath: There was a lot of great stuff that happened this season, and I have some pretty great scenes with Aidan. [One in particular] ended up being really, really funny when we didn’t expect that it would be, and I think that’s something that we’ll remember for a long time without ruining anything.
Q: So you were talking about scenes with Sam [Witwer] and all that. It seems like there’s maybe more chemistry between your characters in this season. Can you talk any about how that’s going to develop?
Meaghan Rath: For our writers one of their goals was to have the three of us together a lot more this season because I feel like we lost that a lot in Season Two just because of all the stuff we were going through separately so there’re definitely more scenes with the three of us. I think that our relationships have developed quite a bit, and yes, the chemistry is still there, if not more than before. And it’s almost changed in some ways as we’ve grown up a bit.
Q: And now that your character’s changed and you’re alive or undead, whatever, is there anything that you noticed particularly different that you have to do now, and is there anything that maybe you like better or maybe you miss as a ghost?
Meaghan Rath: There is nothing that I miss about being a ghost! I’m just so happy that we can finally talk now because I feel like I was silenced for the last year. Everybody got to talk about what was happening with their character, and I wasn’t allowed to talk about anything. So, hi. Now I can speak. I’m really excited.
But there was nothing that I missed about being a ghost. I was as happy as Sally was to be alive and interacting with people physically. I was really missing out on a lot of things that everyone else got to do so it really helped me to get back into her because I was feeling just as excited as she was.
Q: You can start wearing different clothes now, too.
Meaghan Rath: Yes, that is a huge bonus.
Q: After watching the first two seasons, it seems like so many of the key scenes involve the three of you in the kitchen. And even the way this season started, too. What’s that like for all of you? Do you get any kind of rehearsal time, or by now do you kind of know each other’s styles and just go into it? Is there any kind of planning because it just seems to be so effortless?
Meaghan Rath: No, we don’t rehearse beforehand. We rehearse scene by scene as we get to it. And it’s funny because scenes that are with the three of us, or even now with Kristen, it’s a relief and a pleasure to shoot those scenes because I never have to worry about them. We all trust each other so much and we know each other so well that we can just trust that our chemistry will be there and that we’ll find a way to make the scene work, especially if it’s a difficult scene or a more complex scene. It’s just a fun time to go in there and sort of put your face in somebody else and feel confident that they’re going to guide you in a way that is going to work in the end.
Q: I have to say the scene with the three of you in Aidan’s mind - with Bishop there as well - was fantastic. That’s a great example of the chemistry that all of you have, and it’s really fun to watch that scene.
Meaghan Rath: Well, thank you. That was actually the first day of shooting and the first scene the three of us had together for this season.
Q: So I was also going to ask a little bit about how it changes your approach with Sally this season now that you can actually physically interact and you can change clothes and such. I thought it would probably be exciting for you as an actor. Can you explain if that changes the dynamic in some way, maybe with one of the other characters now that you can actually interact?
Meaghan Rath: Throughout the season you’ll start seeing some things with Aidan and Sally where the writers are so smart the way that they did it. It’s like there’s a girl living in a house with two guys, and it was never an option for a romantic chemistry. I know a bunch of you are going to ask is there anything that’s going on with Sally and Aidan. I just know it. I just know you guys are going to ask it. And I’ll answer it right now.
What they did is so smart because we never had that option before because Sally was non-corporeal and it just wasn’t going to happen and they looked at her like a little sister. And all the sudden, here she is human, or as close to human as it’s going to get. And all of the sudden it’s sort of an option. It’s like oh, we can do this, and it sort of reflects a situation in life. It’s like you have a roommate that’s a guy and you’re best friends and it never occurred to you before, but all of the sudden it’s like you’re both single and 'Huh, should we do this? I guess we could do this.' And you know, maybe you drank a bit too much that night and all the sudden there’s this weird moment between roommates, and I think you’re going to see a couple moments like that with Sally and Aidan this season.
Q: Okay, I’ve got to ask this seriously because I’m sure everybody is wondering: Will your character crave brains?
Meaghan Rath: Unfortunately I cannot reveal that at this time, but it does get really, really interesting.
Q: You talked a bit about the chemistry among the cast. How does that translate on screen? How do you help that off-screen camaraderie translate to the screen?
Meaghan Rath: I think it’s sort of effortless. It’s not anything that we ever have to think about. And I feel very lucky for that fact because you never have to think, 'All right, how do I pretend that I like this person in this scene? We’re not really getting along because I hate him in life.' We never had to do that, and so as our friendship develops and grows in life, it does with the characters as well, and we sort of grow onscreen together as well as off. And it’s really nice. They’re really my best friends.
