'Being Human': Michael Socha, Lenora Crichlow, and Damien Molony bite into season 4
No one was singing “Ding-dong Mitchell’s dead” at the end of Being Human’s third season, when the complicated Irish vamp was killed off so that actor Aidan Turner could depart the show for New Zealand and Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit. So it was a stake in our hearts to find out that between then and yesterday’s fourth season premiere… [If you haven’t watched last night’s Being Human on BBC America, teleport out of here immediately if you don’t like spoilers] …werewolf Nina (Sinead Keenan) — mother to fellow lycan George’s human daughter — had been beaten to death. And then, by the time the episode was over, George (Russell Tovey) had sacrificed himself to save his newborn — whom we now know is also the “war child” (i.e., the human who will wipeout vampires).
We also learned that royal vamps, the Old Ones, were coming to the U.K. in two months to start a full-on vampire takeover (hence, the episode title, “The Eve of War”) out of an import/export warehouse called Stokers on the edge of Barry. And that George’s kid, whom he named Eve, will stop them only if ghost Annie (Lenora Crichlow), the sole original roommate left, can keep her alive. Yet, Being Human isn’t Being Human without a werewolf and a vampire to fight alongside Annie, so creator Toby Whithouse promoted 20-year-old lycan Tom (Michael Socha) — whose vampire-hunting dad McNair (Robson Green) also died last year — to the main cast. And he added an all-new bloodsucker, the very posh, very persnickety Hal (Damien Molony), whom we met yesterday as he tried to save his own werewolf friend — who’d been keeping him off plasma for the last five-and-a-half decades — from destruction.
The premiere was thrilling but complicated, with all its portents, new characters, and scrolls made out of human skin (more on those later). That’s not to mention the flash forwards to 2037 when vampires, humans, and werewolves are caught in an apocalyptic war. So EW got Socha, Crichlow, and Molony to answer our questions about the episode, tease the rest of the season (including info about the guest stars and the returning favorites), and share their fears about starting over with new leads. They were also game to explain an exclusive spoiler (i.e. one you wouldn’t know yet even if you lived in the U.K.) about the return of the Box Tunnel Massacre and Hal’s upcoming investigation into the vampire(s) and the coroner involved with its complicated cover up.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Cast changes are always tricky, especially in a long running, beloved show. How nervous were you?
LENORA CRICHLOW: I was apprehensive but I have a lot of faith in the production team behind Being Human, so I think I was more excited than nervous. Well, I can say that now because they pulled it off, but probably at the time I was terrified.
What about you men, were you afraid of being compared to your predecessors?
DAMIEN MOLONY: You can’t avoid comparisons and comparisons are the biggest fear I had. But the writing is so good — they had to reinvent the show. Obviously, they had to maintain the fact that there’s a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost living together. But Mike developed a character so different to Russell’s and I hopefully have gone a completely different way than Aidan. That comes from performance, but also from the writing, from the directors, and the crew. Everyone was trying to bring this new story alive.
MICHAEL SOCHA: I completely agree. At first, I was quite nervous because I thought, well, Being Human is definitely not going to be the same. And Being Human has got such a massive group of fans — a very hardcore, loyal group of fans. I thought that they had the potential to lose all of them. But I think now that people have actually watched the show, they’ve gotten themselves back into it and trust us nearly, if not as much, as the previous cast. And the fact that none of the characters are similar, that we’ve been able to come onto the set with a fresh character and fresh ideas, has helped us dramatically.
Did it tear your heart out to film George’s death scene?
MS: For me, it was hard work because I really like Russell and think he’s a brilliant actor. And obviously, Lenora was with him for years so it must have… well, it was obvious on the day how upset we all were. I think it helped with the scene. The sadness of Russell leaving really helps the feeling of George actually leaving for good.
What is Annie thinking now that she’s lost Mitchell, Nina, and George, and has a newborn to care for?
LC: She’s a bit like, “Thanks very much.” No, she takes to the responsibility quite well, actually. A huge hole in her life is fulfilled by having Eve to look after. And it’s obviously still a connection to her old life and to George and Nina and the way it was before. It’s a way of handling her grief, really, and it stops her from slipping into major depression. She doesn’t have much time to dwell on her own feelings and that’s pretty convenient. Hal touches on it quite a bit when he first meets Annie. [He picks up that] she’s quite hysterically getting on with it with the focus on Eve.
