TV adaptation of Kelley’s Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld makes its TV debut this weekend
Adapting a beloved book in the Internet era can be as unnerving as finding yourself face to face with a werewolf. Every fan knows exactly which actor should play their favourite character — and chances are it’s not the person who landed the role. But Daegan Fryklind, who adapted Kelley Armstrong’s bestselling werewolf series Women of the Otherworld for television, isn’t worried about readers growling about the casting of Greyston Holt when Bitten debuts on Space this weekend.
“Greyston is the embodiment of Clayton Danvers,” Fryklind told the Sun. “I honestly don’t think there is anyone else who could have played this character with as much heart and depth, not only because he’s an outstanding actor but because he’s more than a little feral himself having grown up in the B.C. wilderness. If we used real wolves, Greyston would be the one curled up asleep with them at night. Naked.”
Holt didn’t exactly grow up in the bush and wasn’t raised by wolves. The Calgary born actor was raised on Salt Spring Island and moved to Vancouver after high school to pursue acting. “I was going into my Grade 12 year, I was short a credit, I took acting by fluke and ended up really liking it,” Holt said. A friend of Holt’s mom had a sister who was an agent, introductions were made, and when Holt was 18 he moved to Vancouver “and started my 10-year overnight success.”
Holt’s breakthrough moment was landing a leading role in the drama series Durham County in 2007 opposite Hugh Dillon and Helene Joy. “It was a huge learning experience. That was the moment when I thought I could do this seriously and professionally.”
Bitten was shot in Toronto — likely because rain can be brutal on a werewolf’s fur and the series is set in Toronto and New York — but it was produced by B.C.’s No Equal Entertainment (along with Hoodwink Entertainment and eOne Television) and Fryklind has been based in Vancouver for most of her career, including a stint as a co-executive producer on Motive, where she met Holt. The series leading wolf is played by Toronto’s Laura Vandervoort who played Supergirl on Smallville and also starred in V.
Although Bitten is based on a book series Holt doesn’t want to reveal much about how the TV version unfolds. After much prodding he offered this teaser: “Elena (Vandervoort) is the only female werewolf and she’s torn between her past life with the pack and her current life in the city where she’s trying to live a normal life. There’s an uprising with the bad werewolves and our pack alpha Jeremy calls upon her to help us. She’s the best-known tracker and we need her help to put these mutts down,” says Holt. “It’s fun for everyone. We’ve got lots of wicked fight sequences. There’s lots of gore and blood and at the same time there’s rich, intertwining relationships between pack members and humans. It’s almost like the pack is like the Mafia — it’s a Sopranos type story.”
Unlike some other creature features the cast of Bitten didn’t live in makeup chairs. “No makeup,” says Holt, adding that the show uses special effects to create the wolf transformations.
Holt also recently wrapped filming the movie See No Evil 2 which stars World Wrestling Entertainment wrestler Kane and was shot in Vancouver by Jen and Sylvia Soska of Twisted Twins Productions. “I also just finished a western but I can’t give you much info. I got to play a badass cowboy, so that was fun.”
As for fan reaction to his role in Bitten, Holt plans to steer clear of the Internet. “After the press release (announcing he’d been cast) I went on Twitter for a second for the first time because they asked me to do it for the show. And you see people tweeting, “OMG, he doesn’t look anything like Clay, I’m not going to watch the show.” And some people loved it. And I don’t pay attention to it because you’d probably go mad. At the same time it’s nice to know fans are passionate.”
Watch the video at vancouversun.com!