Ahead of tonight’s new episode of Reginald the Vampire, Dorkaholics had the opportunity of speaking with Mandela Van Peebles and Savannah Basley who play the vampires Maurice and Angela on the series.
Dorkaholics: How would each of you describe the relationship between Maurice and Angela?
Savannah Basley: How would I describe Angela and Maurice’s relationship… complicated that’s for sure. The story of me and Maurice is a story about forgiveness and those long-complicated relationships that have a very strong presence of love and hate and that feeling of loyalty and attachment to one another. The whole thing about me and Maurice is how long can one hold a grudge for?
Mandela Van Peebles: I would say it’s kind of a Mr. and Mrs. Smith in a way, but a little more drawn out through decades and it’s a twist on a love story with all the developments in that relationship and again the immortality aspect. It’s kind of like Angela said, or Savannah said, how long does a grudge last when you live forever and even in some of the scenes that we share, we discuss that a little bit or hint at maybe there is a future where we could forgive. There’s definitely a complex multi-layered relationship there and there’s so much to unpack and hopefully with the season two we get to dive into that more
Dorkaholics: What has been each of your favorite parts of being on this series?
Mandela Van Peebles: My favorite part of being on the series was just the opportunity to do something new and do it with people who I haven’t worked before with and say something fresh. There are a lot of vampire shows throughout the year but this one puts a new spin on it and I’m happy to be a part of the new retelling of a classic tale with new faces and such a diverse, not just ethnicity, but gender, sexuality, body type, and we really say a lot in a way that’s entertaining and fun for the audience. And I also find that being in a genre bending show gives you a chance to do a lot of different types of acting and it keeps it exciting and interesting to watch.
Savannah Basley: Yeah I mean besides being able to be on a vampire show because I love vampires and I love vampire lore. It was fun to get to work on [a comedy] because I tend to say that I’m not one for comedy, so I never really go for that and so for me this was fun to get to work on my comedic chops in a way of just what is my version of comedy and what’s my version of playing that. That was what was really fun to see when I would deliver something and people would laugh and I’d be ‘oh that was funny, oh okay.’ Maybe I’m a little bit more figuring out my deadpan or am I more active, am I a reactive comedic person. So that was really fun to get to explore.
Dorkaholics: What are each of you hoping to see in season two for your characters?
Savannah Basley: I would love to get to see more of Angela’s backstory story. That would be really interesting, I mean she’s 400 years old so that gives you so much time to play with. I love doing period stuff that’s so fun. So that would be great to see more of. It would be really fun to see more of the hierarchy and the complex things that go on there, maybe why she’s so angry.
Mandela Van Peebles: Fingers crossed for season two but there’s a lot of really cool story lines we can dive more deeply into. Something I’d be interested to see is what brings Maurice and Angela together originally is the Black Panthers and the social justice and the agency we have in that area. And I want to see how that’s developed through the decades for Maurice and for Angela and with the wrap-up of season one whatever position we’re in, how do we move forward with some of that. I can’t give away too much because you know spoilers but yeah if we could dive more into that I think that’d be an interesting little storyline.
Dorkaholics: Was there a specific vampire film that you guys referenced in coming up with your own portrayals of your vampire characters?
Mandela Van Peebles: I watched all kinds of stuff to get ready, Blacula was fun but everything really even stuff like Blade just to give a fresh outlook on what you can bring to the character and seeing what’s out there and what’s still lacking in that genre and giving you ideas as to what would make an interesting vampire and how would you want to play them.
Savannah Basley: I think the two that I referenced perhaps the most would be Only Lovers Left Alive with Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston. I really love that movie, it’s a little bit slower but in terms of more of the everyday life of a vampire when they’re not doing something actively vampire-ish. What is that that they do, what music does Angela to listen to, things that and I keep saying this… it’s going to be in literally every interview but in terms of movement and the way I wanted her to look Aaliyah Akasha from Queen of the Damned that’s that’s all you need is Aaliyah Queen of the Damned and you’re good to go.
