Interview with Steve Lund from Syfy’s BITTEN
Bitten is SyFy’s newest supernatural drama featuring one of the horror’s classic creatures, werewolves. Elena Michaels, played by Laura Vandervoort, is the only living female werewolf in existence. She thought she left that supernatural world when she left Stonehaven, but a series of vicious murders directed at her pack family reluctantly calls her back. Now balancing her human life with her werewolf heritage without ever has become harder than ever.
We got to sit down with Steve Lund, who plays the fun-loving Nick Sorrentino in Elena’s pack family, in a one-on-one interview about life on the set, and much more…
So you play Nick Sorrentino on Bitten. Tell us a little about him, what’s his history? What about him made you gravitate towards playing this role?
Nick, he’s a cool dude. He comes from a long line of werewolves, his grandfather was the former pack alpha, and his father is sort of the book keeper for the pack. Nick was born into the werwolf live and taught the ropes from a very young age. I don’t think he ever really intended to follow in the footsteps, per se, of potentially in becoming a pack alpha, but he certainly enjoys the fruits of life, he leads a very fun life; he’s more of a fun-loving character than some. He has his comedic moments. And that’s actually what attracted me to the role. I liked that there the was this double life that all the werewolves live, and whenever the chips are down or stuff is hitting the proverbial fan, we all have to answer the call and bring this survival instinct. But in the human realm, we’re very much living among the humans as best we can. And Nick does so in a very fun way.
You’ve been in quite a few science fiction shows, is it something you actively seek out or does it just fall right it front of you naturally?
I really do like the scifi genre. Even more so I like working it, but I don’t necessarily watch a whole lot of television. I certainly do have my Star Wars toys and my Indiana Jones costumes and stuff like that. I’m certainly a geek in that respect. Y’know I think it’s just the luck of the draw, to be honest. It just so happened that I was cast in a couple of successful shows that happen to be scifi, and I’m quite okay with that because it’s a very fun genre to work in, and also has a very loyal following. Scifi fans are a different breed from any other. I’m very happy to be with them because they’re so supportive and lovely, and they can be very intense. At the end of the day, we want people to love the product that we’ve made for them, I mean, we certainly love it.
Yeah, we’re a very dedicated group, I can say that much.
Absolutely. That’s putting it lightly.
So you mentioned Star Wars and Indiana Jones. I’m gonna put you on the spot and ask which do you like more, Star Wars or Indiana?
I’m gonna say Indiana Jones. Yeah. I mean, I do really love Star Wars — I’ve watched each of the movies many many times — but it’s a clear-cut winner for me, Indiana Jones is the start of it all for me. I’ve always sort of credited that one character to the reason why I wanted to become an actor.
Awesome. You just kinda made my day I get a lot of flack for preferring Indiana Jones over Star Wars.
You’re an Indy fan as well?
Very much so. Like you said, it was kind of my start towards becoming part of the geekdom. I don’t know, I like Harrison Ford more than the other actors [in Star Wars], sorry Carrie Fisher! [Mark Hamill, I heart you for being the Joker for over 20 years]
[Laughing] Yeah I watched so much Harrison Ford, specifically Indiana Jones when I was a kid. So much to the point that whenever I see him, it feels like I’m looking at a father figure. There’s this warmth that washes over me, and I’ll be like “Aw, Dad!” He was so present in my childhood. I more or less learned a lot of things from him, I guess.
Out of the three, which did you prefer?
Um, that’s a tougher question. [Laughs] It all depends on what I’m feeling that day. If I feel like the father-son tale and really different characters, then I’ll go with the Last Crusade, and if I want just a truly good non-stop action movie, I’ll pop in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Temple of Doom gets neglected the most, but I’m also a very large fan of that one, and if I ever feel like getting into the whole voodoo world, I’ll pop that one in. They each have their own personality.
Yeah, for me, that’s definitely how I feel about each movie. If they’re on TV, I will definitely end up watching all of them.