NEXT: How old is Hal and when will he meet Tom and Annie?
What was the first scene that the three of you filmed together?
DM: Is it the one where we’re watching the television?
LC: When we all sat on the sofa?
MS: That was our first as a group, yeah.
So are you guys going to be watching The Real Hustle like Mitchell and George used to?
LC: No, Bargain Hunt!
Why is Tom so intent on remaining in Barry and living at Honolulu Heights?
MS: At the top of episode 1, he ain’t got no dad, has he? He ain’t got a dad anymore, so he’s coming to find some friends or allies to help him on his mission of life, if not his mission of killing vampires. I think he’s come back to the house because that’s the only place he’s familiar with apart from his dad. By the end of episode 1, he’s pretty much in the same situation, but lacking another friend.
Are we going to have to wait much longer for Tom, Annie, and Hal to meet? Will it be love at first sight?
DM: Hal is, obviously, living in a barbershop in South End with Leo, the werewolf, and Pearl, the ghost. In episode 2, we realize that in order to save Leo’s life, we have to come to this house in Barry wherein dwells a werewolf and a ghost. And through a series of misfortunate events, Hal is left on his own and, hence, with Tom and Annie. He really has to rely on them to look after him, because he’d had this amazing support for the last 55 years in order to stay off blood, and that’s suddenly been taken away. Tom and Hal don’t necessarily get on and Hal is reluctant to see Annie as a friend, but at the same time he needs them. As the season develops, it’s lovely watching those relationships soften and really prosper.
We didn’t learn much about Hal in the first episode, besides that he likes dominoes and hates spiders. He also seems pretty posh and essentially obsessive compulsive.
DM: He’s developed these tactics in order to keep his mind clean and his bloodlust at bay. So he has these techniques, and as the season goes on they become more and more related to doing exercise and press-ups — which was extremely tiring to film when I didn’t get it right and had to retake it.
How old his he?
DM: I think he’s 512-years-old. He’s been around for a long, long time. He’s had this horrendous evil past of tearing through Eastern Europe and all the historic wars of the 1700s and 1800s. He’s one of the most evil vampires that has ever existed, but for years has been hiding way, running from his past.
Did he know Mitchell?
DM: It’s never explicitly mentioned, but Mitchell was such a legendary character in the vampire world and Hal is even more so. Hal is one of the original Old Ones, so you could probably trace the bloodline in Mitchell back to Hal at some stage. And I’m sure they’d probably have heard about each other, but I don’t think they’d ever met.
Damien, what was it like to film your first bloodsucking scene?
DM: It was absolutely amazing. I’d spoken to Michael about filming werewolf scenes and he said that you can just let loose. It was so invigorating, and that comes across so well in the werewolf transformation scenes. This was obviously the vampire’s version and it’s great. You get to stick the teeth in and the make-up woman is covering you in blood. It’s the reason I took the job.
The premiere keeps flashing 25 years into the future during a world war between humans and vampires — and the vampires are winning. It seems like the werewolves are on the humans’ side. Where’s Tom?
MS: I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say, because I’m dead worried. Werewolves don’t attack humans. Werewolves are the good breed. But you won’t see me in that bit there.
You’re not going to die, are you?
MS: I don’t want to say, but I’m not in the war and I don’t die.
Is Tom going to be Eve’s primary protector for season 4?
MS: Yeah, but I think anybody that’s around Eve and the wonderful baby becomes a protector anyway, because Eve’s such an important child for humans, vampires, and werewolves. Anybody who’s on the good guys’ side is going to protect Eve or go out of the way to make sure nothing bad happens to Eve.
Will we meet any other monsters this year?
MS: Yeah, there’s a new one. There’s a new type of supernatural coming in this season, but I’m not going to tell you what sort of supernatural that is.
Is Tom going to find another werewolf friend?
MS: Tom, at this stage in his life, is finding other people and werewolves very interesting. I’ve always said that this is Tom’s adolescence and this season is Tom’s time to experiment with the female werewolf variety.
Should we be paying close attention to the scroll made out of human skin?
