Interview with Nicole Muñoz, Jonathan Scarfe and Tricia Helfer of “Van Helsing” on Syfy by Suzanne 4/12/21
This was a very fun Zoom call with the actors of this Syfy show. I’ve enjoyed watching them on “Van Helsing” and in their other shows as well. It was great to chat with them. This last season of the show is very exciting. I hope you can watch it and enjoy it as well!
Question: How do you relate to Jack as a person? How do you get into that character and follow her through, I guess, season four and into season five?
Nicole: I was just saying before, I have some similarities. I think Jack has really helped me grow as a person, and in terms of offering me some inner strength and some confidence, Jack’s stubbornness and tenacity are things that I think come decently naturally to me.
So, at least a fun thing about Jack this season is we kind of get to see a bit more of her humor, which, you know, it kind of is coming out just because of the circumstances. And I do think that I kind of get to put a little bit more of my personality into Jack, this season. And she’s a little bit less on edge. She’s kind of come into a bit more of “this is the reality that we’re dealing with, and now we’re gonna go forth and push on.”
Jonathan: Oh, I was just saying that Jack has to like find her alpha this year, big time. So, that was, I think, pretty fun for Nicole.
Nicole: Yeah, and Jonathan helped me with that, immensely. Yeah. It was a lot of “what would Jonathan do?” “What would Axel do?”
Question: I posed it to Nicole how she relates to her character Jack, and it was sort of open to everybody, how they relate to their character. So, Trisha, how you relate to Dracula, but also how you relate to Jack and how you relate to Nicole, on and off set.
Tricia: It was definitely a lot of fun getting to work more. I mean, I was only in two episodes last season. In the first episode, Jack and, well, Keeya (King) – I keep saying your names wrong – Violet…were basically knocked out the whole time. So, it was a real treat to get to kind of work with everybody more.
I can’t say I necessarily relate to Dracula myself, but similar to what Nicole said…I do play a lot of very strong characters, and in person, I’m a little bit of an introverted goof. I can come off as cold, because I’m shy quite often. So, it allows me to really kind of just be something that I’m not in my own life. So, sort of learning – I can’t really say I learned much useful from Dracula that would be legal in our society, but certainly playing her does give you a sense of confidence and just sort of a take charge mentality that hopefully I can kind of take that into my own life at some point. Lost our voices a few times, though didn’t we, Nicole?
Nicole: A few, yeah. Thanks Jon.
Tricia: It’s Jonathan’s fault.
Question: I’m going to alter my question a little bit so Jonathan can add to it too, but my question was, we don’t really even know if what the Dark One said to them about Vanessa not being their mother is true. I’m kind of still wondering that, but this season, at least at the beginning, you too definitely, I’d say, [since last season] have different interactions and relationships since they’re not, you know, [in the same place] as where they were last season. So, can you kind of talk about how that relationship between the two of you is going to continue this season and change? And then Jonathan, your relationship with – well, you probably don’t really have one with Dracula, but maybe with Jack.
Nicole: Wanna try to work around spoilers.
Question: Just kind of how those relationships will evolve this season.
Nicole: How my relationship with Dracula evolves this season?
Nicole: Is that kind of the question? I would think definitely –
Jonathan: No [unintelligible] for COVID protocols, it starts there.
Nicole: Yeah, I think we definitely get to know each other, maybe more than we would have wanted to this season, our characters. I think spoiler-wise, I’m gonna stay very far away from this question, but I do think that Jack gets some answers. Some she likes; some she definitely doesn’t. It’s kind of the feeling of the floor coming out under you, or the rug coming out under you.
Tricia: For me, Dracula didn’t really know much about anything going on. She’d been in the Dark Realm. So, she’s kind of at the end of the season coming into the world, and she definitely has her confidence shaken a little bit. I mean, she maybe had a little bit too much of an ego, and again, not giving away spoilers, but she starts to question who she can trust and things like that along the way. And throughout her relationships – interactions, not relationships – interactions with the Van Helsings and the other characters in the show – It’s hard to say without spoilers – She comes to realize they’re more of a formidable foe than she maybe gave them credit for. So, if anything, I could say there’s maybe a little bit of a more of a respect for them than she would have thought at the end of season four. Did that give away too much, Jonathan?
Jonathan: No, I mean, I think that – we were talking about this earlier – I think the writers did an amazing job, but it was, I mean, to not spoil things, but to try and pique some curiosity for the fans, is that, you know, a couple other things you get to discover this season is not just the origin stories of Dracula, which are totally unique to the show; they’ve completely invented their own version of what that would be, but also the origins of the Van Helsings, where they came from, how they evolved, and like how intertwined the two are in a particular way. So, that’s all fully revealed by the end of the season, and I think it’s like the most fun thing about the season, personally, so I’m really excited for fans to check that out and see how they respond to it.
