Sam Witwer of Syfy’s Being Human spoke to the press last week about his role in the series. He had so much to say on the subject that we’ve broken it up into two parts. Here’s the second part of the interview, for those of you who want to know a bit more about the vampire Aidan and Witwer’s thoughts on the show.
Part 1 of the interview can be found here.
The series so far has remained very loyal to the original BBC show, it’s just been given kind of an American spin. Are there any stories coming up that you think, or that you know of, are directly inspired by the BBC show? Are being like directly inspired by episodes of the BBC one?
Oh, that’s hard for me to say because I’ve only seen the first episode of the BBC series. However, I do know that there are - the - our general blueprint is their first season. Their season was six episodes for the first season. Ours is 13. So, we inevitably go in different places and have different spins on stuff, but we do use the scaffolding of their season and some of their plot lines show up in ours.
However, sometimes our take a very different turn. There were certain, for example, storylines where I’d ask the producers, “Hey, did they do this on the British series and how did they handle this?” And I found they would tell me and it turns out that ours went in a very, very different direction or the conclusion was very different. And you’ll see a lot of that in the mid-season. You’ll see some stuff that you think is familiar, and then you’re going to see that we take it in a different place.
But, we’re very lucky to have such a wonderful series to draw from for our ideas. And the great thing is that the British series isn’t going anywhere, so no matter what we do it’s a big win-win for them. As a matter of fact, I had this discussion with Rob Pursey, one of the creators of the British series, he came and visited our set. And, he says, “This is kind of great for you guys, because hey if we go out there and we fail your series is going to get a little boost, in terms of people knowing about it, and you’ll go on your way and we’ll get canceled and that’s great.” “But, if we succeed you guys are going to get a lot bigger audience than you ever had - would have had alone, so is that sort of your perception?” And he kind of smiled and laughed, “Well, yes, that is sort of what’s kind of great about this situation is that this helps us no matter what.”
And the great thing is they deserve it. They deserve us passing viewers over to them and having more people know about this wonderfully original show that they created. I thought their - again, even though I’ve only seen one episode I was really taken in with it and I’m looking at the Blu-ray of their first season right now, which I intend to burn through.
So you’re about to film the show is there anything that you personally do as an actor, physically, emotionally, intellectually to prepare when you’re about to go on camera?
Oh, yes. There’s all kinds of little tricks, I suppose, you learn as an actor. I mean, it really - I don’t know that I use any kind of specific techniques that has been - that have been specifically taught. I think a lot of actors kind of learn their own way through things and come up with an acting technique that is theirs and theirs alone. I mean, I couldn’t even really describe it. But, definitely for some of the more difficult scenes, you have to bring yourself to an emotionally and, often times, physically very difficult unpleasant place, so those aren’t the most fun scenes to shoot.
However, Being Human has such a wonderful comedic element that it kind of keeps you going. And in fact, it’s one of the things that I love so much about this series is I was known - when I was going to Juilliard, way back when, my classmates - I was like the comedian of the class, and that’s like all I did. It’s all it was interested in doing was making people laugh, and then suddenly everyone was just like, “Oh, you’re just going to do a bunch of comedy. It’s going to be great.” And then years later, all I ever did is drama and that’s what I’ve been doing for the past ten years is drama, drama, drama.
So it’s so wonderful to be on a series now where there are opportunities for humor and there’s opportunities to lighten up and smile and do all kinds of fun stuff. And the greatest thing is that Sam Huntington is the guy who really handles most of that, so really any humor I bring to it is just bonus humor, because that guy is a master, and so is Meaghan Rath for that matter. But, it’s just great to be on a series that has some levity to it, especially with as dark as we get. I mean, really as the series goes on the sad stuff gets sadder, the funny stuff gets funnier, and the dark stuff gets darker. It’s just more and more - it’s just the dynamic range of the series astounds me.
I like the way that Aidan seems to, even though he’s got his own issues, he’s kind of mentoring his younger roommates, if you will with getting assimilated with their new lives. I was wondering if you could talk to us a bit about his relationship with both Josh and Sally?
