Fans are going wild for Syfy’s new werewolf series, Bitten. Part of their obsession? Wolfpack member Clayton Danvers played by Durham County star, Greyston Holt. The Canadian actor blazes on screen, showing an aptitude for conflicted characters and stunt choreography. You may be surprised, however, to discover that beneath that smoldering stare, there’s a lovable “dork.”
In this exclusive interview, we learn more about the man behind the smolder as Greyston Holt discusses getting into character, his musical pursuits and…running naked through the Canadian mountains?
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell us a bit about what attracted you to the role of Clay Danvers in Bitten?
Greyston Holt: One of the interesting things about Clayton is the inner conflict he constantly has between his loyalty towards Jeremy [Greg Bryk], the pack alpha, and his one and only love, Elena [Laura Vandervoort]. So there’s always this inner conflict that’s interesting to play.
TDQ: Clay is a much beloved character among fans of Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. Was there extra pressure taking on the role knowing that?
GH: Yeah, there’s a bit of pressure. I tried to stay off the whole Twitter thing because there’s a bunch of strong opinions on what Clay should look like, or sound like, or be like. So I tried to stay away from that a little but at the same time I wanted to honor the book, and not completely piss off the bookies. But you know, I just kind of did my own thing and I think everyone’s liking what I’m doing. I hope!
TDQ: Could you tell us how closely you think your on-screen version of Clay follows his book counterpart?
GH: It’s hard to say, I mean everyone’s opinion on him is so different. It’s such a subjective thing. I just kind of did my research, read the books obviously and I was picking apart Sabbath, which was the precursor and the back story to Clay’s character. I just kept that in my subconscious and played off the other actors. More than anything, you want to be true to the scenes. If you do your research and know your stuff well enough, the rest kind of permeates through your performance.
TDQ: We recently got to talk to one of your co-stars Steve Lund, and he says you have a pretty good story about preparing for the role, something about running naked in the woods? Could you tell us a bit about that and your prep for the role?
GH: Oh yeah! When I found out I was coming out to Toronto to test for the role of Clayton, it was down to me and two other guys. I kind of pulled out all the stops. I live in Vancouver, and I went running through the mountains just north of the city with my buddy’s dog. I left the trail and left all my clothes in my bag and just ran around naked for about an hour and howled and yelled and screamed – freaking my friend’s dog out, I’m sure.
TDQ: And anybody that was taking a walk at the time!
GH: Yeah, I may have. I ran pretty far off the trail, I was in deep forest.
TQD: You bring a lot of intensity to Clay. How do you get into character to shoot?
GH: I’m fortunate because all the other actors are great, and the material is there. It’s really just being present in the scenes and trusting the other actors. We’re all fortunate on the show because we’re all stepping up to the plate, so that’s really what it is for me. I don’t do a lot of prep for that intensity, its just stepping into that world. And the sets help, too. There’s a certain gravity to Stonehaven, there’s wonderful set design so when you step into that room it;s pretty easy to step into that different world.
TDQ: You mentioned the importance of working with the other actors. Your chemistry with Laura Vandervoort’s character Elena jumps off the screen. What’s it like filming together?
GH: It’s great. We have a good relationship on and off screen kind of like a brother-sister thing, which is nice because you need that trust in each other. Even when we were screen testing together and doing a chemistry read we had a chemistry right off the bat. She’s great and it’s been wonderful to work with her.
TDQ: In Episode 2 we got to see you faux-fight Nick, and some action between Nick and Elena. What’s it like shooting those kind of fight scenes?
GH: I’ve done a little bit of fight choreography before, but nothing like what you see in the show. We have a wonderful stunt coordinator, John Stead, he was patient and extremely talented. It was fun to film with Steve because it was more of a play fight, but there’s some more intense stuff coming up.
TDQ: I was just about to ask, when do we get to see Clay really get into some action?
GH: By Episodes 8 and 9 it really starts to ramp up, and we have some epic fight scenes in 10 and 11.
TDQ: Fight scenes aside, what else can we look forward to later in the season? Any surprises?
GH: I think you’ll be surprised by who makes it and who doesn’t. We stick to the book, but there’s a couple curve balls thrown in so I think it will be interesting for fans of the book, and for people who haven’t read the book, to see where it goes.
TDQ: And for those who haven’t tuned in yet, how would you describe Bitten in five words or less?
GH: Hmm…Sexy. Action-packed. Violent. Surprising. Intense.
TDQ: I have to ask you about Durham County. Can you tell me a little about how your role as Ray Jr. came about?
GH: Whew, that’s a long time ago! I sent a tape out to Montreal for that, and that’s how I booked the role. It was my first larger role and I learned a lot. I was pretty green when I started out. I was lucky to have a great cast and great writing. It was very challenging and one of the most rewarding roles I’ve played to date, for sure.
TDQ: Do you enjoy taking on complex sort of conflicted characters like Ray and Clayton? Is it more of a challenge?
GH: I don’t know, you know, I was just lucky that these roles came along. I think any good actor wants a role where the character has depth and some sort of inner struggle. Unfortunately, it seems rare these days that you get these really deep, rich, complex characters, especially in TV. I was just fortunate to get to play Ray and Clay, they were both challenging and rewarding in their own right.
TDQ: Let’s talk about you a little. How do you like to spend your time when you’re not busy working?
GH: I love playing guitar. I love traveling. My girlfriend and I just got back from Maui, which was incredible. I’m learning Italian right now, which is awesome. My girlfriend is Italian so she helps me out with that. A bit of yoga here and there and Crossfit to stay in shape.
TDQ: You’re also a musician; can you tell us a little about that? What kind of music do you like to create?
GH: I’ve been playing guitar since I was about 12 or 13. I had a couple bands in high school and I played with my dad in a band with a bunch of his friends for a few years, playing weddings. I moved to the city when I was nineteen and started a hardcore metal band. We toured and played around the city for a couple years and then I booked Durham County. Since then I’ve just kind of played on my own and I read a lot of instrumental stuff. One of my favorite bands is Explosions in the Sky, they’re big influence of mine. Very cinematic, epic-sounding music, that’s kind of what I write. I love Blues as well. I play a lot of Blues.
TDQ: Any chance we’ll see you on the Bitten soundtrack?
GH: I really hope so! We were talking about it this first season. I wrote a couple things that might work in the show. We ran out of time for the first season, but I think in the second season we’ll have a little more time and hopefully write something for the soundtrack.
TDQ: We like to end our interviews on a fun note, so what would be one quirky or fun thing fans would be surprised to find out about you?
GH: I’m a big dork. I really am. The person that fans see in the show, that’s not me. A fun fact: I’ve never been in a fight in my life! I’ve never punched anybody.
The Daily Quirk would like to thank Greyston Holt for taking the time to chat with us!To find out more about Greyston, you can follow him on Twitter, and be sure to check him on Bitten, which airs Mondays at 8e/7c on Syfy in United States and Saturdays 9e/6p in Canada on the Space Channel.