Catching Up With Russell Tovey
The Being Human star chats with Out about getting naked on set, Comic-Con 2010,Twilight, and longing for a role on American television.
By Ned Ehrbar
With the second season of his hit BBC series Being Human debuting stateside this fall and the third season already in production in Wales, out British actor Russell Tovey is getting used to playing a conflicted werewolf -- and shedding his clothes in just about every episode. Out caught up with him in San Diego, where he and the rest of the cast were taking in Comic-Con.
Out: Is there anything you’re excited about seeing at Comic-Con as a fan?
I really want to see Scott Pilgrim, and I hear there are screenings but I don’t know if we’re going to get a chance to go to them. It looks so brilliant. I think Michael Cera is awesome and Edgar Wright is obviously an amazing director. I didn’t realize it was [based on] comic books. That’s what I’m excited about, definitely.
How has the reaction to Being Human been?
Huge, brilliant. Really amazing. Everyone’s really behind it. They’re really excited about it. [Co-star] Sinead [Keenen] thought that nobody would’ve seen the second season, and I was like, “I promise you, Sinead, that everybody here will have illegally downloaded it. Don’t panic about it.” And they have. Everybody’s seen it. We don’t mind that. That’s good for us. I mean, probably the people, the Man, is not excited about that. But it’s good for us. We’re pro—illegal action.
Have you started the third season?
Yeah, we’ve finished the first block, three episodes are now complete. We start the second block on Monday and that’s exciting, and it’s going very well. And it’s nice to do it in the summertime in Cardiff.
I would imagine, considering how much nudity you have to do for the show.
It’s quite nice, yeah. But actually when you’re cold, your body gets tighter and toned up anyway.
You have to do fewer sit-ups right before the cameras roll.
How daunting was the nudity when you started the show?
Thinking back, quite daunting. I think you feel pressure as an actor when you’ve got to be on screen that you want to make sure you look -- I mean, George is not going to be a ripped Daniel Craig machine. He’s just an average guy.
But an average guy on TV isn’t the same as an average guy in real life.
Exactly. Yeah, there’s got to be a slight fantasy about it. I don’t know that I’ve achieved that yet, but... [laughs] it’s daunting. Because you know that there’s 30 people in the crew and you’re standing naked and everyone’s going to see it. And as much as people say they don’t look, they do look. Everybody looks. So they all saw it. So you just get used to it, and that’s it. I think it’s harder for women. I think Sinead now has to get naked a lot. I can use both hands and cover up my bits, where as she’s got other bits. She needs three hands.
So I have to ask: What do you think of Twilight?
I’ve not seen any of it. Not seen any of it, not read any of it. I want to, I will at some point catch up on it. I think it’s been great for us, and we came out in England before Twilight came out, so we were kind of already riding that wave. It doesn’t feel like we’ve just tried to get in now in that craze and develop something and throw it out there. For us it feels like -- Twilight probably don’t feel it at all -- but for us it feels like we’re part of that mix.
You did some work on Doctor Who as well. How was that?
I think Doctor Who is like Harry Potter for TV for British actors. It’s kind of like if you do a cameo in that, it’s really exciting. I did the Christmas Day one with Kylie Minogue, which was awesome. And on the last one, [executive producer] Russell [T. Davies] asked me to come back and do this scene, and I didn’t really realize -- it was one scene -- the magnitude of it. But as soon as it aired, I was just bombarded with “Are you going to be in Torchwood, yada yada yada,” which you’re now going to ask me, aren’t you?
Well, you just asked it so I don’t have to.
Yeah. I don’t know the answer. I have nothing. I have no spoilers to expose or anything. I have no idea, but I doubt it. I think they have to cast a lot of Americans. We might pop in, I don’t know. “I’m still here, you know. Don’t forget me.”
Have you thought about doing TV in the U.S.?
Of course. I think your American TV is what we all aim to do in England. Surprisingly, you come to these things and a lot of the fans are really negative about their TV, and they really embrace our British TV. Our production values are so much lower and we haven’t got as much money, and we sort of look to you on the other side of the pond and go, “That’s how you do it. That’s why it’s successful. That’s why they’re winning all these awards.”
Being Human airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. EST on BBC America.