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Being Human (USA) – Actress Meaghan Rath talks about the difficulties in playing a not-so-free spirit

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Being Human (USA), 1.02 - Meaghan Rath
Episode 1.02 - Sally (Meaghan Rath) © 2011 SyFy

Playing a ghost can be difficult. Just ask Canadian actress Meaghan Rath who took on the role of Sally the troubled spirit in the American version of Being Human, which is on SyFy now. As Rath soon discovered, the job not only involved a fair amount of visual effects, but it also meant she couldn’t come touch any props she came in contact with. That can be a tricky challenge for any performer.

With production on the first 13-episode season of Being Human now finished, the actress sat down to talk about the series, her character and comparisons to the original British version…

One of the limitations for your character as a ghost is that she literally can’t touch anything. As an actor, can you actually channel that frustration into your performance?

Yeah, completely. It definitely helps for the character. I was thinking too as a woman, being able to touch somebody and being able to feel that physical comfort is something that is so important and sort of necessary. When you don’t have that, it just amplifies the situation that Sally is in. It definitely adds to what she’s going through; the frustration and the isolation that she’s feeing and that sense of being completely cut off from the world.

Will there be an evolution for your character in terms of her ‘powers?’

Being Human (USA), 1.02 - Sam Huntington, Sam Witwer and Meaghan Rath
Episode 1.02 - Josh (Sam Huntington), Aidan (Sam Witwer) and Sally (Meaghan Rath) © 2011 SyFy

There is. She’s pretty useless at the beginning, but it definitely starts to evolve. I’m not allowed to talk about what’s going to happen, but I can promise you that there’s going to be a lot of amazing things that start to happen in terms of the places we go. It’s going to be beautiful and interesting and there is a lot of development when it comes to Sally’s powers.

A lot of people working on the series seem to have made a point of not watching the UK series yet. Do you agree?

I do. I had seen some episodes during the audition process, just to get a sense of the tone and what they were going for, but since we started, I haven’t watched any more of them. I think the producers didn’t want us to see anything either so we could bring our own thing to it but I kind of like it that way.

I think after season one wraps, the three of us might sit down together and watch all of the British episodes, but I think it’s really important especially for the first season that we bring our own thing to it, we bring ourselves to it and not be affected by the British cast’s amazing performance, because they’re so great. From what we saw, it’s intimidating, so just go ahead and have something of our own is really important to us.

You also don’t want to be saying, ‘Hey, Annie gets to go off and find a job!’ in their version.

Yeah, exactly. At the beginning of the season, our show is sort of similar to the British one, because it’s a re-imagining of it but after that we go off in different directions, because we have so much more time episode-wise to get into these characters and their back-stories. We have our own story that is going to be different from the British one so in that sense, it’s a different show.

How do you feel about meeting your British counterpart at some point?

Being Human (USA), Season 1 - Meaghan Rath
Season 1 - Sally (Meaghan Rath) © 2011 SyFy

We always say that when we finally meet them, we should have a big mud fight and fight them! So no, we haven’t met, but I’m really open to it. I don’t feel it’s going to be awkward or anything.

I have a feeling that we will meet, like at some sci-fi convention, maybe Comic Con or something, but from what I’ve heard, they seem really supportive and interested. So I think it could be kind of amazing.

What was it about this character that resonated for you when you read the first script?

Initially with the character of Sally, I can only describe it as some feeling that came over me when I was reading the lines. It felt like something I would say. For me, she was so sympathetic, so I could really throw myself into her shoes. She was devastated by this world she was in.

And also the writing and the concept of the show is so original; it just struck a chord with me. You have this idea of what it’s going to be when you hear about the show or read the breakdown, but then you see how different it is from other genre shows in the sense you can take away all those elements of the supernatural and special effects and the fight scenes. But at the core of it, the issues they’re dealing with are so relatable to everybody.

Each of our characters represents something that’s in all of us. These characters are trying to hold on to their humanity and are missing so desperately this life that they once had and that they’re trying so hard to go back to. They’re longing for that normalcy that we all take for granted every single day.

One of the plot points involving the Annie character in the UK version is that her boyfriend is also her murderer. Will you be exploring a similar storyline?

All I can say about that is we do explore the whole… our character’s name is Danny who was her fiancée and he’s definitely involved in the story.

Do you see this show going on for some time?

In an ideal world, that would be the best thing ever. It all depends on the numbers and who’s watching but we all have really high hopes for it. I can honestly promise you 100% that every single episode gets better and better and better. When I saw the first episode I really loved it, but now looking back on it, that’s when you’re establishing the characters and no one knows what the hell is going on and it’s all very new.

But as you watch the next episodes following that, it gets so much more intense. I just watched episode six yesterday, and when the three of us are on screen together, it’s electric. There’s something so natural about it and we’re so lucky to have that chemistry together.