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Episode 3 introduced us to the big bad villain of Bitten Season 2, the charming and mysterious Aleister Vi ... and killed off who we thought was going to be the big bad villain of Bitten Season 2, Father of the Year winner Malcolm Danvers.
Now, the men who play the two antagonists, Sean Rogerson and James McGowan, and their on-screen adversary, Greg Byrk (Jeremy Danvers), discuss this surprising turning point in the world of Bitten.
Greg, were you expecting to have the final showdown with your father or did you expect that Elena was going to be the one to take out Malcolm?
GREG BYRK: I didn't know (the kill) would go to Elena. It seems fitting that it was her, but I wanted it. I really wanted to have my hands wrapped around his throat and just watch that last little flicker as the light went out. James [McGowan] is spectacular; we're going to miss him as an actor on the show. Selfishly I wanted to kill him. There's a very complicated relationship between all fathers and sons and it's an interesting journey where you have to accept that it's your father's blood in you. I think it would have been a nice closure for me to do it but it got done.
This season is going dark. What was it like for you to act this season with the tone being so different from the first season?
GREG: Boris Mojsovski is our new director of photography. He just visually set a world. We were all excited to come back and then they added the witches, which was slightly unsettling. The whole show feels slightly like your off the ground a little bit and you don't know what's next or how to deal with the threats because they're so unknown. The pace is fast and it doesn't slow down. The intrigue and the thrills get bigger and scarier and the world is quite chaotic.
One of the things you notice at the very beginning of the first episode is that we're not with the Pack right away. We're in this facility, and each episode has included some sort of flashback. Is this going to be a new standard in Season 2?
GREG: Well the story is much bigger this year ... the world gets very big and then reduces down to this point of singularity at the end of the season. It's extraordinary. I think that the show worked very hard to create the bonds in Season 1 and what the Pack means to each other and that love and relationship and the struggle. And that struggle is very much still in play but now instead of fighting in a cave we're fighting in outer space or something. It's a much bigger world and the Pack isn't together nearly as much but those moments that we come together is like drowning people. We can just reach out and touch someone and have that moment of grounding, like we're family here and then the next moment we're being dragged into another crazy world.
As the father and the Alpha, my whole reason is to keep them safe and this whole year was so unsettling for me as a person and as a character because I love them and I want to keep them safe and keep them close. And they were never with me on set and I couldn't really protect them. The witches complicated my world a lot.
How do you feel the witches will affect The Pack?
GREG: The witches messed up my world, they really did. I don't know how to deal with the magic. As a wolf I can deal with the threat, live or die in the battle, I understand what the rules of the battle are. The witches speak a whole other language that I'm not familiar with and it's terrifying. The one thing, as the person in control, you want to know is what the rules of engagement are and you want to feel that your strength your intelligence, your will matters. This lovely charming girl makes me float in the air, you don't feel as powerful as you want to feel and it really starts to agitate Jeremy. I've got the Alpha Council putting pressure on me, and that's a huge problem, but I can navigate that problem, but the witches are something else altogether. They know so much about us and we know nothing about them. It's like the problem with men and women. They seem to know way more about us.
Was the scene where you get lifted up in the air by Paige fun to shoot? Did you actually get all rigged up, or can you do it for real?
GREG: I can do it for real but we had the riggers there I didn't want to put them out of work. But yes, this scene is where it got very strange for me because, you know, in Season 1 when the first mutt shows up at the door, I broke his arm and threw him around the house, and the fights and all of that visceral response, to have her just point at me and lift me in the air not even like a child, like I don't exist is unsettling to say the least, and then opening my hand when I don't want it open. I had no control! And as someone who loves control, and needs control, to have no control was really not so much fun.
How long were you up there?
GREG: All day. There's some parts where you actually see me being lifted but then there's a huge chunk of the scene where I’m just hanging in the air and to save time, they obviously checked with me, but they said Greg, do you mind, can we just leave you hanging in the air? I sort of felt like Peter Pan in an abandoned musical, or the Pinata Alpha. People would walk by and push me once in awhile. Tommie [Paige] was the worst, she'd just walk up behind me and push me and I'd just be swinging. It was not painful but definitely not comfortable because you have a harness around your regions of reproduction.
Sean, your character Aleister is kind of like a cult leader.
SEAN ROGERSON: That's exactly what the guy is. He's a cult leader except he doesn't really have to reel these people in and put them through the ropes to get there; he just does it instantly and that's it, they're part of the group.
Do you think about Aleister as a villain or do you justify his actions?
SEAN: No, I mean you gotta be able to justify his actions. The guy was hurt in the past, and he's not going about it in a nice way. If he's doing his job you're going to hate the bad guy, and I think viewers are going to hate this guy. Even if he has his reasons, he's going about it in the wrong way.
Arguably one of the best fight scenes in all of Bitten is the one between Malcolm and Elena. James, is it true that this was the first fight scene you had ever done for TV or movies, ever?
JAMES McGOWAN: I did like a small little stunt, but nothing compared to this. The stunt coordinator, John Stead, came up to me and showed me a video of the stunt doubles doing the fight and he said, "We want you to do this," and I said, "I've never done this! You know I'm on the other side of 50, right?" He's amazing. He takes you into it, introduces little bits, watches you and I just embraced it. I loved it. You get so pumped up with the fighting for the rest of the day I'll tackle anybody now!
Did you used to be a boxer?
JAMES: My father was a boxer. The light heavyweight champion of Northern England, so don't mess with me! I've got teeth and I've got fists.
We thought Malcolm was going to work with the Pack. Did you know your character was going to be killed off while signing onto Bitten?
JAMES: Well, going into Season 2 I knew there would be a three-episode arc, so by Episode 3 …
Witches have some incredible powers; we could maybe see more of Malcolm…
JAMES: Here's hoping!
Was it tough for you to say goodbye?
JAMES: Yeah, I mean, Season 1 I was slowly introduced, and I had that great scene at the end with Greg. And then Season 2, you're ready to go but those three episodes I got, I had so much to do. It was just intense, and you're just getting into the flow, which is a difficult thing because I have this long history with everybody, but I didn't have the history on set with everybody. It was a healthy set to show up and actually look forward to going to work. Everybody was great on both sides of the camera.
GREG: It was a very weird moment for me as well because the animosity is built up and well-established between Malcolm and Jeremy and how complicated that relationship is, but then when James was lying there dead, and we shot that scene where Greyston [Holt, who plays Clay] and I turn the corner and then I see him, it was a very sad moment for me even though you've been essentially an enemy and a horribly dark presence in my life. It was still my father, and to see you there was so complicated. It was a helpless moment where you don't know anything other than I felt like a little boy who had lost something. It wasn't as an adult but a little boy had lost the person who was going to protect him in life but didn't. It was a very weird moment.