Sam Witwer: Yes, we’ll you’re dead on. He’s kind of the anchor in a weird way, which is funny because he’s also in many ways the most out of control. He tries to keep that away from them. With Josh, yes, he is kind of an older brother. He’s constantly trying to calm that guy down and it’s not like that their personalities are inherently compatible. In fact, as much as I love Sam Huntington, I think I played Aidan most of the time just that he’s starting to learn to find humor and pleasure in the way Josh is. Whereas, I think for probably the years beforehand it was severely annoying to him and irritating and really hard to deal with. And actually, we do have, I believe coming up, provided it doesn’t get cut from the episode, some flashbacks where we see them early on in their relationship, and it’s not necessarily exactly the same thing.
But yes, it is definitely an older brother, younger brother thing and Aidan is trying to impart pieces of wisdom and knowledge. But, we have to remember that everything that Aidan knows about werewolves is colored from the fact that he’s probably killed a few in his time, and he hasn’t necessarily had a warm relationship with them.
Sally is interesting because I kind of - the way I conceive it is not just younger sister, but kind of a daughter in a weird way, because after all Aidan is an old, old man. I mean, he comes off as a young man by design. We - that me and Mark Pellegrino discussed a lot that these characters should blend into whatever time period that they’re in. And if he appears to be 25 in 2011, then he’s a twenty-first century 20-something, but in the 50’s, he should come off as a 50’s 20-something.
In any case, there is somewhere between an older brother and a father thing with Sally. And for that reason, I found it interesting that Aidan reveals a little bit more to her than he does to Josh. He’ll actually give her pieces. He’ll never give her a full picture, but he’ll give her pieces of what’s actually happening with him, and actually every now and then discuss certain things and share certain things that he - we just don’t see him share with Josh. And I find that really very, very interesting. He’d like to help both of them, but at the same time he realizes he himself needs maybe more help than either one of them.
Very difficult. It’s very tough. I think for the most part we stayed with that, but sometimes you completely forget and they had very strict - they had all kinds of things. They had people - they had like the DP, for example, watching over me to make sure that I don’t stand in direct sunlight because that would be uncomfortable for me. They had people watching the whole Sally, touching thing. They were very, very serious about this. And then you got us goofballs on the set sitting next to each other maybe sitting just too close and, you know, brushing up against each other and ruining brilliant takes; that type of thing.
One of the best parts of the show Being Human is the dynamic between Aidan and Bishop. We’re seeing the plot lines keeping pretty parallel in spirit to the original series, will this relationship break course and go somewhere different?
I don’t know, because I haven’t seen the original series. So, I have no idea. What I do know is that that relationship is one of my favorite things in our series. And we get to see them in different time periods and learn that they’re perspective and their opinions have been very, very different at times in history. Even though there’s so much animosity between these two and things get really ugly, I think you get a sense that these two guys love each other and have been through a lot together. There’s 200 years of a relationship there and a very intense friendship, and Mark and I talked about that a lot. Mark talked about a lot of interesting things. He kind of looked at Aidan as a wayward son. I looked at Mark as my ex-drug buddy who I can’t hang out with anymore.
There was a lot of stuff. He said something very interesting also that Aidan - because Aidan is really disrespectful to Bishop and what we will learn as the series goes on is that that’s even more serious than we’re thinking. You - there’s a code of honor with these vampires and Bishop being Aidan’s maker, Aidan is really pushing it, really, really pushing it. And we may not realize that at first, but he’s really just asking for it and Bishop kind of gives him a wide berth; kind of just lets him do it.
And there are other vampires that question Bishop’s wisdom on that. And one of the things that Mark Pellegrino said to me, which I thought was fascinating, he said, “I feel that even though Aidan is weakened, and he’s not drinking live blood so he’s not as fast, not as strong, not on his game, he’s completely off balance, and one would think he’s less of a threat.”
But, I think Bishop looks at him as even more of a threat, and then so why Bishop gives him a wide berth, but at the same time keeps tabs on him constantly because if Aidan ever decided, this is - as Pellegrino says, “If Aidan ever decided to go against Bishop that would be a major liability to him.” That Bishop really feels like what he’s trying to accomplish would work so much better if Bishop - if Aidan was on his side. However, if Aidan does turn on him and actually tries to undo what’s happening that is a major, major threat that Aidan, even at his weakest, is ridiculously dangerous.
