Laura Vandervoort previews what’s coming up on BITTEN
BITTEN Season 2, while finished in Canada, is airing Friday nights on Syfy and I can’t turn away! I’ve managed to stay spoiler free this year, and every new episodes brings something I’m not expecting. To celebrate the US airing of the show, I spent some time chatting with Elena herself, Laura Vandervoort, about what’s different this season, what comes next, and why people should watch!
Congrats on the success of the show. The book is great, the show is great. Fans really seem to be loving Season 2.
Well, thank you! I appreciate that. We all really work hard. I’m glad that the fans are happy, especially fans of the book.
It’s gotta be hard to take a story that so many people know – we see it happening a lot now with YA novels – taking a story that someone has read and loved. What kind of stress is there in bringing that to life in a way that book readers find peace with?
It’s the obvious things – the first season, I think moreso the actors, were a little concerned with [laughs] fans of the books hating us or hating the casting or not thinking the way that the characters sound in their head when they’re reading. So there was that pressure on us, but I do feel like the fans that weren’t perhaps happy with certain things realized that it actually works and makes sense as they watch the show, and that the show as a take on the novels; we do obviously pull a lot of stuff from it, and it is based on it, but it’s television. We have to speed things up. We have to introduce characters earlier; kill people off later. It is what it is, but they seem very happy. I am talking to fans at conventions and online on social media; I think this season is phenomenal. I think it looks very different from the first season, dramatically, and we’re all more comfortable and I think that comes across.
You point out it looking different – there is a noticeable shift. I’m really enjoying what we’ve seen down here in the US so far! We’re really getting to know more backstory about more of these people that we love.
Yeah, we have a new DOP, Director of Photography, so it’s a different style, different art. Everyone has their own hand at how they do everything…our new DOP, who I worked with when I was very, very young, so we knew each other. He’s very artistic with his lighting, so he knows what he really wants the shots to look like. We did some really creative stuff this year, in certain episodes, when introducing characters that just looks like it needs to be on the big screen. He did an amazing job.
Talk a little bit about this season, and maybe what we’ll see beyond the first few episodes? We have witches now, we have Clay and Elena in a sort of good spot.
I’m going to get in trouble if I say too much [laughs] and I always say too much. That’s my problem – I don’t know how to stop talking! This season, yeah, the witches join us. For me, it was nice to have the women on set, because I was one of the only women last year! The pack, we do have to deal with some new evil forces that we didn’t know existed in the world, similar to them not knowing that we existed as werewolves. I am separated from the pack during a couple of episodes, similar to one of the books, “Stolen,” so Elena’s sort of forced to handle business on her own, and also you see a motherly side of her. There is a young witch that she sort of takes under her wing, or claw, or whatever you want to call it [laughs]. Elena, last season, she was hemming and hawing about where she belonged, and she was very uncertain and hated what she was and what they stood for. This season, she’s accepted it, with what she dealt with in the finale last year. She’s got no real ties to the human world anymore, so she’s definitely rolling with the pack and back with Clay. That doesn’t mean that things won’t get in the way of her and Clay being together, and she’s obviously still mourning Phillip and his death, so she’s a little emotionally detached from Clay. Not physically [laughs]. Just emotionally! I mean you can’t blame her, right? There’s more of a kick ass Elena, 2.0, this season. A lot of fights; I trained really hard the second season to be physically capable in a lot of the fight sequences I knew i had coming up. And it’s more of a psychological thriller this season. A lot of the characters being forced to deal with their own fears and problems. Not everyone makes it out alive!
When I first heard about the show and the books, so many things are run by men; I really like that Elena is a strong woman that does take things into her own hands.
Yeah, we are seeing a shift in television and film now, with women being the more dominant characters, the strong characters. Strong women, like The Avengers, you have ScarJo. We’re seeing a lot of female super heroes on the big screen, and I’m really proud of that. I just started watching GAME OF THRONES. I’m very late, jumping on this train. And I just started watching this current season, so I have no idea what’s going on, but I do like seeing all of the women on this show, they’re strong. And they don’t lose their sexuality while being these women in power. They’re smart and strong, and it’s really nice to see that shift. Elena being the only female in her world, and within that pack, she’s obviously got to maintain her strength and show that she deserves to be there. Her close pack, the boys, they all accept her, and she is an equal, but within the werewolf world, the other leaders around the world, who you do see this season, she’s sort of got to prove herself.
You’re hearing good things or better things from some of the book readers – what are fans saying to you now? What are people saying, do they have all of these questions, what has been fan reaction so far from Season 2?
