Bitten, based on the best-selling urban fantasy series Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong, is back for an even more action-packed, gory and sexy second season on Syfy. This time around, Elena Michaels (Laura Vandervoort), the only female werewolf in the world, and her Pack are reluctantly forced to join forces with a trio of witches to defeat a mysterious and sociopathic enemy that is determined to take over the Otherworld.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Laura Vandervoort (Smallville, V) talked about adding new characters from the books for a whole new dimension and supernatural layer, how much fun it is to play aspects of Elena, how things are for the werewolf Pack, at the beginning of the season, Elena’s new motherly side, relishing the darker moments, how Elena and Clay’s (Grayston Holt) relationship has evolved, the dynamic between the witches and the wolves, her favorite fight scene this season, and how fans should brace themselves for the season finale. Be aware that there are some spoilers, especially if you haven’t seen Season 1.
Collider: The last season of Bitten was pretty intense, but this season seems even more so. Was that fun to explore?
LAURA VANDERVOORT: It’s an intense season, for sure. We have new characters from the books joining us, which adds a whole new dimension and a supernatural aspect. It’s a different Elena this season, which was fun to play.
As a cast, you guys clearly formed a bond over the first season. How do you think that strengthened and enriched things even further, for your performances this season?
VANDERVOORT: The whole cast hit it off immediately in Season 1, which was great. So, we were actually excited to get back to work, just to see each other. I think it helps with the scenes. It’s obvious that we actually do care about one another, like the Pack would. I think we were all just more comfortable within our character and within ourselves and with one another, to explore and try new things.
A lot of really intense things happened in the Season 1 finale. What can you say about where things are at with the Pack, when things pick back up for Season 2?
VANDERVOORT: We pick up three days after the finale of Season 1. People who saw the finale last year know that it ended on a big cliffhanger. Philip’s head was in Elena’s bed. He was decapitated. And Clay and Elena were hanging on by threads, as a couple. This season, we hit the ground running, at the beginning of the season. We’re after revenge. Elena is in assassin mode. She definitely has accepted who she is, her fate and her future. Unlike last season, she isn’t apologizing for her behavior. She is acting on instinct and passion. She’s bloodthirsty. The Pack is on the hunt, looking for Malcolm. And Logan’s girlfriend is pregnant, and that’s a whole other storyline. The Pack is concerned for her safety. And then, the witches come in, which throws everything off. But, it’s been great for me to have more women on the show. Elena almost develops a motherly instinct with one of the witches, and a nurturing side. So, while she’s in assassin mode and is a killing machine, she’s also got this juxtaposed motherly compassion. It was fun. In Season 1, she was just torn between her two worlds and angry with what her future would hold. And this season, all bets are off.
How does the rest of the Pack feel about Elena’s new-found confidence?
VANDERVOORT: I think they embrace it. I think it’s a little scary for them because they haven’t seen that side of Elena, and it’s scary for her. She has always been in control, in a way, and has been trying to control her destiny. They haven’t seen her just let go and take charge. She’s making demands, and she’s suggesting things. She is divided from the Pack this season. One of the books is called Stolen, so she is kidnapped and taken away from the boys for quite a few episodes. It was different for me not to be working with the boys, and for Elena to have to handle situations on her own. She has to be strong and methodical. It was almost like a completely different show for me, filming without the boys.
What did you most enjoy about playing all of these new aspects of Elena?
VANDERVOORT: Like most actors, you want to explore every nook and cranny of a character, and they allowed me to do that, this season. There was only so far we could go, with her being torn between the worlds, before she had to make her decision. After what happened to Philip, there was no real decision to be made, at that point. She’s destined to be with Clay. It is fun for me. It was definitely interesting, while doing the scenes, to discover things about Elena, as we went, and relate to her in new ways, as well. The writers know my love for gore and horror films, so they wrote that in for me. There’s lots of blood and lots of creepy artistic scenes. There’s one episode, in particular, where she’s in her own mind palace, and it’s almost like she’s on drugs and tripping.
There’s such an interesting dichotomy with this character because she is beautiful, but she’s also quite deadly, and we really get to see just how deadly she can be, this season. Do you find it difficult to go to the dark places, as an actor, or do you relish those moments?