No doubt. Do you have a clear-cut favorite?
Argh, tough question. For me, it’s always gonna be Raiders of the Lost Ark. Then after that it’s The Last Crusade, because Sean Connery. I also really like Temple of Doom because of Short Round, AND it takes place before the original — showing Indiana’s progression towards becoming a hero rather than stay as this selfish jerk [who was in it for the glory].
Yeah, you’re right, it’s a prequel, not a lot of people realize that.
Ah, it’s such a great movie once you realize little details like that. Then it’s just a matter of powering through whenever Willie opens her mouth.
Yeah? You don’t like her?
Uh…just not when she screams.
[Imitates Willie’s shrieking]
Yes! Like that!
Y’know I think she married Stephen Spielberg after that.
Did she really? I guess I missed that somehow.
Yeah, I think they’re still married, I don’t know…
Okay, so back to the show…
Oh right yeah, that whole thing.
So you guys take off your clothes a lot, and you shoot, where, Nova Scotia? I know it’s in Somewhere, Canada.
No, we’re in Ontario.
Alright. So…what was the weather like? Wasn’t it cold? [My assumption is that Canada is always cold.]
It’s not cold all the time. You’re in South Carolina?
Yeah, it’s certainly not as temperate as your climate, but we’re shooting in April, May to August and those are our hottest months, obviously, and it gets up to 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). On the flip side of that, this time of year gets to minus 30 degrees Celsius (-22 degrees Fahrenheit). It’s gross.
Yeah, ew. Here in SC, we shut down because there was slush on the road, and no one knows how to deal with that.
I heard. The world’s coming to an end.
[Laughs] It’s The Day After Tomorrow in Charleston!
So right when you guys are filming, you’re not completely in the buff, are you? Or just hanging it all out there…[I drift off and mumble at this point.]
Heh, we have what’s called a, um, we like to call it a “cock sock.”
It’s just this simple little satchel or marble bag, that goes over the important bits, and it’s flesh colored. Often times, yeah, we’re rollin’ around set for all to see. Somebody’s always at the ready with a robe to cast over us James Brown style when we cut.
So when you are, um, not wearing very many clothes, how often do you work out. I imagine you guys have to stay in shape at least a little bit.
Yeah, no doubt. We actively try to watch what we eat, make sure we fit in a healthy exercise regime, and stuff like that. When you have a busy schedule it gets pretty difficult at times, but we find the time. It’s like a sport. You wanna feel good and happy and satisfied with your body especially when you’re putting it to he test so much in the work that we’re doing, whether it be an emotional or physical work. You wanna be loose and limber and strong. It’s a very important part of my acting, not necessarily just for appearance’s sake. We’re trying at least to stay in the best shape possible, but it’s tough sometimes, there’s food everywhere.
Yeah, speaking of food, I remember this one episode where a table was just covered in meat and bread.
Was it the breakfast scene?
Yeah that was a fun day.
Was it all real food, or were some of them props?
All real food. There were several takes, so we were restocking. We were definitely eating all that food, for real. We have spit buckets but we were shooting it all, the entire dialogue sequence as one take for a couple of different set-ups, so we don’t really have the opportunity to reach down and spit into the bucket without people spotting it. We were swallowing all that stuff. I remember we were a little sluggish for sure. There’s a scene in episode two with my father and I. We were in a diner and get to leave when we see that the sheriff was there. In that scene, I was eating a piece of pie, but with the way the edit works, you don’t really get to see that so much. But on the day, they really wanted me to scarf that pie, so I was eating it like I was some hungry hungry hippo. I ate, like, six to seven different pieces of pie. I was feeling so fat, and I didn’t have the opportunity to spit it out because I had to get up and finish the scene, and then the scene after that I had to take my shirt off. I spent my whole lunch hour doing sit-ups in my trailer.
Well, if you need someone to eat pie for you, I will gladly step up. I am all about eating some pie.
[Laughs] Yeah, we need a pie eater on set.
