Steve Lund previews what’s coming up on BITTEN
In tonight’s all new episode of BITTEN, titled “Prodigal” (airs 10/8c on Syfy), at Stonehaven, Elena tracks the killer Mutt while avoiding the advances of Clay Danvers; haunted by her own past as a killer, Elena is desperate to get back to her human life. To celebrate the premiere of the new show both here and in Canada, I spent some time chatting with series star Steve Lund (Nick Sorrentino). The Halifax native, who you may recognize as James Cogan from Syfy’s HAVEN, among other shows, talked with us about what’s coming up, what about Nick drew him to it, and what advice he might give other actors who are just starting out.
BITTEN – what a great concept, love a show based on a book. Fans already built in, who know what the show is about. How are you describing the show / what are you telling people?
That it’s the best show of all time. Let’s skip all of these pleasantries and get to that point [laughs]. BITTEN is a werewolf-driven tale that is centered around the only known female werewolf in existence, Elena Michaels. The storyline follows her struggle to try to live a normal human life, and also balance her obligations to her pack. The story picks up when Elena has been away from the pack, living a civil, reasonably human life in Toronto, and there is a couple of bodies that turned up in the town that the pack is centered, and we’re all summoned back to handle the situation. Elena has the keenest sense of smell, and therefore is our strongest tracker.
I like that it tells the story a bit differently – combines what we’ve seen with werewolves with things that we haven’t necessarily – what can we expect from Nick?
Nick is a fun character. Often times, we’re in this story with a lot of heavy material, a lot of serious stuff. A lot of times, when Nick is on screen, he can provide a little bit of a lighter note, comedic relief at times, which I think is necessary, considering the tone of the show. He is not taken so seriously, but comes from a long line of werewolves, and has nothing but the utmost respect and responsibility, and recognizes that he needs to uphold certain religions or traditions within the pack. He’s been described as a little bit of a playboy, certainly likes to explore the fruits of life. And it’s nice – you’ll see a maturation in Nick over the course of the series, as he encounters these scenarios where he’s forced to grow up quite a bit. It’s nice to see that arc. He’s definitely a loveable character.
I think that’s important – seeing a lovable character go through the changes, grow with them.
To root for them, exactly!
For the show itself, was it something that you read and thought, I really want to be a part of it, was it the typical audition process? How did it come together?
It was a combination of so many great things. As soon as I got the material, which there was a bunch of, compared to other series I was auditioning for when I was in LA for pilot season. The thing about the series, which I didn’t realize at the time, it was already greenlit for 13 episodes, as opposed to going through the pilot process. It had all of this rich source material to draw from, that is very exciting as an actor. To know that you can refer to so much of the storyline, so much character development. It really lends itself to the research process of an actor. The fact that it shot in Toronto, major bonus. For me, this was my first series, and the most involved in a television show that I’ve ever been, and to be in my home away from home, essentially, but a place that I’ve been living for a couple of years, where I have a nice community of friends and even some family, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
I like that you mentioned that the show was already greenlit for 13 – it must change the way you approach the first episode. Not having to fit the whole story in one small hour, and I liked that about this pilot.
That’s great to hear – I’m very pleased with that. At least, for us, when we first saw the first episode, knowing that actors are our own harshest critics. It’s funny to us – we noticed that we’re a little bit awkward, still. My first day on set, I was in extremely little clothing. I’m meeting the whole crew, and they have little else to look at but my nether regions, and that really broke the ice. No better place to start, really! [laughs] You can tell there’s jitters, everybody is very involved in this whole process. It was very much a family from day one, because we all wanted to do something special. We were working very hard and trying our best, as opposed to relaxing into the material, and trusting that we would get to that place eventually. You’ll see over the course of the season that the relationships get stronger and stronger, and the chemistry on screen is even more electrifying than it is in [the beginning].
How do you prepare for a role like this – there isn’t necessarily werewolf history that you can research?
For Nick, in particular, I found a lot of similarities in him, that I could recreate in my own life. That was really nice. It felt very safe. I sunk into the character quite immediately. In terms of capturing that unique intensity that you need to have on screen when you’re playing a werewolf or any of these primal creatures, you have to consider your innermost animalistic urges. I guess what I did leading up to filming was that I introduced the inner monologue, and that way of thinking. Acting on my more vicious instincts as opposed to being the nice friendly Canadian guy that I am. That really helped me sink into the whole chemical makeup of somebody that lives with this condition.
