With Sci-fi shows being cancelled left and right here in Vancouver (Tomorrow People, Almost Human) It’s hard to get loyal fans and the general public interested let alone getting beyond the first season. So what makes Bitten deserving of a second season? Well for one thing, having a loyal fan base built into your franchise can’t hurt.
Bitten is based off a series of young adult novels written by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong and follows Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort). A female werewolf who is torn between a normal life with her human boyfriend Philip in Toronto and her “family” obligations as a werewolf in upstate New York. Among her “pack” is her ex-fiancé Clayton, who is responsible for her becoming a werewolf.
I had the chance to sit down with one of the lead stars of Bitten, Greyston Holt and ask him all about the show and what Vancouver meant to him.
KP: What is Bitten.
GH: Bitten is a show about the only known female werewolf, and about her pack. Elena (Laura Vandervoot) becomes a werewolf because she falls in love with Clay Danvers, which is the character that I play. We fall deeply, madly in love and I’m forced to bite her.
Back at Stone Haven where the pack resides, there’s been a recent uprising of mutt activity, and these would be bad werewolves that we police and try to take care of. Jeremy Danvers (Greg Bryk) is our pack alpha and he calls upon Elena to come to Stone Haven because she’s our best tracker. So very much against her will she decides to come back to help against the mutt uprising, and then we are again re-introduced, old habits die hard, and the rest is history.
KP: Are there other supernatural elements in the show? Or are werewolves the only threat?
GH: In the first season it’s just werewolves. When we first started it’s was the director and producer’s vision to just focus mainly on the werewolf side of things. Even though in the books they dive into more supernatural aspects with witches and ghosts and all that stuff. I don’t know much about the second season BUT I do know that we are introducing witch characters, so that will make the storyline much more interesting.
KP: You’re last main role on TV was in the Move Central series, Durham County. How does this show compare to that one?
GH: As far as the characters and the shows go, they’re so different. My character in Durham County was this introverted, quiet, kept to himself, son of an abusive father, and then finds out his father was a serial killer.
SO that, to a guy who…cuts mutts balls off. (laughs) But I guess there are also some common threads within those characters. I mean there’s the book’s version of Clay and what I took from the books and the character that I created. There’s some introvert aspects to him, he’s kind of not the best socially in most situations. It’s also more fun to play a character who’s able to rip people’s throats out and throw them across the room.
KP: That being said, this is also you’re first time dealing with heavy fight choreography.
GH: I’ve had some experiences with shooting guns and throwing some punches here and there but this was my first experience with choreographed fight sequences. Our rehearsals alone would be 8 to 10 hours. I think in episode 10 or 11, I have this massively huge fight scene with Elena’s lover and also fighting off two mutts at the same time and that took 8 or 10 hours to shoot, it’s such a new experience and it’s a bit of a dance.
KP: Is it mostly you in the sequences? Or did you have a stunt double?
GH: I do have a stunt guy but I picked it up pretty quickly and I’ve always been a pretty athletic guy and I’ve never been in a fight in my life. The last time someone hit me was at Moby’s on Saltspring. (laughs) I really don’t have anger, with that type of thing, I mean sure I get angry but violence, physical violence, I don’t have it in me.
KP: What was the audition process like?
GH: It was a drawn out process and it typically is. They have a lot invested in the show so they want to make sure they have the right guy. I put an audition for Clay on tape and didn’t think much about it.
Then a couple weeks later I got a call saying that they wanted to see a little more. Sent another tape out, they liked that, then I had a Skype audition with the producers and director here in Vancouver. That went well. Then they flew me out to toronto for the screen test with Laura Vandervoort who was cast as Elena. I didn’t leave thinking I bombed it but I thought I did alright and then I got the call a week later.
KP: What was your agents reaction to you getting this career changing role.
GH: She already knew before I did!
GH: YES. Kathleen Carpenter has been my agent since day one, she’s great. I was at CrossFit in the morning and I look at my phone and Kathleen is calling me saying come down to the agency, the producers want to talk to you.
So I’m thinking they just want to let me down easy and tell me in person that I didn’t get it. So I go in and she get’s them on the phone and they say something cheeky like, hope you’re prepared for the cold winter or something like that. They told me I got it and Kathleen having already knew this, busted out the champagne and we celebrated.
KP: With Bitten being picked up for a second season, could you tell being on set that It was going to be a hit?
GH: I had a pretty good vibe going into it, just knowing the success of the books, knowing that if you could do a genre type show right, you have fans for life, the fans in horror and sci-fi are so passionate and if you can hook them in they will be with you for the long run.
KP: How are you dealing with the hardcore fan base and all the responsibly that comes with being the lead on Bitten.
GH: I personally don’t think I’ve changed at all and It’s nice that there are people who are passionate about the show. When I go to these things I try to connect with each person and give them as much attention as I can. The last convention I did was in San Antonio and usually when your fans pay for your autograph, you get a cut of the money. Instead I asked the organizers if there was a local charity I could donate the money to because I’m just so lucky to be here to begin with, I would do this for free.
KP: For someone who grew up on Saltspring Island and Vancouver, how does that influence your work, your outlook on other cites and how people perceive you.
GH: I’ve lived in Vancouver for the past 10 years and I grew up on Saltspring Island, so it’s the combination of the two that helped shape me to who I am. Saltspring was a great place to grow up. It really teaches you to respect everyone around you because you know everyone.
Vancouver is just so beautiful, I love nature, it’s just nice to go to the beach, go for a hike, drive up to whistler, and I bring that into my professional life by just being real with people. Not let my head get too big. It’s nice to have a place that your passionate about. I’m proud of it and I love it, If the film industry here was as big as LA, I would be so happy. I’d never have to leave!
*Here is a pic I took with Greyston during our interview, he couldn’t have been a nicer guy*
Bitten airs on the Scy-Fy Network and Space and will be in production for season 2 this August with an air date next year in 2015.