Van Helsing star Tricia Helfer teases Dracula’s biting season 5 return

Tricia Helfer. Photo Credit: Manfred Baumann/Courtesy of MLC PR.
Tricia Helfer. Photo Credit: Manfred Baumann/Courtesy of MLC PR. /

When Van Helsing premieres tomorrow, it will be with Dracula having a firm grip on the world of the SyFy show—which means we get to enjoy more of Tricia Helfer’s bloody marvelous (literally) performance as the Dark One.

But where does Dracula go after last season’s shocking cliffhanger where she murdered the President? What was it like to film the final season of SyFy’s most underrated series? And how does Tricia continue to bring these larger than life characters to such brilliant life?

Check out our interview with Tricia Helfer below and then don’t miss her as Dracula in the Van Helsing season 5 premiere on Friday, April 16 at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on SyFy!

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Hidden Remote: Van Helsing‘s last season ended with Dracula’s biggest kill yet. Did you know from the beginning that you’d be coming back for season 5 and a final showdown?

Tricia Helfer: I knew I was coming back in the fifth season. They knew at the time the fifth season was going to be their final season.  [In] a story about vampires, I think in the final season you sort of have to meet the ultimate vampire, right?  So I knew going into season 4 that I was being introduced to then be in the fifth season.

I didn’t know the President angle.  I didn’t have anything to go off of besides the mid-season episode in season 4 which was the seventh episode—where Dracula was released from the dark realm and returned to it.  I had no idea what was going to happen in the finale or in season 5, but often you sign up for things where you don’t fully know where they’re going to go.

HR: This is a show where a lot of things happen in pretty much every episode. What has it been like for you to work on a series that’s got so much plot packed into it?

TH: I remember being in the finale last season and in some ways completely confused as to what was going on, because I hadn’t watched the whole series prior.  When I was offered the role I did my best, catching up with as much as I could.  I watched the first season, but then you’ve got to go off and work.  You can’t just sit in front of the TV watching three seasons straight; you don’t have time.

When I shot the finale, I remember talking to Jennifer [Cheon Garcia] going, “I don’t understand who’s who… you’re Ivory who’s both vampire and not, and then there’s Avery and there’s the Oracle and there’s Bathory.”  Some people were playing so many different roles or versions of roles. I wasn’t given all the scripts in between, so I had no idea what was happening in the fourth season finale.  That was the hardest thing for me—not knowing what the hell was happening.

I just thought, “You know what, Dracula is newly released into the world herself, and while she’s got her plan, she’s kind of figuring things out as well.”  And when I was talking to Jenn she was like, “Just don’t even try right now. Don’t even try to figure it out.”  So going into the fifth season, I said to Jonathan [Lloyd Walker], the showrunner, “I need the scripts that I’m not in as well, because I need to know what’s going on.”

Some of the later episodes refer to things that the character would have known but I, Tricia, wouldn’t have known and known how to play it or the subtlety of playing it if I hadn’t read the other scripts because you’re not there. You’re not on set; you’re not privy to it.  So they were kind enough to give me all the scripts for the season.

HR: Do you have a favorite Dracula moment or episode to shoot? What sticks out for you in your Van Helsing run?

TH: For my character, my favorite to shoot was definitely the first three episodes of the upcoming season, the Slovakia episodes. We call them Slovakia episodes because we shot them in Slovakia, but it’s a departure for the show in terms of location and time frame. It’s Dracula’s backstory, but it’s also the Van Helsing backstory.

The first three episodes of the season were very special, and also just aesthetically beautiful to shoot. Being able to shoot in these old castles…it’s incredible to be able to just actually be there and play in the moment.  I think aesthetically it’ll be very pleasing for the fans and also storyline-wise, I’m hoping.

And it sets it up the rest of the season.  We obviously don’t stay there. We don’t stay in that time period.  I cannot tell you how or why that happens, how we get there or how we don’t stay there, because that would be a spoiler.  But we ultimately end up back in current time and I just think it’s going be a treat for the fans.

Van Helsing
Tricia Helfer. Photo Credit: Manfred Baumann/Courtesy of MLC PR. /

HR: You are no stranger to playing larger than life, characters, whether it’s Dracula in Van Helsing, your work on Lucifer, or even going back to Battlestar Galactica. Why do you think you fit so well into these epic roles?

TH: I don’t know why.  Either I’m drawn to these roles or these roles are drawn to me.  I’m sure there’s reasons like my height and my voice and whatever, or maybe I need massive therapy and this is the way to get it all out. (laughs) I don’t know, but I often play characters that are very different to myself, like you said, larger than life.  I’m a rather shy, introverted person in many ways, but it’s fun.  And they’re usually great roles to be able to play—strong roles, character roles. I don’t know why they fall in my lap per se, but I’m glad they do.

I remember when I started Lucifer, it was the first take where I’m in the elevator and the doors are shut and all of a sudden I have like a mini-panic attack going, “I’m playing the goddess of all creation. What the hell do I do … How do I do that?”  We’re literally rolling and I’ve prepped it and I’ve rehearsed it and whatever, and it’s not until we’re actually rolling that I panic about playing the goddess.

I was definitely nervous from the beginning to play Dracula because it’s such an iconic character and a lot of brilliant actors have played Dracula.  But I couldn’t worry about that too much; I just had to make it my own. I purposely didn’t watch any previous Dracula movies or shows because I didn’t want to be focused on, “Oh, that’s what Gary Oldman did” or “That’s what so-and-so did.”

Between the fourth and fifth seasons, though, I did read a book on Dracula’s throughout cinematic history, and did finally see the Francis Ford Coppola movie.

HR: Is there anything else Van Helsing fans should be aware of with Dracula as we start the fifth and final season?

TH: I think the fans are in for a wild ride. We definitely see a different side of Dracula because we see her backstory. That comes full circle in the end in some way.

I guess I’ll give you a little tidbit there. There is something that happens in the first part of the season that shakes Dracula a little bit.  We have Dracula at a little bit less of her normal control and superiority, so we see her a little bit weakened. I thought that was interesting to play and to see.

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Van Helsing airs Fridays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on SyFy.