It just finished airing in Canada, so we had reaction throughout the whole season from fans; without giving anything away! It seems like Season 1 were questioning a few things and a little unsure. This season, our fanbase has definitely grown. Everyone is thrilled with what they’re seeing; they’re surprised with a lot of the things that we’re doing this season. We have really great fans. There’s a group of girls who have BITTEN parties; I’m sure there are others, too. They use cutouts and create BITTEN drinks and create clothing with BITTEN stuff, so there’s that excitement about it, which is nice. The cast and I are very social with them online through social media to show just how much we appreciate all of it, you know? I don’t think a lot of casts do that. I think all of us really get it; we’ve been fans of shows. I know what it would have felt like had Sarah Michelle Gellar back in the day on Twitter had tweeted me during BUFFY, I get that.
I do notice that with your cast. There are casts that you can tell might have been told by the network to tweet and aren’t great at interaction, but you all seem to enjoy the show as fans, not just as actors.
You don’t have to ask us to! Last season, we just all tweeted because we were so excited. This season, the same thing. I mean, they are trying to schedule some of the actors on certain nights so fans know who will be live tweeting to directly talk to them. But even if two of us are designated to a night, we’re all still tweeting [laughs].
You mentioned training more for Season 2 – what kind of training did you put yourself through?
Leading up to Season 2, for me, I grew up doing martial arts, and I’m into the fighting part of the show, for sure, I love it, but just keeping up the stamina with the hours that we have, and getting enough sleep, memorizing the lines, the emotional side of the day, and trying to keep up really, and fueling yourself with sleep and food and whatever, maybe on weekends, some alcohol [laughs]. I do spin. I do hot yoga and pilates and for season 2, I started training with a friend of mine, a phenomenal trainer here in LA, Michelle Lovitt, and she kicked my butt with a lot of circuit training and tension bands. We didn’t want to bulk up too much, but we definitely wanted to show that she is worthy of being the only female werewolf, so defining muscles and that sort of thing. I tried to maintain it as much as I could while filming, but it’s a little more difficult when you work the crazy hours and want to sleep. I’m sure my makeup artist would appreciate it if I got a little more sleep. She’d have less bags to cover! [laughs]
There are so many werewolf stories, supernatural stories that we’ve seen – do you have to avoid other stories, other movies to not let it inform you, or do you research other portrayals and see what to do or not to do?
I don’t really go seeking other sources; I don’t think any of us do. I mean, I speak for myself, but I’m a fan of the sci-fi world and I grew up doing sci-fi, and I always just look at the page and for this, look at the book, to see how I want to portray it. I mean, obviously, there’s Michael J Fox’s TEEN WOLF. [laughs] I’ve seen all of those movies, but this is a little different!
Probably a lot of basketball….
A lot of basketball, some musical numbers. The only thing we really have to do as wolves is the transformation scene, which is a lot of grunting and moaning.
What is the process of filming that?
That was a concern when I signed onto the project. I didn’t want, you know, the immediate thought is “is this going to be cheesy?” We don’t really ever look like wolves ourselves. It’s stripping down, because that’s how we save clothes and money; you have to take your clothes off before you transform so you don’t rip it. It’s the physical side of it, for us as humans. It really just goes right into visual effects, outside of me opening my mouth for them to visually put in canines growing, we really haven’t had to do much.
Bad visual effects can change a performance, can change a show. I like what is done on BITTEN because it’s seamless.
Oh well, thank you! That’s nice to hear – it’s important to us. We are werewolves, but that is sort of the B plot to the show. The main part of the show is the relationships and the struggles and all of that.
I think that’s what makes it relateable, too, because no one is really a werewolf in real life, but can 100% understand or relate to the emotional side!
That’s good. I’m glad you feel that way!
Do you get a chance to watch a lot of TV in your free time?
I don’t really watch much television. I did start watching BLOODLINE, a Netflix original series that I really like. I’m more into the documentaries, like I was watching THE JINX, then THE STAIRCASE. I watch a lot of DATELINE. Kind of morbid I guess [laughs]
I watch DATELINE, and their slogan is always “don’t watch alone” and I’m like, yeah, I know, because I”m convinced that the murderer on the show is then coming after me.
Oh yeah, for sure. And then it’s like my dog moves in her sleep when I’m watching it, and I’m terrified. I don’t know why but I keep watching!
What is it about BITTEN that makes it a show people should be watching?
This is always a hard question because I don’t want to like be pushing the show on people that haven’t seen it [laughs], and I don’t want to sound like a salesperson, but if I speak genuinely, the fans, they continue to love the show. They were fans of the books before; they’re thrilled with what we’re doing. It’s not just a sci-fi show! It’s about family; it’s about loss, it’s about love. We have phenomenal stunt sequences and action. A lot of blood and gore, but I honestly, truly feel like, no matter what sort of television you like to watch, you can find something within this show that you like or relate to. I’m shocked that members of my family that I never would think would watch this show actually genuinely like and watch it, and want to know what’s going to happen next week. It’s different age groups, as well, so I think just give it a try! No pressure [laughs]!
BITTEN airs Friday nights at 10/9c on Syfy.