BEING HUMAN: Sam Witwer Talks The Series Finale and What He Learned Playing A Tortured Vampire (2014)

"Being Human"
“Being Human”

It was a crazy idea to begin with: a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all wanting to live together and have normal lives. But if anything the past four seasons of BEING HUMAN have proved is that as crazy as the idea was, in the end, that desire for normalcy gave them all purpose and helped them all find a common bond of love for each other. So what seemed to incredulous at first became an intriguing journey as they fought so hard for the lives they wanted and fought for each other in the process.

In an exclusive interview, star Sam Witwer talked about the incredible journey of Aidan, Josh and Sally, what he learned from this extraordinary opportunity, and the best advice he would love to give Aidan if they could sit down and have a heart to heart conversation.

Is there a chance for a happily-ever-after for Aidan, Sally, Josh and Nora? Is that in the cards for them, or are they going to be tortured for eternity?
SAM: These guys routinely get their asses kicked, don’t they? I suppose there is a chance for some of them. The question then becomes: do all of them really deserve it? One of the big focus points of the final episode is: can Aidan be redeemed and does he deserve it? And we shall see what the answer to that question is. It’s really fun to finally get to answer that question.

It seemed like the entire series was trying to answer that question as Aidan was willing to try to take that path towards redemption and live a better life. So maybe he has earned it.
SAM: It’s interesting. One of the things that we did, knowing that this was the last season, that we explored was really showing the audience that this guy was capable of doing some horrible things. They had heard a lot, that he’s done bad things. But the thing was, up until Season 4, every time he did something bad, he was always really regretful about it. But we had an opportunity in two or three episodes to show that he was not always remorseful and under some circumstances, wouldn’t be remorseful. So that was a lot of fun and probably very uncomfortable for some of the audience to watch. They got to see that little moment in the 1920’s where Aidan terrorized and killed those women in an alley while singing “Ain’t She Sweet.” Then he murdered a woman in modern day and we got to see sort of how close Aidan was to just slipping over the edge in those alternate timelines episodes, where we went back to Season 1 and a very nasty Aidan. Live tweeting with the fans, everyone was like: “Oh my god, where’s our nice Aidan?” They were very disturbed by that version of the character. But I think once we have seen all that, we have seen pretty much all the colors of this guy who has done terrible things, we are ready to answer the big question in the final episode.

Do you, as the actor who portrayed Aidan, feel like he is a changed person or is that who he is always going to be?
SAM: He’s certainly evolved quite a bit throughout the series. It’s certainly one of the fun things of doing this final season and knowing from the start that it was the final season that we could take the gloves off performance-wise and go as far as you possibly can. It’s something you really shouldn’t do ’til you know it’s the end. Because if you show your top level, then you have no place to go. So this is the season to show my top, especially the last episode. It’s some things you hadn’t quite seen from the character before.

They also dabbled with Aidan’s relationships a bit in that they tried to humanize him in the sense that he wasn’t just a monster. He chose to be with these people and he was always constantly coming to their rescue. So that was interesting to see how that defined him.
SAM: The interesting thing is if you take Season 1 Aidan thru the finale Aidan, he really is that firewall for the characters. It’s like, “You guys have a chance. I don’t. So I’ll take the worst of it. I’ll take the brunt of the bad stuff and I’ll take care of that. You guys just try to keep your noses clean.” And sometimes he was successful, and other times he wasn’t.

Firewall. That’s an interesting analogy.
SAM: Yeah, he really was. He was doing his best to see that Sally and Josh could maintain a certain level of innocence. I don’t know if it always worked out, but that was always his intention.

Aidan was an old soul. He had seen so much of humanity and he knew that humanity wasn’t as innocent and deserving of all the good things that he perhaps wanted for his friends. So he was not only protecting, in that sense, their innocence, but he was protecting them physically because the rest of the world was not that kind to people that were different.
SAM: No, and it never is. It’s just the nature of humanity.

Interestingly enough, in this final season, the show brought up the star-crossed romance of Aidan and Sally, which was lightly dabbled with. Do you see Aidan and Sally as soulmates? Or do you think, “Oh my gosh, where did they come up with that?”
SAM: I remember when they asked me, “What do you think about this? Aidan and Sally.” It was early in the series and I was like, “No. That doesn’t make any sense.” It was not something we could do as those characters don’t make sense together. But somewhere around Season 3, weird things started happening between Aidan and Sally and there was an interesting energy between them. Sally had grown up a lot and Aidan had also become somewhat more youthful in the way that he conducted himself. So those two characters have met somewhere in the middle. So it made sense to me. I remember Anna [Fricke] getting ahold of me and she was like, “Last season — what do you think? Aidan and Sally?” And I was like, “You know, maybe. Why not? I can see it happening.” One of the fun things that hopefully people will recognize is that there are things back in Season 1 — that there were little questions there that are somewhat answered in Season 4, like “why did Sally’s door go away?” She got it and then it went away. And why is that? That gets to be answered in the finale. Not in a verbal way. We don’t say it. But visually, it gets explained what that is all about. It’s kind of fun.