Dorkaholics: I know with the most recent episode that came out this week, Mandela, your character Maurice, it was very interesting to see him so afraid. It’s ‘do you realize the level of cluster @#$% we’re in?’ Tell me more of that feeling of going from hey you’re supposed to be in control here, you’re leading Reginald and now the situation has spiraled out of control.
Mandela Van Peebles: Maurice definitely feels that that sense of responsibility for Reginald and especially being the one who knows the vampire community and knows how they are, I feel Reginald is just a little oblivious to the danger he’s in and I think being his mentor one of the things obviously you care about him but just because if you’ve gone through something and you know there’s a mistake there, you don’t want your your friend to go through the same mistake. You want to let them know ‘hey I’ve done this, learn from my mistake’ but I think Reginald doesn’t really see the wisdom I’m trying to give him and I’ve gone through it. I’ve had my family still be human while I’m a vampire and I’ve seen that blow up in my face and having a girlfriend and a vampire is not per se the winning mixture but trying to teach that and give that gem to Reginald without being the bad guy is the hard part.
Dorkaholics: That’s the perfect way to put it – you are a mentor but at the same time how do you be respectful of him being his own person.
Savannah Basley: Sounds like every teenage relationship, parent-teenage relationship ever, where you’re like ‘no just trust me I’ve gone through this’ and your kid says ‘huh I’m gonna do it anyways I gotta learn for myself.’
Dorkaholics: Savannah, for your character Angela, now that she has her own assassin on the scene how would you talk about your character’s relationship with her killer assassin?
Savannah Basley: Oh my gosh, I adore Nikki. Christin [Park] did such an amazing job, she’s so fun, and she just had such energy. Nikki has such chaotic energy to her that I think is very interesting for Angela. I think Angela in her mind had a memory of what she remembered Nikki to be and then she got there and she was like ‘oh you’re 20 times worse than I remember you being.’ Angela [is] a very smart woman and she’s always playing chess, she’s always playing the long game, and so for her she had this idea of a strategy that was going to play out and she thought she had it, checkmate. And then Nikki just comes in there and is amazed by Reginald and just really throws a kink in that. For Angela, she’s all about control and the fact that she is very much out of control is a lot for her so that’s going to be really fun and interesting to see how that plays out for her.
Dorkaholics: Savannah, I remember a week ago there was a behind the scenes clip released of you showing a tour of Angela’s home. I thought that was a fun little bit, what is it for both of you to be part of this world-building experience with Reginald the Vampire?
Mandela Van Peebles: Oh it’s awesome to see it come from its state as a book, The Fat Vampire, and being able to speak with Johnny on set who’s the writer of the Fat Vampire books. He came to visit set a couple times and [I] just picked his brain on how he sees the characters and then obviously talking with Harley and Jeremiah, the showrunners, and being able to bring elements that that you feel the character would benefit from and having those creative discussions I find that really fun. We are there to craft the world rather than coming in on a spin-off or something where the world’s already established. We have quite a nice position to make it how we see fit.
Savannah Basley: It was definitely really cool. I had to go in for a fitting and it was when they were still building a lot of the sets the Slushy Shack and Reginald’s apartment and stuff that and it was really crazy because I went in and it’s just a bunch of boards, literally they’re just building stuff in this big empty space. And then I came in maybe a week later and I just — I’m always blown away by the talent of the sets and the props and everything, the detail that goes into stuff half of the files that I’m looking at while during the scene. No one’s gonna see it but I read it all. Guys it all pertains to a vampire, all this all this stuff is vampire documents and it really helps to just really bring you into it and whenever I step into Angela’s Mansion, it’s Angela. It’s really cool and when they get everything going. It’s really amazing to be in there when you know the regular lights will be on and then the lighting guys get in there and they just set the tone and everything and they set all the candles and it’s just a completely different world and it’s really cool to be able to see the movie magic happen in real life. It really is magical.
Dorkaholics: I’m loving Reginald the Vampire and can’t wait to see how season one wraps up but thank you guys for your time today
Mandela Van Peebles: Oh, thank you. Appreciate it!
Savannah Basley: Thank you!
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