And I had my ideas and the show runner's had their ideas. And we were trying to find sort of that balance, what does she sound like? And yet you have mother who sounds very, specific and strong. And so does she sound like her mother exactly or is she a little bit different? And finding the voice, the accent was very tricky on the first day. But we finally, I have a lady I work with who's amazing, a dialect coach.
And we basically created after that first day because it was sort of, it was something that we just bypassed, somehow we didn't manage to discuss. Because I assume that what I did was in the audition was sort of what I would do and then we actually had a discussion about it, but it was sort of too late to change anything. So the very next day, I worked with my dialect coach and we designed sort of an accent and a voice for her that was a little bit American, but a little bit British, sort of like a mid-Atlantusesque type accent. But not specifically. We kind of mdernized it slightly and made her a little bit more youthful.
And then once we came up with her voice, I went back and I don't know if you want to write this or not. But ADR, some of my speeches on that first day because I wanted there to be some consistency with the character obviously. I mean, that's one of the most important things with the voice and sound because you don't want that to take someone out of the show or getting carried away with the storyline.
So yes, we went back and we ADRed over that because that was very challenging. And, "per sona" in Latin apparently means "through sound." And you can fool people with little like tricks and people will accept things and they don't look so good. But if something doesn't sound right, people won't believe it. And it's very important for me for the characters voice to be specific and consistent and settled. So that was like one of my main priorities on the first day was communicating with Adam Kane about what they were looking for and how I felt about the character. And then bringing in Mary McDonald-Lewis who's just an incredible dialect coach.
To just communicate, with the show runners and with me and just so we were all speaking the same language and finding her voice because, you don't want her to sound like she's from, Pasadena or Brooklyn or something. You want her to sound like she's from another world in a way, but you don't want her to be inaccessible. Hopefully you like her sound and it's something that, that you respond to because it was one of the things that was really important for me.
You mentioned the mother character. I wanted to get your take sort of how you see Suren's relationship with her mother. How does that sort of play out in the series?
I mean Suren's relationship with her mother is very complicated. She's always let her mother down and anything she did was never good enough. And it's sort of like, it's one of those relationships which is very strained and there's a lot of love there and there's a lot of hate there, and resentment and disappointment.
And you really see that as the episode sort of continue on. You really feel the tension. She can never do the right thing by her mother and so sometimes she just doesn't even try. And then other times, she's tries and then she fails. And it's just a very difficult relationship. I actually have a really wonderful relationship with my mother, so it was difficult to find something personal that I connected to bring that to life. But I found other things and hopefully that really comes across and you enjoy the tension in that relationship plays out.
What is it you think about Being Human that keeps people tuning in?
It's such a wonderful show and I think just people, human beings struggle with being human and just being part of society every day. I mean there's a lot of people who feel outside of the community or they don't feel like they fit in or they're trying to fit in or they're just trying to get by.
And I think, even though it's a show about a vampire, ghost and a werewolf, I think it's very relatable. Everyone's trying to make a relationship, work with a job and juggling, different things that come up in their day to day lives. And I think people relate to the show. And the characters are so fun and watchable and they have that balance of sort of drama, but also that lightness.
And the camaraderie between the house mates is so beautiful and I think Aidan wants to sort of serve and yet he's sort of always pulling between giving and also satiating his hunger. And I think that's a balance that everyone struggles with. Everyone struggles with a dark side and they're always trying to do the right thing.
Everyone always tries to do the right thing. We don't always manage, but I think most people I think are inherently good. And sometimes where there are a lot of good people who just aren't good at being a good person, but sometimes it's a push and pull like we all have it. And I think people relate to that and it's a beautiful show.
The storyline's are wonderful and when I first watched the whole series, I watched it all back to back and I thought I just found this really lovely balance between sort of tragedy and comedy. And usually those things go hand in hand anyway. But I think it's that, you know. I think people just they respond to the characters.
What would you like to say to everybody who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?
I just can't thank the people who support me and the shows that I do and the movies I try and make. Who constantly tune in to watch and support me. I can't thank them enough, you know. I would be nowhere without the viewers and the fans and I have this very soft place in my heart for the people who enjoy my work and who believe in me because, actors we're funny creatures.
