CHICAGO NOW 22-7-2010
Russell Tovey taps more than his inner rage to play a werewolf in BBC America's "Being Human."
The appealing series goes to increasingly darker places in Season 2 for George and his mates. The local vampire coven targets George and Mitchell after George killed its leader, Herrick, last season. George and his girlfriend, Nina (Sinead Keenan), worry that he may have infected her with the werewolf curse. Worst of all, a religious zealot and his minions set their sights on the roomies. It's all a little too much for George, who up until he killed Herrick had never been able to completely embrace the wolf lurking inside him. "He has allowed the wolf to kind of become part of his psyche and it's sort of taking him over, which changes George a bit. He goes quite dark," Tovey said. "He starts off in a place of extreme pain and shock, really, and doesn't know who he is--and that's a scary place." Tovey talked more about "Being Human," George's journey and whether he will reprise his "Doctor Who" role as Alonso Frame for the new season of "Torchwood." I'll be talking to all three cast members at Comic Con on Friday, so come back for more "Being Human."
What is going to happen with George in Season 2?Season 2 for George; well, they've all left Bristol and they've all moved to Cardiff to find a new house together. Annie is ...Oh God, hang on, this is Series 2. I'm talking about Series 3. Sorry. OK, so Series 2 ...George is a guy who just wants to be normal, wants to be average and he never wants to embrace the werewolf and make it something that he uses to his advantage. It's something he sees as he has a transformation and the wolf is millions of miles away. His biggest fear is killing someone. At the end of Series 1 he actually kills someone. Yes, it's Herrick and he is a vampire, but he has killed him and he has used the wolf to do that. The second series starts off with George in this kind of place of shock and denial ... He doesn't realize that he scratched Nina, so what are the repercussions of that? As it is with George the whole time, it's a learning experience in discovering how to use the wolf to his advantage. He starts off in a place of extreme pain and shock, really, and doesn't know who he is--and that's a scary place. His journey through the season is kind of all over the place. He really doesn't know [what to do]. He has kind of lost his heart. He's fallen off the path and he is kind of trying to get back on it, but he keeps making mistakes and he kind of ricochets all over the place emotionally. At times it is comical, but a lot of the time this season is quite sad for George and upsetting ... George's journey is once again one of self-discovery.
The season does seem a lot darker at times. We thought Herrick, the vampire leader, was bad, but now you have an even more evil foe.Yeah, a human. It's a human, which kind of makes it more accessible and scarier. A lot of people when they see this show kind of buy into the fact that yeah, maybe there could be a werewolf and a vampire and a ghost living down the road and you wouldn't know. But when the threat becomes human, it becomes creepier. It makes it more accessible and more sinister. Humans are always almost the most dangerous.Yeah, they are! Well, what they're capable throughout history, it seems. And that is part of the point of "Being Human."Yeah, I think it is that one is kind of scared of these supernatural beings, but actually the real fear lies at home.
It seems like your cast mates maybe have it a little easier than you do on this show.Yeah, they do. [Laughs.] Sinead doesn't so much now. No, probably not. You are either naked or you're in all kinds of makeup.The nudity is fine; I'm over that now. I'm absolutely fine. Everyone has seen my bits, so my inner nudist has come out. But the makeup, yeah--. Annie doesn't have any makeup; she literally doesn't have any costume changes either. Mitchell has teeth put on every now and then and he has to blink and that is done CGI. Me, on transformation day, I get picked up at like 4 a.m., go in, sit there for three hours putting on contacts, teeth, hair, latex and then have it all taken off. Yeah, it's a long process. But I'm playing a werewolf, so I can't really complain. That is what I signed up for. I can't say I don't want to do that now.
George has sort of biggest emotional moments it seems.Yeah, I think they've kind of written George as the emotional heart. Well he's the human one; the other two are dead. Mitchell is dead; he's a vampire. Annie is dead; she's a ghost. George is only a werewolf whenever there is a full moon. The rest of the time he is normal George. He is a normal guy trying to fit in. I think that is why maybe people connect to him more. He kind of holds their hand into this world because he is the crossover character between being alive and dead. Yeah and they write him with a lot of emotion and that's great. I love that.
Are you able to just turn that on and off?Sometimes you do scenes and when you get yourself worked up you want to carry on crying, but you don't. That is a weird feeling, but normally yeah, you just turn it on. The thing is, as an actor--it might sound silly--but when you get good writing in a script it helps you. You can get into the zone and get into a place where you've got to access this emotion. If the writing is great then it sort of eases you into it. Now if it's not; if you have a script and the writing is not and you're meant to like burst into tears and you're saying the worst clunky writing it doesn't work. But with this we're just kind of blessed, all of us. The writing is so good and the characters are so well-rounded and I know George so well now that I can kind of get there with him ... I think when you work with the other guys, as well, that you get so much because we all get on so well where you can kind of get a lot of emotion from them as well. So that's lovely.
And you guys have a good time on the set. I've seen some Season 1 DVD extras...Yeah we have a brilliant time. I've been a bit naughty this year. And been told off a few times and told to be quiet. I've started passing wind as well, which I never did before. I've become really relaxed. That means I'm completely relaxed on the set. [Laughs.] I think a lot of people have not responded well to that. Sinead, who I have to share a lot of beds with and rooms with. But yeah, that's how much we get on with each other. The next step is to use the toilet in front of each other.
Has it been fun having Sinead as a regular cast member?She is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I love working with her. I love the dynamic of George and Nina. Yeah, and I love what they're writing for us. The second series is heartbreaking and you just want them to be together. She is awesome. Sinead's character Nina was meant to be in one, maybe two episodes and everyone fell in love with her. They just wrote her in [for more]. She was never part of the grand plan at all. She just sort of got herself written in, which is great.
Did you think "Being Human" would be such a big hit? I loved it. When I did the pilot I thought it was brilliant. It sounded like a kids' show when it was pitched to me, but then reading it and finally seeing it all put together [was much different]. I think it's great because it isn't just sci-fi; it isn't just ... supernatural. It's about three people struggling with life and that's what really interested me. It was just the drama of it. As George I get to have so many emotions all the time and that's a great challenge. I've always believed in it. I've always thought it was fantastic.
Series 1 really felt like instead of having a vampire, werewolf and a ghost living together, you could have had a doctor, a garbage man and a...Definitely, they're all great metaphors, aren't they? ... When it was originally written they weren't supernatural. Mitchell was a sex addict. Annie was agoraphobic and she was painfully shy and George had rages, terrible rages where he would just see red and not remember what happened. They became these characters that were rooted in a kind of like metaphor for all these addictions ... There is so much depth to them all. I think that's also why because it's got so much for everybody.
I'll see you at Comic-Con, but fans want to know: Is Alonso Frame going to be on the new season of "Torchwood"?I have no idea ... I'm looking forward to seeing Torchwood when it comes but I have no idea.