LC: Yes, it is important. It basically maps out the fate of the three main characters this season, and it definitely is a context for baby Eve. It’s like a scripture of types. But they don’t have all the parts yet and it’s very easily misread, with the nipples and stuff. And it just happens to be on human skin. That has vampires all over it, doesn’t it? Why they couldn’t use paper, I don’t know. It’s a vampire thing to make it that much more gory. And the little bit of hair… it was one of the most disgusting props on set because it really did look like human skin and as time went on, it picked up dust and lint and it was pretty gross.
Is Eve some sort of a John Connor-like character? Initially, it seemed like the warrior girl in the flash forward scenes was Eve, then after reading the skin scroll, the girl became a ghost so she could travel back in time and “kill that baby.”
MS: She’s a very important child. How’s that sound?
NEXT: Who is this year’s big baddie?
The promos have teased the arrival of another ghost, played by British actor James Lance, in episode 4. What’s his story?
LC: All I can say is get your dancing shoes on because dance mania is about to hit the BBC. We were all just absolutely blown away by his performance and brilliant, brilliant interpretation of the character. I’m excited to see that one. I think that’s my favorite episode.
Damien, do you have a favorite?
DM: I really like episode 7, because you see a little bit more of Hal’s past — lots of flashbacks. And episode 5 is the return of Craig Roberts [teenage vampire Adam]. He’s just so funny and he’s such a fan favorite. The fans are going to absolutely love him again this year.
Adam is only a bit younger than Tom. Won’t the two of them butt heads?
MS: They sort of do, actually, because again, he’s a vampire. And, at first, Tom hates vampires, obviously, because that’s the way he was brought up, and that’s what he does, he kills vampires. Another journey of Tom’s this season is to try to be less judgmental towards vampires and realize that maybe vampires can do good.
I know you can’t say who — or what — it is, but can you tell us anything about this season’s big baddie?
MS: He’s really bad.
LC: Ooh, he’s really bad. And he has horrible teeth.
DM: Horrible teeth and horrible hands.
MS: And a very veiny man. He’s very veiny.
Fans who have been keeping up with their online reading know that Sherlock co-creator Mark Gatiss is guest-starring this season as Old One Mr. Snow. What’s his deal?
DM: He’s a scary guy.
MS: He’s one of my favorite guest stars, as well. He really, actually, genuinely scared me when I was doing scenes with him. He’s incredible.
Who is Cutler (Andrew Gower) and why did he record Tom and George transforming into werewolves on his cell phone? Griffin (Alex Jennings) implied that Cutler was turned into a vampire by someone very powerful. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that he might have a connection to the mysterious Mr. Snow?
MS: We’re going to reveal everything by the time you’re through.
DM: Yeah, if we tell you anything, we’ll tell you everything! I suppose Cutler is this really young and really ambitious vampire who is waiting for the Old Ones to come to the U.K. He wants to really, really impress them and be welcomed into [their fold]. So he’s very strategically developing, through modern techniques, a way to… if I say anything more, I’m going to give it away.
[SPOILER] Now, a mole at the BBC told EW exclusively that the Box Tunnel Massacre is coming back into play in episode 4. How? And why is Hal so interested in it?
DM: This feeds back to… this is a little bit of a spoiler, isn’t it? It all feeds back to what I was talking about with Cutler. The Box Tunnel Massacre has been swept under the carpet a little bit, and in order to highlight maybe the existence of supernaturals, Cutler’s character is helping drip-feed information to the press.
Now, can you explain to American audiences what “rentaghost” — the nickname George and Annie have for when she transports herself from room to room — means?
LC: You’re in really good company, because I didn’t know what it was either! I was told “rentaghost” was a term from an old sitcom where the ghosts move from place to place. It’s a reference to some retro thing, which they throw into Being Human all the time. If you’re over the age of 35 you’ll get it, otherwise you won’t.
DM: I’d always thought that Annie came up with that word!
Finally, you’re building this family of Being Human, Doctor Who, and Sherlock workers, where everybody is guest starring in or directing each other’s shows. Toby has always been involved with Doctor Who. Russell has guest starred on both that show and Sherlock. Will we see any of you guys on Doctor Who?
LD. I’ve done it!
MS. She’s been there, done that!
LC. Yeah, been there, done that! They were brilliant fun. It’s such an honor to be part of the massiveness that is Doctor Who, so I’m sure the boys will get an invite soon enough.
MS: I hope so, Lenora.
LC: I hope so, too! I really do.
MS: Put a word in for me?
LC: Yeah, I’ll put a word in. I’m that powerful.