The Daily Quirk had the opportunity to catch up with Witwer about his celeb-filled band the Crash Tones, the final season of Being Human, his upcoming role on NBC’s Grimm and a surprising choice for his dream Star Wars role. Read on for the full interview!
The Daily Quirk: Let’s start by talking about your upcoming appearance on Grim. You’ll be guest starring as a werewolf in a freak show-like carnival. Can you tell us a bit about that character?
Sam Witwer: Yeah, he’s a guy in a tough spot. Basically, as I understand it he doesn’t entirely understand what it is that he is or how that relates to that larger community of these types of creatures. Him and his girlfriend have been sucked into this freak show and carnival that’s really their only option in terms of creating a life and having any sense of normalcy, or community for that matter. So, he’s sort of the star of this freak show, every night he turns, and every night they do this show. What we learn is that when you do that much, when you turn that much, you start developing this condition where you start losing your control entirely. You become very shaky and messed up. So there’s this carnival master who is taking advantage of my character and his condition, and his condition is kind of messing him up physically. Because he’s kind of losing control he may or may not be responsible for some murders that have been happening… but he doesn’t remember any of it.
SW: You know, really I just had to ask a lot of questions. When I arrived on set everybody expected that because of Being Human I would just automatically understand all this stuff but I don’t [laughing]. I didn’t know how it all worked but Silas [Weir Mitchell] was very helpful.
TDQ: You played a vampire in the US adaptation of Being Human. So was it fun to switch things up and play a werewolf now?
SW: I think Sam Huntington and Silas do it better than I do, but yeah [laughing] it was cool.
TDQ: Speaking of Being Human, after about four seasons, the show is going to be coming to an end in a few weeks. Can you give us any hints on what we can expect in the final episodes; any teasers?
SW: Oh sure, yeah. I mean I can tell you that this is something we’ve been preparing for for a year. This entire season was a wrap up to Being Human and we are so happy to be able to go out on our terms rather than maybe grab for a Season 5 that we frankly didn’t have the money for. The decision was made by the creatives, and the actors included, that the best thing for the show and the quality of the show, was to try and finish up here in the fourth season while we still had the money to make a good version of the show. So you’re going to see us throwing out all the ideas onto the screen that we never had the chance to do in the past seasons.
TDQ: So it’s truly going to be a finale; a spectacular, pretty much?
SW: Yeah, but you know I got to say, when you say spectacular you think big and epic. And really, if there’s something epic about the finale it’s basically what the characters are going through. We don’t have any giant set pieces or fight scenes or anything. We basically just put the characters through stuff they’ve never been through before and we make them deal with that. So we’re building up to that already; you’ll see. Basically, Being Human has always been a character driven show. It’s about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost who move into an apartment together and they try to be normal. And for that reason this show works best when these guys are in the kitchen talking to each other or are out on a date trying to be normal, trying to fit in.
The stakes do get higher, but it lives, breathes and dies with those characters. That’s for sure.
TDQ: Speaking of the characters, we learned that Sally isn’t going to be able to keep quiet about the alternate timeline. Can you tell us if what she saw will play into the finale at all?
SW: Oh certainly yes, big time. I can say that. That’s all I can say. Those alternate timeline episodes where… what I loved about them was that they were character exploration. We were making a lot of things explicit about who these characters were and what they meant to each other. The fact that Josh couldn’t put together a successful life under the circumstances of… because Sally basically, she comes back and she’s like a cheat sheet for ‘here’s how we conquer our problems because I’ve already been through it, I know what went wrong and here’s what needs to be corrected.’ And for Aidan, for a little while that goes okay because he’s got a certain amount of discipline, so if he does this, this, and this, then he can stay away from Bishop and it’s all good. Josh was so psychologically messed up because he wasn’t ready to make those moves. And then we learn that Aidan having not made the mistakes that he made never learned from them, and was susceptible to having it all fall to pieces. And really what those episodes are about is that these four people really needed each other, desperately needed each other, and needed to stumble through their lives together, learning together. The moment you start breaking them up, all of them fall apart. That theme carries on until the very end. And really I’m happy to say that the last episode really explores the issue of will Aidan have any kind of redemption. He’s done some bad things; we’ve seen him this year and at one point he was a very, very bad man. With all the things, of the thousands of people this guy has killed, does this guy, is there any chance he can be redeemed and what does that mean, and how would anyone go about that? So we’ll see, we get to answer these questions. Not all the answers will make the audience and viewers jump for joy [laughs]. It’s some challenging stuff.
TDQ: Actually that was my next question exactly. I was going to say that it is so hard for fans to say goodbye to the show. Do you think fans will be satisfied with the way things end?
SW: I think so; I hope so. I mean when I read the script for the finale I was really, really happy. I thought Anna Fricke hit it out of the park. But we’ll see if the audience agrees. Aidan is quite a strong focus of that finale. The show started because Aidan realized he needed help to stay clean and invited Josh to come live with him. The show ends to see if this guy has made, you know, in terms of the long term of the ways it makes a difference, has he made an adjustment in life, is he a good enough man to be deserving of redemption?
TDQ: Yeah, and that’s something we’ll see, and that’s something that people don’t realize is not only are the fans saying goodbye but your saying goodbye to this character, Aidan that you’ve played. What’s that like for you personally?
SW: You know, when we found out that SyFy had… they threatened for a while to call it for a fifth season, even though we had created the fourth season to be the end. We were all kind of disturbed by that because we felt like we did a really good fourth season or a really good ending and we were afraid that SyFy was going to invalidate that. And to their credit, they didn’t. So when we found out that this was it, that this was the end, and by the way we knew about it for a year, but we made it official a little later. We all breathed a little sigh of relief because we didn’t want to destroy this ending. Having said that, my last day as Aidan was definitely a little bit sad, those last lines were a little tough to get out. The character has been with me for four years… having said that, I do believe we’ve said all we can say about this guy without reaching, or without having to stretch to come up with crazy stuff. Because, after all, Being Human, every episode leads to the next, it’s just one big story, you know? So I think we dd it between the 52 episodes that we did, and the 37 that the British series did, it’s a lot of stories about vampires, werewolves and ghosts.
