Exclusive interview with Sam Witwer

March 9, 2012 | Sam Witwer plays vampire Aidan, one of the leading roles on the supernatural drama "Being Human". Reading what Sam said about working on the show - who would not like to be a fly on the wall of that set? His breakthrough came 2004 in the form of the recurring role of Lt. Crashdown on the sci-fi drama "Battlestar Galactica", which has an interesting background story Sam talks about below. Moreover, he gives us an insight into the story surrounding his appearance on "The Walking Dead".

Note: © myFanbase 2011 - The interview is exclusive to myFanbase and may not be published on other websites or the like. You may share the first 2 questions or up to 160 characters if you link back to this site. Translations other than English and German may be posted with full credit including the writer's name and link to this site.

Foto: Sam Witwer
Sam Witwer

1. How did you get the part of Aidan on "Being Human"? Did you and Sam Huntington read together?

I was at a surprising advantage because by the time I showed up to the screentest, the showrunners had already told me I got the part, so I was just having fun. Sam Huntington shows up and... well, you've seen him, he's hilarious. But what's so funny is that when Sammy gets nervous, he gets louder and talks faster. He was told in the waiting room to keep it down more than three times.

In any case, it was clear it had to be him because he was easily the funniest. Some felt the role needed to be more serious. The thing is, you can tell the funny guy to be more serious provided he's any kind of actor. You can't tell the serious guy to be funnier.

2. We just found out that Aidan was dating Joshs ex-fiancée Julia. Can you tease a little bit about what is going to happen in Aidans love life this season?

Aidan's love life. Yeah. That's a pretty broad topic (pardon the pun). I'll say this. What Aidan should be investing in is someone like Julia. What Aidan actually does invest in is harmful to his say-no-to-drugs lifestyle.

3. Suren is back to town and it seems, she and Aidan share a past. Can you give us some insight to that relationship?

To break it down into very real life terms, this is the girl you were in love with in highschool. Now you're 27 and you start dating that girl. Is it what you thought it was gonna be? Was it a good idea? Have you two changed to such an extent that it's maybe not the best fit anymore?

We see two people who, when they're not fighting, they're having sex.

4. The blood thirst gives Aidan a darker note this season. Do you enjoy playing that?

I don't know if I enjoy playing it. I find it endlessly compelling. It's my job to bring the metaphor of drug addiction into the mix, it's why I took the role, and it is definitely one of the most interesting aspects of the character to me. If that ever went away, I'd be lost.

Having said that, it's not always fun to perform. The fun stuff is hanging out with Sammy and Meaghan Rath and cracking-wise.

5. Aidan had to kill a kid (Bernie), his maker Bishop and Rebecca when she asked him to. Each time you think he can't possibly come back from that but he always does and it's always believable. How is that possible?

It's possible because Aidan is principally, aside from his affliction, a man of conscience. I try to play him as a man who will not let himself off the hook for the things he's done. Having said that, I'm afraid we take him a little deeper this year into the dark side and I honestly do not know how the audience is going to respond. He does some awful things.

Foto: Sam Witwer
Sam Witwer

6. Watching interviews of you and Sam Huntington and following him and Meaghan on Twitter we wonder: How do you guys ever get the serious and emotional scenes done?

Haha! It gets done because it HAS to get done. Because otherwise we'd be fired if it didn't get done. Otherwise we'd just play all day. Seriously, though, Meaghan and Sammy are two extremely professional actors and we all understand when we need to let someone be in a serious place. We keep our wise-cracks and jokes to ourselves in those circumstances. Well... most of the time. Sometimes Sammy just can't help himself. In those occasions, I punch him.

7. Do you always keep straight to the script or do you sometimes suggest a line or little bits and pieces in the portrayal of your character?

We deviate from the lines when necessary. Our writers are very very good at their jobs, but there are always times when things need to be tweaked a little bit. Also, in some of the funnier moments we adlib a bit. It keeps the performances alive and unpredictable.

8. Aidan lost the love of his life but he doesn't let anything happen to his friends. Do you think the message of the show is that it all comes down to friendship?

Absolutely. That's a good way to say that. Nothing is more important to Aidan than Sally and Josh. You'll see him do something later this season that seems to contradict that, but watch Aidan closely. He does it because he feels it's best for them.