VANDERVOORT: I honestly relish them. I love female empowerment, and showing that women are strong and can take care of themselves. I lean more towards the dark and disturbing, and the drama. That’s my passion to play. It’s almost harder for me to be light-hearted and smile, especially as Elena. In Season 1, there were more times when she was supposed to be having a great time and laughing, and that was very strange for me. I’m glad this season had kick-ass stunts and blood, and more drama.
Where do you see Elena and Clay, at this point? Do you feel like they’re solidly together, or will they still have some things to work out?
VANDERVOORT: With Philip out of the picture, one would expect that Clay and Elena would be in their nice little nesting stage, as a couple who’s finally together, but things will get in the way of that. Like with any show, there are going to be obstacles for the lead characters. You can’t just have them be happy. It doesn’t make for an exciting television series. There will be a lot getting in the way. Sometimes Elena and Clay aren’t exactly who they appear to be to one another, and they have to figure that out.
We also get a lot deeper into the wolf politics this season. Did you enjoy having that balance between the political and the personal?
VANDERVOORT: We do bring in Alphas from all over the world, and we expand the realm of just our little Pack at Stonehaven. You’ll see the Pack mentality and rules, which is interesting. That is in the books, and they do have to obey those rules, but Elena likes to break the rules, especially when it comes to people that she cares about and wants to protect. It’s nice to see that she does stand up to the Alphas from all over, that come to Stonehaven, and she stands up for her Alpha, which was a fun scene for Greg [Bryk] and I. So, it’s nice to have the politics and the structure that the wolves have to follow, but at the same time, you can’t expect us to always follow them. These rules were made centuries ago and times have changed. Because the Pack is young and thriving and energized, they want the rules to evolve with the times.
What can you say about the dynamic between the witches and the wolves?
VANDERVOORT: It’s interesting because we don’t want people to know about our existence. We had no idea the witches existed, so when they come into our lives, it throws everything off balance. There’s this other world and a species of women that we didn’t know existed. Elena is the only female werewolf and there are no male witches, so it’s the opposite. We get characters on the witches side who reflect our characters, and they team up together. At first, there is a sense of not being able to trust anyone, but they do realize they have to be able to work together. We can use our strength and our abilities and they can use their powers, to work together as one.
How was it to not only have extra female characters around, but to have those actresses on set?
VANDERVOORT: I love working with boys, and I’m one of the boys. I made sure, in Season 1, that they accept me as one of the guys and don’t treat me differently, and they haven’t. But now, with the girls and women and set, it’s funny to just take sides. We joke around about it, on set. The women who came onto the show are just as wonderful as our other cast, and everyone just blended in very well. But it was nice to have that female energy on set, for sure.
The Season 1 finale was a big one and not everyone survived it. What should fans brace themselves for this season, leading up to the finale? Should they expect lots of bloodshed and that not everyone will survive again?
VANDERVOORT: Yes, you should expect lots more bloodshed, especially by Elena’s hand. And you can expect a pretty nasty cliffhanger and a big shock.
Is it weird to be on a show where you essentially have to get naked with your co-stars and pretend to turn into a werewolf, or is that a total bonding experience and something you all just have a laugh about?
VANDERVOORT: In Season 1, it was a little odd, going through the change, as a wolf, while you’re naked. The guys are all very comfortable, but I needed to ease into it. This season, the comfort level is much greater and I was able to do a little more. There’s less nudity for Elena this season, which is nice. I got away with less. And we do joke about it. The grunting is awkward, when your bones are breaking and your shifting and you’re on all fours. Greyson [Holt] and I laugh between our love scenes. It’s all very technical. It’s a little bit of a strange job, but for me, the show is a drama. It’s about the characters and their journey, and the acting. I don’t even really think about the fact that we’re werewolves. That was the last thing that sold me on the characters. That was actually the thing that made me concerned about doing the role. What came first was Elena and her strength and her story. I actually almost sometimes forget that I play a wolf because I don’t see it like that.
You do get to be pretty bad-ass on this show. Is there any one specific fight or action sequence that you most enjoyed getting to do, this season?
VANDERVOORT: There were a few, but one in particular was a rather long fight sequence that we rehearsed the weekend prior. It went on for 10 minutes, and we were rolling around. I had a lot of fun doing it. We have a wonderful stunt coordinator. I grew up doing martial arts, and he knows my ability, what I want to do and what I’m capable of. He allows me to do a lot more than what most stunt directors would allow because he knows I have fun with it. It was great, rolling around in the dirt in a barn. And I do win the fight, which is always nice.
Bitten airs on Friday nights on Syfy.