What a roller-coaster ride Season 1 of BITTEN has been. It began with a mysterious murder and mutt-hunt, which was then revealed to be the beginnings of a monstrous plan to take out the Danvers Pack and coerce Elena (Laura Vandervoort) into an unholy alliance with Daniel Santos (Michael Luckett). But Santos, Marsten (Pascal Langdale) and all the other scheming challengers under-estimated the strength of Jeremy Danvers (Greg Bryk) and his alpha pack. They were not just aligned out of loyalty, but by love — and this stronger than any incentive Santos or his mysterious benefactor could offer. So as Season 1 wraps up, it will be a battle to the bitten end. Just who will survive and who will make the ultimate sacrifice?
In an exclusive interview, star Laura Vandervoort talked about all the mixed feelings swirling around in Elena’s head as she tries to sort out how she feels about her Alpha and the men she loves.
In last week’s episode “Caged,” we found out Jeremy would have killed Elena if Clay hadn’t bitten her. So we are left to wonder going forward, will Elena be able to forgive Jeremy and trust him again, or will that cause a wrinkle in their relationship?
LAURA: It was a huge blow for the audience to find out why she had such aggression towards Clay (Greyston Holt), only to find out that it was Jeremy who in her mind really betrayed her. That was sort of a table turner and a page turner for Elena and her relationship with Jeremy. At the beginning, obviously she felt betrayed by Clay because they are a pack of werewolves and she was brought into this home and bitten. But she grew to love Jeremy and he really nurtured her as a werewolf and as a father. So she just developed this bond with him. To find that out, I think it just spun her world. It will take some time to replenish that relationship and rebuild it, if she feels she can and should. But in terms of her relationship with Clay, it was like letting the sunlight in. She just had all this weight taken off her shoulders. She could love again and be with him and not have any question about it. She’s all in now, I think, and respects everything that Clay has done for her and feels horrible for the way she has treated him because she didn’t know the secret. So relationships are definitely going to be tested, and other ones will grow.
At this point, has Elena fully walked away from her relationship with Philip (Paul Green), or is that still up in the air?
LAURA: That’s still up in the air. You’ll have to watch the finale.
It seemed like Elena had given her heart so wholly to Philip and yet now with these changes of circumstances with Clay and Jeremy, she’s kind of wavering.
LAURA: I feel like deep down she knows and always knew that Clay is her true love. But she had this resent to him because she didn’t understand why he did what he did. So she just chose to block off that vein of love for him. But it is still there and once Jeremy explained the situation and how Clay really truly was protecting her, it let that block go. She knew wanted Clay and to be with him. So I think for the moment she has forgotten about Philip. Then in the finale, you will understand what that means.
Poor Philip. Abandoned.
LAURA: (Laughs) I know. I know.
Given the fact that the pack has lost Antonio (Paulino Nunes) and Peter (Joel Keller), the pack seems very vulnerable — particularly as some of the other characters like Clay and Jeremy have sustained injuries. Will the pack be able to survive another attack or will this be like their last stand?
LAURA: The pack is thinned out and there are some injuries. It definitely hurts the pack, but they are a well-oiled machine and they can work through the challenges of the injured pack members. But it will cause some problems for sure and they do have to keep up their strength for the finale when they are under attack. So they are definitely tested. But I think they have so much love and compassion for one another, and now more than ever they need the pack to stick together and the family unit to be one and they will come together in the end.
The wild card seems to be Marsten. He is working with Santos, but he is not too sure about it. Is there a chance he will help out a little bit, or is he going to just step out it and move on?
LAURA: There’s always a chance for everything on our show. One of the things people will be surprised about in the finale is people are switching sides when you don’t expect them to.
Where do you think this season is going to leave fans? Will there be a nice ending or will there be a massive cliffhanger?
LAURA: (Laughs) It’s a massive cliffhanger. When we all read the script, we got to the last page and I think we were all dumbfounded with shock and sadness. It’s a big cliffhanger for sure.
So we’re definitely rooting for Season 2 then?
LAURA: I know! That’s what we want. We’re all really keeping our fingers and toes crossed for Season 2. It’s doing really well on Space Channel in Canada and we’re really proud of it. We hope to be back for another season.
For the entire season, you had what looked to be the most physically grueling role. How hard was it for you do all that?
LAURA: I grew up very dedicated to whatever I’m doing. I started doing martial arts and I really feel that taught me to focus, meditate and put everything into it. And when I started acting as a child, that’s how I went after my acting career. So getting BITTEN and playing Elena has been one of the best experiences I have ever had. Growing up and doing martial arts and having the focus helped. It was a grueling character. I’m not going to lie, the physical side was testing at times and it was equally matched by the emotional side of it. I think we did everything in that show that I’ve been wanting to do, especially in the finale, in terms of a fight. I think I’ve been the most challenged as Elena has been written so layered and so deep that she is a joy to play. Coming from the foster-care system and having this horrible childhood experience, it has made her a character that doesn’t trust and has to think twice, if not ten times over, before making a move. It’s just sad that the one time she does finally fall in love that this is what happens to her. But I loved working on the show. I loved being a lead of a show and working the house mostly because of the character and the cast. I wanted to go to work every day and work with them. It didn’t matter what time of day it was or how exhausted you were, or how many times I was crying or covered in blood. I enjoyed every second.