On to the stunts. You had a couple sparring scenes with Laura Vandervoort and the guy who plays Clay [Danvers]. How intense did you guys go at it, what are stunts like on that show?
We went full kilt. That was the first one of the season and we were all really excited about it. I’ve never really done anything to that extent. Grayston [Holt], who plays Clay, I think had done a little bit, but Grayston seems to have never been in a fight in his life, so it was interesting for him. I think it may have been a little daunting to make it look as realistic as possible, so we worked really hard on it. We looked at video to study, and rehearse it as much as we could. But then Laura [Vandervoort] comes in, and she’s, like, a second degree black belt in karate, or something like that…
Yeah! And she just kicked our asses, man. We left bruises on each other, for days. It was very intense. We wanted to make it look as good as possible, we went 100 percent.
Have you in particular read any of the Kelley Armstrong Otherworld books?
I have read two of them, yeah. There’s a ton of books. They start to follow different characters and different species, and stuff like that. The whole Otherworld series, I think has 14 books? But I believe in terms of the Elena Michaels saga, there may be seven or eight books, I can’t be sure.
Are they young adult, or are they…like True Blood types?
I wouldn’t say necessarily that they’re young adults, though they have read them. I think the target audience, as far as me making an educated opinion, would be slightly more adult, more mature that deals with a lot of sex and mature themes. But you know, teenagers are gonna be enticed by them, no matter what.
Oh the raging hormones that are teenagers.
I know, I know. Remember those days?
I don’t want to…
How closely does the show follow the book series?
It’s pretty tight. The developers and writers, at one point, worked pretty closely with Kelley Armstrong to collaborate to come up with something that all parties were happy with, and I think they achieved that pretty early one. Kelley gave it her blessing. Now that’s not to say [the show] follows [the book] word for word. There are some characters that are expanded on, and there slight twists in the story… I think for the most part the show follows the books closely enough that devoted readers will be satisfied. The feedback we’ve gotten so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re all pretty jazzed about that.
Is there any sign of vampires coming? Lately werewolves have become synonymous with vampires, and vice versa in shows, movies, and books. So are there any vampires in Bitten?
Not in the books that I’ve read. Apparently in the other Otherwold series, they introduce vampires, necromancers, ghosts and goblins, and things of that nature. But as far as I know, the design for us as series is to stay exclusively to the werewolves, to tell their story. Let everyone else take care of that other crap.
Yeah, good. So how is the dynamic with all of the other actors on set?
[Sarcastically] Pretty rigid, pretty tough. We don’t really get along so well.
So all those times you guys are sparring, you’re actually beating each other up because you hate each other that much?
Yeah we didn’t realize any of the cameras were rolling. That was just…an argument that just got out of hand. [Laughs] No, no. I absolutely love everyone that I worked with. We had a very, very special bond. Something that I was not expecting, it was such a welcomed surprise. We just got along famously, and it really translates on screen. As the series goes on, you’ll see us dealing with some very dramatic moments. The care and love that we have for each other as pack members, I think, really exists in our day to day lives as well — being there for each other on set, and just developing these friendships and this love that we share… it really made for some easy work for all of us.
That’s so awesome. I’ve noticed that, with the exception of Laura Vandervoort, the cast is pretty much made up of all dudes.
[Laughs] Yeah, we’re pretty dude heavy.
So do you have any bromances going on with the other…dudes?
Oh for sure, man. What do you expect, I mean, actors are weird. They push the boundaries. Grayston and I had a massive bromance. A lot of touching — he’s a hugger, he hugs pretty much everyone he comes in contact with. I think he hugs clerks and restaurant employees, he’s such a loving man.
That guy is massive!
Yeah, he’s giant. He gives real bear hugs, it’s awesome, I love it. I feel so safe in his arms. And we all really love Greg [Bryk]. He’s our Alpha on set, as well. He’s the constant joke-teller, but also he’s a poet, and he’s just the the most eloquent role model for all of us on set. There’s an idolization there.
Greg is Jeremy?