Question: …Let me just congratulate you all, I mean, five seasons finally coming to an end, which is like, hard to believe. So, let me just ask you all a pretty generic question, Nicole, I’ll start with you, then, we’ll go to Jonathan and Trisha. It’s been five seasons; it’s coming to an end. So, first up, how excited are you that these final episodes are coming out and we get to see the Van Helsings and the Dark One come head to head? Then, of course, how are you feeling? A little nostalgic given the fact that the shows come to an end?
Nicole: I’m excited to see the reaction of the viewers once they get to watch the final few episodes. I also think the first few episodes of this season are going to be pretty revealing and very exciting to watch the reactions. I will definitely be looking on Twitter this year and reading what everybody has to say about this season, because, I mean, if I’m this excited, everybody’s gonna be even more so when they watch, because I already know what’s about to happen. But just reading the scripts even was a very fun thing to do, and I like rifle through them so quickly. I can only imagine what that feeling would be like for you, Jonathan, being in this thing for five years, because I only hopped on in season four. What do you think?
Jonathan: Yeah, well, you know, it’s like all things, like this show, you bring it; you’re grinding it out, and there’re ups and downs and the challenges that you kind of face, and then you turn around and five years have gone by, and the thing’s coming to a close. Yeah, you do get definitely a little bit nostalgic thinking, “Oh, gee whiz, this is it. This is goodbye to all these people that have become kind of family and his character that’s kind of become a second skin.” So, yeah, it definitely had a little melancholy to it, for sure, when we came to a close.
Question: Right and Trisha, let me ask you the same question. What should fans expect on this final season?
Tricia: Well, knowing that it was the final season, we had the liberty of being able to follow the mythology from the four seasons prior and really give a conclusion to it. So, we faced a lot this year, like the entire world did, so some alterations were made along the way but not affecting the story, which is great. I think with the first three episodes with the origin story of Dracula and how the Van Helsings meet this character, I think is really going to set it up for the rest of the season, because stuff that happens there and stuff the audience will come to learn is really what drives a lot of the rest of the season to its ultimate conclusion, which I think leading up, I think it the last couple of episodes also really ramp up to this, you know, something’s gonna go down. And, you know, being part of it for really only one season, just briefly introduced in season four, of course, it would have been fun to play longer for me, but I understand what Jonathan’s saying then, it’s a little melancholy when you’ve been on a show for five years or something, and it’s like your second skin. When you’re first playing a character, you’re figuring it out and whatever, and then, by season five, you can just go on set and know who the character is. You almost answer in the character’s voice without even thinking about it. I didn’t necessarily have that with Dracula with only being in the one season, but, boy, did I get some fun stuff to play with.
Question: …You were doing a series that, although it was a supernatural pandemic, it was still a virus like pandemic kind of thing, and you’re doing that for, well, I guess three and a half seasons, four seasons, and then all of a sudden, you’re living through a real pandemic. Did that change your perspective in any way in your characters, in your performance? Did you have maybe more understanding of people who are like hiding inside? So, how did COVID affect your characters is what, I guess, I’m trying to say.
Jonathan: Well, I mean, yeah, I’d had all kinds of resonance in terms of that, you know, what isolation feels like, and we had just come back from shooting the first three episodes before the initial shutdown happened, and then there was a big question mark as to whether we’re gonna be able to get back to work. Then, we were lucky enough to be able to do that. I think we were one of the first shows back in Vancouver working with all the new COVID protocols. The company did an incredible job setting those up, and there’s a lot of pressure on them being the first show back not to screw it up. So, we’re happy that we didn’t, but…other than the stress that might have been visible in everyone’s eyeballs, I don’t know how much it impacted performance, but it certainly resonated.
Tricia: I mean, I don’t think it necessarily affected my character per se.
Jonathan: They didn’t care.
Tricia: I mean, it did affect shooting for me, because, like Jonathan said, we did the episodes in Slovakia, and then literally all flew home just before the lockdown happened. So, there was a lot of stress for everybody. I really give credit to the production team and studio and network and everything, for getting back up and running as quickly as they did. For me, it really only altered filming in terms of changing schedules. I mean, so many things had to be changed, because you want to have less people on set at a time and less interaction and things like that. So, all my stuff that I had left was consolidated into the very end of the shooting. So, you guys all started shooting way early, and I was down in Los Angeles. So, they all started shooting way earlier, and then, when I came in, it was quarantine, obviously, government quarantine, and then fast and furious shooting everything I had for the rest of the season all in, you know –
Jonathan: All in a row. Exactly.
