Fans of Bitten, the TV series based on the first book from Canadian author Kelley Armstrong’s successful Women of the Otherworld series of novels, will know Calgary-born and Vancouver-based actor Greyston Holt as werewolf Pack enforcer Clayton Danvers. You may also recognize him as Ray Prager Jr. from Durham County, and a Young Emerson Hauser from the short-livedAlcatraz. Or you may also recall him as the dashing Prince Frederick, aka the Gym Teacher, in an episode of Once Upon a Time.
Holt, who brings a sheer intensity to the brooding and brutal -- yet loyal -- Clayton, is also the lover of Elena Michaels, played by Laura Vandervoort. Elena is unique in that she happens to be the only female werewolf in existence, and was bitten by Clay (this, in turn, brought a whole lotta angst for most of the first season until the big reveal of episode 12, "Caged"). Clay is also Pack Alpha Jeremy Danvers' (Greg Bryk) adopted son and faithful bodyguard. But Clay is not only the muscle of the pack: He's also quite brilliant and is a professor in anthropology.
In this exclusive interview with Blastr, the lovely and gracious Greyston Holt took time to discuss the season-one finale, the joys of playing a werewolf and whether getting naked is harder than doing all those awesome fight scenes.
What drew you to Bitten and the character of Clayton Danvers in the first place?
What I really enjoyed about the character, and what drew me to it, was he always constantly had this inner struggle between his loyalty to Jeremy Danvers, my Pack Alpha, and Elena, his one and only love. And it’s a release; it’s fantastic as an actor to have that inner struggle constantly to play. And then, also just playing the violent side of him, I don’t often — I haven’t yet played many characters that are that brutally violent. And switch to that violence so quickly, so there’s a lot of fun dynamics to play with that character.
As we’re heading into the explosive season-one finale, "Ready," what are you most excited for the viewers to see? What can we expect?
I’m excited for them to see, where they leave it hanging, there’s definitely a pretty amazing old twist at the end of the episode. And I’m also excited for them to see the Mutt onslaught. There’s some beautifully choreographed fight sequences throughout the finale. Our director, T.J. Scott, was just an awesome dude to work with, lots of energy, and I think that translated into the scenes and fight sequences, so hopefully it’s a very exciting and jaw-dropping episode.
You seem to be doing your own stunts on the show. How difficult were those to do?
Yeah, I pretty much do all my stunts. There’re a couple of things that, a couple of little flips and stuff they just wouldn’t let me do for insurance reasons, but if it was up to me, I’d do them all. But, it’s difficult, it’s just tiring. The rehearsals take anywhere from five to eight hours. And then, you know, to film it, some of the larger fight sequences can take pretty much all day to get the scene. But it’s so rewarding and it’s fun and it’s a great workout, you’re definitely soaking through with sweat at the end of the day.
In the TV show, Clay is less feral, less wolflike, than Clay from the books. The Clay we see in the series comes across as a bit more human. For example, he was civil to Philip (Paul Green), Diane (Natalie Brown) and Rachel (Genelle Williams) -- something Book Clay would never be. Was there a conscious decision to make him more that way?
You know, obviously the TV world is very different than the book world. You need to humanize the characters a little more, especially, you know, our leads, you have to be able to sympathize with him a little more, and relate to them a little more, so I think we definitely brought more of that human aspect to them.
How satisfying for you was Jeremy’s (Greg Bryk) reveal at the end of the last episode that he would have killed Elena had Clay not bitten her? And that in fact, Clay had sacrificed everything to protect both Jeremy and Elena? Including her love for him?
It’s huge, and I think our viewers and audience are probably happy that finally came out, because there’s so much angst; like why is Elena so mad at him? You know; why, why, why, why didn’t Clay just say something, and it’s not up for me to say, right? It’s up to him, to Jeremy. Jeremy had the final word, and I think it’s nice that it finally came out, so people can see that side of it.
For the fans of the books and fans of the show as well, Elena and Clay are an endgame. Do you agree these two should be together, and why? Now that Jeremy has come clean as to why Clay bit Elena, where do you see them going from that?
They should be together, from Clay’s perspective, that’s his one and only ever love. And I think Elena knows that deep down inside, too. I mean, she was betrayed, or so she thought, and she was thrust into this new world of werewolves, it’s a huge adjustment. Putting that aside, the human side of their love is really strong and eternal.
Lets go back to Clay again for a minute: There’s a duality to the character -- how did you approach that?
I wouldn’t say it’s easy, but when you have other great actors to work off, like Greg, who plays Jeremy or Elena, or Logan and Elena, or to a Mutt, it’s easy to play the duality because they’re so good and you can play off of them. And it’s easy to switch from the more tender side, when I’m with Elena, to just rage when I’m with some of the Mutt characters, ‘cause they’re such great actors and they really get under your skin and it’s easy to get to that place. And then, you know, Greg, who plays Jeremy, he’s got such a presence to him and he just commands respect, so it’s easy to play the duality and just the different relationships with the characters. We've a wonderful cast.
How much fun was it for you to play a werewolf?
It’s great! I love it! I mean, I love being naked! I love to eat lots, I wouldn’t say I love violence, but that’s a new endeavor for me, which has been fun, ‘cause it’s a bit of an outlet for me, because I get to be violent onscreen. I don't actually go out and hurt people [laughs]. But I love it. I love everything about it.
Can you tell us about your favorite Clay scene from season one?
I would say my favorite scene was working with Noah Denby, who plays Cain, just the whole episode eight, the whole interrogation and, kinda not befriending him, but you know we connected on this weird level—it was a weird level we connected on—our loves for our women. His love for Amber, my love for Elena, and you know in the end I cut his &@%! off and then end his life. It was really an interesting scene there and really fun to play. Noah’s a great actor. The end scene was difficult, but it was rewarding to play.
What was more difficult for you to do: the nude scenes or the fight scenes?
The nude scenes aren’t difficult at all. I just take my clothes off, nothing difficult about that! But the fight scenes are difficult in the sense that it’s more work. Takes me three seconds to take my clothes off, but the fight scenes take hours and hours of rehearsals, and it’s physically demanding. But I grew up with my clothes off all the time.
Now, let’s talk about that jaw-dropping season-one cliffhanger. Were you shocked about it? Did you know about it beforehand that was going to happen?
No, but it really does make sense, though. Every season needs a cliffhanger. And it fits perfectly with the storyline, and I’m just excited to see where they go with it in season two. It’ll be really action-packed from season two.
Are you generally satisfied about the way season one played against the book?
Yeah! I mean, we threw a few curveballs, but I remember when I was reading the scripts I was pretty happy with how close to the books we got that I imagine the fans would appreciate it, too. But you know, TV’s TV, and we need to keep you guessing a little bit, so that’s why we killed certain characters off in the books you didn’t see coming. I’m happy with how that turned out.
What would you like to see happen for your character in season two?
It’d be interesting for them to do some more flashbacks. And see maybe Jeremy coming down to the south and finding me when I was this feral child. What a great little role for whoever little boy they cast to play this little werewolf kid that doesn’t speak any language and is running around the swamps. We need to see that part of Clay’s story. The whole domestication of Clay by Jeremy. I think the fans would like to see that. Especially for people who haven’t read the books, they don’t necessarily know the backstory. I think It’d be great to see that on screen.
The season finale of Bitten airs this Saturday, April 5, in Canada at 9 p.m. on Space, and on Monday, April 7, in the U.S. at 8 p.m. on Syfy.