Q: I know that you and the guys will live tweet during the episodes, providing humorous anecdotes about the episodes or filming and, of course, interacting with fans that way as well. Why is it important for you to do that?
Meaghan Rath: I think it’s just really an amazing thing. I really experienced it for the first time last season when we live tweeted throughout an episode, and it makes me feel close to the fans. It’s like we’re all sort of having a slumber party watching this episode together and I’m sharing funny things that happened and they’re telling me what they think and they’re making their own jokes. I actually really like it. My only concern is, 'Why aren’t you watching? You’re tweeting, but you should be watching. Why don’t you tweet at commercials?' But I get it; these people can multi-task clearly!
Q: Now that Sally is a reanimated corpse, there’s probably not a lot like her walking around aside from Stevie and Nick. So is there going to be somebody that she can turn to as she tries to work out what she’s become? Not necessarily a support group but someone to help her understand what her world is now?
Meaghan Rath: Well, you’re absolutely right. There aren’t many reanimated corpses walking around Boston for Sally to seek them out and find advice on what she is, but yes, I think Sally definitely does start to understand what exactly the deal is that Josh and Nora have made with the witch. And I think it really becomes about trial and error for her as she pushes her limits of what she can do as a reanimated corpse; she sort of pieces together what she really is and what that deal entails. [As for] Stevie and Nick, you’ll see what happens with them. It sounds like a lot of people are thinking that Stevie and Nick wake up in Sally’s body with her. They don’t. They wake up in their coffins. And so they’re their own separate people. Just to clear that up for everybody.
Q: Is the threat of limbo still out there? We were teased that it was such a dangerous place, but what we got to see in the premiere was just a little taste of what ghosts in limbo experience.
Meaghan Rath: Yes, it definitely comes up again. We do discuss a little bit what happens in limbo. And I think what’s interesting about the way that our writers have written limbo is that it’s very personal and it’s different for everybody. So we’ve all each figured out what our limbo is. What you’ve seen for Nick’s limbo is he’s drowning, staring at Zoe the entire time over and over. Stevie’s hanging from a tree staring at his parents. It doesn’t quite make sense because that’s not the way Stevie dies. Stevie dies by taking pills. So limbo is sort of vaguely your worst nightmare. Sally’s limbo is running through it, trying to find the people that she’s wronged, trying to fix the mistakes that she’s made so that’s what her limbo is, that’s what her cycle is on repeat. So it’s really different for everybody, and yes, the threat of limbo is still out there.
Q: Since your character is now back as a reanimated corpse, will you be getting into any more trouble as you did last season when you jumped in a person’s body and you would get your sexual appetite back?
Meaghan Rath: For those of you who’ve seen Episode Two, that’s how it all starts… pretty much Sally gets her body back, and the first thing she wants to do is just have sex with somebody, and there are definitely consequences to that as well. Sally isn’t a ghost anymore, but there is definitely some… [it's] definitely a sexy season for Sally.
Q: Back to something we touched on already, are you happier being a reanimated corpse, or would you rather be a ghost? Which is more challenging for you to do?
Meaghan Rath: I definitely love being a reanimated corpse. I can’t believe I just said that! Yes, I think that I was just, in general, a happier person on set. I was smiling a lot more than I usually do because I was so excited to be just a real girl, wearing nice clothes and kissing boys and running around with my top off. (laughing) No, that didn’t happen. But I was much happier this way. I felt so much more free - and ironically alive - than I have been on this show before.
Q: That’s great. So you’ll have a new wardrobe now…
Meaghan Rath: Absolutely. Yes. [And] what’s great about the wardrobe is they really involved me in the process of choosing what that would be. Before we started the season, I had a bunch of meetings with our costume designer, Danny Campbell, where we both, together, decided what Sally’s look would be and what kind of stuff she would wear. It was really important for them to involve me in what that was because I know Sally the best out of anyone. And so I felt really, really lucky and really appreciated being brought in on those conversations. And together we decided her outfits, and they’re pretty great.
Q: Now that Sally is back from the dead, she is unable to connect with anyone from her past. What about that do you think is the most difficult for Sally?
Meaghan Rath: Well, I think all the sudden she’s brought back into this world where she is real and visible. And the first thing that she would want to do is get her life back and piece together - or bridge together rather - the place between when she was alive and now that she’s reanimated. But because there’s that little [restriction] and she’s not really sure what the consequences are, she stays away but sort of doesn’t understand really how deep it goes until we start getting into the consequences. But I think, yes, it’s hard to start fresh. I mean, she’s almost like a fugitive. She’s living in the same city that she was living in when she was alive. And she can’t see anybody so she almost has to disguise herself and find a new identity so she sort of becomes this outcast, and… you start to see that there’s a lot of anxiety that comes with that and it’s almost like does she need to be a shut-in again?