Tricia: All in a row. So, it was –
Jonathan: Like episodes three through thirteen, all your scenes, all the time, nothing but for the final three weeks of shooting.
Tricia: It was like a lot to do in the Slovakia episodes, and then nothing, and just sitting there twiddling my thumbs in LA going, “They’re shooting; they’re shooting.” I’m like, I felt so left out of it, but I’m so proud of them for getting back and then just being fast and furious at the end. But, I mean, Dracula is sort of like an enigma. I don’t know she’s – I’m babbling, but it sort of did, without giving away too much, Dracula was sort of feeling a little bit on edge toward the end. So, there was maybe a little isolated that we haven’t seen of her aside from being locked in the Dark Realm. I guess she was locked in the Dark Realm for a long time. That would have been very isolating. Maybe I could have related to that a little bit. I didn’t put too much into it at the time, though, because just everything so new with you just trying to do a good job trying to keep everybody safe and have fun with the character at the same time.
Tricia: Trying to remember to take your mask off when they say, “Rolling.”
Question: That happened?
Jonathan: Oh, yeah.
Nicole: Sometimes it did, yeah.
Tricia: Yeah, it happened more than once, because everybody’s in masks. It’s like the first time you put on a mask, you feel really bizarre, but then when everybody around you has a mask on, and you take your mask off, you actually feel bizarre.
Nicole: And we even incorporated masks into some of our costumes for a little bit there. I think, character-wise, yeah, it may be a little bit of a stretch, but it must have had some sort of impact just having been isolated. I also came back from Slovakia, and then we isolated for a while, and then they started filming. It was like that feeling of, “I miss everybody, and I can’t wait to see everybody.” Then, once we started filming again, it made those scenes of reunion or scenes with some intimacy in it just that much more important and impactful. And that like yearning for it was more already at the surface and more accessible, I guess, as an actor.
Tricia: I don’t think Dracula gets to hug anyone, but it was like, if you got to hug anybody on set, you’re like, “I’m not letting go!”
Nicole: Yeah. It’s like, “Jack, don’t let go.”
Suzanne: I really enjoyed the three episodes they let us watch… that was great. Without spoilers, obviously, do you think that fans will enjoy the ending?
Tricia: I do. I was the most excited I’ve been about the show in ages was when I read those first three skip scripts for this season. I thought “Wow.” I had no idea how the writers were going to try and figure out a way to bring the thing to a conclusion, and I think they exceeded all expectations and in terms of what they came up with. So, I’m really excited to see the fan reaction to it.
Nicole: Yeah, the first three episodes play out of like a mini movie, and, yeah, I think it’s going to be very satisfying for everybody to watch, and it’s going to be quite the launching board for the rest of the season.
Tricia: That’s exactly what I was just gonna say, Nicole. It’s a launching board for the rest of the season. So, even though they are like a little mini movie and set in Transylvania, where the rest of the season isn’t, it really does set up what the characters are going through, and knowledge and experience and questions to figure things out. But the following episodes are really where all the mythology from the first four seasons really gets layered into the very end, and there’s a nugget at the very end in the finale that I just think is so fun…that I think is just going to have some fans drop their chins to the floor.
Question: This is for the entire cast. How would you describe season five in three words?
Jonathan: Season five in three words, wow. “Big questions answered.”
Nicole: “The final season.”
Tricia: …I want to look up my notes for the other day. What did I say?
Nicole: Had I done my press homework, I would have actually had the answer to this.
Tricia: Family is one of my words. Family, [resilience], and teamwork? I’m trying to stay away from like bloody and gashy and death.
Jonathan: Jaw freaking dropping.
Here is the video version of it.
Interview Transcribed by Jamie of http://www.scifivision.com
Van Helsing is set in the near future, where vampires have risen and taken control. Vanessa Van Helsing is humanity’s last hope, as her unique blood composition gives her the ability to turn vampires human. With this secret weapon, Vanessa becomes a prime target for the vampires. Van Helsing comes from the producers of Fargo and Hell on Wheels. Jonathan Lloyd Walker serves as showrunner.
In the fifth and final season of “Van Helsing,” Vanessa, Violet, and Jack will risk it all to finally bring an end to the Dark One once and for all. The Van Helsings must figure out ways to escape and evade the various obstacles in their path to prevent them from their mission, leading to an epic final showdown between the Van Helsings and the Dark One. Who will win the battle between light and dark?
Axel, “Van Helsing”
Multiple award-winning actor Jonathan Scarfe stars as Axel, a Marine ordered to guard the body of Vanessa Van Helsing.