9. On "Smallville" Doomsday didn't have a friend, a person who really stood by him by choice. But wasn't Doomsday in the end quite similar to Aidan in his desperate wish to be human?

Aidan and Davis have some things in common to be sure. They are also quite alone. I'm just thankful that Aidan has a chance to be funny every now and then because, after all, sometimes the grimmest of circumstances generates some of the funnier things we say or do in life.

10. Your character Crashdown on BSG had a breakdown due to enormous pressure and excessive demands on Kobol, but instead of playing him full on crazy he remained what appeared to himself as reasonable. Did you have advisors for a scene like that?

The only helpful voice on that set was Ron Blecker who was our military advisor. I hate to say it, but I think most people thought I was playing it wrong. They had read the log-line for the episode and it was something like "Crashdown goes CRAZY and almost gets everyone killed." I thought that was far too one dimensional a direction to take the performance, and besides, we've seen that already a million times. I thought it'd be more interesting to play the story of a guy who's out of his depth and wants so badly to save his friends that he pushes too hard.

Some people thought i was ruining the episode and made sure to tell me that I was playing it wrong and one day Ron Blecker stepped into one of those conversations and defended me. Ron said that everything that was in the script and that I was doing was reasonable according to rules of military conduct and a military mindset. I'm very grateful to him because that got people off my back.

By the end of the process I got nice calls from the producers telling me they loved where I took it. I even had a nice run in with the entire writing department at a coffee shop. It ended my career on Battlestar on a wonderful note.

Foto: Sam Witwer
Sam Witwer

11. BSG is one of TV's highly acclaimed character-dramas, certainly the best one in sci-fi in the way it deals with social criticism and the deepest human emotions. What are your thoughts on the show?

It's one of my all time favorites. When i saw the miniseries I thought it was one of the most special television projects I'd ever seen. I instructed my agent to get me on the show. I wasn't very established at the time so I never thought she'd succeed. After my run on the show I followed it religiously. I started a fan and ended a fan.

I love the complexities and the shades of grey. The viewpoints. No one does good vs. good better than BSG.

12. We saw you as the zombie in the tank in the "The Walking Dead" pilot. What's the story behind that? Heard you saying something about a prequel that was originally planned?

Frank Darabont is a buddy of mine. We met while shooting "The Mist". Originally he wanted me for one of the regulars of the show but there were scheduling conflicts so i couldn't join the cast. His next idea was to have me play the zombie in the tank with the intention to go back and do a prequel episode about that soldier and the events surrounding the fall of Atlanta. It was pitched to me as "Black Hawk Down meets Zombies."

It was such a brilliant idea. One that stated that every one of these walkers had a story. Perhaps even an important story. At the end of this soldier's story, he was gonna get bit and die. We were then to reprise the scene where Rick shoots me.

It was fun to visit Frank on the set. It was fun to work with Greg Nicotero on finding the right balance point for the zombie makeup. If it looked too much like me, then people would know the ending of our prequel episode the moment they saw me as a soldier fighting zombies. If it looked too much NOT like me, then it wasn't worth having me fly out to Atlanta to shoot the little piece in the tank. It was all to be a big secret. I went uncredited so that we could surprise the audience.

If you wanna read more about this wonderful idea, Aint It Cool News has a letter from Frank explaining it in detail.

13. You are the lead-singer or may we say you are The Crashtones. Do you write the songs and play all the instruments yourself? And if so, what part comes first for you, music or lyrics?

In the album Colorful of the Stereo, I play most everything but drums. In the current album we're producing, i got my buddies playing with me. As for the writing process, it's all about what strikes me. For the Date Song, I was literally driving down the street and started singing it along with the bass and guitar lines... and even lyrics.

Sometimes it's music first. Sometimes it's lyrics first. These days it's just hard to find the time.

I was listening to Colorful of the Stereo in my car today for the first time in a while. I'm pretty proud of it, but boy, it can get weird, huh?

Thank you, Sam, we hope to see you in Germany one day maybe at a sci-fi or fantasy convention!

Thanks so much for your support and interest!

Nicole Oebel - myFanbase