Laura Vandervoort fans are in for a treat. After four seasons of playing Kara/Supergirl on “Smallville,” the “Bitten” actress has booked the recurring role of Indigo on CBS’ “Supergirl.” However, this time around, Vandervoort is more villainous than heroic.
In the DC Comics source material, Indigo was a robotic menace with ties to Braniac, her rampage ultimately leading to the death of several Teen Titans. The “Supergirl” TV series has tweaked her origin, making Indigo a living super-computer who has somehow managed to escape her confinement on Krypton. Now on Earth, the only thing standing in the way of her goals is Supergirl.
Ahead of Indigo’s debut in February 29’s “Solitude,” Vandervoort spoke to CBR News about developing Indigo for the small screen, channeling her inner Angelina Jolie, testing Supergirl’s mettle and reuniting with Tom Welling.
CBR News: After spending a handful of seasons as Kara on “Smallville,” how does it feel to be returning to the DC Universe?
Laura Vandervoort: I think it’s great because the new “Supergirl” series incorporated some of the past characters and actors from other superhero shows, like Dean Cain and Helen Slater. Including me was an honor. The show is fantastic; I love everything they are doing with it. The fact that they asked me to come along for a bit of the journey was something I clearly wanted to be part of. It’s mostly because the “Smallville” fans are so fantastic. I’ve been hearing from them on Twitter that they would like to see me on the show and I wanted to do that. Also, I actually truly love the show.
The character I’m playing, Indigo, is such a badass that I knew I’d have a lot of fun. She’s a living, strong-willed super-computer. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how to play her, how she spoke and how she moved. I’m learning as I go along. It just unravelled quickly and I was on the set already filming. Once I stepped into her costume and how she looks, which is rather unique, I was able to slowly piece together who she was.
It sounds like Indigo is a bit of a work in progress. In what ways did the comic books and producers help influence your performance?
When I learned that they were offering me the role of Indigo, I looked her up immediately. I saw many different versions of what she looked like and descriptions of who she was, that went in depth so much that they talked about how she enjoys doing her laundry. There’s a lot of information out there that you can or can’t use. You have to sift through the important facts.
After doing that, I spoke to Andrew Kreisberg, the executive producer on the show. He gave me a few ideas of who Indigo was and how they wanted to see her played. He actually mentioned Angelina Jolie in “Beowulf” and how she portrayed her character. That was really the only direction I was given. I found myself on the set playing her. The weirder I got, I thought, “For sure they are going to tell me I’ve gone too far. That this is strange, bizarre and doesn’t work.” They didn’t pull back. It’s getting weirder and weirder.
Indigo is a purplish blue female alien. How much did they have to tinker with how to bring that image to the small screen?
I can’t say a word.
But, you have a costume?
Well, yes, I have wardrobe. They are waiting to reveal how Indigo looks. I don’t want to get in any trouble, but I can tell you I’m unrecognizable.
They could have gone the Mystique route and spray painted you. What were your expectations when you initially saw a picture of Indigo?
I did ask them some questions. They assured me I wouldn’t be in the hair and makeup chair extensively, and they would try to find their own version of Indigo. I think my concern was, “Am I going to be completely naked?” They assured me of a few things I was concerned about. I’m really excited at what they’ve created.
You called Indigo a badass. How does she test Supergirl’s mettle?
I think just with her sheer presence and confidence. I can’t tell you how some of her abilities allow Indigo to outmaneuver Supergirl. She’s a new major threat to National City and to Supergirl. I’ve shot an episode so far. I’m not sure where we’re going with the rest of her storyline, but it’s definitely been fun. Melissa [Benoist] and I have had a great time shooting it.
Indigo doesn’t shy away from physical combat. How do some of “Supergirl’s” action sequences compare to your “Smallville” days?
On “Smallville,” Kara was more powerful than Superman at the time because he was still figuring his powers out and she was trying to teach him to fly. A lot of my stunts were harness work, which isn’t too tasking. On “Bitten,” and equally on “Supergirl,” it’s more hand-to-hand combat and longer fight sequences. That’s actually more difficult than just being harnessed up and flying. But, I enjoy doing those things because I grew up doing martial arts. It breaks up the acting day’s work where it’s long and monotonous and also very grueling. It’s nice to mix it up with a little action.
How does playing a supervillain compare to being a do-gooder?
Both are great. I have played a lot of heroes with Elena on “Bitten,” as Supergirl on “Smallville” and even Lisa on “V.” To be honest, it is a little more fun to play the bad guy because I feel you can step outside of your comfort zone. You can try things that are a little odd and quirky and off. It’s a little more liberating than trying to be nice, stick to the rules and stay within the realm of your character’s personality. With bad guys, they can always be a little mentally off. You never know what will happen with them.
It seems people have been clamoring for “Smallville’s” leading man, Tom Welling, to guest-star on “Supergirl” as well. Would you like to reunite with him on “Supergirl,” and in what capacity?
I was actually just hanging out with Tom. A group of us went to Mexico. I had asked him about “Supergirl” and he said he hadn’t heard anything on it yet. I know he’s been super busy. He has his own show and had a movie come out. He’s a great guy and I would love to work with him again in any capacity. It would be nice to go toe-to-toe with him because we have that history.
“Supergirl” airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS.