Canadian actress Laura Vandervoort is no stranger to franchises. Way before Melissa Benoist donned the red and blue suit to play Kara Zor-El on Supergirl, some folks may have associated the Kryptonian babe with Vandervoort, who played Superman’s cousin in three seasons of Smallville. And now, Vandervoort — whose other credits include the remake of the alien-invasion drama V, the werewolf saga Bitten and Seth MacFarlane’s Ted — is part of the twisted universe of Saw.
In Jigsaw, the gruesome eighth chapter of the booby-trap-laden series, she plays one of the victims of Tobin Bell’s iconic Jigsaw Killer. “He’s such a professional,” says Vandervoort of her first meeting with Bell. “He really cares about his legendary character and the fans. Tobin truly thinks through every beat, every moment. He’s such a talented, kind and thoughtful actor. It was an honour to work with him.”
8 DAYS: How did you get involved in Jigsaw?
LAURA VANDERVOORT: I am a fan of the Saw franchise, or rather, horror and psychological thrillers in general. I got a phone call that the directors of Jigsaw, Michael and Peter Spierig, wanted to meet with me. Before that, I was already a fan of their previous work [the loopy time-travel thriller Predestination]. So we had a quick meeting, we got along rather well, and I got the job.
In Jigsaw, your character wakes up with a bucket on her head and is chained to a wall lined with buzz saws. She’s then trapped in a silo where sharp objects are dropped on her. It's intense to watch those scenes. Was it just as intense to film them?
While you are shooting them, you have so many crew members and actors around, and you have to stop between takes to reset and start over again, so it was definitely not as terrifying as watching those sequences with the music and sound effects added in. I’m slightly claustrophobic, so being in the silo was a little more terrifying for me than the other set-pieces. But overall, it was just so much fun to be a part of it. It was emotionally and physically draining every day, but in the best possible way.
What sets The Jigsaw Killer apart from the likes of Michael Meyers and Freddy Krueger is that he’s more of a vigilante, like Dexter Morgan. His victims are people who’ve done bad things. Do you approve of his methods?
I don’t want to agree or disagree with him. I think it’s quite a big subject. I think he’s like Robin Hood, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. There’s a heart behind the reasoning for it, and to some people it might make sense. He’s making these traps to have the victims confess to their sins and see what they’ve done wrong, and he thinks that he’s helping humanity or righting wrongs within the world. I can’t necessarily, for myself, say whether or not he should be doing it that way (laughs).
You have blonde hair, but you are a brunette in the movie. Was that a personal or artistic decision?
It was both. The directors asked if I’d be willing to change my hair colour, and, of course I said yes, because I was already looking for a change. I think a lot of actors always want to change their image, and if it best suits the character they’re playing, then that’s even more reason.
Is there a particular image you are walking away from by changing your hair colour?
You don’t want to be pigeonholed as one kind of actor with one look or one character. Sometimes you change things in order to play other roles, so I wasn’t necessarily walking away from the way fans of Smallville or Bitten have seen me. It was more of an evolution. Mentally, it also helps get me into a different mindset — it’s easier to play a character who’s done some bad things when you physically feel different.
You played Supergirl on Smallville for a few seasons. Then on Supergirl, you were the villain, Indigo. Helen Slater is on that show too. Did the three Supergirls ever take a photo together?
Unfortunately not! Helen Slater was on Smallville as my aunt, and we got to do quite a few scenes together, and she was incredible and lovely. But when I was on Supergirl as Indigo, I actually didn't see Helen while I was on the set. We didn’t have any scenes together. I just worked with Melissa Benoist. It would’ve been great if the three of us had taken a picture together, but the scheduling didn’t work out for us.
Laura Vandervoort Photo: Robert Sebree
Jigsaw (M18) is in cinemas now. Supergirl is on Warner TV (Singtel TV Ch 306 & StarHub Ch 515), Netflix and HOOQ; Bitten is on Netflix.