Greg Bryk Talks Werewolves, Witches, and Being an Alpha on Bitten [Exclusive]
In tonight’s Bitten we get a good look at what a working relationship is going to look like between the Pack and the Coven as Jeremy and Ruth are forced into an alignment to retrieve their kidnapped daughters. We chatted exclusively with Greg Bryk about that new dynamic, playing the Alpha, and his other recent work, including a stint in the upcoming Syfy event, The Expanse.
Last season, Jeremy was revealed as the reason for Clay’s betrayal of Elena, and Bryk says that wasn’t something he knew was coming ahead of time, but it dovetailed nicely into real life. “I [only] knew there was a complication in the relationship. It verges slightly different from the book, where Clay bites her because he wants to keep her,” he explains. “[It’s a bit like] life imitating art. You try to love your kids, [and then]Â you do things and they try to protect you.”
“Children carry those burdens and [as a parent] you feel badly that they carried this thing. And Clay carried this lie because it was bestÂ for the Pack. The Pack side of Jeremy understood it had to happen, but the human, empathetic side of Jeremy was heartbroken for Elena and Clay because they suffered for the sins of the father.”
Bryk cherishes the scenes with his Pack, and this season, they’re fewer and farther between. “We’ve become so close [as a cast] that the moments I get to share with them are what I like the most,” he says. “I selfishly want them all with me, but for the story, it’s thrilling and deeply unsettling for Jeremy when they’re not all together.”
Ruth is played by Tammy Isbell, and offscreen, she and Bryk have known each other a while because she’s married to his good friend, Peter Outerbridge, who’s worked with Bryk a few times over the years [Note: If you’ve never seen ReGenesis, get on that]. “She’s a really strong woman, and a powerful actress. For Jeremy, with the Ruth character at first, he doesn’t want them around…they’re unnecessary,” he points out.
“As things unfold, Jeremy respects her and understands that she is doing for her Coven the same thing he would for his Pack. Even though we have an agenda, I think there’s a warmth and affection between them. Jeremy learns from her. Some of their scenes are very simple and elegant. A lot of things are happening under the surface.”
As this season unfolds, Jeremy has to acknowledge the other in the universe, and Bryk found out what that meant as each script arrived. “I had no idea what was in store. We knew there would be witches but we didn’t know how it would play out. Jeremy’s whole reason for existing is to take care of his Pack. Season 1 was focused on the Pack dynamics and [we had] broken trusts and betrayals. We were an incredibly tight family. JeremyÂ was trying to keep everyone together,” he says.
“This season throws all that to the most howling winds. The forces are so large with the magic and Alpha Council. All these things [set up the dynamic of] the proverbial finger in the dam. It’s very challenging for him psychologically. As the Alpha, Jeremy wants control. You feel if you keep the Pack in arm’s reach, they’re safe. This season, Jeremy spends so little time having the Pack with him. He has to have trust [without having] control. There was a degree of impotence–that moment when you face forces larger than yourself and go by guts, faith, and love.”
After Bitten wrappedÂ its second season, Bryk filmed an arc on the The Expanse. “The character is a fantastic transition for me. It’s a very different character. The show is going to be spectacular. The writing was first-rate. It’s a big, grand space opera,” he says. “There’s a young cast that I spent a lot of time with that became my space pack. You get to a certain age where you’ve been through enough lifeÂ [that you]Â feed off the enthusiasm of these young performers andÂ try to give them the benefits of your experience. It works out well.”
Between Bitten‘s first and second seasons, Bryk filmed a role in The Book of Negroes. a miniseries that aired on CBC in Canada and BET in the U.S.Â “My wife read the book first two or three years ago and she handed it to me and she said, ‘you have to read this book and you have to play Appleby.’ I’m not sure that’s a compliment coming from your wife,” he laughs. “I had just worked with [director] Clement [Virgo] and I sent himÂ a an e-mail that just said ‘Appleby.'”
“The book was such a heroic story and the writing was so beautiful. I bumped intoÂ Clement and [he] outlined that it was a miniseries now and they were shooting in Africa and I just said, ‘yes.’ Clement is a very adventurous filmmaker. This character is monstrous by any definition. I didn’t want to play a history lesson.”
“The key for me was this erotic jealousy that you are affected by a person and fall in love and lust with them and when its unrequited, where does that passion go? It triggers the most abhorrent behavior. They allowed me to play that as a lover spurned who lost a woman he wanted more than anything, irrationally so, to another man. It forced him to bend away from the sun,Â twist away from the light. To me, it created a much more interesting character. The brutality and ugliness were there but you [could also]Â see how this broken-hearted boy became this monstrous man.”
Jeremy is Bryk’s third regular series role in the last decade following ReGenesis and XIII. He feels very fortunate that he’s been able to balance those gigs with guest appearances in film and TV. “I love getting into a character [with a regular role]. As an actor in Canada, there’s more limited work but you get to do different things,” he points out. “I’ve been blessed with the continuity of a character and had that thrill of something new.”
The role on Bitten arrived just when Bryk needed it. “This journey with Jeremy has been particularly special. Jeremy came along at a time in my life when I was exploring [my own identity]. I’ve been blessed. I felt it was time to give back and be the best man I could be and reflect that positively in the world, and then Jeremy came along,” he recalls. “He inspires me to dig deeper and become an authentic man. To bear down and preserve is a lost art. I try to do that in my own life and inspire that in others.”
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