And that’s one of the things that I also enjoy about the Aidan character, which we have not quite seen yet, but we will in the season, Aidan was a lunatic. Aidan was out of his mind. He - Aidan was sociopathic, psychopathic, he was beyond what we - you’d consider sane. And we get to see moments of that breakthrough where our nice Aidan does something that you just don’t see coming, and it’s really, really kind of hard to watch.And that’s one of the things that we really like to play with on the series.
The werewolf and the vampire feud that wasn’t really featured prominently in the original series, but is here. How will this colorization of the two sides help the show and how will it affect Aidan’s relationship with Josh?
Well, I don’t know how to answer that without spoiling a whole bunch of really cool stuff. Really, it’s - it underlines how desperate Aidan is, in terms of seeking someone that he can ally with. I mean for one thing, we do play that Vampires have no interest in feeding on werewolves. That’s just something that isn’t done and you can’t do it and it’s not good for you. So Josh, he is really one of Aidan’s only available friends. He’s not a vampire. He meets a werewolf and he’s like, “Well, I’m in no danger of killing this guy, so this has got to be - okay, this is my friend, I guess. It’s not that I like this guy, it’s that this guy is in no danger of being killed by me; therefore, he can be a friend.”
Same thing with Sally; she’s in no danger. Therefore, he can be around her and be at ease. But everyone else, every other human being on the planet, Aidan is in danger of victimizing and he - and so he can’t ever be truly at ease. But in terms of that rivalry, what will we see? Well, I guess we’re going to see later on in the season drive a major wedge between Aidan and Josh. And you’re going to think it’s right away and it’s not, it gets worse. Again, the assumption that I’ve had about Aidan is that he’s killed quite a few werewolves in his time.
On an unrelated question, how does it feel to be a part of not only the Smallville legacy, but also Star Wars with your recent voice work as the Son?
Oh, God, it was - now that it’s complete and people are enjoying it and people are sounding off as really enjoying the character, now it feels great. Up until then, I mean, be it The Force Unleashed games or The Clone Wars, you just get really nervous until its release. The Force Unleashed, when we were working on that character and we were establishing him, I mean I couldn’t sleep. I take this stuff very seriously and I know how vocal Star Wars fans are because I’m one of them, so I didn’t want to let the fans down and by creating a character that was just lame. I mean, for God’s sakes, if it’s Darth Vader’s secret apprentice it’s going to be a great character. It has to be. You can’t really afford to have this guy be just kind of lame in some way. When it comes to the Son, the pressure was on all over again because, I get called up, out of the blue by my agent and they go, “Hey, they want to you do The Clone Wars.” I’m like, “Oh, fun, great. I love The Clone Wars. Let’s do this.” And they said, “You know, they say it’s a great character,” and I’m like, “Yes, I already said yes. Let’s do it.” “Fine.” And I’m just sitting and I’m thinking they’re going to have me do a few lines and it’s kind of like a Force Unleashed reference, and that that’s, right? And then, I get called by Lucas Film, “Oh, you’re going to do The Clone Wars for us. This is great. And it’s a really cool character.” “Well, what is the character?” “Oh, we can’t tell you, but it’s really cool.” And I’m thinking, “Well, I already said yes, so you don’t have to sell it.”
And then, I get another call a little bit later explaining a few other things like logistics that I need to know about and how they record it and, “Oh, it’s a really cool character. We’re really excited. It’s three episodes and it’s really cool.” And I’m like, “Okay, they’re saying it’s really cool. This is the third time I’ve heard this, maybe they actually mean this. They’re not trying to get me excited, they actually are excited about this. Okay, cool.” And three episodes, I thought it was just going to be like one and a few lines, but at the same time no one’s telling me what I’m playing. So, the day before, they give you the script the day before, it’s watermarked, it has your name all over it, so if you leak it they know who to go after.
Of course there’s like all this - all these NDA’s you have to sign every time you do a job for Lucas Film, which I was no stranger to since The Force Unleashed, which by the way, Force Unleashed I had to keep that secret for like a year before anyone even announced that I was involved in it, so that wasn’t fun. But, so I get this script the day before and I look at it and it - I read it and I realize just to my horror that I’m going to be playing the dark side of the Force. It’s not just some character or some cool bounty hunter, no, no, I’m playing the dark side of the Force.
The personification - the characters go off to this planet where the entire planet you don’t really know where it is in time, and it’s sort of like the vision quest that Luke goes on in Dagobah and he sees Darth Vader and he sees himself in the helmet. It’s like that scene only three episodes long where all kinds of weird stuff is happening. And there’s a character there who is the dark side of the Force. And so I’m like, “How that - what - I - no. How am I supposed to play the dark - if I get this wrong, the dark side of the Force was introduced to audiences in 1977, it’s kind of an important part of the Star Wars Universe, so if I get this wrong, people are going to be very upset with me.” I’m like, “This is not going to go well.” And so, I go in and we’re recording and I’m trying to find the voice for the character and I say to Dave Filoni as I’m feeling very insecure, I said, “Hey, are you concerned that I’m - that I might sound a little bit too much like The Force Unleashed character, the Starkiller character that I played? That this guy might sound a little bit too much like him?”
And Dave Filoni goes, “Well, you know, even if he does it’s fine, because you’re playing the dark side of the Force and Starkiller had a connection to the dark side of the Force. So, that works. It’s kind of part of the reason you’re here.” And as soon as he said that I was like, “Wait a second, so he’s saying since I’m the dark side I can sound like Starkiller, well then shouldn’t he sound like everyone? He should sound like Starkiller, he should sound like Darth Maul, he should sound like Darth Vader at times, and he should sound like the Emperor.”
The next time we came in to record, the first episode he was in it just a little bit, and then the next episode and the next episode after that, the next two he’s all over the episodes. And then I just kind of went nuts. If there was a line where he said, “Join me and together we can do something,” it was “Join me and together,” you know? And then, just dip into the Vader voice or for example if it was a moment where the line is, “So, I see that you’ve brought a friend,” I’m sorry, “You are trapped here, both you and your friend,” or something like that it would be, “You are trapped here, both you and your friends,” you know, just a little bit of the Emperor.
I’d just dip into these different Star Wars characters throughout the entirety of these episodes, and the wonderful thing is people seem to be picking up on it. People seem to recognize that that’s what’s going on. There’s a kind of understanding that this character is all of those villains, and so you just hear little touches of all these different characters in that one guy, which is fun.
I was wondering if vampires were a big deal at Glenbrook South when you were growing up?
Back then I don’t know that they were. God, were they - I know that they did, what was it? They did Dracula as a play, but that was like a year before I got there, and that was a big deal. I don’t remember even - I don’t even think I knew the students that were in there at that time. But I think vampires have always been a fascination with the public since the original Dracula, or since Nosferatu or any of those and - but in terms of Glenbrook South, I don’t know that they were necessarily on my mind that much.
Did you do theater in high school?
I did. I did. I never really took the acting thing seriously in high school, but I did it a lot for fun. I took a lot of drama classes and I did plays and stuff, and then all my other time was just spent playing with my band. So, somehow - I wasn’t necessarily crazy about the class portion of high school, but everything else, all the activities, all the plays, and the music performances I became very - like very involved in, and it ate up a lot of my time.
Speaking of the band, did you - will Love Plumber ever get back together?
Well, what’s funny is in my album Colorful of the Stereo, the Crashtones album that you can find on iTunes or CD Baby, my buddy, Chuck Hirstius plays a little bit of guest guitar on a few tracks and the drummer for Tim Hibben is also the drummer for the Crashtones. So, the good news is Love Plumber lives on through the Crashtones. All you need to do is go to iTunes and little pieces of Love Plumber are in there. They still exist to this day...
You talked a little bit about Bishop and Aidan, and I was wondering could you talk about the - doing the flashback scenes with the different costumes and the different time periods, and everything, and how you approach that differently from the present, I guess?
