Jacob Batalon is best known as Spidey’s BFF Ned Leeds in the box office-smashing “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” but he’s exploring his undead side in upcoming Syfy comedy drama “Reginald the Vampire,” which is co-produced by Cineflix Studios. In the series, based on Johnny B. Truant’s “Fat Vampire” novels, Batalon plays a recently turned vampire, Reginald, who finds he still has mostly the same problems as his living counterparts: an evil boss, unrequited love and a vampire chieftain out to get him. Fortunately, it turns out Reginald isn’t entirely without powers of his own.
Batalon warns that “Reginald the Vampire” — produced by Thunderbird Entertainment-owned Great Pacific Media, Modern Story and December Films and distributed internationally by Cineflix Rights — is not your typical broody vampire drama. “I think our show does a really good job of putting those tropes on its head,” he says. “We absolutely poke fun at the fact that vampire films are drab and sort of dark and brooding and mysterious. We don’t take ourselves that seriously.”
Shooting wrapped in Canada just a few weeks ago and before Batalon even had time to unpack his suitcase, he sat down with Variety to discuss the show.
How did you get involved in “Reginald the Vampire”?
It was sort of out of the blue. [Showrunner] Harley Peyton and [exec producer/director] Jeremiah Chechik, and [exec producer] Todd Berger, and Lindsay [Macadam, senior VP for content and business development at Great Pacific Media], they all came to me with this thing. My agent spoke to me about it, and it was the lead for a sci fi show. Apart from being a lead [role], I feel like the story really spoke to me. We had this meeting, everybody talked about the underlying tones and what the show means and all these things, and we really clicked, and that’s how I became a part of it.
Have you read the novels?
My girlfriend and I read the first book of the “Fat Vampire” series by Johnny Truant, and he was actually on set with us a couple of days. He’s a really great guy, he’s really funny and really cool. It was cool to understand where the story came from. But obviously Harley being a really great writer, and all this team of writers, I feel like they’ve absolutely turned the story into something so much more relatable to today’s societal views. And I think that’s a very important aspect. So it was interesting to read the source of what Reginald was. A lot of the books [are] about the societal stigma of not being a prototypical leading man type and we put that on its head. We sort of normalize the fact that I’m not a typical white guy who’s buff and tall and blonde, and all that stuff. I think that’s a great thing.
And as well as being a leading man, you’re co-exec producing too.
It’s been a really cool experience to have an input and a say in the goings on and the dealings of the day and really having control over my character and having this ability to just be a part of the creative process on a deeper level.