Laura Vandervoort Interview on Netflix’s V-Wars, Rabid and Age of Dysphoria [Exclusive]

Laura Vandervoort
Laura Vandervoort in Netflix’s V-Wars (Credit: Netflix)

Actress Laura Vandervoort is one of my favorite actresses. She has an active fan following from her appearance as Kara/Supergirl in the television series Smallville and V as Lisa.

The interview pitch came across my desk to speak with the versatile actress on her latest projects—I immediately jumped on the opportunity.

Last month, the first season of Netflix’s V-Wars, a vampire series, made its streaming debut, in which had set itself nicely for a second season. She also starred in the Soska Sisters’ new horror Rabid, a woman who suffers from a side effect from an experimental stem cell treatment.

We’ve also touched upon her passion project, a short film called Age of Dysphoria. She even talked about her plans making it into a full-length feature film.

Netflix’s V-Wars is currently streaming, and Rabid is available on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Vudu.

For more information on Netflix’s V-Wars, visit here. As for Rabid click here for its official web site.

Read the exclusive interview below.

LRM Online: Congratulations. You have a quite a December month with two bloodlust projects. [Laughs]

Laura Vandervoort: [Laughs] It seems I’m surrounded by blood all the time.

LRM Online: Why do you love these types of projects that are gory in its way?

Laura Vandervoort:  I wouldn’t say that I go looking for gore or projects of that nature. I respond to the characters. It just so happens that a lot of the time, both in sci-fi and horror, the female characters are written in a powerful, conflicted and broken way. There is so much duality to them. I always tend to lean towards the opportunity of navigating a character with their moral dilemmas. For whatever reason, that seems to come with those genres in which I am grateful.

LRM Online: Let’s talk about one of the more significant projects that came out in December with V-Wars. A lot of it’s gaining a lot of viewership and audience. Why were you initially attracted to a project like V-Wars?

Laura Vandervoort: They didn’t give me any details at the time. I just put myself on tape. Months later, I was offered a different character named ‘Mila.’ Once I had more knowledge about the project, it being a Netflix series starring Ian [Somerhalder] and Adrian [Holmes] with these incredible producers like Brad Turner. I was more inclined and leaning into it. Jonathan Maberry, who wrote the graphic novels, had sent some research material on Mila. I just fell in love with her and how flawed she was.

I pounced at the opportunity to play this woman with contrasting personalities. Mila is finding her footing, her voice, and her strength all while her anger is slowly simmers as the season unfolds. Pretty much coming to a boiling point in the final episode and scene of the first season.

LRM Online: It seems like they are preparing you for Mila to have a much more significant role in the second season. Is that what they indicated?

Laura Vandervoort: They have not indicated anything. I do know that I was brought on to do a couple of episodes, because Mila, originally from the previous material, wasn’t a main major character. They continued to add me in more. They worked on more of a backstory and propelling her into the second season. Ultimately. I know as much as the audience does. That’s where it is right now for me. [Laughs] I’m excited to hear if they have plans for her in the following season.

In terms of a show, the substantial material that our writers and producers are dealing with, they did a great job making it entertaining but often dealing with current issues that we all can relate to–especially in today’s climate. They seamlessly, quietly cover significant matters like politics, global warming, borders, and racism. I think it’s smart. I do.

LRM Online: I agree with you. The character has two different types of relationships that she seems to struggle. Could you talk about the first one with the sister character with um, Donika, played by Kimberly Sue-Murray?

Laura Vandervoort: We don’t get a chance as an audience to see their relationship before the big incident. You do get a glimpse of it when Danika shows up at Mila’s apartment. Mila can tell that her sister is not well and offers to take care of her. You can see right away in a brief moment that Mila is more of the nurturing one, the caring one, and the loving one. Danika is slightly selfish and self-serving.

But, there is love there between the two. They are sisters, no matter what is going on between them. We briefly touch on their mother being sick and how Mila is the one that has to take the reins on that. Danika has been MIA doing her self-serving projects. There is some resentment from Mila on the fact that she’s never been able to live her own life like her sister does. Danika, being self-serving, bites Mila against her will. That resentment and anger from their relationship hit an all-time high. Mila reaches her breaking point, eventually holding her sister at gunpoint. The thing is, Mila is an example for all of the bloods. You can control and handle these impulses. She proves it is in-fact nurture over nature.

LRM Online: I also want to address the other relationship that addresses the LGBT theme. You had a relationship with Elysse Chambers, played by Bo Martyn. Could you talk about that?

Laura Vandervoort: I don’t think there’s much to talk about. The way, as it should be, Netflix has approached this it that it’s not commented on. It’s just the way it is. It’s not a significant part of the storyline in terms of Mila, who happens to be gay. It’s just who she is, and hopefully, the audience sees that. I loved the fact that we don’t focus on it or comment on it at all.

Bo, who plays my girlfriend in the show, is a fantastic actress. For both of us, we kept saying how comfortable we were to have these characters be in love more so than it would be even with a male actor. There’s just an understanding between women, and we wanted to get the scenes right to make it as natural as possible. There’s nothing to comment on.

LRM Online: Crossing my fingers for a second season for you. [Laughs]
Laura Vandervoort: Oh, yeah. I hope so. I think there’s so much more to explore, especially that final scene of the season with both Ian and myself preparing for war.