TDQ: What was it like saying goodbye to the other cast members who went on this journey with you?
SW: Actually that wasn’t as hard because we’ll see each other again. I mean I’ve seen them, I’m going to see them, and we’ll make a point to make sure we’re in each other lives. So that part was not as hard; we’re all friends.
TDQ: What’s next on your agenda? Do you have any upcoming projects going on that you can talk about?
SW: I’m doing a fun charity race, a grand prix, at Long Beach so I’m training for that. And I’m working on a second album for The Crashtones.
SW: It’s me and my friends that get together when we all have time between our industry-related jobs. We play shows every now and then. Then we go into hiding for two years, and then we go out and play shows every now and then. It’s all for fun for us, so yeah that’s what the whole deal is. We’ve got Glenn Howerton from Always Sunny in Philadelphia involved, Brian Taylor who wrote and directed Crank. We’re threatening to get Nick Wechsler from Revenge on board, so you know, we’ll see.
TDQ: Where can fans find out more about your music, or see you play live?
TDQ: When did you first realize that music was one of your passions? It seems like it’s a pretty big part of your life.
SW: Very early. I figured that out when I was 12. I wanted to be an actor when I was a little kid, but as I got a little older I thought that wasn’t very realistic so I decided I wanted to be a rock star instead [laughing]. Like that’s any more realistic, but that’s what I wanted to do. Then I actually got swallowed up on accident. I got accepted to Julliard for acting so I was like, ‘Oh shit.’ So I had to kind of leave music behind for a second. I actually, I haven’t been able to write as much music as I’d like to, but I got to write some music for Being Human this season, so that was cool. Yeah, I wrote a little bit of score stuff for Being Human, and a Crash Tones song showed up in another episode, episode five. So I’ve still been able to dabble with it, but I really want to concentrate on finishing the second album. The first album is like a rock album, the second album is little bit more of a hip-hop rock album, so it’s going to be insane.
TDQ: I can’t wait to hear. Is there anybody out there who would be a dream collaboration for you and your music?
SW: A dream collaboration… yes. Abe Lincoln. He would be dream collaboration. Abe Lincoln, I don’t know if he’s available right now but… Yeah you know I really wouldn’t know. I don’t know how good of a collaborator I am when it comes to music. When it comes to acting and creating these stories, I’m good with that but when it comes to music I’m more of a solo guy. You know, with the band, they all play the music, I’m just the guy who writes the music and I’m in charge. They’re all on board for whatever crazy stuff comes out of my head.
TDQ: Well on set you’re being told what to do all day by the director so you’ve got to have some time to be in control.
SW: Well you know what’s fun, Being Human wasn’t like that. Being Human was way more collaborative and we were all dictating how that show should be and how that story should be told. That’s the fun thing about being on a low budget TV show, it’s a little bit like the Wild West, there aren’t a lot of rules. You just have to run around and do what you think is right, and if you’re good at your job you’re bringing a lot more to the table than just what your job description is. And we all had the opportunity to do that. This show is a reflection of what everyone on board wanted it to be. It’s great.
TDQ: That’s really great, and it makes the show better because it really shines through.
SW: It makes the show better if you have the right people. I know people who have told stories about actors who have a certain amount of creative control and if they aren’t good at it, and they have creative control, then you’re screwed. But thankfully me and the other actors were very much in step with the writers. So when we’d go up and ad lib or do something it was basically what the writers would want and it was along the lines of what they were looking for.
TDQ: We like to wrap our interviews up with some quirky questions and we have two. The first one is what would fans be surprised to find out about you?
SW: One thing they’d be surprised to find out about me. I don’t like to drink, is that surprising?
TDQ: You know, in today’s world that is surprising. Can you explain a little bit about why?
SW: There’s no real reason expect I don’t feel the need to. I think it started when I was younger because I was a little bit of a rebel. And when I say rebel, a lot of people think, ‘Oh I was rebel. I was drinking, and I was doing this and doing that!’ I was a rebel in that I saw everyone doing that and I said ‘Why don’t I do something different?’ I didn’t feel the need to rebel against just adults. I felt the need to rebel against everyone. I kind of forged my own path. But then as years went on, you kind of lose that angst, it just works for me. I like it better that way, and I like being sober better than I like being drunk. I’ll have a glass of wine every now and then. It did require having one nightmarish night on Being Human. I actually had an episode where Aidan is just shitfaced the entire episode, totally drunk. It’s episode five. So I had to buy a bottle of vodka and videotape myself drunk so I knew what the hell I needed to look like playing drunk. It was a total nightmare to get that drunk. I drank the whole bottle; I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to drink the whole bottle. It was bad. It was really bad, The good news is I had a lot of good footage and I knew how to play drunk after that.
TDQ: You’re a big Star Wars fan and you’ve voiced for characters for both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out; with the new movies coming out we have to ask, if you could play any character in the Star Wars universe, who would it be and why?
SW: That’s easy, Indiana Jones, because I’m the right age for it, I don’t care it’s not in Star Wars. You know they’re going to need a young Dr. Jones and I know how to do it. So there you go.
TDQ: There you go, boom. You know if there’s one thing I’ve learned from you Sam Witwer is that you forge your own path and that is great to hear.
SW: Yes [Laughing]. So my favorite Star Wars character is Indiana Jones. Deal with it.