Q: So how difficult is it for Sally to go out there and try to forge new connections with people given that she has been a ghost and is a corpse? That makes it weird, right?
Meaghan Rath: I think so. I think maybe she just doesn’t mention that aspect to people. I think that would be the safer way to go just to spare their reactions and emotions a little bit. But, yes, I think that’s all part of her starting fresh and starting this new life and finding sort of a niche where she can hide out a little bit and not be recognized. It definitely becomes complicated very early on.
Q: If you could pick someone to guest star on your show, is there anyone you would like to see?
Meaghan Rath: I’ve always said I’d love Sigourney Weaver to guest star. I think that would be pretty awesome.
Q: Now that Sally is a reanimated corpse, to what degree is she going to start interacting with the outside world? Are we going to see her spending more time with humans and sort of trying to rebuild a semblance of a life though she can no longer be with her family?
Meaghan Rath: Yes, absolutely. We start seeing that right away. We see that in Episode Two. The first thing she wants to do is go out and party and have a good time. So yes, I think Sally really is excited to throw herself into this world of the living and to sort of take advantage of all the things that she’s been missing out on for the last couple of years.
Q: During Season One it was very close to "Being Human" UK, and in Season Two you sort of did your own thing, and now you’re really moving off in your own direction. Does it feel like you’ve gone totally independent and are taking the series in a new way now that you can guide it yourselves?
Meaghan Rath: Oh yes, 100%. Season One was very similar; we paid our dues to the British show but went off in our direction in Season Two. Season Two was really, really different than the UK shows. And Season Three, I think, solidifies that and sort of really speaks to the fact that we have done our own thing entirely. There are a couple elements that end up overlapping just because we are dealing with the same subject matter as the UK show, [but] we deal with it in such a different way with completely different outcomes because these people are different people and make different choices. So I think it’s safe to say that it’s entirely its own thing at this point.
Q: What will Sally’s personality be like this season? Does it change from the last two seasons? Does it get a little darker?
Meaghan Rath: Yes, it’s a big change. And I would say that it gets a little lighter. It’s funny because I read some comments online, and everyone was saying after the premiere, 'Oh my god; that was so dark.' And yes, [in] the first episode there were some dark moments, but this season as a whole is so funny. It’s one of the funniest seasons that we’ve had for sure. It definitely finds the balance between Season One and Season Two. It’s our favorite season by far just because of the stuff that we’re doing and the situations that we’re in this season just feel right for us and right for the characters as well. I think everyone has to go through that deep, dark time in Season Two to get to the place that they are now.
But that being said, Sally’s personality is different this season because she’s happier and she’s in a great place as far as we see her at the beginning. She’s really happy about what her situation is, and she’s taking advantage of it. She’s really living it to the fullest. So she’s a happy person. And so I think everyone’s going to be happy and relieved to see Sally doing okay.
Q: Now that Kristen [Hager] is on as a series regular, will Sally and Nora get to do some bonding?
Meaghan Rath: Yes, they definitely do. And I think it’s something that the show was missing a little bit because I was around guys so much and we really missed out on having the girl-on-girl bonding moments; we do get to see a couple of those this season.
Q: This question is kind of silly, but I’m curious of your answer. You talk about how Sally now goes and does what she wants, and she wants to have sex! But aside from that, if there were no consequences, what do you think Sally would want to do if she could after she had sex?
Meaghan Rath: I think that she would want to go and see her family or the family that was left. I think that she would want to reconnect with her friends from her past and check in and see what her life would’ve been had she not died. She learns very early on that she can’t do that. But I think those are the main things that she would want to do. Otherwise, I think she’s honestly doing it. She’s doing everything that she would want to if she was alive, and she’s doing it unapologetically.
And what I like about her this year is that she’s different than she has been in the past two seasons. I was reading it, and I feel like I’m reading a different character, which I really, really appreciated because it’s so nice that the writers have let her grow in a way and sort of mature and become more of a woman than she has been in the past. And I think it’s really nice to see.
Q: You said earlier that it’s somewhat easier to do Sally because she’s a lot like you. How are you like Sally, and how are you different?
Meaghan Rath: I think we’re similar energy-wise. I feel like sometimes I’m a little more grown up than her. But I guess I’m older than her at this point. She sort of was stagnant for a while. But yes, I feel like I’ve grown up a bit more than she has, but after being in limbo and going and rescuing the people that she’s wronged, there has been a lot of maturing that has happened in that time, and I think it’s really something that’s obvious when you see her this season. But yes, we’re similar in our sense of humor and our energy. What’s great is because the writers get to know us so well after working together for three years, they start sort of writing for you… things that they know you can deliver really well or things that they’ve heard you say before. It’s really nice to see that.
