“I don’t care what your saying I’ve travelled all this way to meet Sam Witwer so stop telling me to go!!”
The young nervous attendant looked at me with fear in his eyes as I towered over him at Star Wars Celebration 2016. I’m a massive Star Wars fan and this event had been planned for 8 months. To my absolute delight it wasn’t Mark Hamill or Carrie Fisher that was the big draw but Sam Witwer.
If I asked 10 people “do you know who Sam Witwer is?” 9 out of 10 would reply “who?” But its not until you mentions the shows he has appeared in that people start to think and remember who this guy is. Sam grew up in Glenview, Illinois before moving to L.A where he pursued a career as an actor. If you look at conversations on YouTube Sam honestly says “if I wasn’t an actor I’d be worried about how I would get money because I’m rubbish at everything.”
I first noticed Sam when he appeared in Battlestar Galactica as Crashdown, but anyone who have seen Battlestar could be forgiven for not noticing him as he was relegated to a background supporting star, apart from his last few episodes where his character was given a fitting death as he helped push Baltar’s storyline forward. But watching interviews with Witwer after it seems it was a happy decision to leave the show as the show writers were not using the character to its potential, which is difficult to do especially with a show like Battlestar which had a big ensemble of cast and plots running at the same time. Its not until Sam entered the video game spectrum that my interest really started to take hold.
The Force Unleashed was a massive release for Star Wars in 2008 and for me it was the first time I had ever been attracted to character in a video game!!!! In the game you play as Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller, the game’s massive success even spawned a sequel a few years later. I’ve had a few drunken nights where I’ve sat with my friends discussing what animated character would you do????? Most answers strangley from my friends were allot of them being a Disney Prince or a Thunder Cat but mine was Starkiller *blush*. So you can guess how excited I was to discover that video games had moved on allot from my early days and the character was modelled on a real actor. Witwer would return to the Star Wars universe many times after Force Unleashed by voicing Darth Maul, Darth Sidious and the Son in the animated Star Wars shows Clone Wars and Rebels.
Sam has appeared in many top TV serials as well as Battlestar, his credits include playing Doomsday in Smallville, Mr Hyde in Once Upon A Time, Dexter and even the Walking Dead. There is a great line from UK actress Kathy Burke in a French & Saunders sketch which best describes allot of Witwer’s work. In the sketch Burke defends her acting career by saying ” hey its not fair you get great work I only do bit parts” lol. But that was all to change with Being Human.
When you look at Witwer his handsome features scream vampire, and this was used brilliantly as Vampire Aidan in the US version of Being Human. Exactly like the UK version we followed a vampire, a werewolf and ghost as they attempt to co habit and attempt to re-join humanity. While I know this actor is no stranger to sexy, head-down-eyes-raised melodrama, could he pull off a well-rounded character (let alone a vampire)? Yes. 1,000 times yes, and his fantastic abs are hardly pulling any of the weight. Witwer as Aidan brings the viewers into his torn world trying to fight his vampire nature and live a life with humans. His onscreen chemistry with his werewolf was instantaneous, and their comic timing was flawless. You could watch the pilot just for the facial expressions these two throw back and forth at each other, and remain completely entertained. At this point Witwer was a at last a lead of a show. If you haven’t seen Being Human US yet its a great watch.
But lets come back to May 2016 Star Wars Celebration this was my moment to meet the man and no one was gonna stop me. We had got there very early and I set out to hunt Sam down. I was directed to where Sam was signing and was given a ticket numbered 54 and told to come back at 3pm. All day I was thinking what questions I was gonna ask him, was it going to be all about him playing Maul??? I had questions planned regarding Being Human and Battlestar so I was ready to go. Disaster came back at 3pm only to be to go away, What the fuck!! After speaking to several of the staff I discovered that the event organisers had not anticipated how popular Sam would be at the event and I was battling 500 fans to meet him. After a few arguments and me refusing to leave I was saved by a fellow fan who had to leave and gave me his ticket – who ever you are again thank you.
So this was it I was next in line and I could see him and I was shitting myself lol. I think allot of people who go to conventions will know you can plan and plan and plan what you’ll do when you meet these people, and I always have a danger of talking at them continuously. And as my friends would say Darren you sometimes talk allot of shit lol. And they weren’t wrong…. as Sam said hello to me I ranted at him;
” HELLO!!! I’m such a massive fan, love you as Darth Maul and ever since I saw you in Battlestar” Sam generously laughed and put me to ease. “Thank you so much”. At this point all the questions I had in my head had just gone and I was running on loud nerves and knowing I had a queue of other hard core fans waiting to get their turn with him. I was a bit more settled and starting to ask more. ” I loved watching you in Being Human and his take on Vampire stereo type”, Sam responded to me “hey let me ask you a question, your British you have your own Being Human version why would say that about a remake” all of a sudden I felt very at ease with Sam and I replied “I really enjoyed the UK version, but its the same with allot of stuff you watch and think after how could it do it another way, then you guys come along and actually do it that way.” Sam told me more regarding the show that the idea was to stay loyal to the same story of the first UK series then in season 2 go off on its own path, which by the way in does brilliantly. My next question completely jumped into my mind from no where “So I was re watching Crank recently and there you were henchman 2 what was that about?” Sam laughed and dropped his head “Omg that gold suit” he replied. For anyone that didn’t know Crank was a Jason Statham film in 2006 where Witwer played non speaking role shootout henchman. Witwer started to tell me the story of that day he shot his scenes. ” I walked in ready to shoot elevator scene when the costume person brought out my costume, as soon as I saw the gold suit I thought nooooooooooooooooooo, only to be told by the director yes its the gold one. I hated it but had to wear it, of all the things to wear why that suit?” Sam continued to laugh and the people behind me laughed as well to the story. For those who haven’t seen the suit here it is.
” I’ve just shot a movie with the producer of Crank which has the same feel which was a really great experience” Sam explained, “did you get a say in your costume this time?” I ask, “God yes he replied. At this point I could feel the daggers from the people behind me as I was quite clearly spending too much time with, and even his attendant next to him was looking at me to say hurry up. Sam kindly signed my Darth Maul picture and had a photo with me. He shook my and then gave me a hug and said “thank you for waiting to see me”, I blushed again at him and walked away.
It wasn’t till the train home I sat there thinking OMG I didn’t even ask him about Star Wars, what it was like to be Vader’s apprentice or how much I thought he was the hottest Vampire around. But hey ho Sam is a brilliant actor and if your reading this thinking Sam who? then I encourage you to seek out his work.
But the one thing Sam is as well as an actor/musician, he’s a geek just like me and that’s something I can relate to. So Sam Witwer if you ever get to read this, then I invite you to arrange a proper chat for this blog, a chat where I’m not flustered and prepared for it.
We can all dream and hope right??