He’s a mean one, Mr. Snow. He’s so scary that even Hal (Damien Molony) shakes in his presence. And he’s finally arrived in Barry—with plans to takeover (and eat) the entire world. So what better man to play him than actor-writer-producer (and Being Human creator Toby Whithouse’s friend) Mark Gatiss, who besides penning Doctor Who episodes and co-creating Sherlock (in which he also plays Mycroft), spawned the BBC series A History of Horror? Below, Gatiss tell us where Being Human fits into the timeline of scary flicks, why he might be on Team Twilight, and what we need to know about Mr. Snow and Hal before tonight’s explosive finale.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How’d Mr. Snow come about?
MARK GATISS: I had a very particular idea of what I wanted to do. Essentially, I’ve been waiting all my life to play this part. I knew what I wanted it not to be. I’ve never been a fan of goth-y vampires. I find that sort of thing in the Underworld films, where they’re always dressed in black velvet and velour and look like they’re in a 1980s music video, a bit off-putting.
Did you model him on a more traditional vampire?
No, Toby gave me this fantastic description. He just sent me a text that said, “Would you come and play the King Vampire?” I said yes immediately. Then, he sent me the script for episode 7, which is where we arrive right at the end, and I have that wonderful line, “Well, who’s hungry?” It said in the description that I am dark as the night and older than dirt. I loved that. Also, brilliantly, Toby said, “Let’s call him Mr. Snow,” as if he’s so impossibly old he doesn’t really have a name anymore. He forgot it a thousand years ago.
Toby told me you deserve the credit for his look.
I thought what I’d like to do is have red hair. You never see redheaded vampires. I’d like to have really bad teeth and really dirty fingernails, because I think he claws his way out of his grave every night and I wanted to see that. I like the idea that vampires always look very well dressed, and why shouldn’t they? But inside, they’re absolutely rotten and probably smell really bad.
Is that why he looks like a decaying body?
Exactly. They offered me various suits and I found this brilliant 70s suit. It’s very sharp and it’s got a very nipped waist. I said, “I should look like a good suit on a corpse,” and that’s what we went for.
Can you say anything about the part he plays in the final episode?
All I have is that the Old Ones, who have been talked about for a long time, finally come back from Bolivia. Essentially, Hal, Damien’s new character, thinks that he’s broken away from Mr. Snow and become a good vampire. But in their terms, the 55 years that he’s been away has been like the blink of an eye. He’s never really had any freedom at all. Mr. Snow just thinks, “I’ve come to bring him back into the fold.”
Why does he care?
The thing about vampires is, if you live forever, you’ve got nothing else to do. They obviously have to substitute something. Otherwise, they’d just walk out into the sunlight and end it all. Mr. Snow’s substitute is the idea of having total dominion over humanity. That’s what he’s going to do. There’s going to be a war and they’re going to win it so that humanity will just become their food supply.
NEXT: How the Old Ones came to be