LRM Online: I’ve binge-watched the whole season. Let’s turn to Rabid, which also came out in December. Could you talk about the attraction to that project?

Laura Vandervoort: There are a few things. I met with the directors to develop another project that I was working on. They brought this script to my attention. I was thrilled to be working with two female writers, Canadians, and on a Cronenberg remake. Cronenberg is so idolized within Canada and the world. To have an opportunity to remake one of his classic, it seems like a no brainer.

Again, we have a character that has that duality to her. There’s commentary within this movie, similar to V-Wars on how society forces people/women, in particular, to fit into a specific image. My character, in Rabid, feels the necessity to do that. It comes with severe consequences.

LRM Online: I’ve seen the film. Could you tell me about the makeup and the face placed on yourself and acting with along that? How did that movie magic work?

Laura Vandervoort:  I’m not entirely sure if this feeling is familiar amongst actors. I’m sure it is common, but I love prosthetics. I really think it helps with the performance and getting into the mindset of your character. Quit literally wearing their skin, moving in it. In dealing with prosthetics, it was a long process to put on. This particular mouth-piece prosthetic prevented me from being able to speak. [Laughs] That was a little shocking for me. I hadn’t realized prior that I would not be able to even talk to our cast and crew between takes. Not only was there a prosthetics over half of my face, but there was also a mouth I had to stay chomped down on the entire time. It’s always fun. I enjoyed it. A lot of drool. You make it work.

One of the challenges with that prosthetic was finding a new way to emote verbally. When I had to cry in scenes or be ‘distressed,’ the sounds wouldn’t come out the way that I’d want them to. I realized quickly I had to emphasize certain things more so than I would generally for them to come across properly. Breathing became a character in itself. All of those little crazy nuance things actors lean into became vital for me even to emote.

Not to be cliché, but eyes are the windows to our soul. The best part about performances in general, I think, can be found in the silence. It was a gift to work on that. It was an excellent opportunity.

LRM Online: The Soska sisters have always been great directors in horror. What is it about them that made them successful in this type of genre, in your opinion?

Laura Vandervoort: They’ve had some success previously, and they have a cult following. They seem to be knowledgeable about forms of horror throughout the years. They know what they wanted, and they go for it. They did a great job shooting this project as a nod to the original and Cronenberg. They tried to make him proud, and they did a great job.

LRM Online: You have another passion project, which is different from this type of genre. Could you talk about the Age of Dysphoria, and why is that short film important to you?

Laura Vandervoort: Age of Dysphoria has been and continues to be my passion project. It was something that I had been tossing around for a while. I met up with an incredible director named Jessica Petelle and pitched it to her. Jessica and I had worked together previously and, more recently, on V-Wars. She loved the concept, and we hit it off. Jessica brought on an incredible writer named Zoe Robyn. We had an all-female producing team from Toronto, FilmCoop Inc., and the incredible Brad Turner came on as a Producer. Everyone seemed to be thrilled with the concept and the story. I wanted to do something very different from what audiences as seen me do previously. Delving into great characters and a very grounded human story was essential to me.

In this case, my mentor whom is Canadian icon and legend Gordon Pinsent. He’s been my mentor since I was 12. It’s been my goal for the past 22 years to work with him. The universe wasn’t providing me that opportunity, and I decided to take control of the situation.

The concept was created with and for Gordon Pinsent to play the male lead ‘Fred’ and very likely for myself to play the female lead ‘Fin.’ Luckily Gordon said yes to the project, and our film crew jumped on board very quickly. Thankfully, between Jessica Petelle, Brad Turner, and I, we had great relationships with the team in Toronto from years past. People were willing to pitch in and help out. Long story short, we shot an incredible short film. We’re currently submitting to film festivals. I’m pleased with how it all turned out, and we’re excited about it.

LRM Online: Is there any chance for a long format for something like this?

Laura Vandervoort: Our next intention is to do a full-length feature version of the Age of Dysphoria. That’s something we plan to tackle. I’m also trying to develop a couple other features. Age of Dysphoria touches on a topic that many people have dealt with dementia. The pros and cons that come with memory loss. The relationships that are affected. How certain traumatic incidences in your life can be erased. How we become stuck at a particular moment in time. The story is about bringing together two people from two different walks of life who share one common traumatic experience and the very basic human need for connection. Not to give too much away. [Laughs]

LRM Online: That’s excellent, Laura. I appreciate it. I can’t wait to see Age of Dysphoria too. I love all the work that you have previously done. Thank you for this conversation.

Laura Vandervoort: Oh, thank you. I hope to continue to try new things, develop and produce as well. I hope you enjoy those projects in the future.

Netflix’s V-Wars is currently streaming, and Rabid is available on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Google Play, and Vudu.

ALSO READ: V-Wars Interview: Ian Somerhalder On Returning to the World of Vampires in Netflix Series

Source: LRM Online Exclusive

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Gig Patta

Gig Patta is a journalist and interviewer for LRM and Latino-Review since 2009. He was a writer for other entertainment sites in the past with Collider and IESB.net. He originally came from the world of print journalism with several years as a reporter with the San Diego Business Journal and California Review. He earned his MBA from the Keller Graduate School of Management and BA in Economics from UC San Diego. Follow him on Instagram @gigpatta or Facebook @officialgigpatta.

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