This season we were treated to several episodes chalk full of Aidan’s backstory. How much detail were you given about his history prior to this season?
Sam Witwer: Not a huge amount. We talked in very, very vague terms so I knew a tiny bit of what happened, but as for specifics I really didn’t. It was definitely a surprise to see how it all unfolded.
Did finding out more about his past change how you approached playing his present self?
Everything that they add, everything that they put out there changes the way you see things. The good news is nothing has invalidated the day-to-day choices I’ve made in the past. I feel like we’ve all been on the same page, talking about this story and this character, so the backstory lines up pretty accurately with what I was thinking. You are always going to have your challenges. I think it’s just that the writers and ourselves—we’ve all worked together long enough and well enough that I think we all have the same understanding walking in. We seem to have a lot of the same ideas about these things.
All three characters have their own share of relationships, but Aidan’s seem to be a bit more plentiful—and complicated. One the show explored more deeply this season was his relationship with Nora. How do you think their new relationship will change the atmosphere and future storylines for all the characters?
When it comes to the two most aggressive characters in that household, it’s Nora and Aidan. They also both care about Josh so they have quite a lot in common, those two. I’m looking forward to where it will take us. It’s not that they agree with everything about each other. They’ve called this truce because it’s in good will that they’ve shown each other, and I kinda like that. They still have unresolved issues, but there’s been a line drawn in the sand by both of them. They’ve said, “Well look, ultimately are we on the same team?” And the answer for both of them has been “Yes.”
Aidan hasn’t had much luck in the female department—mostly because his ladies keep dying. Kat poses an interesting change for Aidan, however, as she’s alive. How did you feel about Aidan taking on another romantic relationship? Did you think he was ready for it?
It’s a hysterical idea. A super idea. [Laughs.] In life, things don’t happen when we’re ready for them. They happen when they happen. There’s a certain place we find ourselves with Aidan’s relationship here, and you’re gonna do the best you can. There are some major obstacles that really haven’t even begun to rear their ugly head. For example, he killed her ex-boyfriend. That’s not alright. Not to mention she hasn’t even discovered that he’s a freaking vampire. So there’s a couple issues that Aidan would have to get through for it to last.
After the death of Henry, Aidan expressed that he was not interested in fathering anymore children, but here were are with another son. How does Aidan feel about his bond with Kenny?
Aidan’s very invested in Kenny, in the same way that he’s invested in all these younger characters. Aidan has a real soft spot for youth and innocence. What happened with Bernie in the first season was something that was devastating to him and that he’s still not over. Since then we’ve seen the landscape carnage of this relationship Aidan has with innocence.
This season there was something a little different about the way episodes began and ended in that there were no monologues. Was there a reason why those were cut?
That was a huge issue for me in this season, but there was a reason they were cut. Those opening monologues lock you into a format in which we have a visual montage at the top of every episode. And it sort of worked for a while, but you have to be in a certain situation, a certain place. You need certain things need to be portrayed visually. To be locked into that format every episode where you have this montage, you’re not getting to initiate the story like you’d like to. We also have so much story to tell in these 40 minutes that the writers kind of had no choice. Do I think you can bring back the monologues in limited form next season? Yeah, I do. It would be fun to because I think at the right times it’s a very effective thing and people really, really love it.
Was anything changed with either the writing or acting to compensate for the lack of opening monologues?
Absolutely. Yes. And I didn’t realize it at the time. This year we were granted unprecedented access to everything. We were watching episodes pretty much as fast as they were coming in. That was really unusual because they can get a little stingy about that. They don’t want you to see it right away. They want a chance to really massage it and get it where they want it before they show it to the cast, but when you see it almost as you’re shooting it, you get a chance to adjust and it kind of saved us with Aidan this year. I was watching some early episodes and you could see this from the beginning—he’s there. He’s in the episodes, but you’re not quite getting it for some reason. I was watching the episodes going, “We’re losing contact with the character and I can’t express why.” At first I thought, well, is this because—do I need more screen time? [Laughs.] And that’s the stereotype of actors, right? “Do you need more lines?” Thankfully I didn’t shoot it out there with anyone. I wanted to think about it more because that’s such a risky place for an actor to take a conversation with producers; that they want more screen time. That can be perceived as ego driven. But I knew that there was a problem and I knew that we weren’t really feeling the character the way that we had before.
It was right around the time we were supposed to shoot episode five or four I think it was. I realized it was because we didn’t have the opening monologues. Aidan shows us that everywhere he goes he’s “Hey, man. I’m fine. Everything’s great.” But then in the opening monologues he shows you that nothing’s fine, which kind of helps you with how he feels. Aidan always tells you the opposite. He always finds a way to cover it up. He always lies to people. The moments alone with Aidan he’s always like “Wow, this is a nightmare.” So I started expressing to the producers, “Guys we have to find ways to give little moments alone with the character, so we reestablish the subtext.” In later episodes we tried to start scenes with these moments alone with Aidan, so we could see the subtext, to sort of replace those opening monologues. We lost it a bit in season 3, but we got it back real quick.
What was your favorite episode to watch and/or film this season? Do you, Sam, and Meaghan still have episode viewing parties?
This last episode might be my favorite. Yeah, it might be. We’ll see. As for watching, we don’t really have a chance because we’re all in different cities right now. We chat at each other, but we never really have a chance to watch things together.