Fine Tuning: Bitten star sees feminist strength in sci-fi

Laura Vandervoort is not only fierce onscreen, but she can also kick butt in real life. The actress holds a second-degree black belt in karate and stars as the world’s only female werewolf in the new sci-fi thriller Bitten.

Based on the best-selling books by Canadian author Kelley Armstrong, the show centres on Elena, a werewolf for whom life — as you’d expect — is very much “hair today, gone tomorrow.”

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But Elena has more to worry about than an overdue leg-waxing job — she’s part of the pack of hirsute hellraisers prowling undetected in Toronto, and struggling to balance life as a human with her carnivorous lupine identity.

“Preparing the fight scenes, we’d watch what wolves do in the wild with their alphas or animals that were inferior to them, or if they were trying to kill, like circling a prey or holding eye contact,” Vandervoort says.

“Then we’d try to incorporate that in our fights.”

The 29-year-old actress does many of her own stunts, putting her black belt training to good use.

“I was a fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and that got me into karate,” she says. “It taught me how to be disciplined and focused and motivated. And that spilled into acting and wanting to achieve a certain goal.

“It also kept me out of trouble in school.”

An alumna of TV fare such as Smallville, V, and the spooky Canadian kids’ series Goosebumps and Are You Afraid of the Dark?, the Toronto native is an accidental sci-fi savant.

“When I was cast in Smallville, I was put into that world and I went to Comic-Con and loved the fans and everything about the genre. Being cast in V, again, was sort of a fluke because I was a guest star and it became a regular role,” she says.

“But I love women who are strong, and sci-fi seems to have a lot of women who are not only supernatural but have the ability to take care of themselves.

“I don’t go looking for it, but sci-fi seems to be a perfect fit for me.”

Vandervoort recently wrote the children’s book Super Duper Delia, about a girl who, on her 10th birthday, finds out she’s a superhero. The project became a live-action series that’s in the casting stages.

“I went to a lot of comic conventions and I met young girls who were seven or eight, and they loved superheroes. But a lot of the female superheroes wore belly shirts and little skirts, and it just didn’t seem right,” she says.

“[Delia is] quirky and odd and nerdy and smart, and she dresses in a unique way.

“I wanted to appeal to the girls to be themselves and not try to be anything else.”

6 p.m. Space

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