Why do you think that this is a show that people will love, should love, should watch?
I think there is something for everybody in this show. Maybe a little bit more for the female audience, but that’s not to take away anything for Laura; she’s absolutely stunning, of course. I think there will be a lot of drooling male fans on Saturday/Monday nights! For me, my take, if it were me as an audience member, I think I would really appreciate the family dynamic of the show. You have characters that sort of represent different aspects of different demographics, all sort of living harmoniously with one thing in common. I think it’s very relatable. Yes, it is a werewolf tale, but it’s very human. Human first, and the werewolf stuff [down the line].
I like when shows that deal with the weird (werewolves, vampires, etc) really deal with the human side of things.
Yeah, we’re more human than we are werewolf. In order to maintain our existence, which is secret, we have to live amongst the humans, so therefore we have these ways about it for sure, that you’ll see. When you see us on camera you’re looking at humans.
When you get a chance, what do you watch on TV?
Oh boy! I watch a lot of movies. I watch on average, one movie per day. I go to the pictures quite often, as well. Cheap night is Tuesday night. I’m going to see “Her” tonight.
I saw it on Sunday. Amazing.
I’m so excited, man! Is it going to make me want to fall in love with the next person that I see?
Which will probably be my cell phone, and that’s the whole point! [laughs] I just started watching BREAKING BAD. I don’t know how I had the willpower to hold off until all of the seasons were available, but I am just flying through that and it is just magnificent!
I read that you were a hockey player, and an injury ended that life for you. Was acting always an option for you, something always at the forefront?
I love this question! When I was two years old, your parents or your teachers ask you what you want to be when you grow up? There’s the standard jobs – you know very few jobs at that age. Astronaut or doctor or whatever, and mine was actor. I was going to be an actor first and foremost. I was always a performer. My father is a very boisterous man, and tells a lot of stories and jokes. Sort of an “apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” scenario. But what happened was I grew really fast, and lived in a very large hockey town, and the norm was that you pursued hockey until you couldn’t anymore. That’s what I did and I worked very hard at it. The acting dream was on the back burner, but it was always there, always simmering. I put everything I had into hockey, and it didn’t work out, unfortunately. That day that I found out that I should never play hockey again, for fear of becoming a vegetable (I had a lot of brain injuries, it was awful), this spark just ignited within me, and it was like “finally” [laughs]. I can hang up the skates and head out on stage where I know I belong. I always had that thing in the back of my mind. It was like, I’m good at this, I can do this, but it’s not where I was truly happiest. Now that I’ve been doing this for nearly 4 years, I’m so thankful that I took that risk. I’ve had the most incredible supportive people around me to encourage me to follow my dreams.
It’s a great story, because you have never thought of acting as a “fall back” career, and you’re happiest when you’re doing what you love!
This is without a doubt the only and best thing that I’ve ever wanted to do, and that in itself, no matter if I’m working or not, I could be a genuinely happy person.
Is there a role or a type of character you’ve always wanted to play?
Oh yeah! My other dream, in my younger days I guess, was to be a rock star. I even had a band in high school, and we had a couple of really great gigs, and that was sort just another venue for me to perform. I was the lead singer of the The Steve Lund Experience. It was so amazing. I’ve had a passion for music my whole life; I’ve always wanted to play a rock star. Whether it’s a bio pic or not, it doesn’t matter. I want to be able to get on stage, and be that struggling artist, that man who is struggling to be heard through poetic expression. I’m getting goose bumps. I have to go write a script about it.
Is writing and directing something you’d like to do down the line, too?
Yeah, absolutely! I’ve been sort of plotting a few ideas; I’ve always had a liking for writing, composing, whatever it might be. Script writing is definitely something I see in the future. Filmmaking, in terms of directing, I think I need a little more experience before I tackle that thing. I’m a harsh film critic and I know I’m not ready to take that on yet, but down the road, definitely.
Do you have advice for people thinking about getting into the business?
There’s so much! I wish I could grab them by the face and say “be fearless!” Fear is your worst enemy. We all have it, of course, and it takes control at different times of our lives, but the only way to succeed is to be fearless. It’s a lifelong journey, and I know that I will never stop searching for it. And I wouldn’t have it any other way!
BITTEN airs Saturday nights on SPACE in Canada and Monday nights on Syfy in the US.