Bitten, the new supernatural thriller from SyFy, is based on the New York Times best-selling novels “Women of the Otherworld” by Kelley Armstrong. The series is starring Laura Vandervoort as Elena Michaels, the lone female werewolf in existence. The talented actress previously appeared on Smallville, V, and Instant Star.
Bitten also stars Greg Bryk (A History of Violence) as werewolf Pack “Alpha” Jeremy Danvers, Greyston Holt (Alcatraz) as Elena’s werewolf ex-boyfriend Clayton Danvers, and Paul Greene (The Client List) as Elena’s current beau, Philip McAdams.
Laura and Kelley recently spoke with reporters about the new series, premiering this January on the network.
What was your inspiration behind the book series?
Kelley Armstrong: For the books, Bitten actually came out of an X-files episode. I was in a writing group. And as part of a writing group you’re expected to actually write new stuff. I was trying to come up with an idea, sat down and watched
It was way back in their first season. Their one and only werewolf episode. It was your typical big guy who changes into some beast like thing and goes around slaughtering people under the full moon. And I said that’s not how I would do werewolves.
And for a writer, that then sparks how would I do them? And I wrote a short story with this character named Elena and I loved that world so much that I wrote a book.
Laura, how did you get involved with the series?
Laura Vandervoort: I read Women of the Otherworld and Bitten and did a bit of research. And as soon as I realized the amazing quality of what was there I jumped on. And we did some auditions and chemistry reads with the guys and we just sort of hit the ground running—no pun intended.
And I mean it was the most challenging six months I’ve had thanks to Kelley and the writers. Every day was a challenge for me. And there were days where I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle the emotional side of it or the physical side of it or just being in every scene. And I did. And I’m so grateful.
Can you tell us a little bit about the relationship between Elena and her pack?
Laura: It’s complicated. She grew up in a foster care system – so never really had much of a family dynamic. So once she’s Bitten into the pack it’s conflicted because she is the trade. They didn’t – it wasn’t at her, you know, it wasn’t by her own will. They bit her. And she had to survive it on her own. But at the same time she finally has a family that she’s always wanted and people who will look out for her.
So she’s torn between, you know, what she’s always wanted and how she got it – and then the life that she should be living in Toronto. But eventually within the season you realize that she is very close with the pack and she is their best tracker and she does love them all equally in different ways. And wants to help them and help the family.
How about the chemistry with Clayton?
Laura: We auditioned a lot of actors for both the Paul and Clay characters. And I think Greyston just embodied everything that we wanted for Clay — not only physically was he like a wolverine and just, you know, a wonderful spirited guy, but he was an incredible actor.
I think we connected immediately in the scenes. He was respectful and we worked off of each other and improvised and he was just like – I think the minute he walked in — especially Daegon and I — the two women in the room just looked at each other and said that’s him.
Can you talk a little about the character of Elena?
Kelley: So the creation of Elena really was – I mean it is my first published novel. So it was way back. And I wanted to create a character who would be a werewolf and be uncomfortable with that role, but ultimately come to embrace it.
So often we — at that time — saw werewolves that was a curse, something that you wanted to end to get out of. And I wanted a character who — while she would feel that she should think that way — really deep down doesn’t. And
Bitten was about coming to understand that what you think you should be is not always what you’re meant to be.
Laura: A lot of, you know, there’s a lot of parallels with Elena in the show and women in general. You know, Elena flees to Toronto to try to hide who she truly is and try to have this almost perfect image of what she feels people need from her, but she’s just pushing down the animal inside of her. And it’s such an amazing character that a lot of the skeletons in her closet are explored this season. You learn a lot about her history and some of her demons come back.
So every episode was shocking to us when we’d read it. We had no idea, you know, where they were going to go with it. So I think even if you’re not a sci-fi fan you’re going to find something that you truly love about this show because it’s not just about the sci-fi. It’s not just about the werewolves, it’s about the characters and their relationships and it’s just very layered.
Bitten premieres Monday, January 13th at 10/9c on SyFy.