Scarfe, a seasoned actor, producer, director and writer with over 20 years of experience, has been nominated six times for the Gemini Awards (the Canadian Emmys) and won twice for his work in “The Sheldon Kennedy Story” and the mini-series “Above and Beyond.” He is also the recipient of two Leo Awards for his work on “Hell on Wheels” and “Love on the Air.” As a director, he wrote and shot the multiple award-winning short film “Speak” with his wife Suki Kaiser.
In 2012, Scarfe embarked on a two-and-a-half-year sailing odyssey, entirely off the grid, with his wife and two children. The trip would ultimately encompass a circumnavigation of the North and South Pacific oceans and over 18,000 sea miles.
Nicole Muñoz was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She began her acting career at the age of four. With over fifteen years experience Nicole has garnered over 40 credits including beloved shows such as Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, The 100, Defiance and a lead role in SYFY’s Van Helsing.
Tricia Helfer is a Canadian cover girl model-turned-actress who has developed her resume beyond the catwalk to include many diverse roles highlighting her versatile and natural screen presence. Best known as the face of the series, and for her Leo award-winning lead performance as the humanoid, Cylon ‘Number Six’ in the critically acclaimed Syfy series, Battlestar Galactica (2004), Helfer has since gone on to book leading roles on a wide variety of networks. Tricia currently stars in FOX’s “Lucifer”, switching gears from the role as Lucifer’s mother Charlotte, to an attorney by the same name.
Prior to “Lucifer,” Tricia was recurring in season two of the Playstation & Sony Picture TV series, “Powers.” Just before that, Helfer also played the lead of the Syfy channel’s original miniseries “Ascension” co-starring Brian Van Holt. In early 2014, Helfer starred as the lead of the ABC series, “Killer Women”. The Sofia Vergara-produced series followed beautiful badass Molly Parker (Helfer), in the notorious Texas Rangers frontier patrol, as she pursued justice despite being embroiled in a continuous fight for her peers’ respect.
Born in Donalda, Alberta, Canada, Helfer launched her modeling career at age 17, and erupted into an international superstar after winning the Ford Models’ Supermodel of the World Contest in 1992. Her modeling credits include appearances in high-end ad campaigns for Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Versace, Givenchy, and Dolce & Gabbana as well as covers for national publications such as ELLE, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Flare and Vogue.
In 2002, Helfer turned her focus to acting, moving to Los Angeles and quickly earning a guest star spot on the second season finale of “C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation.” The following year she earned her break with “Battlestar Galactica,” achieving a remarkably fast and successful transition into acting. During her hiatus from “Battlestar Galactica,” Helfer portrayed the legendary Farrah Fawcett in NBC’s film, “Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie’s Angels.” She furthered expanded her portfolio by starring as ‘Stephanie Jacobs’ opposite Dennis Hopper and Billy Zane in the independent feature “Memory,” and later starred alongside LeeLee Sobieski in another independent, “Walk All Over Me,” which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Helfer returned to the small-screen in 2008, joining the cast of the USA Network’s hit series, “Burn Notice” for a multi-episode arc. The next year she filmed recurring guest spots on the award-winning CBS comedy, “Two and a Half Men,” while appearing on Fox’s crime shows “Chuck,” and “Lie to Me.” In 2010, Helfer booked a series regular role on the ten-episode arc of Jerry Bruckheimer’s “Dark Blue,” starring opposite Dylan McDermott and went on to do a variety of terrific roles on series such as “Suits,” on USA Network, “Key and Peale,” “The Librarians,” “Community,” “Chuck,” “Jeremiah” and “Franklin & Bash,” among others.
In addition to her vast array of television roles, Tricia starred in the film, “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings,” with Harvey Keitel, Scott Caan, and JK Simmons and ;ater, went on to star in “Authors Anonymous” with Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting. Next up, is another lead role in thriller, “Isolation” co-starring Luke Malby, a film that will portray the true events of a couple vacationing in the Bahamas. The getaway quickly spirals out of control, forcing the couple into survival mode.
Adding to her impressive resume, Helfer has done prolific voiceover work in mega-hit video game franchises including, playing the roles of Commander Veronica Dare in Halo: ODST, EDI in Mass Effect 2 and 3, Sarah Kerrigan in Blizzard Entertainment’s StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, for which she won the 2010 VGA for Best Performance by a Human Female, as well as in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. She also showcased her voice talent in animated productions, “Green Lantern: First Flight,” a Cartoon Network TV movie, on Disney XD’s “The Spectacular Spiderman”, and on Disney XD’s TRON: Uprising.
In addition to acting, Helfer continues to support as many causes as she can, as she strongly believes in giving back. Tricia supports the Humane Society of United States, Best Friends Animal Society, AmFAR, PETA, Kitten Rescue and Richmond Animal Protection Society.
Tricia, who has dual citizenship in the US and Canada, and resides in Los Angeles.
Proofread and Edited by Brenda