Laura Vandervoort loves all things horror.
On Space’s hit series Bitten, Vandervoort plays the role of Elena Michaels, the world’s only female werewolf, opposite Greyston Holt’s Clayton Danvers, a fellow lycanthrope and Elena’s on-again-off-again boyfriend.
But when she’s not doing battle with the supernatural, the Toronto native watches everything from American Horror Story and The Walking Dead to classic Alfred Hitchcock movies.
Based on Canadian author Kelley Armstrong’s bestselling novel of the same name, Bitten is Space’s most successful original series as it’s amassed an average weekly audience of 347,000 viewers and has garnered a loyal following on social media.
Now, with the Canadian series almost done shooting its second season, The Star sat down for a chat with the show’s leading shapeshifters on the Leslieville set where Bitten is filming its second season, set to broadcast early in 2015.
Considering that season one left off with Elena finding the decapitated head of her fiancée, Philip, where do we find her and the rest of the pack at the beginning of season two?
LV: Season two picks up three days after last season’s finale and Elena is obviously dealing with losing Philip, but she’s pushing it down and suppressing it. She’s sort of gone into defense mode and is seeing red and is doing everything she can to get revenge. She’s bloodthirsty and stronger this year and doesn’t look back or regret anything that she does. She’s much darker.
GH: I think mentally, Clay’s come to terms with some of his more violent tendencies and that was mainly due to the fact that he wanted to change for Elena and become this new man for her. In season two, our relationship is back on track for the most part. Right off the bat we don’t even have time to deal with some deeper relationship issues because Elena needs vengeance for Philip’s death. Clay is just going along with her for the ride and supporting her with that.
Season one dealt solely with werewolves, but this season will see witches introduced. Was there any concern that the introduction of a new supernatural species would dilute the show’s werewolf-centric storyline?
GH: I know initially that the plan was to keep the show within the werewolf realm. You have to have new elements coming to the show all the time and I think that the addition of witches in season two allows us to go to so many more places. They deal in a world that’s not physical whereas the werewolves are purely physical, so it’s an interesting dynamic to see those worlds . . . collide.
LV: It’s also something that the pack has never dealt with before and it’s not something that we can really compete with. We don’t know how to handle magic, so we are sort of at a loss for the first time because we’re not the powerful ones.
In what ways does season two differ from season one?
GH: There’s something scary about violence in a physical way, but this season it’s dealt with on a more spiritual, more ghostly creepy way that’s outside of the realm of reality. It messes with your mind more. We’ve been saying that the first season was more of a thriller, whereas this season is more horror. It’s very dark.
Bitten has a large following on social media and a lot of TV shows have made a conscious effort to engage their audience in discussion while they watch. How do you think social media has affected the viewing experience?
LV: I have Twitter and Instagram and I’m a person who is on it constantly. Not just updating our fans about the show, but talking to them and seeing both positive and negative comments . . . and I think it’s great that people can connect and feel closer to us because they’re more intrigued with the show and feel like they have a tangible connection to it.
GH: It’s good and it’s bad. When the show came out, lots of people had very strong opinions of it because of the books mainly. So there were some negative comments and you have to push through those and not let them get to you, but as the season progressed people started to get used to the storylines and our characters.
Horror has become a dominant genre on the small screen in recent years. Why do you think it’s become so popular?
LV: I feel like we’re immune to (the blood and the guts now). We can see pretty much anything on TV and not blink, which I think is sad, but it’s also just the wave that everyone’s on. You know vampires and werewolves have their day now.
If you were in a horror movie and had to choose one iconic villain or monster to run away from, who would it be and why?
LV: Jack Nicholson’s Jack Torrance from The Shining because it’s one of my favourite movies. I think it was the first of its kind, it was beautifully shot and it’s a movie that when I first saw it, I couldn’t shut my eyes — I had to take in everything that was happening. When I was a child I loved Hocus Pocus, so I’d run away from Bette Midler’s Winifred and I’ve always wanted to be in a Hitchcock film, so the crows from The Birds as well.
GH: Jack Nicholson in The Shining. First of all, it would be great to work with him, but to be in that movie on that set up in the mountains in that remote area and running from him around that house and into the maze would be so creepy. Maybe Chucky (from Child’s Play), although now that I’m older I’d say “well, I’m just going to kick you.”
What’s the best way to impress a werewolf?
LV: I’d say a slab of meat, but that’s not Elena (laughs). I’d say enticing all four senses because they’re heightened. So maybe an amazing breakfast in bed with some Sinatra and some sort of Hitchcock movie on. That’s how you impress Elena/Laura.
GH: I think just a show of loyalty and integrity would be enough to impress Clay.