In Season 4 of the Syfy series Being Human, Aidan (Sam Witwer), Josh (Sam Huntington), Sally (Meaghan Rath) and Nora (Kristen Hager) just can’t catch a break. Whether it’s being visited by unwanted people from their past, being stuck in supernatural form or having powers you don’t know how to handle, these friends seem to get pulled further and further away from the normal lives they wish they could lead.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Meaghan Rath talked about what fans can expect from Sally’s journey this season, whether Sally will gain control of her newfound powers, how much she loves the practical effects work they get to do, what Sally’s biggest challenges are this season, how the events of this season will affect these friends, and how often she’s shocked by where the story is going. Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.
MEAGHAN RATH: Because Sally is now linked to Donna, and because of all the stuff that happened last season, Sally absorbed quite a lot of Donna’s powers. So, she’s going to use some of that power now, to help her with the situation that she’s in. For us, it was complicated to figure out what the motivations was for the characters and why they were there. I also like when it’s vague and we don’t really know. It was just important to figure it out, as actors, in our minds, so that we knew what we were doing. But, I love that whole sequence when I realize what’s going on and I break out of the spa. We shot in that spa for three days. It was crazy! There was so much visual effects and so many stunts, and I’m very proud to say that I did all of those stunts myself.
What was it like to have to do the scenes where you were hanging?
RATH: I felt like I spent a week of my life, hanging from my neck. It was actually quite traumatizing. I love doing all those stunts. I love being physical. It makes me feel like I sickly love the pain of it. But, it was pretty scary. Honestly, up until maybe a couple months ago, I still had rope burn on my neck. Just the logistics of the stunt was strange. When we shot in the Shop Mart, our regular stunt coordinator was not there, so they had this other guy. I didn’t realize the amount of trust that’s required between you and the stunt coordinator, when you do something like that. So, because it wasn’t the regular guy, I was a little bit nervous, and I never get nervous with that stuff. I always strangely feel safe, even though I definitely shouldn’t. They were holding on to the other end of the rope. If they joke around for one second and it moves, I’m actually choking because it’s so tight. I was hanging there, so it was really terrifying. I had this moment, when I was up there, where I was like, “Who loves me, in this room? Does anyone genuinely love me, if I die here right now?” It was a very strange existential moment. It was really an experience.
What was it like to actually watch that and see what the final product looked like?
RATH: I’m really proud of it. I’m not one of those actors that goes to watch the playback, after every take. I really don’t like it, and I don’t want to see it. But when I do physical stuff like that, I actually need to go and see it. I feel like it’s the best way to make adjustments, if you see what you’re doing and you see what doesn’t work and what’s looking really good. During that whole sequence, I went to look quite a bit, so I knew what it was going to turn out to be. But when I saw everything with the visual effects, I was so pleased with it. I thought it looked great and disturbing.
Will Sally get more and more used to her new powers?
RATH: Yeah, she does completely get ahold of what she can do. She struggles a bit. It’s definitely an overwhelming feeling because she’s doing things by accident. Her powers have always been tied to her emotions, but we really see her get a hold of it. She’s now in control of what she’s feeling and her emotional state.
How was it to have Sally being transported to different times and places, and having your scenes be all over the place, this season?
RATH: You’ll really get to see that in action, in Episodes 8 and 9. Episode 8 is one of my favorite episodes of the series. It’s just so interesting. I think it’s a complete gift to the fans. I think the fans are gonna get a big, huge kick out of it. Just reading the episode, I was sitting there screaming. I couldn’t believe it.
How much will Josh be affected by the fact that Sally never fully finished her spell to get him out of the wolf?
RATH: Yeah, definitely! There’s clearly something wrong, and that’s definitely a result of her not having finished the spell. It definitely plays a role, through the entire season.
Do you enjoy getting to work with the effects on this show, especially now that they seem to be getting even grosser?
RATH: One thing I love about the show is that we try to do as little visual effects as possible. There are a lot of practical effects happening, and it’s in camera. Sometimes we exaggerate it with effects a little bit, but we like when it looks real. We want it to look authentic. So, we did a lot more of that this year, which I really like.
RATH: I think her challenges have been the same, throughout the series, and it’s really about deciding what’s important and letting go of the way that she wants things to go. I think that she’s getting there. Her challenges this year are mostly external things that are really factors of the time travel and the powers that she’s acquired, and deciding how to use them. She has to make big time judgement calls. I really like the journey she goes on this season. I think time travel is one of the coolest things in the world. I’ve been obsessed with it, since I was a kid, and especially when I watched Lost. I was just so excited that we were exploring that world. It’s really confusing, so we tried to simplify things as much as we could, in order to make sense and so that the rules and laws of time travel aren’t distracting. That’s pretty much what we try to do with the entire show. We don’t want the lore of each supernatural creature to distract from what’s really going on, but so much is going on that that sometimes happens. But, it’s really cool.
The events that happen in each season seem to either bring these friends closer together or push them further apart. How would you say the events of this season will affect their friendship?
RATH: Well, it affects it in a really big way. Huge choices are having to be made. It’s a different dynamic, now that Josh is married. He’s a married guy, living in a house with essentially three other people. That really changes the dynamic. We love Nora and we’re all so close, so nobody wants to leave, but it does change things quite a bit. And then, we have the external factors that are affecting our friendship and our love for each other. In regards to the friendship of the four, it’s definitely the most dramatic it has been.
This show has found a great balance between darkness and humor. Are you happy with where that’s at, this season?
RATH: It still is quite dark, but we really do find some great moments to throw in some levity and some humor. I always try to look at the episode overall, and try to figure out where I can add something that’s a little ironic or self-aware or light because I think that’s what makes the show special. We know our characters so well, at this point, and we know what works and what doesn’t work for the show. It’s very much a conscious thing, that we add in some lightness when we can, because it does get super dark.
This show has also proven that it’s not afraid to really go there. How often do you open a script and think, “You want me to do what?!”
RATH: Every script! Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, and sometimes I’m like, “Are you kidding me?!” All in all, I feel really lucky. I love the kind of stuff I get to do. Maybe I’m a little biased, but I feel like Sally gets the best things to do, just because there’s no limits on being a ghost and the afterlife. There’s not much that’s been done, in regard to that. We haven’t seen that much. So, there really is so much imagination involved, and I feel really lucky with the kind of stuff I get to do, like the stunts I get to do, the dimensions that they put me in, and all the effects I get to work with. It’s been really, really cool. So, it’s mostly been a feeling of excitement when I find something where I’m like, “I can’t believe you’re making me do this right now.” For the most part, it’s really exciting.
With everything that all these characters have gone through now, are they at the point where they’re kidding themselves that they can ever live a more normal life?
RATH: Yeah, I’ve always said that the tragedy in this whole story is the fact that all these people want is just to be normal and have their life back. But, I think they’re honestly so past the point of that ever being a reality. Maybe what’s normal to them now is never going to be what it was when they were mortal. So, I wonder if it’s ever going to happen for them. After last season, I think we’re past the point of no return.
Being Human airs on Monday nights on Syfy.