Van Helsing season 2: Bzhaun Rhoden talks playing a character without a tongue


Image credit: Leslie Alejandro and stylist Erica Mer via Platform Public Relations

Bzhaun Roden is a new actor with exceptional talent, best known for his role of Felix in Van Helsing season 2.

If you’ve watched any of Van Helsing, you’ll know that nobody is safe. When Bzhaun Roden joined the cast for a season 2 story arc, it wasn’t clear whether he would make it out alive or whether he would become one of Sam’s latest victims. Off the back of his appearance, Hidden Remote got the chance to chat to Roden about his role, he acting dreams, and future projects.

Hidden Remote: What drew you to the character of Felix?

Bzhaun Roden: Well, besides being the first major thing I’ve ever done, the character is like a moral compass; almost an unwavering innocence. Even though the kids were picking on him, he decided to try to save them. I was really drawn to that.

He has a lot of identifiable traits, so it was easy to connect to him.

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Hidden Remote: Had you seen Van Helsing before this?

Roden: I had to catch up! I’d seen it on Netflix but I hadn’t watched it. Once I got the audition, I had to watch the show. After watching it, I really wanted to be on the show and a couple of friends said they could see me on it.

Hidden Remote: Is this the end that we’ve seen of Felix or will we see him return?

Roden: You know what, I don’t know? The safe thing is to assume he’s not coming back and go on with your life, and then when they call and say they want you back, you’re like “yes!”

Hidden Remote: It’s also safe for the character. If he doesn’t die on-screen, you can believe he’s alive.

Roden: Yep!

Hidden Remote: Would you come back if you had the chance?

Roden: Oh yeah! Absolutely. 100%

Hidden Remote: So if you did get to come back, where would you see the story going?

Roden: You know, I’d like to see him become a vampire, just so he could get his tongue back. That was not easy! I’d prefer to come back and not have to do that the entire time.

Hidden Remote: How did you go about playing this character with no tongue?

Roden: I tried to find people online who didn’t have tongues, so I could hear them speak. Believe it or not, there aren’t that many. So I had to mark myself in the mirror and had Chris [Heyerdahl] for help. It was hard, because if I was to do it realistically, you wouldn’t be able to understand me but I still had dialogue. So I had to, sort of, find a medium between realistic but still being able to communicate.

It was like a tongue planted at the base of my mouth, just to move it out the way.

Image credit: Leslie Alejandro and stylist Erica Mer via Platform Public Relations

Hidden Remote: Hardest thing you’ve had to do in acting?

Roden: To be honest, yeah! The big scenes weren’t as hard as trying to make that believable. Everyone once in a while you’d hear the air catch the tongue that’s not supposed to be there.

Hidden Remote: You became Sam’s [played by Chris Heyerdahl] stand-in for Mohammed. Did you know that was coming before you got the part?

Roden: While watching the show, I tried not to put things together. I felt it would be easier for me that the less I knew the better, so I didn’t really see it coming and that was fine by me.

Hidden Remote: What was it like working with Chris?

Roden: Fantastic! He definitely left a lasting impression on me as a person and an actor. It was like a crash course in how to good at this stuff. There were times that we would do a scene and he said ‘good playing’ because that’s the root of it all. We’re just trying to play.

Photo Credit: Van Helsing/Syfy, Dan Power Image Acquired from NBC Media Village

He was very good at offering things in the scene to work with. In a nutshell it was amazing.

Hidden Remote: What was the best experience on the show?

Roden: I keep saying that the pool scenes with Chris were the best experience, but I’m going to give something else. My favorite thing was just being on a professional set and realizing that this is home. It feels good. Being in the environment was certainly my favorite thing.

Hidden Remote: You’re in the right job, then.

Roden: Yeah!

Hidden Remote: So, what’s next for you, then?

Roden: Next, you’ll probably see Dragged Across Concrete, a feature film starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn. My character is much smaller in that one, but that’s definitely where you’ll see me next.

In regards to after that, unfortunately I can’t disclose it, which sucks. Everyone’s like “really,” but yeah, otherwise I’d love to talk about it.

Hidden Remote: So my last question is a personal favorite. What would your dream role be?

Roden: Dream role? If you’ve ever seen Luther with Idris Elba, or Idris Elba in Stringer or something like that, I’d just like to be Idris Elba as Stringer Bell on The Wire! But something like Luther would be great.

Next: Dominic Lewis talks composing the music for DuckTales and The Man in the High Castle

Roden’s next role is in Dragged Across Concrete, which will hit movie theaters in 2018. Meanwhile, Van Helsing Season 2 continues on Thursdays at 9/8c on Syfy. Roden appeared in episodes 3-5 of the season.