Friday, February 18, 2011

Interview: Mark Pellegrino's New Vampire Family

Mark Pellegrino (photo credit: Eric Williams) is a versatile actor whose credits include “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Supernatural,” “Dexter,” and “The Big Lebowski” and many more. Now fans can catch him on Syfy’s latest supernatural drama, “Being Human.” In the weeks since its Jan. 17 premiere, it has shattered records for the network, becoming a bona fide hit. This ain’t a flash in the pan either: “Being Human” is an engrossing and thrilling drama about a vampire, a werewolf and a ghost all sharing the same house as they try to “live” together as best they can.

Before you start thinking, Oh, it’s another “Twilight” or “True Blood,” you need to watch the show, which airs Mondays on the Syfy network at 9 p.m. I spoke with Mark — who plays vampire-boss Bishop in the series — recently, and he shed some light on “Being Human,” dispelling any comparison to previous vampire/werewolf series.

Celebrity Extra: What can you tell me about Bishop, who is not only a vampire, but a lieutenant on the police force?

Mark Pellegrino: He’s not only a lieutenant on the police force, he’s a proprietor of a funeral home, which goes back in the vampire family history. He’s the vampire boss of Boston, and his basic motivation is to consolidate his power and to bring Aidan back into the family. Aidan has decided to quit being a vampire, so I’m trying to bring him back into the fold.

CE: What sets this show apart from the other vampire and werewolf movies and TV series?



MP: It’s literally about humanity. It’s not like it’s a romance novel; it’s people who have very serious issues that they’re contending with. I think that the title, “Being Human,” says it all. Being human is not just about, for these characters, assimilating, but being human is dealing with character flaws. Everybody has to deal with their character flaws, and for these characters it’s literal monsters within them that they have to control and battle with. What I think makes it unique as well is that it’s not just scary, and it’s not just funny, but it’s also a story about family. And I don’t think you get that as much from the other vampire/werewolf stuff.

CE: What do you enjoy about playing Bishop?

MP: I like the fact that Bishop is really, really smart and patient and constant. He knows what he wants. He’s old enough, has been around long enough and is wise enough to know how to make sure all of the cards are in the right place, and I like a guy like that. He’s about family too. Some people might look at Bishop as a bad guy, but I look at him as a guy who just wants to keep his family together.

CE: I love that all of these cable networks — like Syfy, TNT, HBO and Showtime — are developing their own programming, because they can take more risks with their shows. Was this aspect appealing to you as an actor?

MP: I love that. I love that shows are doing that. Television is interesting now, don’t you think? There’s almost too much to watch, and it’s all really, really good.

CE: What are some risky aspects of this show that attracted you to it?

MP: What really nailed me for the show probably wouldn’t be considered risqué per se, but the simple humanity of it. Every situation is based on something that every other human being can relate to. It’s not some mythic romance stuff, but it’s stuff that everybody goes through, just transposed through the supernatural world. To me, that’s where they’re breaking ground. You can touch all of these characters and say, “I’ve seen this guy” or “I’ve experienced this before.” I think that is really cool.

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