Being Human – just a regular flatshare… for a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost
Russell Tovey plays George (The Werewolf)
How did this job come about and what attracted you to being a werewolf?
My agent called me and said she had a script about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost. My first impressions were that it sounded a bit weird.
I read it and thought it was absolutely brilliant – the characters just happen to be a werewolf, ghost and vampire – it's an affliction or condition like living with aids, leprosy or agoraphobia.
To play anything other than a human is always good for an actor as it's a challenge. I liked it that he was struggling to live with the fact that he's got this curse.
Who is George and how did he become a werewolf?
George is around 26 years old; he is an academic; he's really bright with an IQ of 156. He was studying for his finals at university and was going to marry his fiancé.
Everything was going well for him until he went on a recce to Mexico to find a wedding venue. Whilst he was there, he was attacked by a werewolf. When he came back, the transformations started to happen and he had no idea what was happening to him, so he had to get away. He slept rough on the streets and became suicidal.
George was in a bar one night, about to be attacked by a group of vampires, when Mitchell stepped in and saved him. Ever since, George has been in debt to him.
Mitchell took George under his wing, got him a job in the hospital that he worked in and they became good friends.
George was struggling so much with his condition – the pain of transforming was unbearable. He was lonely and depressed and kept waking up naked in the middle of nowhere after a transformation. He wants so much to be "normal".
A protective bond forms between them and they look out for each other. In an attempt to be normal they decide to get a flat together.
Unfortunately, when they move in, they meet Annie (the ghost) and discover that she lives there and has no intention of moving on. Mitchell decides to let her stay and they become like the supernatural three.
George doesn't seem to hit it off with Annie straight away – why do you think this is?
George just wants to be normal, so he's a bit wary of her. For 12 or so days of the year, he's a werewolf, so for the rest of the time, he just wants to live like a regular person.
George and Mitchell are trying to get some normality into their lives by getting a flat together and, when they get there, the house has got a ghost! When they arrived, she tried to haunt them out, so George was angry that she felt she had the right to scare them out of their own home!
He soon realises that they need her and she becomes a friend. After all, he needs all the friends he can get. He's a social animal – if you'll excuse the pun, so to have a relationship with someone who understands the curse he has to live with is a bonus. He can relax and stop worrying about his big secret.
You seem to spend half the programme naked – how did you feel about being starkers in front of the crew?
I think as long as it's not nudity for no reason, I'm okay with it. I trusted the crew and as long as they weren't taking the p**s out of me, I was comfortable being naked in front of them.
It's an important part of the character – George wakes up naked in the woods because he loses his clothes in the transformation, so I think it'd be more inappropriate for him to wake up in his pants! I hope his hospital job pays well though; he must spend half his life buying new clothes.
There was a scene where I was naked by a bridge and all these tourists were walking past – I was covered in dirt and blood, so I hope they realised I was filming and not just some sort of pervert!
A little old lady came up to me on set and said: "You're the one who's being running around Bristol naked aren't you? I've heard all about you." I'm well known in Bristol now you know!
How did you find the make-up process? Did you spend a lot of time being made up for the werewolf scenes?
I spent a lot of time getting my body cast – my face, head and my body! It was quite claustrophobic to start with, but I got used to it. I was worried about getting a breakout from all the solution.
They could re-use my body cast for Madame Tussauds couldn't they? Do you think they'd be interested?
Are you a fan of werewolf films?
I loved Teen Wolf and American Werewolf In Paris – I like stuff like that! I'm not a massive fan of heavy Hammer horror films – I like The Gremlins, that's about as hardcore horror as I get.
Did you spend a lot of time watching films and reading about werewolves to get into character?
I found lots of stuff on the internet. I wanted to see things for the transformation process, but that's it really. The storyline is more about how George lived with being a werewolf and it's not like I can research being a werewolf. No-one seems to have written My Life As A Werewolf before!
What else have you got coming up?
I'm starring in a theatre production called The Sea, which is written by Edward Bond. It's on at the Haymarket Theatre until April 19. I'm also starring as a rent boy in Ashes To Ashes alongside Phil Glenister for BBC One. I have a small part in Gavin And Stacey (BBC Three) as well – but that was a favour for a mate (James Cordon, the writer).