Yes, it was just important to both me and Mark that they felt like different versions of characters you were familiar with. And the good news is that these flashbacks don’t take place until you’ve really spent some time with the characters a little bit. But, man, I would be spoiling some really great surprises if I told you exactly what happens in those flashbacks and how important they are, and also where these characters were in their development. But I will say this, that Aidan was not a very cool guy always. He was definitely a little bit out of control and was feared by many. We get to see pieces of that. We don’t get to see a lot of it, but we get to see some pieces of Aidan at his worst, which I think is just wonderful. That was really fun to play. But, after all this guy only for the past two years has he had any success in staying clean and living in a way that’s compatible with his conscience.
Was it hard for you and Mark to sort of check yourselves in those scenes, as opposed to the present time scenes in the way you interacted with each other, or was it not really that big of a deal?
Not really. The key with me and Mark is that me and him are buddies. So, it was not the first few times we shot together, it was not difficult to fall into whatever that relationship was, because the relationship does change over the years. But, no matter what the relationship was, the fact that me and Mark are close made it very easy to fall into whatever that new dynamic was that we were playing.
Whatever the dynamic is different, it was foreign to us, but at the heart of every dynamic between Bishop and Aidan is an incredibly strong friendship and love and respect for each other. And I suppose that respect erodes with Aidan and possibly with Bishop as they get older, but the love doesn’t go anywhere, and it’s still there. And so, for that reason I think me and Mark understood how to play those scenes because we just like hanging out with each other, so that’s always kind of there.
Do you ever get back to Chicago?
As often as I can. As often as I can. I was actually there for two weeks during Christmas and hung out with all my old friends, and stuff. I mean, everyone gets back in town for Christmas and we end up just doing stupid stuff together and hanging out and watching movies, and it’s like high school all over again. And I’m fortunate enough to have some friends from a very, very early age, like a buddy mine, (Matt Aliff), whom I’ve known since we were three years old, so it’s always really important to link up with him when I get back in town. And he lives elsewhere too, but we all return home for Christmas.
I wonder if you might just sort of expand a little bit on that kind of addiction theme that you have. It seems like almost like Rebecca’s kind of an enabler with him with the blood stuff, and does he maybe see Josh and Sally as maybe more of a support group to keep him straight?
Sally and Josh are definitely a support group. He hopes to be a support - to form a support group with Rebecca and hopes that he can sort of drag her out of it, but the problem is he is not safe himself. Then the thing that we’ve discussed, me and Adam Kane, about the Rebecca character is that Adam put it really, really well. He said, “Rebecca is bad for Aidan because she’s so potentially good for him, because he cannot control himself with her.”
I mean, we discussed at length - it’s a quick scene in the beginning. The first episode, the first scene we see Aidan is he’s finishing up a date Rebecca and it’s very quick, but me and Adam Kane and me and Adam and Sarah Allen all had very, very detailed discussions over how did that date go and what exactly is the significance to this when it comes to these two characters? And we figured, okay, well they’ve worked together, they know each other, they’re friend, but now they’re actually going on a date. And Aidan, as we learn throughout the season, is absolutely capable of being superficially charming and as a tool to maneuver someone into a position where he can victimize them. That’s something he is capable of doing and it’s something that he even does when he’s not thinking about it.
He’s so used to - for the past 200 years this has been the order of the day, so he’s - he sometimes even maneuvers people into vulnerable positions without even thinking about it, and then is horrified when he sees, “Oh my God, I nearly killed that guy. Oh, that’s bad.” But with Rebecca, the interesting thing that we keyed in on is that in that first scene Aidan is sharing this whole thing about Prometheus and not being allowed to die and that living thing taking its last breath, and that being gorgeous.
It’s a very, very person thing for Aidan and the Aidan that we know from this season is not someone who shares personal information. He may act like he is and he may say certain things, but it’s not real. It’s always - there’s always a tactic behind it. It’s all a rouse. But in that case, he was saying something that was actually extremely important to him and meaningful to him, and he was sharing this with this girl on their first date. So, we’re like, “All right, well this tells us all we need to know,” I mean this is for Aidan potentially the real deal; this girl. And this really could have turned into something, but then it goes horribly wrong and he kills her. And he kills her - he loses control because she had such a profound effect on him. And so now it’s a month later and she reappears, and for a month she’s been with the bad guys and they’ve been filling her head full of bad stuff and she’s killed people, and all kinds of terrible stuff.
