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Feature: Blade: The Series
Tooth and Claw
Actress Jessica Gower discusses Vampires and villains, blood and gore, as Blade crosses over from the realm of film to television
Jessica Gower co-stars on Blade: The Series as Chase, the sexy, sinister Vampire with the peroxide-blond hair. She’s making the role her own, deliciously playing the henchman of House of Chthon boss Marcus Van Sciver (Neil Jackson), who is the key rival of the day walker himself, Blade (Kirk Jones). Funny thing is, Gower initially went in to read for the role of Krista, played by Jill Wagner.
“My agency put me up for the main female role,” Gower explains. “Krista’s role was really prominent in the pilot and they put me up for that, naturally. The casting lady said, ‘Look, you’re much more suited for the Chase character. Do you want to come back in a half-hour after reading over some new lines and audition for her?’ And straight away I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds great.’ Reading the pilot script, the character wasn’t that big but I was told that they intended to build her up for the series, to develop her more after the pilot.
“Chase really appealed to me because she’s a very dark character. She’s a Vampire to begin with, which was intriguing. So I auditioned for Chase. I got one audition after another, over the period of one week. I auditioned on Monday, then on Friday I had another, really nerve-wracking audition in front of all the network people and the producers, and then on Friday night I found out that I actually got the role of Chase. That was really exciting. Then on Sunday I had to fly into Vancouver to start filming on the Monday. So it was all very quick.”
Blade is based on the Marvel comic books that also inspired the big-screen Blade films with Wesley Snipes, and all three big-screen outings were penned by David Goyer, who co-wrote the show’s two-hour pilot and is an executive producer. However, while the series retains much of the overall feel of the comics and films, it is its own entity, with a fresh setting – Detroit – several new characters and plenty of original dilemmas that routinely pit protagonists Blade, Krista and Shen (Nelson Lee) against the villains, Marcus, Chase and all the Vampires who answer to them.
Chase, of course, is one of the series’ new characters. But that hardly mattered to Gower because the actress – an Australian whose credits include the shows The Secret Life of Us, Crash Palace and All Saints, as well as the film Blurred – knew nothing of the comics and little more about the films. She pretty much went by what she read in the pilot script written by Goyer and Geoff Johns. “She has a lot of things going for her,” Gower notes. “I think what probably most appealed about her was that she’s a vampire. I’ve always been a vampire fan, with Buffy. I used to love that. I think in the vampire world there are no limits or boundaries to what they’re capable of. I felt like this was a really good idea for a series.”
by Ian Spelling
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