Reginald the Vampire Interview: Mandela Van Peebles on Playing Maurice

Reginald the Vampire Interview: Mandela Van Peebles on Playing Maurice
Reginald the Vampire Interview: Mandela Van Peebles on Playing Maurice

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke to Reginald the Vampire star Mandela Van Peebles about his character, Maurice, and his aspirations to direct. New episodes of Reginald the Vampire premiere on SyFy every Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

“In a world populated by beautiful, fit, and vain vampires, Reginald tumbles into it as an unlikely hero who will navigate every kind of obstacle and discovers he has a few unrecognized powers,” reads the show’s synopsis.

Tyler Treese: What was most exciting about this role in getting to play a vampire? How do you prepare for that?

Mandela van Peebles: The whole thing was a blast — and thank you for having me, man; I didn’t get to say that yet. I think one of the main things I enjoyed about playing a vampire was I hadn’t done it yet. Doing something new, for me, is a big thing. I want to do new things and get out of my comfort zone. Then also, the aspects of being a vampire. The immortality, the fact that I’m over 90 years old or something, and how that could play into my character. All the things I’ve gone through, all the friends I’ve made … just seeing the depth of Maurice, really, and trying to figure out how that would inform my acting.

We got to see your past in some great scenes. We’re seeing you in the 70s, we’re seeing Maurice with different looks, which is really fun. What has really stood out about doing those period-piece flashbacks?

I had a blast on those. I love vintage clothes. I love vintage cars. The Afro is dope. So hopefully we get more of those. I think it’s cool. I think it really gives you just enough information to really start to care about the character and want to know more. It’s a nice balance of leaving the viewers hungry to know more about Maurice.

One of the cool things about your character is that you’re showing Reginald the ropes. You’re the veteran vampire, you’re taking him under your fangs. What do you like most about that character dynamic where he doesn’t really know what he’s doing?

I think what I like most about it is, one, the chemistry’s really there. Working with Jacob [Batalon] is awesome. [He’s a] really fun guy. I can safely say I consider him a friend in real life, not just as Maurice and Reginald. So that was one aspect that made it awesome. I think what’s really special about their connection is that Maurice had been starved of that friendship for so long, you know? So closed off and so focused on revenge, and he finally meets somebody unexpectedly at a low point in their life and he opens up. I think that being the spark to a new Maurice is really interesting and kind of beautiful, in a way, because we all want friends. We all want to be loved, and we’re social animals. I mean, not vampires, but humans.

Some of the scenes I really liked seeing were when you’re going hog wild with the blood. How are those scenes filmed?

Yeah, it tastes like cough syrup medicine. I would say it’s not the best-tasting blood. But you get different types. I will say that you do get different types. You get blood that’s safe to have in your mouth. You get blood that’s the wardrobe blood that goes on the clothes. So, you know, you actually get quite a different variety of the bloods. They’re sticky which, when you’re filming at night in Victoria in the winter, it’s a little cold and rainy. Then you add the sticky blood element to it … it can get a little challenging, but I love a challenge.

One of the things I really enjoy about the series is that it’s very playful. There’s some really good comedy. There’s also a great mix of a more serious plotline. What do you like most about the tone and the versatility of the series, where you get to show these lighter moments with Maurice, but also his trauma and what he’s gone through?

I think one of the cool things that Reginald the Vampire has going for it is the genre-bending capability it has. Is it a horror? Is it a comedy? Is it a coming-of-age [story]? It can appeal and be applicable to so many different audience members and so many different age groups and demographics. It’s so well-written, it’s like there’s little jokes and nuances in a dialogue where if you get them, great, and if you don’t, it makes sense without it. It can really be a show for everybody, which I think is awesome.

How’s it been, watching this weekly and seeing the fan response as everything unfolds?

Oh, it’s been awesome. We’ve been faithfully watching dedicated fans as well, so I can’t wait to see … you’re there filming, and then time goes by. To watch it again, finalized with everybody else’s footage and coverage … it’s a pretty trippy experience.

What other vampire films or TV series do you really enjoy?

I don’t want to sound crazy, but I do like Twilight, you know? [laughs]. Twilight‘s pretty good, I’m not going to lie. What else? I’ve got sisters, so we’ve done True Blood and Vampire Diaries. I’ve sat through some of those. Honestly, once you get into a show and start to care about the characters, I can find myself interested in following any genre of show if it’s written well enough and they’re actually getting emotions out of me. So I think Reginald does a great job at that. But yeah, I think for me, I’d probably have to say Daybreakers-type vampires are cool. That kind of thing.

You come from such a great family, what are your future goals? Are we ever going to see you direct?

Oh, that’s definitely something I’m working on consistently and happy to do more of and learning. Really, the main thing is learning right now, and being able to be … as an actor on a show or series regular, you’re filming every day for six months, basically, and you’re getting this amazing rotation of established veteran directors coming in. It’s the best opportunity to learn. So really just soaking it all in right now. But yeah, definitely, hopefully soon. I’ve done stuff. It’s just you’ve gotta hear about it. That’s the main part, right?

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