Bishop is correct when he says, “We wanted to know - we wanted to see what was so special and blah, blah, blah, I mean because he realizes, “Okay, if Aidan lost his mind for this girl, then yes, she’s a tool for bringing Aidan back. We can use her to get Aidan back.” And we see several tactics throughout the season where they use her to try to get to him which is very sad for her because she has feelings for him and sad for him because he has feelings for her. But, what he’d like more than anything is just to pull her out and have as close to a normal life with her as they possibly could have. But, as we see even in - or even early on in Episode 4, that’s easier said than done, and much easier to conceive of than to execute.
Some of the other characters that we see like Ray and then other ghosts, they seem to have like a really kind of dark side so that we don’t really see so much of like in Josh and Sally so is there kind of that idea that they’re also trying to resist their darker impulses?
That definitely comes up, absolutely. I would not want to spoil how that comes up, but I’ll say this for Josh and I won’t say anything about Sally just yet. We’re going to leave that, but that goes in interesting places. And Josh, this is a guy who’s pretty angry about what’s happened to him because this is not something that he asked for and he had a normal life and it was going pretty well, and it was all taken away from him.
And for example, we see a little bit of that in Episode 3 when he’s talking to a kid that’s kind of like who he was before he was turned into this. He was saying, “Yes, I’m going to be your resident at the hospital. Isn’t that great?” And Josh is like, “Yes. That was supposed to me,” and then immediately afterward he strangles a tiger. This is a guy who is definitely dealing with some stuff and we see him deal with it even more so. Josh has got some anger issues to work out.
I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about Aidan’s tattoos, Celine, and if we’re going to meet her, if we would be able to meet her?
The tattoos of Celine. That’s extremely significant and ties in in many ways to elements that we’re already aware of and characters that we’re already aware of, but we do not know that just yet. What can I say without spoiling it? Extremely significant. For a vampire to tattoo a person’s name on his chest, you’ve got to take that person pretty seriously.
There’s something in this Monday’s episode (“The End of the World as we Knew It”) that I thought was interesting. The way that Aidan reacts when Sally reveals to him what she’s learned about herself, his immediate reaction is to take action. His immediate reaction is to do something. Do you think that that’s a trait that comes from who he is as a vampire? Is that maybe who he is as a person; as a man?
Okay, to not spoil it too much for everyone else, I’ll say this. It’s both. It’s both because this is a man conscience, but it’s filtered through some pretty twisted stuff. I mean, we actually worked out one time, and I don’t have the number handy, but we actually sat down and worked out how many people Aidan has killed face-to-face. Not press the button and have him go away or shot from a distance, I mean face-to-face killed. And we were shocked at the number of how there’s some moments where it became necessary for us to know how deep in this guy got. So, this is a guy who does not - he would like to respect human life and he would like to have the same aversion in horror to killing as everyone else, but he just doesn’t. He’s done it way too much. So, he doesn’t not conceive of it the same way that you and I do and it doesn’t take a lot for him to come to the conclusion that, “Oh, this person needs to die? Fine,” you know, that’s everything. And also, let’s not forget he serves to benefit. If ever there was a righteous way to take someone out, he then gets to drink live blood, which also he realizes is a bad idea. So, it’s a really messed up thing right there. It does come from a good place, but it’s filtered through so much, you know, twisted pathos that it’s not good.
It’s a little bit like Dexter, you could say
You know what, there are a lot of similarities, actually, between those two characters. In fact, I - just intended that Aidan would be - for example, I think we see in Episode 3 when he’s talking to Garrity, that’s about as open and friendly as we ever see Aidan and it’s done as a lie. It’s done to get information. We don’t necessarily see Aidan smile at people as much as he smile at Garrity, “Oh, yes, how’s it going? Oh, you’re come to this bar too? Great.” But that’s all done as a tactic. It’s Aidan, like Dexter, was sociopath for many, many years. So, this is not a person who has a very healthy mindset.
