Jacob Batalon Says ‘Reginald the Vampire’ Isn’t Your Usual Brooding Bloodsucker

Jason Batalon in Reginald The Vampire Season 1,Episode 1
James Dittiger/SYFY

Reginald the Vampire is Syfy‘s latest series focused on the nocturnal creature that goes bump in the night, but actor Jacob Batalon promises the titular character is different from the rest. Based on the Fat Vampire novels by Johnny B Truant, the series delves into the deeper aspects of Reginald beyond his newfound need to suck blood, some of which the actor relates to on a personal level.

“My girlfriend and I read the first book … and I very much related to Reginald on such a deep level,” the 25-year-old said in a call with reporters ahead of the premiere, adding that the first season is based largely on the first book in the series. “I felt like just as an actor, preparing for it emotionally and mentally very much meant that I had to really deep like dig into the sort of past insecurities that I would have about myself.”

Batalon, known for his role as Peter Parker’s lovable best friend Ned Leeds in the new Spider-Man trilogy, pointed out that although the series is introspective on the character and the troubles he faces, Reginald is a delightful guy who would probably get on the nerves of some of the more contemporary vampires in pop culture. “I think that Blade probably wouldn’t give him any time of day,” he admitted. “You know, I think Reginald will probably get under his skin really quickly. He’s a very talkative person. And he’s also very neurotic. So he’ll absolutely pick his brain about the weirdest stuff like, ‘what did you have for lunch?’ Like, ‘why do you kill people with a blade?’ ‘Is that like, your whole shtick?’ If he were to speak to Morbius, you know, [he’d’] probably wonder why he’s so like, weirdly brooding.”

Although some adopt an eerie personality after succumbing to vampirism, “Reginald is very normal. He’s a very human person. He doesn’t play into the vampire tropes. That’s probably why I like him, he’s so different.”

The up-and-comer also chatted about some other projects in his sights. He’s scheduled to appear in Sesame Street’s “Word of the Day” videos as part of the children’s show’s upcoming 53rd season, a personal milestone for the actor. “I think being a person of color in the industry, obviously, it’s sort of a big thing,” he mused. “For me, I think that it’s a big point of contention for a lot of people because unless you look a certain way, you feel like they’re not really seen or represented. And I just want to be a part of the narrative of really pushing inclusion and inclusivity.”

When asked if inclusion-driven projects were part of his aim, he responded, “I think [the] short answer, yes. But the long roundabout answer is I absolutely have never seen anyone who looked like me on TV or in movies before, and I think it’s finally time that we are all seen and respected and seen as equals. And for every marginalized group, you know, for people of color, the gay community, women, all these people who’ve never had a chance, I would say, it’s finally our time, you know?”

Reginald the Vampire, Series Premiere, Wednesday, October 5, 10/9c, Syfy