We have these enormous egos, but we're deeply insecure. There's an incredible paradox and a lot of the time I have moments where we don't sometimes believe in ourselves and we think, "Oh, I'm never going to work again and I'm a terrible actor." But then it's the fans, I look to them and they believe in me and they help me keep believing in myself. And it's - and maybe that's unhealthy. I should probably speak to a therapist or something about that. Everyone in L.A. has a therapist, but I don't. But I do look to my fans sometimes and they give me more confidence and hope that, I'm not too bad at what I do and I'll continue to be able to do it.
I have so much gratitude towards the people who support me and who believe in me.
We know the theme of the show this season is temptation. Is Suren going to be tempted as well?
I think there is some temptation there for her to, I think she's just been in this world for so long and she's so deeply entrenched in that because her mother is sort of like the queen of the vampires. I think if it's there it's very fleeting because she knows her fate and that's why in a way she's so damaged.
You'll see more of the temptation creep in with Aidan who's constantly being pulled back into this world. Somehow he's always trying to escape it and he's always trying to sort of run away from who he is and the people around him. And she's just there, she's like just pulling him back in and pulling him back in.
And as much as he tries to resist, I guess it all becomes relative and if you've been alive for 500 hundred or 1000 years, 80 years isn't really that long. In the grand scheme of things, maybe it's like, five years or something. The equivalent of that, in your mind. But yes, she has been a part of his life for a very long time and yes she was gone for a little while. But, she's back and that sort of feeling with him I think even though he's never let it really live and occupy too much space. The fact that he's working so closely with her is making that harder and harder for him. So I think you will see her go through a little bit of that. There's no question where her future is.
And it's a very hard thing I think ultimately for her to accept, but it's just something that she knows. And there are things about, my character as a person, that I don't like, but I know that I'm always going to be like that and there's nothing I can do to change it even if it's just a little, mundane thing. There are just some things that we can't change.
Is your interaction with Deena more on a flashback basis or is it more like she's a constant presence watching over what you and Aidan are doing?
She is in the flashbacks. Absolutely, but their - Suren's relationship with mother is played out, very much in the present and in her conversations with Aidan and you really understand that dynamic with the way Aidan, and Suren communicate. And how she communicates with Aidan and mother like in the present day.
Do you know are you going to be on the entire season or do you know how many episodes you'll be on?
Yes, yes. Suren's character is in seven episodes, but they'll refer to her in the other episodes and you know.
You've done a lot of science fiction, fantasy, horror. Now, were you a fan of these kind of things before you started doing them?
I love sci-fi and fantasy. It's, for me, my friend, a very good friend of mine, Max Kabalek, he's in casting. But he always says, "I'm Asian, but from the future." So it's very hard for me to fit into like a period piece or, in modern days, they can sort of slip me into a show here or there, but for the family involved forget about it because, I have like this sort of weird, unique alien thing going.
And so I'm very grateful that I guess in a way it just kind of works. Like I love sci-fi, fantasy and I kind of fit into that world because it's weird. People find it hard to cast me in real circumstances. I hope that changes because I've always loved period pieces and I love the fact that on this show because it is a fantasy, I actually get to exist in the 1920s and 30s.
I think it's one of the greatest shows ever and if I was on that show, I'd probably be one of the Chinese hookers that they throw into the fire and that's about all I would be doing on that show. And it's sad because I am half, Australian and my father's family is European and I really respond to that. I understand sort of that time and I would love to explore that, but I can't.
I mean, unless someone writes a show or a movie about one of the little people or the women who work in like in an opium den way back then or something. It's just not going to happen. So one of the most exciting things about reading the scripts they came in with that I could be a person or a vampire at least. But in that period and I get to be like a person that people acknowledge and not just like one of the Asian people that do something in the background. So that was really exciting.
I always wonder why they don't have more like Asians and Latinos and other types of people on TV. It's weird.