Well, I didn’t intend it to mean that they were in no way in danger for Aidan because actually just knowing the guy is pretty dangerous. There’s a lot of things that can go wrong in there. What I meant to say is that they are not in direct danger. He is not going to grab Sally and, you know, drain her lifeless. He can’t. He’s not going to do the same thing to Josh. It’s just possible. So, in the direct way they’re safe, but there’s a lot of bad things that can happen through knowing a vampire. I’m sorry, restate the question. What was it that you wanted me to discuss?
Okay, because Aidan and Bishop are both in positions of direct danger to each other. In some ways, in an odd and ironic sort of way their relationship is probably the most human of the bunch and I was just wondering about that.
Well, that’s true... He can be more honest in many ways with Bishop, and also with Rebecca in a lot of ways. I mean, he can kind of drop a lot of what he hides. I mean, he - with Bishop - the things he hide from Bishop are very different that what he’d hide from Josh and Sally because he’s trying to just not give Bishop an advantage. It’s more of a chess game. In a strange way, the person that probably gets most of who Aidan is is Rebecca, you know? But again, I don’t know that anyone ever really gets the full picture from Aidan, in terms of getting all of who he is. He’s just so used to hiding and deceiving. But in terms of the Aidan-Bishop thing, there is a brotherhood there and there is a humanity to that relationship that I find extremely satisfying to play, and when I’ve seen the scenes to watch I’m really enjoying that relationship.
Under different circumstances these two guys could have just been two pretty wonderful conscientious people because like I talk about how Josh and Aidan aren’t necessarily suited to just be normal friends if it weren’t for this mutual need. I feel like Bishop and Aidan kind of were. There are enough similarities there, in terms of their personalities and who they are, and Aidan - and Bishop is not a man without conscience it’s just a different type of conscience, that these two guys, yes, absolutely could have been the truest of friends,. And in fact, for many, many years were.
I’d like to hear you talk about is when you worked on NCIS years ago.
Well, that experience dictated Crashdown’s haircut for Battlestar Galactica. I can tell you that. My head was shaved for NCIS and I was shooting that, and as I remember - I’m trying to remember what exactly the plot line was. I was helping with some sort of gun running and I remember the set was very nice. There was - I think the chick’s name was (Sasha) something that I was working with. I can’t remember exactly what her name was, and Michael Weatherly showed up at some point. Michael Weatherly who was very kind to me, because he remembered me from Dark Angel, and we’d never actually - neither in NCIS or Dark Angel did we ever work directly with each other, but he came up to me and remembered me from that and said, “Hey, it’s great to see you, Sam,” and all this great stuff, so he was aces in my book.
And while I was shooting that, my hair was all shaved because it was military, and got a call saying, “Hey, I live and sing - have been mulling over for months who’s going to play Crashdown in Battlestar Galactica and fly off to Vancouver. Well, they want it to be you and they want you to fly out tomorrow,” so Crashdown had a shaved haircut basically. But, the interesting postscript to that is that at some point after that at Lucas Film they were trying to figure out - you know, because I was sticking with the shaved head thing. It was like, “Oh, it’s kind of neat,” after Battlestar Galactica. And Lucas Film was trying to figure out the visual concept and they were talking to George Lucas about who Darth Vader’s apprentice might be. How he would be trained. What he might look like.
This artist Amy Beth Christenson, incredible, incredible artist, Amy Beth Christenson, creates all these images of what Darth Vader’s apprentice could be, and finally they settled on one and she created this painting of the character. And guess what, she painted me. She didn’t know me, she’d never met me, never saw me, but she painted a character that looked exactly like me, who also had the shaved head, which I had at the time. So as soon as that happened, a friend of mine, David Collins looked at his immediate boss, Darragh O’Farrell and they both said at the same time, “That looks exactly like Sam Witwer. We got to get him in. This is insane.” And so, the moment I walk into the audition everyone is looking at me like, “Oh, my God. It’s the apprentice.”
Your shaved head is the look.
Yes, exactly. It’s all related. Somehow NCIS influenced a lot of stuff, or at least played a part in it. For a while I had this shaved head look and it was extended longer than I perhaps intended it to be, and also Darragh O’Farrell recognized me from Battlestar Galactica as having that look, so the end results is I have these two framed prints. One of them is the concept of the apprentice, and then the other one is me as the apprentice that looks - and it looks exactly like the concept. So, you know, there is a story about NCIS
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