Jacob Batalon made his mark as a supporting character in the MCU with his fan-favorite role as Ned Leeds in Marvel Studios' Spider-Man trilogy. After also making cameo appearances in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, the young star now has an opportunity to take on a huge new role in the SyFy TV series Reginald the Vampire.
Serving as both an executive producer and the star of this 10-episode series, Batalon plays a vampire who tries to make his way in a world of vampires that fit the classic image of what a vampire should be. The young actor has spoken often about changing the narrative when it comes to how leading actors are supposed to look, even making major strides forward with his own health and wellness during his time in the MCU.
Now, ahead of Reginald the Vampire's debut on SyFy in October, Batalon opens up about his experience working on the show and what it means to be in the position he's in as an actor.
Jacob Batalon on New Vampire Series
Batalon expressed pride in the chance to be a leading actor of Filipino-American descent as he becomes the headliner of a project for the first time in his career:
“It’s a very powerful message to see someone like me, an Asian American – specifically a Filipino-American – be a lead of a series."
He also looked at the messages that come from the show as a whole, specifically the body positivity he and the team used as a key focus of the story:
“We sort of turn vampire tropes on their head. I love that we truly make sure that we let people know that we’re poking fun at those people, that the real story is about Reginald and not vampirism."
This show is based on Johnny B. Truant's Fat Vampire book series, which Batalon read ahead of shooting, seeing it as "an "uplifting series" that really dives into "how society judges people by the way they look."
Playing a vampire meant that Batalon dealt with a ton of fake blood during shooting, and while he didn't enjoy the taste of that fake blood, the fangs that came with the role "made (him) feel really cool:"
“After a while, I’m not going to lie, the taste of the sweet blood literally made me want to throw up, but it was definitely worth it. Having fangs made me feel really cool! It felt as if I actually had superpowers."
Batalon also went into detail about his duties as one of the show's executive producers, which forced him to work incredibly hard to learn that part of the television business. It even made him adjust the way he sees the industry as a whole:
“You’re always thinking about how to make sure that the story makes sense and how everything comes together. It’s changed my perspective on what it’s like to be working constantly and being a source of competence for others because they look to you to be their leader.”
The biggest goal for Batalon was to be able to tell the story of Reginald, someone who he feels can be "overlooked as just another person" after so much judgment and negativity throughout his life on the show:
“Reginald is a person who can be overlooked as just another person, and people don’t really care to look behind the curtain. The fact that he has been judged by people and has gone through all these negative things in his life puts him in a place where he has accepted his fate.”
Batalon Ready for Leading Vampire Role
After spending the last four years alongside Tom Holland and Zendaya in the MCU's Spider-Man trilogy, Jacob Batalon appears ready for a role with more responsibilities and spotlight in his own series. Particularly after his last effort in Spider-Man: No Way Home became so beloved and successful, he goes into Reginald the Vampire with plenty of confidence as he takes on something completely new for him.
Vampires have come back into mainstream media thanks to projects like Taika Waititi's What We Do In The Shadows and the upcoming Blade reboot from Marvel Studios. Batalon hopes to not only have as much success with Reginald the Vampire as those entries, but also to change fans' viewpoints on what a prototypical vampire story should look like.
How this show affects his MCU future is still a mystery, especially considering he's discussed the idea of coming back as Ned in Spider-Man 4 or other projects. However, regardless of if and when that happens, Batalon is sure to be a name to pay attention to for the foreseeable future.
Reginald the Vampire will debut on SyFy on October 5.