I guess it's because they weren't like doing things of like note because they were sort of like the people that were kind of pushed down to the bottom of the thing. It was just the way it happened. Obviously there are stories like that that are really fascinating, that occurred in those communities, but I feel like no one wrote them down.
I hope something surfaces sometime soon, but at the moment, I love sci-fi/fantasy and somehow thanks to Joss Whedon I guess I've made a little home there. And I hope I can continue to do this genre because I love it. I love it, I think it's a wonderful place to play out ideas and opinions about the world today in a safe place, you know.
What would you say was probably your most memorable moment so far on the shoot?
If it's just about the shoot, it was probably one of the days I woke up at like 4:00 in the morning and the whole city was covered in snow. And no one had like driven on the road yet. So even the roads were white, everything was white and I just was jumping up and down shouting, And then driving to work that day was just spectacular because I've never lived in a city where it snowed. And I was just so excited by it. The rest of the day I just kind of spent making footprints in the snow and like a kid just kicking it around. It was just the most beautiful thing.
As far as like the character, I think definitely the flashbacks because I think everyone can hear my answers, but just the opportunity to be in a period situation, the 1930s and get to wear the clothes and have the hair done like that and take myself back into that time was such a cool experience. And I'll always be so grateful that the writers wrote that for me and they had the courage to sort of say, "Why can't you be in the 19, 30s or 20s?"
She's a vampire. I'll be very, very grateful for that opportunity. I hope I have it again, to do something like that. But to feel the extras dressed up and the props and the art department did such a beautiful job. And I mean, I didn't even really have to take myself back into that time. It was built around me and I just had to be the character. And I'd say it was definitely that.
I know you mentioned before the difficulty of wearing the contacts, but in terms of the character itself, what would you say was the biggest challenge in approaching that character along the way?
I think it was just not to make her too sort of bitchy. It's very easy to just slide into just being plain old mean. When you have a character like this who's so powerful and who doesn't really care about anybody, very sort of, princessy. She is, she's a princess and she behaves like one. And it was just to make her likable, to make you feel for her. That was challenging.
And I really hope that she is likable and I made her likable. I hope you guys feel that when you watch the show because, as an actor you do have to fight against that because it's very easy to slip into just being plain old mean. But, it was something that I had to always, bring back. Pull myself back. If I don't smile, I look really mean.
I think people always they misinterpret me unless I have like a really big grin on my face; they think I'm in a terrible mood or that I hate them. But I often say, ???I'm sorry, it's just my face. It's the way it's constructed." So I hope she comes across likable. I hope that's something you got in the second episode.
I'm wondering if you can speak to whether she ever really gets over the effects of her punishment? How that plays out in regards to sanity over the course of the season?
Right, yes I mean it is a long time, but I think she's been alive for so long, it probably doesn't feel as long for her as far as her sanity's concerned. I don't think it like affects her too much. It's like, every year we live our lives as humans, they years go like .7 or 7% faster and they feel like that because it's relative to how long we've been alive.
And I feel like yes, it is a long time and she still thinks it's a long time, but I don't think it feels like what 80 years would feel like to us. So as far as her sanity goes, I think there is a slight adjustment and I discussed this with the show runners. Like how different do you want her to be like coming out of the ground. I mean, the world's changed and they're like, "No, she's a vampire. she adapts very quickly."
That element of it is not, something that we want to play into too much. It doesn't affect her sanity so much. I think it's more about her relationship with her mother, that her mother could do something like that to her. It's like when your mom says to you, "You're grounded and you can't go out, the next month and you can't see your boyfriend. And you can't see your friends."
You're stuck in your room; weirdly it's sort of the same thing. And it's that resentment that she has towards her mother I think which you'll see more throughout the show that her mother would do that. Its like how could you do that to me? But, maybe it does affect her sanity slightly. But it's not something that, you see present too much in the character.
How quickly does she gain her bearings in terms of all the changes that have been happening while she's been away?
I think that she seems a little lost since she's still sort of like adjusting from being woken up, but I think it's pretty fast. Like she, she's already out on the street looking for Cecilia, I mean, she might have said, "I was completely lost and I found this," but I think she has a plan.
