From the sweeping majesty of Dracula’s cape to the picture-perfect teens of Twilight, vampires have traditionally been portrayed as beautiful, elegant, commanding, and full of themselves. Reginald the Vampire aims to change that.
Based on Johnny B. Truant’s Fat Vampire novels, Syfy will hold a modern mirror to the less-reflected night creatures sucking high-calorie liquid proteins. The series stars Jacob Batalon—best known for playing Peter Parker aka Spider-Man’s best friend Ned Leeds—as Reginald Baskin, newly turned vampire.
“Vampires are vapid, very beautiful, but there’s nothing going on in their minds,” Batalon tells us. “Reginald is a very thoughtful and intelligent person. He toys with these vampires who are clearly not on his intellectual level.” This is because the newly-sired immortal can’t compete on a physical level. Even at his human day job, Reginald was bullied and belittled.
Created by mystery drama series master Harley Peyton (Twin Peaks, Channel Zero, Project Blue Book, 2013’s Dracula with Jonathan Rhys Meyers), Reginald the Vampire is a dramedy informed by off-kilter, self-effacing horror. “His writing is unique,” Batalon says. “I would say Twin Peaks-esque, but we’re steering away from things people will think we’re inspired by.” The series still wears its influences on its cape. “If you’re a true fan of vampire-themed things in movies and television, you will absolutely get the references.”
The supernatural sequences are cost-effective but deceptively impressive. “We had to make stunts seem crazy and action-packed, but we didn’t really have the resources,” Batalon says. “People will be surprised none of the things we did were actually on wire.” The production, however, splurged on the gore. “There were a lot of nights where I was covered in blood, and honestly, my taste buds, I hated it. I could throw up just thinking about it.”
The actor is also executive producing and has a large say in the show. “They relied on me for storytelling, character choices, and moves,” he says but swears it’s not autobiographical. “It’s tough because Reginald is very smart, and I’m very not smart. He’s very neurotic, and there’s nothing going on in my head. I get paid to say other people’s words.”
Reginald is brilliant enough to rise in a hostile bloodthirsty environment. Batalon’s unlikely hero role makes him leading man material, and he’s got a plan. “This is all a bid for me to have my own Star Wars trilogy,” he says. “I’m making the moves. I want a lightsaber. I want the Force powers.”
Reginald the Vampire premieres Oct. 5 at 10 p.m. ET on Syfy.