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Why Derek Mears started feeling manic playing Swamp Thing - Exclusive

You might imagine that being inside of a full-body monster suit would have an impact on your psyche. Think about some of your favorite monsters — and then process what it must be like to be not only inside of that monster, looking nothing like yourself, but also, in many ways, glued into being that character day after day for hours on end.

One of the most impressive monster costumes we've seen in a long time comes in the shape of DC's Swamp Thing. Like Swamp Thing himself, the one-season series is finding new life — this time on the CW. Looper sat down to speak with actor Derek Mears, who got into the Swamp Thing makeup every day, to ask him exactly what that's like.

"There is one point where I'm working on the show, and my wife is in Los Angeles and I'm filming in Wilmington, North Carolina. She calls me, checking in and seeing how I'm doing and it's the day I'm not working," Mears shared. His wife wanted to see how the project was going, and, despite Derek's love for what he was doing, he wasn't feeling his best. 

"I'm physically just exhausted because of the complexities of the suit and you're stuck inside it for so long in the heat," Mears told his wife. He added, telling Looper during our conversation, "And you also hit emotional beats [the suit] amplifies, your body doesn't know the difference if it's real or not when you're acting because your body takes it the same. So that emotional stress. So I'm very physically tired, but I just feel manic or I feel like I'm just falling through blackness, just reaching out, trying to grab a branch of something that's familiar and stable just to get a breath or a handhold."

How Derek Mears got through the Swamp Thing feelings

Mears' wife had a surprising reaction to his pain and discomfort — one that actually resonated with Mears when she explained her logic. "All of a sudden, my wife starts laughing," Mears told Looper. "I'm like, 'What? I'm very in my heart and she's laughing?' I'm like, 'What's so funny?' She said, 'Sweetheart, you realize that you've been manic day after day after day playing the character and the character is starting to seep into your own life. That's what your character is expressing and dealing with currently.'"

Mears was, understandably, relieved. "I'm normally the guy telling other acting friends that that's going on," he said. "I'm so close to it that I don't see that happening."

The feeling doesn't last long, though, and Mears now gushes when talking about the suit itself. "The suit is so freaking amazing," he shared. "I've worn a lot of different prosthetics over my career, and this is really like the Cadillac of prosthetic suits. It is difficult, but it's the best that it could possibly be. And seeing the way that you can express an emotion through the makeup — I'm constantly finding something new and playing in the mirror like a giant child. It's just so much fun."

Swamp Thing is currently airing weekly on the CW.