She's had 80 years to think about how she's going to get to the top of the pile and make sure that never happens to her again. And she's been waiting for them to kind of dig her up I guess. And she's been waiting for this opportunity. So I think in terms of like adjusting to everything.I think the vampire world hasn't really changed that much, like it is changing and, Bishop had all these ideas of how they could sort of, survive in the best way.
And I think she's just more concerned about how she's going to survive the best way and how she's going to be happy and get what she wants. I don't think she's so concerned with the world of vampires as much as someone like mother or Bishop is about the greater good for the vampires. I think she's actually quite sort of selfish in many ways and she just wants to be happy and she's still very adolescent in a way, you know.
And yet as far as the world, as I said, I talked to about that with the show runners and they're like, "She's already understands how it all works, phones, cars." Just it's all there and she just accepts it.
After filming this year on the set, is there anything that you learned about yourself that you didn't know and you didn't realize?
I found this really cool voice that sometimes I've been reading different material that's sort of coming in front of me and trying like this voice that we created. And sometimes it works and I loved working with Mary on that. I love doing accents and creating characters.
Something I learned about myself, gosh I didn't even think of that. I think, every job you do, you learn something new and I think I learned a lot about my craft, about Sam is such a wonderful actor and most of my scenes are with him. And I learned a lot from him, he's Julliard trained. He's been doing it for a long time and I loved watching him work.
And I was really grateful to have so much time with such a wonderful actor who really takes what he does very seriously and he'll always try and make a scene better. And he'll keep nutting it out with the director to make sure that it is the best scene that it can be. And sometimes we don't always have the time to get everything everyone wants, but within the constraints, it's like shooting fast on a TV show. He did that so wonderfully and I learned a lot watching him work.
As far as myself, I realized, as much as I loved Montreal, I really felt like Los Angeles is really - feels like home and since I've been here I haven't spent so much time away from here and I realized that, this is where I feel like I belong now. It's such a beautiful city. There are so many kind people here and they've been so welcoming to me because I'm from Australia.
And I've been here about four and a half years now. So I mean, it's getting to that point where I don't even know how long and I learned that it was home. I also went through some personal things with friendships and things which I learned, the distance sometimes puts perspective on how you deal with your relationships and your friendships.
And sometimes you realize that, amongst everything you don't actually see what's happening and then you move away from it and you understand, "Oh, that's not healthy for me to behave like that and with that person or whatever." And taking yourself out of a scenario gives you some perspective. So actually probably I learned a lot about myself.
If you got a chance to be on another Syfy channel series, what show would you want to be on?
I would love to be in like a sci-fi western or something. Maybe someone can write one, but I would love to be in a western on another planet or something. Something like Firefly, can someone just make Firefly again? I would love to be on Firefly, but I don't know if that's going to happen.
Aidan's relationship with vampires is incredibly violently. Although I know that you can't foresee into the future, how do you see Aidan and your character's relationship? Will it follow along the history that was set up during Season 1 with all the other vampires?
I can't exactly say, but I think it's fair to assume that Aidan will always be confronting something very difficult and very challenging and something's going to make him very sad. I think, it's sort of unexpected and expected and I think it's going to be shocking. I think that it's going to be difficult. He's one of those characters who is always struggling, and does get into these incredibly violent scenarios. So I think he can definitely expect it to play out violently in some way, shape or form which I can't talk about right now. Yes, it's not pleasant at all for him.
During Season 1, he has an intense on again/off again relationship with another female vampire Rebecca who Bishop sired for him. How will your character's relationship to him slightly differ?.
It's different I think with the relationship with Rebecca because this is a relationship that's been going for a very, very long time. I think everyone has that person. Everyone has that person in their life that they've always loved and they've never been able to tell them or make it work.
And there's this person in their heart who they're very close with, either in a friendly way or they have a love-hate relationship, but someone who is in their world and they almost feel like they can't breathe knowing that, they're not there. And yet they never get together, you know. So it's different in that way. It's been like a really slow burn.
It's almost like she doesn't know what her world is like without him and he doesn't know what his world is like without her. I mean, he's adapted, but prior to her going to the ground. She's - they've just got this thing, this like thing they can't really talk about. And obviously it's already coming together in the second episode. You can see the tension there.