The other notable aspect was you were kind of a solo female amongst all these males — and some of the fight scenes looked a little intense. Did you ever go into saying, “Okay, guys, just back up a little bit”?
LAURA: (Laughs) No, I was saying, “Come and get it!” I love a challenge and all of the men on our show are huge and physically capable of doing their all their on stuff. I wanted to go into the series being seen as one of the guys and not being treated any differently and actually throwing the punches myself. Trying to keep up emotionally in the acting scenes with these guys, they were wonderful with me. And eventually we all got to know each other, which didn’t take long as we clicked immediately, and they treated me like one of the guys. They did ask, “Are you okay?” more than they would ask each other, but I went in all in and that’s exactly what we got out of it. Pure heart and intensity. I wouldn’t take a second back. I loved it.
You had such a variety of scenes, you had intense scenes and then tender scenes. Looking back upon it, what were some of your favorite kinds of scenes to work on?
LAURA: Doing the shows that I’ve done in the past, which were a little lighter, I thoroughly enjoyed the dramatic, emotional side of our show. Visually it was a very moody and dark show, I had been wanting to do something like that. It was very reminiscent of a TRUE BLOOD type show. So the scenes with Greg, who plays basically her father. Those were incredible for me because obviously I can touch on that with my father. Greg is giving so much in the scenes. We would genuinely end up crying and laughing and that felt great because not only are Greg and I connecting, but Jeremy and Elena are bonding. So those scenes were always a joy. But I also enjoyed when we would have a little comedic relief. It can be overdone in shows that are dramatic when they throw in a little comedy, but I feel like we got a good blend of it, especially with Steve Lund’s character, Nick. He adds a great sense of comedic relief. Every bit of it, every moment of every emotional scene and every romantic scene, it was all sort of new for me. I hadn’t done much of an adult role like that and it felt great.
The relationship between Elena and Nick was always interesting because we could never quite figure out if they were trying to be siblings or how they were relating to each other. The relationship with Clay was romantic and the relationship with Jeremy was the father-daughter bond. So what was going on with Nick and Elena?
LAURA: Nick is a very sexual character and he’s sort of the playboy of the pack — men and women. Everyone flocks to him. But Elena has a very brother-sister relationship with him. There was a scene where she wakes up and he’s in the bed with her and he’s sort of flirting with her. So they have a playful sort of puppy dynamic. They play fight. They joke around. They push each other over. So it’s more big brother-little sister.
Looking back, what is the one quality you most admired about Elena?
LAURA: Her strength in every which way. It didn’t matter what situation she was in. She wasn’t what some people consider a typical female on television. She held her own. She was smart. She was strong. She just had so many layers. She wasn’t the typical female that I’ve played before. I actually fell in love with Elena and miss her now. I miss playing her. It’s weird to sort of say, but personally while we were filming I was going through changes as well and some of the stuff was sort of mirroring my character. So I found solace in her and letting out the emotions. I love that she is feminine. In the book and the show, she is feminine, but she’s also a killer. In the end, that’s who she is. But she doesn’t seem to lose that side of her and she’s got a tender heart — sort of the mother of the pack.
She was also very conflicted at times. As the actress looking back into the role, if you could give her some advice, what would you tell her?
LAURA: She’s conflicted about a lot of stuff. But I guess the main theme is the conflicted feelings between Philip and Clay. If I had any advice for her now, it would be to let go and more forward. Whether it is to let go of the pain and anger she feels towards the man who molested her as a child; she clearly has that tucked deep inside her. She doesn’t want to think about it, even though she must have in her therapy sessions, and when he comes back, it’s like a brick at her heart. She clearly hasn’t really dealt with it. So I’d say with that and with her relationship, she really needs to forgive and forget and follow her heart and really take some time to figure out what is truly important to her and where she really belongs. She was really trying to force the relationship with Philip in Toronto and live a normal life. But that is not who she is and she cannot change who she is. So she really needs to adjust her life and her needs and her wants to the werewolf world.
Looking towards the finale, is there a particular fun Clay and Elena moment that fans can look forward to?
LAURA: There is a few. They have a lot of tender moments in the finale as they sort of come back together. There’s a scene where he’s in the tub and she’s sort of bathing him and getting him ready and strong again. That was just a really nice moment that we hadn’t seen with them — where all is quiet. T.J. Scott who directed it, shot it so gorgeous. It’s like a whole other mood of the show. It’s light and it’s soft. It’s like a Sunday afternoon with the sunlight streaming in and they are just quiet together. I don’t think we’ve seen that and it’s just beautiful.
The bloody Season 1 finale of BITTEN airs Monday night, April 7th at 8:00 p.m. on Syfy.