Do you think the finale is a kleenex episode or is it a champagne episode?
SAM: Oh god, it’s likely a kleenex episode. Look, not everyone makes it out of this. I’ll just tell you that. But at the same time, there’s still hope. You’ll see that some of these character may actually have something to contribute to the audience beyond just tears and such.

What would you say you have learned from portraying Aidan all these years?
SAM: From an acting stand point, I am a lot funnier as an actor now. When I was training to be an actor as a young man — (laughs) like I am an old man now! — but when I was a child training to be an actor, I thought I was going to go off and do comedy and try to get on SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. Then when I started working, it was drama, drama, drama. I would never be hired for lighter roles or funnier roles. Then BEING HUMAN comes along and it requires of me that I play that dark character, but that he also somehow be funny. Now that is a giant challenge. If you had asked me before to make people laugh, I would do it, but I would do it by going over the top and being just undignified and that’s the way I would make people laugh. BEING HUMAN taught me how to be way more subtly funny while playing something totally straight. Playing something that for the character is totally serious and he’s not in on the joke, but watching it is very funny. In watching it, it makes you smile. Like the character looks foolish and he doesn’t necessarily want to look foolish. So having that sensibility is something I didn’t have going into BEING HUMAN that I have quite a bit of coming out. It’s been very useful for auditions. It’s really fun to have a scene that’s written straight and you just throw a little extra stuff in there and watch the producers laugh — and be surprised that they are laughing when it’s not serious of a scene and you’re just making it a little bit more watchable by bringing some levity to it.

Then what will you miss about portraying Aidan?
SAM: Everything. The character was never easy to play. Ever. It was always just difficult. The writers were constantly throwing me curveballs and constantly challenging me to do any number of very difficult things; and for that reason, the job was endlessly a challenge. It was never a paint-by-the-numbers kind of thing. I think most jobs out there are. You’re basically doing the same thing and you’re going through the same kinds of motions, where Aidan was never ever easy. Like they would say, “We’re going to send you back to the 1920’s” or “Here’s the 1950’s, and do a 1950’s version of your character and by the way, do it in the space of two days because we have no time to obviously to rehearse anything.” Or they’d be like, “Make this moment funny here. Figure out how to be crying one moment and then literally the scene has to shift to extraordinary funny.” That type of thing. It’s not easy. Like they’d say, “you’re going through heroine withdrawal and your wife just told you that she killed your son — go!” They never threw softballs. I am so grateful for that too ’cause there is nothing more depressing than being not challenged as an actor. So thank god they gave me a difficult role to play. I loved that.

If you could sit down and give advice to Aidan, what would you tell him?
SAM: I’d be like, “Dude, move to Antartica. It’s pretty, it’s white, and you don’t care about the cold weather. There’s not a lot of people. Just get the hell out of town. This life is no good for you. You’re like an AA member who goes to a bar after meetings to test what he’s learned. Like come on, man. Get out of town. Go make that vampire colony somewhere on a deserted island.” (Laughs) I don’t know. If I met the guy, I’d call the police. He’s a lot of trouble.

Do you think the experiment of a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living together was a success? Or was that a complete disaster that shouldn’t be tried again?
SAM: I think that’s the theme of the whole show and I think they answer that in the final episode. You’ll just have to wait and see.

How would you generally describe what fans should anticipate from the finale?
SAM: Oh my god. Death, destruction, mayhem. Tears and more tears. We’ll see. We’ll see what the fans think about this whole thing that we did. I hope they dig it. From my standpoint, what we shot was a lot longer than what we’re going to see, which does sometimes happen in this business. For example, Episode 408 when we first go back in time to Season 1, the original cut — and as much as people loved that episode and everyone seems to be in agreement that it is one of their favorite episodes — it was so much better than the original probably because it’s 15 minutes longer. It’s wonderful stuff. I hope someone leaks that cut to the fans at some point. So I’m kind of curious how much we get across in 42 minutes ’cause we certainly could have used 60 minutes to really get all the character beats. So we’ll see.

Is there anything you can share about what you are working on next?
SAM: You never really know until you’re there and eating off the craft table. But right now, I’m working on my second album. It’s coming along. I am not auditioning all the time. I’m saying “no” to a lot of stuff. I saved all my money so that I can take some time and sit around and not take the next thing that comes. So I have been hard to pry out of the house to go to an audition. It’s got to be a really good script.

So bring your kleenex and come to celebrate the remarkable journey of BEING HUMAN and all its wonderful, if not a bit tortured, characters, for after four remarkable seasons, BEING HUMAN’s series finale airs Monday, April 7th at 9:00 p.m. on Syfy.

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