Best known for her roles of Kara in Smallville, Lisa in V and Sadie in Instant Star, Laura Vandervoort is an accomplished actress with more than 40 credits under her belt. Did I mention that that belt is a second degree black belt? Yeah….. read further for more on that.
Vandervoot has been on many “hottest” and “sexiest” lists, but her range of acting abilities proves that looks aren’t her only strong point. An all around talented woman, Vandervoort in also incredibly well rounded. Not only does she act, but she also writes, is very athletic and even went to college for a double major in Psychology and English. Just, wow!
As the premiere of season two of Bitten draws near, I was able to speak with Laura Vandervoort, who plays lead Elena Michaels. With such a long time between seasons, there are plenty of questions on the minds of the fans.
Have you read any of the books that the television series is based on?
They recommended that we read the first book, but to not get too involved in the rest of them because we were going to be taking some artistic license with the story. We follow it as closely as possible; this year we have the witches from the books coming into the show, but they do sort of stray a bit from the plot and characters. Some characters that in the books don’t live, do in the show. So we read the first one to have a general idea of the show, but I haven’t read past that.
Speaking of characters that live in one and die in the other, in the TV series, your relationship with Logan is a very important part. Whereas in the books, Logan dies fairly early on.
Yeah. He’s sort of her connection between the two worlds in the first season: He lives in Toronto and he’s dating a human, similar to her [Elena], and he’s also her therapist. So it’s a place for her to speak her truth and to really just be who she is. He’s the only person he can talk to about trying to live in both worlds. They have that special bond and connection, for sure.
Now, of course, since I work for a website with “geek” in the name, and given that you have a background of somewhat geeky roles, such as Supergirl, would you consider yourself to be a geek in any way?
Yeah, I think so. Originally I wasn’t. Prior to Smallville and Supergirl, I wasn’t aware of the comic world or Sci-fi, really. I grew up watching Buffy. That was sort of my only “geekdom” there [wanting to be her]. But once I was cast as Supergirl and delved into the comicon universe, met the fans, learned the characters and understood how important they were to the mythology and the fans themselves, I think I would consider myself a geek now. I can definitely talk shop about comic books, special effects and the mythology behind the werewolves and superheroes. I’d love to be a part of a Marvel feature film or something like that and sort of expand on it.
I spoke with Greg [Bryk] the other day, and he had mentioned inviting you and the rest of the main pack [cast] over for dinner with his family, to create a bond between everyone that would resonate through the show. Is that something that you think has really helped create the dynamic that we see on screen?
Definitely. I’m sure Greg told you that with season one, we all hit it off immediately and just adored one another. There were no egos, everyone was just there to do good work. I think that, in a way, we developed relationships that our characters have on camera. Greg is our alpha. He is the man, the source, the energy that we go to both on set and off for advice. He’s my relationship guru; I go to him when I need advice. His family is just incredible and his children are incredible, and the way that he fathers them impacts the way that he treats us as a pack on the show. And he genuinely cares about us off camera. So we have that kind of group mentality; hanging out, having birthdays together. We would get together before the wrap party. It’s nice and it definitely helps. I had Steve Lund staying with me for around three weeks as my roommate here when he was in L.A., and we hung out with Greyston [Holt] and Michael Xavier. Even if we’re not filming, we all still want to be a pack together.
I could tell, just by talking to Greg, just how important the relationships you guys have cultivated are, particularly to him. And I’m sure they’re just as important to the rest of you.
Yeah, he’s a phenomenal actor and one special man. I think we all have a huge place in our hearts for him. He’s what has kept us all together, he’s what got me through tough scenes, he gave me confidence when I wasn’t sure. Both personally and professionally, he is incredible. He is our alpha.
To go back to Smallville and Supergirl for just a moment, Kara was a very emotionally stunted character because of who she was. Whereas, Elena is highly emotional and wears her heart on her sleeve. Do you find it refreshing to go from one extreme to the other, or do you consider that change more of a difficulty [despite the several years in between the two shows].
Supergirl, similarly to Elena, was a character that existed before I was attached to who they are. But Supergirl had more of a fan base that was specific on how she came across. She’s an iconic superhero so there were boxes that I had to stay within. She did sort of contain her emotions and I had to play it the way that they wanted her. I think I got a bit of myself in there, but she was rather stunted. After that, I went right into V, in which I played an even more emotionally stunted character with Lisa. She had no emotion. She was almost robotic, which was actually really tough for me. You have to express everything through your eyes. She was a very soldier like character, and I think that was the toughest thing I’ve had to do on camera. It’s just been a completely pleasure to play Elena, who wears everything on her sleeve and goes through every realm of emotion. In any one scene throughout and episode, she’s all over the map, and I think that’s the way most people are in real life. We have things that we’re dealing with, ups an downs, and I think it’s more realistic for the audience to see a character that is flawed like that. In season one especially, she broke down a lot, she was unsure of herself, of who she was or what she wanted. In this season, she’s pretty much come into her own and accepted who she is. She is in fighting mode.
I was doing some research for the interview and saw mention that you have a black belt and a quite athletic background. I’m sure that it’s all helpful, considering how many fight scenes there are in the series. Do you think you draw directly from any of your background for the show?
I started martial arts when I was 7, and had my second degree [black belt] by the time I was 19. After that, acting sort of took away from it, and I got busy and hadn’t returned, but I think the ability and the training that I had growing up has definitely helped with the show. They let all of the actors do, I would say, 90%-95% of our own stunts, and it does help me with the physicality of Elena and makes it more realistic for the audience. They can see my face during fight sequences and not just a wig. I think it helped direct me to certain roles, like Supergirl. Very strong women. I actually wrote a children’s book series about a young girls who is quirky and does martial arts, and she finds out that she’s a superhero. I think martial arts had definitely led me to different paths throughout my life, and it’s something that’s helped me learn how to focus dedicate everything I had to whatever I’m working on.