Kelly Overton Interview: ‘Van Helsing’ and Her Love of Vampires

Van Helsing star Kelly Overton
Kelly Overton from ‘Van Helsing’ at Comic Con 2016 (Photo © Richard Chavez / Showbiz Junkies)

Van Helsing star Kelly Overton (True Blood) said that her character in Syfy’s Van Helsing actually bites vampires to turn them back into humans. It’s an interesting twist which Overton says did not require her to wear special vampire-biting fangs. “I don’t have vampire teeth,” said Overton, laughing. “I just fricking bite them. There’s this thing that happens inside that I imagine happens to vampires, and I want to (bite them). It’s this primal urge, like I want to bite them. I think we kind of explore that more in the future, the details of how all those mechanics work. Yeah, I’m just kind of like a chick who bites back.”

Overton was with her Van Helsing cast mates at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con where she talked to reporters about her starring role in the upcoming series. Syfy just announced they will premiere Van Helsing on Friday, September 23, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT, and the network also released the following synopsis for season one:

“In a twist on the classic vampire adventure tale, Van Helsing revolves around unlikely heroine Vanessa Helsing (Overton), who unexpectedly discovers that she holds the key to humanity’s survival: her own blood! Gifted with not only an immunity to vampires, Vanessa is also capable of taking out her bloodthirsty foes by turning them into humans with her bite. Now both prey and predator, Vanessa sinks her teeth into her role as humanity’s leader – and secret weapon – in their resistance against the vampires that plagued their world.”

Kelly Overton Interview:

What was the appeal of Van Helsing?

Kelly Overton: “I got the script and my agent was, ‘You’ve got to read this. It’s right up your alley.’ He was right. It was this beautiful combination of passions of my life. I mean, it was the vampire genre and that’s something that’s been in my life since I was young. I was obsessed with vampires as a kid. And the athletic aspect to the role, the athleticism that it required. I come from a really athletic background so that aspect of it is like if I get to act and be athletic, do my thing physically like that, it’s kind of a double whammy for me. And we didn’t see this much in the footage we showed but Vanessa is a mom. She has a daughter and I have a daughter. She wakes up from being in a coma for three years and she finds the world’s gone to shit. There’s all these people who want her for different reasons but all she cares about is her daughter. Where’s her daughter? Could she have survived? She has to find out. That becomes her main mission becomes finding her daughter.

I loved that. It was something I could really resonate with and get passionate about. I just thought it was a really cool journey that she goes on, this self-discovery. I loved that it happens with the audience. The audience and her are discovering it at the same time. I loved that.”

Why have you had a lifelong love of vampires?

Kelly Overton: “That’s a great question, I think. I keep asking myself that and so do other people. The best answer at this time that I could come up with is this idea of being immortal, of conquering death… I mean, we’re all and tied into true love, and then loving somebody so much that you want to spend eternity with them I think innately is kind of in our hearts as humans, that we all want those things. I think that’s why the genre does so well and that’s why as a kid I thought it was really awesome. And you can fly!”

Are you more of a Bram Stoker’s Dracula than Lost Boys type of person?

Kelly Overton: “No, no, no, no, no. I love Lost Boys. Love Lost Boys! Even Fright Night, and Anne Rice – I was obsessed with Anne Rice growing up. I would recite Interview with a Vampire in the graveyard with my boyfriend. I totally did that.”

Can you talk about your physical training for the role?

Kelly Overton: “Because I’ve done a secession of physical roles from Tekken to True Blood, it’s part of my job to stay fit and to get in the gym and do my thing. So, boxing and MMA. One of the things that was really fun for me was I focused on body building, more body building moves like dead lifts and just getting stronger and having more muscle mass which was really fun. Yeah, I love that. Like I said, being able to use that athletic part of me and those two passions at the same time was like…I love it.”

Coming into the role what did you think of Van Helsing as a female instead of the typical male that we see?

Kelly Overton: “I thought it was cool. I thought there were so many things that they were flipping, that they were turning the genre on its head, from having Neil LaBute who’s this prolific playwright do a vampire show – a TV vampire show. That was kind of like, ‘What?!’ Having Van Helsing be a woman, having her be someone who bites vampires and turns them human. There were so many things that were new and kind of the flip, which I thought was really cool. As far as her being a woman, you know did I feel like… It’s a totally new show, you know? It’s not like I was wearing the hat and the crossbow and was trying to be Van Helsing but as a woman. I thought it was great.”

You didn’t feel any extra weight because of the history of the character?

Kelly Overton: “At times I felt the responsibility to represent as a female and do that justice. But the more I didn’t focus on that and the more I tried to do the best job I could do as an actor, I knew that was my best shot at even succeeding at that. I tried to take that pressure off of myself.”

Watch the full Kelly Overton interview: