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‘Reginald the Vampire’ star Jacob Batalon, cast tease Season 1 at NYCC: 'It's a very human thing'
They walk and talk among us.
There was a vampire loose at New York Comic Con 2022. Thankfully for everyone, it happened to be the nicest vampire around. Reginald the Vampire, the latest SYFY original series, sank its delightful fangs into the con. Everyone's blood was pumping, and SYFY WIRE was there.
Series star Jacob Batalon was on hand, as well as members from the cast and crew. Things kicked off with a sneak peek at the first 20 minutes of Episode 2, and the show definitely dealt with the cliffhanger that fans were left with at the end of the premiere.
The panel started afterwards, featuring Batalon (Reginald), Savannah Basley (Angela), Em Haine (Sarah), executive producer and director Jeremiah Chechik, and showrunner Harley Peyton.
What makes Reginald different? For Peyton, it’s true that they have an unlikely hero going through the hero’s journey. He made it simpler than that though, saying, “…I can say in two words, and that’s Jacob Batalon.”
The series revels in vampire tropes, with Chechik noting that they were able to use the vampire aversion to sunlight for “comedic opportunity.” They did not want to set the show in a “world of magic” though, they wanted it grounded in real human experiences. It does not include vampires not having reflections in a mirror, for example. “We don’t want that to be magical,” Chechik said. “They walk and talk among us.”
Peyton said that this effect is also a production nightmare, so there was even more reason to avoid the trope.
As for why Batalon was drawn to headline a series for the first time, he said it was the messaging behind the show, with true beauty being on the inside. He then jokingly changed his answer: “The short answer is I want to be hella famous.”
The vampire Angela has been around for 100 years, as Basley spoke to her strengths and weaknesses. “I think Angela likes to think she’s very intelligent, and a very good manipulator,” she said. She thinks she’ll be able to go in and handle anything, but, as Basley added, “One of her greatest weaknesses is her loyalty.” Specifically, it is her loyalty to her ex, Maurice (Mandela Van Peebles).
We don’t know a lot about Sarah yet, but Haine teased that we will get to know her “through Reggie’s eyes.” She also teased a “karaoke moment” coming, and added, “Sarah has a dark past that comes back to grab her.” What draws her to Reginald? “They have a similar sense of humor and just enjoy each other in the way friends do,” Haine said. “They’re lucky that it gets to be something more than that.”
She likened this to why people like Batalon himself, which led to a round of applause for the Spider-Man co-star. Peyton pointed out that he was from the movie world, and was used to shooting one page per day. Reginald shoots 9, possibly 10 pages a day, and Peyton thought that Batalon would burn out. “He never wound down,” Peyton said.
Batalon was also prone to discussing craft with Haine, and having general check-ins with all of the cast members. Batalon joked again, saying, “This was all a f***ing act. I had to make sure you didn’t fail on my show.”
As for Reginald’s glamouring and feeding, Batalon said that both things would have to develop. “He does do things in his own weird conventional way. He’s definitely gonna figure out how to hunt…” he said, adding, “…I would say for the whole season, we do so many weird, crazy things, when everyone thinks we’ll go left, we’ll go right.”
The series does use a certain amount of gore, and one bloody scene in the premiere made it all hit home for Peyton: “When Reginald dies… the way the blood was, the way he was performing it…” He was stunned by what they were doing and how well they were doing it. Chechik echoed this, saying that they wanted it to be that way, “so the death really meant something, both for Mandela (Maurice) and for Jacob (Reginald) in that moment.”
The flip side of the show’s gore component is that they had to find “better tasting blood,” as Batalon said.
What strengths would become enhancements if the panel members were turned? Peyton said that his would be “being mean on Twitter.” Chechik liked the idea of having a fashion sense, Batalon wanted great powers of Pokemon, Haine enjoys sleeping, and Basley would like a lot of random trivia facts.
For Batalon, this series allows him to play a lead who, among other things, is very charming and sincere.
As he said, “It’s a very human thing.”
Reginald the Vampire gushes out new episodes every Wednesday on SYFY.
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