Being Human series 4: Interview with Damien Molony (Vampire Hal)

On how he got the part…

I got the part when the casting director came to my drama centre showcase last February and she brought me in to read for the part of Hal. I was doing a play up in Leeds at the time so I was back and forth on the train the entire time. I met Michael at the recall and they put us together, up against a wall, to see what the two of us looked like together and I didn’t realise how short Michael was at the time! It took me back! I got a call from my agent 3 days later just before I was about to go on stage and she told me they had offered me the part!

I moved down to Cardiff the following week and that was it for the next six months. Costume fittings, rehearsals, I was completely thrown into the deep end, but it was the most amazing job I have ever done.

On vampires…

I watched all the past series back to back and all the old school vampire movies. Mark Gatiss actually did a BBC Three documentary on vampires and vampire films and so I went and brought every single film that he talked about and started learning old school vampire folk law. It’s so fascinating! I haven’t watched any of the new stuff as I didn’t want to be drawn into a comparison. Toby’s world of vampires exists without all the vampire mania that’s happening. I approached this role with an old school perspective. Hal is dated and drenched in history. He’s almost like an antique!

On what’s in store this series…

Every time I got a new script this series it was so exciting. The arc of the entire series is so exciting. No one knows what’s going to happen to Eve the baby, or when the old ones are coming. Guest stars pop up everywhere – you’re constantly thinking what will they do next? In terms of Hal, his biggest challenge is blood. He must stay away from blood.

On becoming vampire Hal…

Playing Hal is my first TV role. Learning how to work in front of the camera under the guidance of the crew and working with Russell, Lenora and Michael, has just been incredible. I knew the scene was coming up for when I first had to become a vampire. Every night I’d go back to my apartment in Cardiff and practise my vampire face. I practised my hiss with imaginary fangs and then when I actually got the fangs in I found they really do all the work for you! Being a vampire was a real change from the human, emotional scenes as you’re free to do whatever you want and you can be as big and as bold and as brash as you want to be.

On Annie and Tom…

Hal gets to know both Annie and Tom over the first three episodes. With Tom being a werewolf it creates lots of tension and hatred between them and towards one another, especially because Hal is so posh and Tom is the opposite of posh. There is that great tension Michael and I could play off between the two of us. And then on the flip side Hal was very cautious of getting to know Annie and vice-versa. That’s when I was getting to know Lenora so it worked very well.

On Mitchell…

Mitchell was such an iconic vampire, so it was nerve-racking joining a show to replace this fantastic actor and fantastic character. But the more and more I read the scripts and the more I realised where Hal was coming from, I realised they are so different, so the pressure was taken off slightly. I spoke to the directors and writers in length about it, and it was great to be given the freedom to pursue an entirely different character, rather than come in and play Mitchell II.

On what’s in store for Hal…

When Hal arrives in Barry, he faces a massive test. He hasn’t drunk blood for a long time, but before that he was a legendary figure amongst the vampires. Even more dangerous character than Mitchell, perhaps even more than Herrick. But he’s stayed dry for decades through a very strict regime of denial and routine and security, but when we meet him, all that is starting to get eroded and this puts him – and everyone else – in a really perilous position.

Another test for Hal, a test on his mental strength, is his relationship with the opposite sex. Like a lot of vampires, sex and bloodlust are inextricably linked. It’s like sex is a gateway drug, I suppose, and so for the last 50 years he’s been avoiding any kind of intimacy. But now, in this new house, with these new people, all his discipline and abstinence starts to crumble as he’s faced with all the temptations of the modern world.