In BBC America’s new series Being Human, Aidan Turner portrays Mitchell, a vampire who’s sharing a house with his werewolf friend George (Russell Tovey) when they discover it’s haunted by a ghost, Annie (Lenora Chichlow). All Mitchell wants is to live a normal life, but under the circumstances the prospects of that occurring are slim.
With unwelcome intruders into their lives, a threatened revolution from the vampire underworld and constant threats of exposure, they can only rely on each other.
With all the vampire portrayals out there, how do you make yours distinct?
You do your research, you read books and you watch movies. I don’t know how much of the research is actually depicted on the screen. I don’t know if you can see that in the performance, but it’s something you feel obliged to do. A lot of people have played vampires, and you kind of want to get a grasp on almost all of them, certainly all of the good ones.
The thing about Being Human is these guys, or certainly Mitchell, want to be human. He wants to live that life. He doesn’t want to be a vampire anymore. He wants to shun away from those kinds of things. So I guess there’s no character like Mitchell. There’s nobody indulging in the hedonistic, vampire lifestyle like he did.
Do you have input into your character?
Toby [Whithouse, the series’ creator] has got more than enough ideas for all of our characters. So we’re in the lucky position that we don’t need to do that, well, I certainly don’t.
What was your first reaction when they contacted you about this role?
That it was almost the most ridiculous idea in the world. I remember getting the call, and I didn’t know if it was a comedy or drama, or what the hell it was. Then immediately, I was about three or four pages in, and I was like, ‘Oh, wow, I get it now.’ It’s the fact that these guys want to be human that’s steeped in this realism and that makes it work so well.
It’s a credit to Toby; he just made it very easy for us. You couldn’t say no. We knew it was something quite special and different and, dare I say, even kind of original in some ways.
What made it so easy to play?
I think we’re playing real people in this as opposed to playing supernatural [characters]. That’s why it’s so interesting for us to play a vampire, to play a werewolf and not the sort of typical way, if there is one, wouldn’t be as interesting as playing these real characters with real afflictions and real problems and real issues.