Greg is Jeremy. Right, sorry. And then Michael Xavier, who plays Logan, we hit the clubs together.
Oh do you? I don’t remember those days either…
Yeah, well, you’re not supposed to, remember?
Of course. Yes…silly me. Of any of the shows you were on before Bitten, what was the most favorite role you played?
Man I had some great ones. Um…I had a lot of fun on Defiance. I got to play a homosexual man who was living with a secret, and then I got shot in that one. That was fun, and required a bit of acting. And then I got to play the Colorado Kid on Haven. This is a character that the entire series is based upon, from the title of the novella by Stephen King, The Colorado Kid. And it’s a character that was alluded to for three seasons, but never introduced. So when I walked on set, there was like murmurs and whispers, and stuff like that. [Mimics whipsering] “The Colorado Kid!” Like I was just deity or something, that was really exciting. Then they met me and everyone was like, “Oh he’s just some regular dude.”
How many episodes have you shot already for Bitten?
We filmed all 13 episodes already. We wrapped in August.
[Slight spoiler ahead] Oh cool, alright. So at the end of episode 3, we left on a very unfortunate note for the Pete character. Is [expletive deleted] ‘bout to go down?
I think it’s safe to assume so. Yeah, there will be some vengeance exacted. Certainly some motivation that may not have been present. When at first we were dealing with just a rogue werewolf, that changed when it was made very clear to us that this was a direct personal attack when Peter was taken out. So yeah, [expletive deleted] ‘bout to go down. [Spoiler ended]
When you finally got cast for this show, how many wolf videos did you watch on YouTube to prepare for this role?
[Laughs] Actually, I went up north and ran with a pack for a while. It was pretty wild.
[Playfully] Did you really?
No, not at all. Would’ve made for such a cool interview. Yeah no, I watched some stuff. I remembered some of my acting school training where we used to walk around like animals and all that crazy [expletive deleted]. But just trying to match that intensity that comes with playing a character of that nature, it was where the bulk of the work was done. Obviously there was some CGI, so we were never really acting like wolves, per se, but there are keen instincts that were tapping into, there are those animalistic urges that we are trying to display on camera… And also the transformation scenes that are very specific in line of the Kelley Armstrong books, so there’s sort of a formula to follow, almost a blueprint for us to follow. That was very helpful for us to really all get on the same page in what the transformation looks like, what it feels like.
I’m gonna go into some of the fan questions now: @ThisIsTrex on Twitter asks “What is your favorite movie featuring werewolves?”
Oh geez… American Werewolf in London.
Right on, sir. Next, same guy asked this: “Who would win in a fight Sam Huntington from Being Human, or you?”
Sam Huntington, hands down.
Really? You’re not going to try to defend yourself on this one?
I mean…yeah, he’s just too good, man. I’m just, like…my bark is worse than my bite, let’s put it that way. I admit it, I can kick some ass, but I’ll just take one look at that amazing chin of his and I’ll be done with.
He does have an epic chin.
He does. I’m very jealous of it.
Alright, now, there are two Teen Wolfs, Tyler Posey and Michael J. Fox. Who would you most be with?
I think I’m gonna go with Michael J. Fox. I mean, [the original Teen Wolf] is a fan favorite, I would say. Well, maybe not right now, it’s a little dated. I’m a big Michael J. Fox fan so, I’m just gonna give a shout out to my homie, MJF. You can be on my team any day.
You can go van surfing all day with him.
Alright, that about wraps things up. Any words you’d like to say to those who haven’t seen Bitten yet?
Let me see… Our show has something for everybody whether you’re into beautiful ladies or attractive men, or very colorful bad guys, or very family-driven storyline…there’s something in there for you. It’s relatable, it’s topical, it’s very visceral and very emotional, so it’s hard not to find something that’s relatable to you. And I think we have characters that represent so many different facets of our society that you’ll find a favorite in the bunch, guaranteed, and you’ll want to root for them for 13 weeks straight.