Q&A: “BITTEN” Star Laura Vandervoort talks Sex and WerewolvesMovies/TV,News Chris Alexander
If judged solely by its glossy promotional campaign, the hit SyFy series BITTEN (based on the best-selling WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD novels by Kelley Armstrong) might look like post-TWILIGHT pablum aimed squarely at a young, swoony female demographic. And perhaps, on a certain level it is. But a deeper analysis– i.e, actually, y’know, watching the show– reveals a much more layered mythology with a dark heart to offset its soap opera steeped narrative thrust.
And of course, there’s Laura Vandervoort. The Canadian born actress, who is perhaps best known for playing Kara Kent (a/k/a Supergirl) in TV’s SMALLVILLE, here stars as Elena, an attractive, intelligent Toronto woman who also happens to be the only known female werewolf in existence. And though she tries in vain to live a “normal” life with her boyfriend, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her animalistic nature at bay.
Vandervoort (who also recently appeared in the series HAVEN) is BITTEN’s anchor; a strong, feminine and heroic monster who has a vulnerability that serves as an easy entry point into the show’s elaborate, often ludicrous, but always compelling drama. BITTEN returned for a second season last week (with all episodes now available to stream and download on virtually all major streaming platforms) and FANGO caught up with Vandervoort during her brief promotional tour.
FANGORIA: I’ve not read the books but does BITTEN stay close to the mythology or does it drastically deviate from the page?
LAURA VANDERVOORT: Well, the first season was closer to the books than the second is shaping up to be, mainly because we wanted to make sure the fans were happy; but yes, we did have to veer off the path this time more than last season. Characters that should have died off stick around and other characters that don’t appear until later in the series, show up early. That’s just necessary for television, to propel it all forward. And I should mention that this season we have the witches from later books joining us…
FANGORIA: With all these irreverent strains of supernatural species, BITTEN is sort of a less explicit and lurid answer to TRUE BLOOD. That said, the idea of the werewolf is still heavily tied to sexuality and Elena certainly has an interest in such things…
VANDERVOORT: Definitely. Our werewolves are animals, of course and have that base nature to them but the more explicit sexuality was in season one; there was a much more sexual drive to the show, but this season is more about personal issues than sexual. Elena is separated from her path; she gets to be with her lover Clay and there is sex but it’s more emotionally based. She is dealing with the death of her human boyfriend and seeking revenge… but she still has her needs!
FANGORIA: Did you get to have more creative input into Elena’s arc in this season?
VANDERVOORT: The first season we were all trying to find our footing and please many people so we stuck to the page. But now, the main cast is more comfortable in their skins and the writers are now writing more to our strengths as actors, and they are open to more creative input. But ultimately we don’t need to say much because we trust their pens…
FANGORIA: Historically, horror entertainment has had a dearth of strong females, but there has been a big shift in recent years…
VANDERVOORT: It goes outside of horror. In TV and film in general, women are getting the upper hand everywhere and I’m thankful for this. These are the roles I intentionally go after, like Supergirl, an iconic role, and Sadie in INSTANT STAR. I love watching movies and shows and seeing women who can take care of themselves. I’m late to the party and just started catching up with GAME OF THRONES and actually just kind of jumped in this season (laughs) so I’m trying understand what’s going on but the main thing that strikes me is just how many incredibly empowered women there are on that. It’s incredible.
FANGORIA: They are empowered but they don’t sacrifice their sexuality for that power which is refreshing…
VANDERVOORT: Exactly, I agree.
FANGORIA: There’s been a clear arc in your career, but after landing such a strong, starring role, where do you want to go next?
VANDERVOORT: I’m a workaholic, a little bit OCD and a control freak. I do have goal and I’m happy at the speed I’m going. I grew up doing martial arts and I really believe that helped center me and emotionally prepare me for this business. But I want to do more feature films.
I want to do period pieces. Comedies. Action films. I’m an actor first and I want to try everything. I need to be challenged and terrified. And really, I just want to keep working. There’s always someone creeping behind you trying to take over what’s you’ve built and you have to be prepared for that so I think my main goal is just to age well in this industry and just stay engaged and employed.
FANGORIA: Supergirl must have been your first taste of serious fandom but do you get weirder fans now that you’re a werewolf?
VANDERVOORT: (Laughs) Noooo… not really. I can honestly say that my fans are awesome. They’re by and large educated on the books and the shows and it’s always astonishing and amazing. I have the fans that have tattoos of my face on their bodies and I look at that as flattering and appreciative of what I’m doing. It’s not weird. It’s not creepy. It’s wonderful.
The fans make the show. They tweet with us, they engage with us, they make us stuff. SMALLVILLE has the most rabid fans, of course. I mean, outside of Helen Slater and the new SUPERGIRL series, I was the first Supergirl on TV. That fan base will be with me for life.
FANGORIA: What’s your favorite werewolf movie?
VANDERVOORT: Ummm… don’t laugh… TEEN WOLF, because of Michael J. Fox.
For more on Laura and her work on BITTEN and elsewhere, go to her Official Page here.