Tonight Being Human‘s Sam Huntington guest adjudicates an especially gory werewolf-wound challenge on Face Off. An avid fan of the competition show, Sam doesn’t just bring a unique perspective to his role as (Foundation Challenge) judge, he actually initiated the cross-promotional collaboration himself. “I’ve worn a tremendous amount of effects makeup, not just on Being Human, so I thought it would be cool to be on the show,” Sam retells, “I talked to the president of production, Mark Stern, and suggested it to him. I said, ‘It’d be really cool if I could maybe do an episode of Face Off. I think it would be really, really fun and hopefully both shows would benefit.” And he immediately was like, “Oh yes, that’s a great idea.” Then, sure enough, Syfy followed through and created this Foundation Challenge. They tailor made it to what I know, as far as makeup. I really enjoyed it.” Adding the caveat, “But, I can say, when I had to put two contestants in the bottom [off camera] it was very uncomfortable. You could slice the tension with a knife, it was awful – awful.”
Sam’s fascination with makeup efx doesn’t just come from his cumulative months spent ‘in the chair,’ but because his personal tastes lean more toward realism, “Yeah, I’m a traditionalist. You look at a movie like Pan’s Labyrinth, where there’s so much practical makeup, and it’s just so effective. I think the things that I like to see are often times the more difficult things to [physically] achieve. I go back to movies like Star Wars and E.T. and their great practical effects. You believe it’s a real thing, a thing with a heart and soul. I’m definitely more a fan of practical makeup and puppetry than I am of CG.”
As guest judge, Huntington’s tasked with examining the believability of trauma makeup representing wounds from an exceptionally vicious werewolf attack. “They were all so fantastic,” Sam relates, “All the makeups were so great. It took getting right up to them and looking them over and inspecting each aspect closely to make a decision.” While the talent levels are definitely high among the show’s artist-competitors, a clear victor usually stands out from the rest, “Yes, to my mind there really was a clear winner and, unfortunately, a clear loser. When I walked off the set I immediately called my wife and said, “That was both one of the coolest things I’ve ever done and one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do.” It was so tough telling someone their work isn’t up to snuff, it was tough. Overall though, I really, really, enjoyed my time on Face Off. I’d lie in front of a bus to do it again.”
Sam’s genuine fandom for the series is infectuous, “The show is awesome,” he declares. And whatever level of Face Off fan he was before his guest appearance, there’s no doubt he’s a bigger fan now. “Not only was everyone super sweet, really professional and smart, it was just so cool to see these people who aren’t putting on airs; who’re just doing the work that they’re passionate about. It has nothing to do with acting, you know? It has nothing to do with normal narrative production. It was just a really, really interesting experience and one that I hope to do again.” It wasn’t just the competitors whose passion he appreciated, “I was impressed by the crew and how streamlined their process is and how professional they all were. It’s an impressive production and bigger than I think I expected.”
When describing Face Off‘s host, McKenzie Westmore, only kind words came to mind. “Mckenzie’s an extremely impressive person. Beautiful, talented, smart and geeky just like me. So cool.” When contacted for comment, McKenzie’s reply revealed the admiration between her and Sam is mutual. Westmore tweeted (via DM), “I’m so flattered that he would even say that because he was such a joy to work with and it was an honor to have him on Face Off! He is so impressive, talented, smart, geeky and just beautiful as well! ;)”
No conversation about creature design would be complete without the obligatory question of what kind of horror creature he would design? “Well, I’d want something funny. How about a demon principal? That’s a good one and not too far a stretch either. A villain that’s a high school principal with a big long yardstick, for some reason I picture that, you know. That’d be his weapon with maybe just a nail in the end of it. And after he’s done maiming you, he’ll draw a chalk outline around you. You know what I mean?”
Don’t expect any comedic demon principals on Being Human soon, “We really fight against camp on our show and it starts in the writer’s room. Luckily they give us really beautiful material. That’s one of the things that’s so great about making the show, about being on set, is that I’m challenged everyday by the work. We do our best to bring the kind of beautiful writing we’re given to life in a natural way. It’s my job to make it as natural as possible so that viewers will feel like these people are (real) human beings fighting a very human fight. I’ve had many moments this year where I walked to set scared I might not be able to deliver what the scenes deserved. Luckily, I think most of the time, I was able to achieve what I set out to do but you’re always – I’m always questioning myself and trying to better myself as an actor. That’s what’s fun about the show, it’s very challenging.”
Fans and critics alike praise Being Human for its emotionally grounded storytelling. “It’s right there in the title, isn’t it? I mean, these three people – and the world has gotten bigger this year – are really, really trying to overcome, accept and fight against their temptations and who they are. And I think that there’s so much humanity in what they’re doing. We say all the time that our show is – first and foremost – a character drama. At its core, it’s not a supernatural show. I think that heightens the world and the stakes and makes it really engaging for people. Hopefully, ultimately, it’s the real human aspect that people tune in for.”
Read more about Huntington’s take on his character Josh, his love for his cast mates and details about Josh’s relationship with Nora from the same Q&A session here.
Tune into Syfy tonight to see Sam bring his insight and expertise to Face Off‘s Foundation Challenge @ 10/9c on Syfy. Bombshell Vivica A. Fox also guests co-judging tonight’s Spotlight Challenge.