Q: It looks like from some of the previews there are going to be some different makeup effects this year. And obviously there were some when they wrapped you up - but that was probably a dummy and not you. Can you talk about any of that, any of the different things you’re going to be going through that way?
Meaghan Rath: I can’t really talk about that yet, but the experience was really interesting. I have to be very careful about what I say now, but I never worked with props and makeup to this extent before, and so it was really, really exciting - and annoying because it’s very, very time-consuming. But I really have an incredible respect for our special effects makeup team, Edwina Voda and Erik Gosselin, who are extremely, extremely talented, and I’ve just been so inspired by them. I’ve become very close with them so it was a great experience.
Q: When you first took on the role, I’m sure you had a conception of how you wanted to evolve. Is that still the same today for Season Three, or do you see that it went in a very different direction and threw you on your ass?
Meaghan Rath: It went in the direction that I always - in my wildest fantasies - hoped that it would go. But I never believed that we could actually do that. And so all my expectations have been completely blown out of the water because I’m so excited about what they’ve done with my character. Before we started, long before we started shooting the third season, I had a conversation with Anna Fricke, our showrunner, where she told me my character’s arc of the season; and I was screaming. I was just screaming outside because I was so excited about what was happening, and I just didn’t think that we would ever do it. And so I’m really, really happy.
Q: Since you said that you’re a lot like Sally, were there any fears that you encountered or had to overcome during the filming of Season Three?
Meaghan Rath: Not fears that I overcame, but it’s sort of forced me to really think about my life. I feel personally that with every role I do, I learn so much from it because it makes you question your views on different topics and really forces you to put yourself in a situation like her. Like how would I feel if this happened to me and what does that mean to me and how do I put this into my own terms? That’s why you become so attached to a character because really, there’s no character that isn’t a part of you. Do you know what I mean? It’s all very personal. So I feel it’s as close to reality that we can get it to be.
Q: What do you want to accomplish personally this season and professionally?
Meaghan Rath: When it comes to the show, I want people to watch it because it’s a great season and we’re so proud of it and we’ve just poured our hearts into it. Everyone I think agrees how great the premiere was, and it only gets better from there so I’m really excited for people to see that.
In my own life, what do I want to do? I’m getting a puppy. I’ve never had a pet before. And so I just want to learn how to be 'one' with my dog and be a good mommy for him, which I think will be a huge challenge because I don’t know what I’m doing.
Q: How has the ability to touch your co-stars this season changed the experience of working on this show?
Meaghan Rath: It’s changed in a huge way. It’s crazy how much as characters you appreciate it. And as an actress I really appreciated being able to have that physical contact just because of who these characters are. It’s funny because when I work on something else, of course, you can touch people. That’s just how it is. And I appreciate that as an actress. But when I’m on "Being Human," I appreciate it really for the characters because I know that they’ve been friends for so long and she hasn’t been able to ever touch them or feel what they feel like or even know how cold or hot they are physically. So it brings it to a new level for the characters I think.
Q: Of the three characters, it seems Sally could separate herself from her supernatural world the most whereas Josh is always tied to it because of Nora and Aidan is forever tortured as this vampire. Will she always be fearing coming back to that supernatural world? Does she look forward as opposed to always looking backwards?
Meaghan Rath: She definitely looks forward - definitely, definitely looks forward. I think she sees this for what it is. It’s completely impossible, and she never, ever in a million years thought that she would have this opportunity so she’s going to take advantage of it and she’s going to go forward and not look back. But as things start to complicate themselves, that threat of going back to the supernatural world is a possibility.
Q: What did you think about when they created your corpse that they got to dig back up? Did you have any input on how it looked?
Meaghan Rath: No, you know, I forget whose corpse [it was]. That wasn’t a replica of my body. That was a corpse they had around the special effects department because it didn’t need to look like me because it was completely decomposed. It didn’t even look like me. I did get to see it before. The most disgusting part of that I think were my hip bones and my legs. They were just disgusting. But it’s so funny because when Josh and Nora are digging Sally up in the coffin and they open up the coffin and it reveals my dead body for the first time, that was my birthday and Sammy, every time he was opening the coffin, would sing, 'Happy birthday to you.' It was just all different levels of disturbing. So that’s a good memory that I have.
Q: Did you get to choose the dress for your burial?
Meaghan Rath: No, I didn’t. It was a strange dress. But they purposely put me in something purple in homage to Episode Ten of Season Two.
Our thanks once again to Syfy for the opportunity to hear from Meaghan!
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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