WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM THE “HELL’S TEETH” EPISODE OF BITTEN
If you tuned into Saturday night’s latest installment of Bitten, you know by now that things don’t look too good for our heroine Elena (Laura Vandervoort). By the closing moments, incoming Big Bad Aleister (Sean Rogerson) had swooped in and kidnapped her for some larger secret purpose. Of course before then there were several casualties on both sides of this looming war.
The TV Junkies caught up with new series regular Rogerson to get his take on finally being revealed to audiences, crafting this “shadow man” and what it all means going forward.
The TV Junkies: What has it been like for you, watching the anticipation surrounding this character and knowing the truth?
Sean Rogerson: Right off the bat I was in it. I went to FanExpo in Toronto with the Bitten panel, and I got to sit out in the audience beside some of the fans. Literally they had no idea that I was going to be in the show. Just seeing the fans and the support and the love that these people have for the show is incredible. The reaction and stuff online too, it’s exactly what I thought it was going to be. People were assuming it was going to be somebody from the book and they were trying to piece that puzzle together, but I think they’re going to be in for a real surprise when they see that it’s somebody that they have no idea who they are, period.
TTVJ: Since he wasn’t from the books, what kinds of conversations did you have with the producers and writers about fitting him into this world?
SR: The thing with this character is that they were looking for this guy for quite some time. So by the time I came into it, it wasn’t very long before filming. I was feeling the pressure of just showing up and being ready for exactly what they had in mind. I just started asking and trying to know exactly what Aleister was about, how he was going to fit into the mythology and really kind of gave them a blank slate because this person isn’t involved in the books. This guy is magical, he’s not a physical being, so he doesn’t interact physically with people at all. Especially these foes that he’s about to face that, if they got a hold of him they’d just tear him to pieces. So everything has kind of got to be kept at a distance, I suppose.
TTVJ: Even though you don’t need to be in physical scenes, did you feel any pressure to up your gym routine knowing how buff everybody on this show is?
SR: Oh my gosh … oh my gosh … are you kidding me? As soon as I saw the shit … let me tell you. Every one of these guys outweighs me by about 50 pounds. We’re all roughly the same size in height, by everybody’s got about 50 pounds on me. These guys are burly, men’s men. Needless to say, I hit the gym as much as I possibly could to help myself feel more manly around these guys. I don’t know if I accomplished it, but I definitely felt better about myself!
TTVJ: With bad guys there’s always a danger of making them comical, how did you walk the line to keep him in gothic territory?
SR: As soon as I read the dialogue, the way that he speaks had kind of an old world feel to it. I don’t know if you want to call it an elegance, but you really had this almost like a a rhythmic feel to the way he would speak, for me. When I read the lines it kind of drove forward with a little bit of a poetic feel, and ebb and flow to it. I felt like Aleister started along and spoke with a bit of a song.
TTVJ: What about physically, what did you want to bring to this?
SR: Going into it, I wanted to do a lot more. I wanted to be a lot more physical, but from what I’ve learned, when you’re playing a character like this, when you’re doing too much physically that’s when it can come off a bit comical or hokey. So it was interesting to find that fine line between what I could do and what I couldn’t. Truthfully I found that everything he did was very methodical and calculating. He took his time. So movements were quite slow and observant and done with a lot of care and attention because he wasn’t going to screw it up.
TTVJ: He’s also a cult leader, have cults ever interested you or have you been aware of them?
SR: I’ve been aware of them I suppose but not to a great deal. I watched The Following, and the whole cult thing that they had last year was a big influence on the way I was perceiving what cult aspect played in the show. We only touch on it, so it really didn’t have to delve too deep with dealing with the differing individuals within the cult. Basically Aleister just zaps these people and they become his slaves. So it’s not really a psychological play the way a cult leader would do on your average human being. In the magical realm I got to just goof and they would do my bidding.
TTVJ: We’re going to be looking for a way to take this guy down as an audience. Can you hint at any of his flaws? He seems pretty impossible to beat right now.
SR: He’s got to have a huge character flaw, everybody has a character flaw, it’s just whether they’re willing to admit it. Aleister for sure, he’s focused and he knows what he wants, but there are many ways of achieving what somebody wants. I think his character flaw is that he only sees one way. He doesn’t question that way. If you don’t take that time and look around you’re going to miss something. So not being able to see past what he’s focused on.
TTVJ: From the looks of things, we might have some torture scenes coming up. Will we be able to find sympathy with this guy? Or is he just plain old bad?
SR: Aleister has stuff go on in his past that I think keeps him very close to that torturing aspect in life, and toying with people. I think it takes it past that forgivable point, it takes it past that point of being able to forgive him for what he’s doing because it becomes a little more cold and calculating. But if people really understand the depths of where it comes from, maybe you can find the good in the bad guy. But it’s hard to sympathize with a killer!
TTVJ: What can you tease heading into Episode 4?
SR: There’s going to be a lot of poking and prodding and drug-induced … darkness? There are going to be some sick, sick doctors playing around, and the cult comes into play. This is a hard one for me, I’m sorry!
TTVJ: Not a problem! Did you want to add anything?
SR: Just really tell the audience that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for what I’m going to do and I hope they respect the reasons why I’m trying to do it. But, we’ll see!
Bitten airs Saturdays at 9 p.m. ET on Space. What do you think of the new character? Sound off below.
Amber Dowling is a bonafide TV Junkie, critic and freelance writer who watches countless shows and lives for dramatic (fictional!) twists. She currently serves as the vice-president of the Television Critics Association and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows across North America. An advocate for Canadian Television and a lover of the medium in general, Amber founded TheTVJunkies.com as a spot for fellow enthusiasts to connect and collaborate. She previously spent almost eight years as the EIC for TV Guide Canada.