Cliché: We know that, like many other actresses, your early career began with small appearances in commercials and television. Now, you’re the lead in a series that had a huge following before it even aired! At what point in your career did you feel like you finally “made it” so to speak?
Laura Vandervoort: I started working at around 13 years old. It was something that transpired in my own head at that age. I asked my parents to let me try acting. I had done martial arts since I was 7 and I think they really liked the idea of me trying something new and artistic. After working on commercials and children’s TV series, I slowly kept working, training, and taking acting classes. It’s hard to say that there was ever a point where I felt like “I’ve made it.” Every job to me was an opportunity in my mind to prove myself worthy or good enough to be there. Smallville was a huge grab for me because it was a well-known series and an iconic female superhero. That was the first opportunity I had to have the American market and the world watch. It was definitely a learning ground for me. I took it very seriously. Working in the feature film world was also a new experience. The Lookout with Jeff Daniels and Joseph Gordon Levitt was a dream come true. Years later, after feature films, indie and TV guest stars, I started to enjoy the work and not focusing so much on “proving my worth.” That was an epiphany for me—that it wasn’t all about work, that the work actually got better when I let myself go and enjoyed the experience, that I had put the work in over the years and truly earned the right to be there.
On Bitten, you play Elena Michaels, the only female werewolf that exists. Your character tries to live a normal, “mainstream” lifestyle, but the supernatural stuff sort of gets in the way. If you were a werewolf, do you think you’d embrace it and run with the pack or keep it a secret?
[Laughs.] If I myself were a werewolf, I think I would definitely be going through the same experiences as Elena on Bitten. I think we all feel the need to belong somewhere in this life. Sadly, society often views “different” as not belonging or odd. The werewolf lifestyle is not a norm and like Elena, I’m sure I would struggle with that. Obviously there are perks to being able to let the inner animal out—a sense of release—but that comes with a cost.
How difficult are the scenes where you’re transforming from human to werewolf? Is the wolf CGI’d in, or is the process as painful as it seems?
At the beginning of the season, Elena is transforming a lot. We wanted the audiences to see her struggle and pain during this process, her hate for the animal inside of her. It’s all CGI. No prosthetics were needed, which is fantastic! The cast did all get together at the beginning of the series with producers, writers, and directors to discuss how the transformation would look, sound, and feel. We didn’t want it to be a copy of other werewolf series or features. Elena has more issues with the process because it is still new to her and she’s always fighting it, thus her change is excruciating—whereas the rest of the pack can simply change with a small moan.