So I think in that way, it's different. I think his relationship with Rebecca was true and real and it happened and it was so strong, their attraction towards one another. But this is just - it's living in a different place. And it's living in a different time and his relationship with her, there are so many rules and regulations around it whereas with Rebecca, he was very free to love her.
There was no on stopping him. But Suren's from a different class of vampires, she's mother's daughter and so it's much more complicated in a political sense than his relationship with Rebecca. So I think there's sort of, you can look forward to another element in there, another in the works, their relationship.
You mentioned earlier that they had not consummated their relationship. Do you know if they will consummate it this season on Being Human?
I think you'll see it build towards, it going in that direction because, it's like you can feel that they want to be together, but they can't. And they want to go there, but they don't. And it's going to happen, but he knows that if he does he'll be completely ostracized and in a lot of trouble. So I think that's what will make their relationship somewhat exciting through it as you watch it. I mean you're all very smart people. I almost don't want to say because I didn't check if I could say this, but I think it will definitely go in that direction.
What was the defining moment that you reached the level of comfort with your character and said, "This is my bitch?"
I would say it was, it was definitely a few weeks in and there was - I think there was a scene that I had with Aidan where I felt very comfortable with, where the character was sitting. But I never felt like I got this, like I never felt like I know exactly what I'm doing here. Like it's actually very, very rare that I ever feel with my work that I'm like, "I got this."
I feel like sometimes like I feel like I understand it and like I know where she has to be. I know who she has to be and like I said at the beginning, I felt like that when I read it. I felt like I understood. I'm like, "I know who this character needs to be. I know where she sits energetically. I know what she wants. I know what she's scared of. I know everything."
But actually doing it is like a completely different kettle of fish, you're on a set with hundreds of other people and there's time and there's, you're like on the verge. You're like so emotionally in that place, you're thinking in that sensory moments which will get you to that emotional place. And they're just about to call "action" and then someone says, "Oh, there's a light that needs to be fixed in that character."
And it's like, you've lost it. So there's always these constant challenges where, you're getting ready for your moment to give that character everything you've got in that second and then they stop because of a light or something. So you're constantly faced with challenges. So even if you understand and you know this character and you've got to and you're like, "I get this girl."
Actually executing it is one of the biggest challenges. Everyday there's something happens or there's something technical or, you get like a massive, you get shocking news or something which you have to deal with personal or something and you're always trying to get your idea that's in your head out, for the audience.
There are moments where you feel comfortable absolutely where yes I feel like in this moment it's happening and I feel like I found a constant, like a consistent sort of place. But, yes I wish I could be that actor who is just like, "Oh, I got it." But it's a challenge. It's a challenge to get what's in your head and your understanding out and well.
And I really hope I've done that, I always try to do my best. That's like a quote from Dollhouse, one of the doll boys say that, "I try to be my best." And I do and I hope that I am, but I never walk away feeling like I nailed it or I got it. If I could go back right now and film the whole thing again, in perfect scenarios, I would just so that the show could be better for you.
But no, I never feel like that with my work. I don't know, maybe I hope that I don't because I think that that's what's exciting about being an actor is that you're always striving to be better, to achieve something greater and that's what makes it an exciting occupation. I mean, there are the days when you're like, "Oh, how am I going to pay my rent next month?" I mean, that's exciting.
But as an artist, I think it's exciting because you never really get there and I love that quote in the Alchemist which I think is a beautiful book or one of the lines in there is, it's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. And I believe that, but I also believe that it's the idea you can always be better or achieve something greater that also makes life interesting.
I don't know if I ever want to feel like, "Oh my god," like "That's an Oscar winning performance and I nailed it and I wouldn't do anything differently." I always feel like I could have done something differently, but I hope that's not selling the sand short because I hope that they know that in that moment I'm absolutely trying my absolute best.
In that moment that was the absolute best I could possibly do because I love what I do and I always try to give everything so that you guys can enjoy the show. But yes, that was a very long-winded answer. But hopefully it answered the question.
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