Greyston Holt unleashes the beast in Bitten. Based on the novels by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong, the TV series finds sole existing female werewolf Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort) shunning her lycanthrope ways to lead a quiet, carefree life. That plan gets derailed when Elena’s pack calls her back to contend with an escalating threat.
Bitten casts Holt as pack member Clayton Danvers, a brooding enforcer-type who shares a special connection to Elena. Over the phone from Vancouver, the Canadian actor spoke to me about Clayton, what separates Bitten from the genre crowd.
Bitten is based on the novels by Kelley Armstrong. What spoke to you about the material?
There was a certain rawness to my character Clayton, this primal instinct and drive that he has. It’s very interesting. A more animalistic side of being human. That was fun to play with.
The series sounds more mature than other takes on werewolves. Can you set up the premise?
We’ve definitely chatted about it being Soprano-esque. It’s the idea of a super-tight, strong, loyal pack that will do anything to save one of its own. That’s apparent in our first episode when Elena is trying to live a normal life in Toronto. She knows we’re in trouble and she comes back to help us despite everything she wants, but she does.
Why is there tension between Clayton and Elena?
I bit her. We were in love back when I was teaching university. I had to bite her to save her life. Now she’s the only known female werewolf.
Elena returns because of a new danger. What can threaten a werewolf?
That would be the Mutts. They are rising up and trying to take us on and create a Mutt empire. Being the only female werewolf, Elena can breed other werewolves. That’s a huge thing. She’s a very sought-after commodity.
How did you go about capturing the essence of a werewolf?
I didn’t really study other werewolf movies. When I found out I was going to screen test for Bitten, I went out into the forest here in Vancouver, just north of the city, went on a hiking trail and just ran around the forest naked. I took all my clothes off, ran around for an hour and howled and yelled. It was an interesting experience, but I think it helped.
Did you have to practice all the grunting and growling, or at least the movements of an animal?
I really don’t do much of that in the show. We have some changes into the werewolves and we’re going through the pain. It’s all VFX. I actually didn’t have to film a change in the first season. They insinuate I change, but you don’t actually see me change. I think Laura did and some other people.
Are the transformations triggered by the full moon?
No, what brings on the change for us is any kind of heightened sense like sexual desire, or if your safety is threatened or if you are angry. That makes it interesting because a lot of times it will happen when you don’t necessarily want it to.
Paranormal and mystical TV series are abundant this year. How is Bitten pushing the envelope?
The show has something for everyone. For women looking for a strong female lead, there’s that in Laura. For men, there’s this very manly pack mentality and manly atmosphere. There’s violence and fighting. There’s also the romance aspect between me and Elena. There’s wicked fight scenes. A lot of gore. It’s all good.