The new series Bitten, based on the first of best-selling author Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld novels, tells the story of lone female werewolf Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort), a woman desperate to escape a world she never wanted to be a part of. The betrayal of having been turned sent her running to try to lead a normal life away from her pack family, until she’s pressured to return to help track down a killer that threatens to expose the secret existence of werewolves. The show also stars Greyston Holt, Greg Bryk, Steve Lund, Michael Xavier, Paulino Nunes and Paul Greene.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Greyston Holt talked about how he came to be a part of Bitten, what attracted him to the project, why he chose to read the book before doing the show, how much training he’s had to do for the fight scenes, the evolution of the relationship between Clay and Elena, what he thought when he saw what his wolf would look like, how awkward it can be to act opposite nothing, and that there’s a really good cliffhanger at the end of the season. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
GREYSTON HOLT: It was just the typical drawn-out audition process. I sent a tape to Toronto from Vancouver, which is home, last January. And then, a couple weeks later, there was a request for another tape, so I did that. And then, a couple weeks after that, I went into a studio in Vancouver and did a Skype audition with the producers and creators. And then, a couple weeks after that, they brought me out to Toronto for a screen test. Then, it took about a week before I got the good news. It was a very drawn-out process.
Did you do a chemistry test with Laura Vandervoort?
HOLT: Yeah, at the screen test, I did a chemistry read with Laura, and we hit it off. We definitely had a little spark there.
What was it about this story and character that appealed to you enough to sign on for what could be a few years?
HOLT: It’s awesome to support this book because it’s a Canadian author, Kelley Armstrong, which is amazing. And it’s a fun character to play. I grew up in a very rural area, on a small island called Salt Spring, on the west coast here. So, I was always very in touch with nature and just being out in the woods, and that’s a big part of our characters. We go out on these runs, and it’s a bit of a catharsis getting out there and having that release. And then, there’s the other side of it, as the more violent pack enforcer. That’s fun to play, too.
For people who aren’t familiar with the book, what can you say about your character and how he fits into the story you’re telling?
HOLT: Clay is the pack enforcer. He was found at a very young age by Jeremy Danvers, our pack Alpha. He brought Clay under his wing and domesticated him because he was running feral in the woods. He turned him into the man he is today, on the show. Clay falls in love with Elena when he’s lecturing at the U of T. She doesn’t know he’s a werewolf, and he bites her, turning her into the only female werewolf.
Because the story of the first season seems to be following the story in the book, did you decide to read the book prior to doing the show?
HOLT: When I found out that I was screen testing, I bought the book and read it. I remember when I was reading it, I thought, “I really hope we honor this and stay true to it.” I haven’t read the other books yet, but I was really just hoping, as the scripts came along, that we’d stay true to it. It’s a great story and a great book, and we did. For the first season, we’re sticking pretty close to the book. Fans of the book will definitely be pleased with that.
HOLT: Yeah. There are little things we do. For instance, like with wolves, if you stare someone down for too long, it’s an intimidation process. We played with the eyes a lot. When Clay gets berated by Jeremy, there’s a lot of looking away and not staring at him directly. And then, when I found out that I was going to screen test, I went on a little hike by myself, up in the woods by Vancouver, and I left the trail and left my clothes, and just ran around the forest completely naked for about an hour. It actually helped, though. I felt like I had found something. I was howling and yelling and running around. On my Twitter page, there’s a picture of it. I set up my camera and took a selfie.
This is clearly a very physical show. Was there much training involved to prepare for this?
HOLT: As far as just being in shape and having a nice physique, I still to cross-fit, and I’ve always done that. And then, for the show, I’ve done a bit of fight choreography, in the past. I don’t have any martial arts experience, but we have a great stunt coordinator, who is patient. We sometimes had eight or nine hour stunt rehearsals for fight sequences. It was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it. It was definitely a learning experience. I got better and better, as we went along.
How deeply will this season get into Clay’s background and history, and the early relationship between Clay and Elena?
HOLT: We do have some flashback sequences. In Episode 5, you’ll see how we met and fell in love. We delve into that, for sure.
How do you view the relationship between Clay and Elena? Do you think he has any guilt for biting her, or is he more torn up over the fact that she won’t forgive him?
HOLT: Clay had his reasons for biting her, but that would be a spoiler. Obviously, there’s some guilt there because it’s a pretty horrific experience, going through the change and bringing on that new life, as a werewolf. But, he needed to do it.
Do they get on the same page, at all, this season, or is their relationship more of an ongoing evolution?
HOLT: It evolves over the season, for sure. There’s definitely a huge arc there. They started the season off completely separated, with her trying to live a normal life in Toronto and Clay back at Stonehaven. As the season goes on, there’s more contact and their relationship evolves.
What did you think, the first time you saw what your wolf would look like?
HOLT: I was stoked! The first thing I saw was a picture, but finally seeing the 3D rendering, I was really impressed. It’s such a hard thing to do fur in the effects, but I was really pleased with it. We didn’t have much time or money, so I’m happy.
HOLT: It’s the worst. It sucks! You really are faking it ‘cause you’re either looking at a green tennis ball, or you just completely have to make up fake eye lines. I’ve had a few scenes like that, but not on a ton. It sucks, but you’ve gotta do it. It’s part of the job. I had this one scene with two mutts in wolf form and I’m in human form, and one of them was coming at me. I had to pretend it was coming at me, and then another one attacks it. And then, I had to throw a garbage can a wolf that wasn’t there. It looked ridiculous. I was just throwing this garbage can at air, basically.
When they’re in human form, these werewolves can listen in on conversations, from a distance, and hear what people are saying. Do you think that would be a positive or a negative, if you could do that, in your own life?
HOLT: I would hate that ability, so much. It would drive me crazy! I like my silence.
With the way that things are left at the end of the first season, is there a resolution, or are things left open for a Season 2?
HOLT: There’s a really good cliffhanger, at the end of the season. You feel like there’s some resolution, but it ramps right back up again. I’m excited to see where we go in the second season.
Bitten airs on Monday nights on Syfy.