Actress Laura Vandervoort has taken a step forward with the new character she plays on Syfy's werewolf series, Bitten. Not only is she the lead of the series, but she's playing a complex character who's all grown up, said the actress. Bitten premieres tonight on Syfy at 10 p.m. ET.
“It's the most challenging role. I mean, in Smallville playing Supergirl, she was an iconic superhero that had existed since the '80s, if not earlier. And so there was a lot of pressure there to play her, but it was also very ... I had no room for interpretation. It was already laid out, and that was that, and that was great,” said Vandervoort duing a press call.
“With V, [she was] just a minor character for the first season and she was actually just intended to be a guest star. So they hadn’t really thought her out very much. And then when they saw the dynamic and chemistry with the other actors and I, they wrote her in as the daughter of the queen, so then it became more interesting,” she said.
However, with Elena, she plays the lone female werewolf in existence, who is drawn away from her home in Toronto, back to her pack to help solve a series of murders that may involve other werewolves. “She's just a colorful character for me. I can't even express how much I feel in love with her. I've been acting since I was 13. I've never fallen in love with a character the way that I fell in love with Elena. Like, I was actually sad, like I was leaving a person behind on the day that we wrapped because I just became so attached to her,” said Vandervoort.
While the actress also misses the cast and crew, Elena is “the closest to [my] heart,” beyond anything else she's ever played. “Everything about her is just so redeeming. And she's sad, and she's layered, and she's, you know, not perfect,” she said.
Elena returns to the pack at her packmaster's request, but she also has to face her ex-lover and the other pack members she left when she moved to try and have a normal life. Her return isn't easy, and the murders are not what they seem. The series also stars Greyston Holt, Greg Bryk and Paul Greene.
“It's such an interesting role for me, and the most adult role that I've ever had a chance to be a part of. And not only that, but it's my first lead on a series. So I invested a lot of my heart and soul. And a lot of personal things that were happening to me at the time of filming are on camera, because you just can't hide some things. So there's a lot of overlapping between Elena and myself,” said Vandervoort.
The Canadian actress, who is a second-degree black belt in Shotokan karate, grew up watching Sarah Michelle Gellar's Buffy the Vampire Slayer kick vampire butt and Sigourney Weaver's Ripley battle aliens in the Alien movies. “That's sort of what got me into martial arts when I was younger, and so I idolized them. And I think that's really what's directed me towards some of these roles,” she said.
“Elena feels like the other part of me. I relate to so much about her. Obviously, not the werewolf part, but the fact that she can take care of herself physically,” said Vandervoort.
She sees a lot of parallels between Elena and women in general, who often take care of others' needs while keeping a part of themselves hidden. “Elena flees to Toronto to try to hide who she truly is and try to have this almost perfect image of what she feels people need from her. But she's just pushing down the animal inside of her. And it's such an amazing character that a lot of the skeletons in her closet are explored this season. You learn a lot about her history, and some of her demons come back,” she said.
When she read the script throughout the first season, “every episode was shocking,” said Vandervoort. “I think even if you're not a sci-fi fan, you're going to find something that you truly love about this show, because it's not just about the sci-fi. It's not just about the werewolves. It's about the characters and their relationships, and it's just very layered.”
Bitten, which is based on Kelley Armstrong's novel Bitten from the Women of the Otherworld series, airs on Mondays at 10 p.m. on Syfy.
Here's a look at Bitten:
Are you ready for a Laura Vandervoort who's all grown up?