While there may be detractors, make no mistake about it, climate change is very real and has some very dire consequences. In the new series V-Wars, now available globally on Netflix, climate change is responsible for bringing about the vampire apocalypse. When Dr. Luther Swann (Ian Somerhalder) and his best friend, Michael Fayne (Adrian Holmes), accidentally release an ancient virus, normal people become pitted against each other as the number of “vampires” grow. Fayne is infected and becomes leader of those vampires, while Dr. Swann must try to understand what is happening.
Helping Fayne lead the underground legion of vampires is his girlfriend, Danika Dubov. Toronto actress Kimberly-Sue Murray (Shadowhunters) plays Danika, who has also been infected with the disease, in the series based off of the Jonathan Maberry IDW comic. Murray recently spoke with The TV Junkies about why V-Wars is so much more than your standard vampire fare, as well as gave insight into Danika and her relationships with others on the series. Murray noted that in particular, fans should tune in to see Danika’s complicated relationship with her sister Mila, played by Bitten star Laura Vandervoort.
The TV Junkies: What really attracted you to the show and made you want to be a part of it?
Kimberly-Sue Murray: I’ve always been a huge fan of the vampire genre. I’ve watched Buffy, Twilight, True Blood, you name it. Playing a vampire was always on my radar and something I joked about, but this is a different kind of show. It’s very grounded in reality and has so many parallels to what’s happening in our world today. It touches on climate change, immigration, discrimination, and hate crimes. The show is really relevant and goes beyond the genre.
The series is also based off the Jonathan Maberry comics and anthology, and I’ve always wanted to be a part of taking literature and making it into a cinematic experience. I thought that was really cool.
TTVJ: Had you read the comics? How does the series compare for those that are fans of the comic and books?
KSM: I read the V-Wars anthology because I knew Danika was in there, and I wanted that as my starting place. Obviously, the show takes liberties and there are different aspects, but I really wanted to capture the relationship between Danika and Mila because it’s very specific. The stories are so good and I was definitely a fan. I highly recommend that if people tune in and are fans of the show that they go read the books.
TTVJ: What can you share with us about your V-Wars character, Danika?
KSM: Not everyone in V-Wars can turn into a vampire. You need to have the mutated gene pre-existing in your body in order to turn. Danika is a vampire though, and she’s first infected by Fayne. They have a relationship and she embraces being a vampire when she turns. That’s unlike Mila, who sort of fights it and becomes a bit of a vampire slayer. Danika has always been self-centered and power driven. She’s a little bit opportunistic and takes advantage of the situation.
TTVJ: It appeared in the trailer that Fayne may be a leader of the vampires. Does that make Danika the First Lady?
KSM: Well, that’s very insightful of you. [laughs] Maybe. Maybe…
TTVJ: Since Danika is involved with Fayne, what was it like building that with Adrian Holmes?
KSM: Honestly, Adrian is such a wonderful human being, and obviously he’s a great actor. We totally hit it off on set, and he always made it super safe for me to explore with Danika. They have a very steamy relationship and he was so wonderful to work with. He’s the kind of actor that is always there for you and ready to figure the scene out. We would work on a simple scene and then find all these layers. I really loved working with him.
TTVJ: You mentioned Mila, but for those who don’t know a lot about the series, what can you share about her relationship with Danika?
KSM: It’s so funny because Laura and I both live in Toronto, and I’ve always heard so many great things about her. We have so many friends in common but have never met. When I found out she was Mila I was so excited. She comes from the genre wold, having worked on Bitten, and we got along so well. However, Mila and Danika are sisters and don’t get along really well. There’s a rivalry and a lot of history there.
Danika is also the one that turns Mila, and that really adds to the tension between the two. Mila definitely despises her sister for turning her. She hates herself now and this has ruined her life. I can’t say much else, but there’s a lot of tension there, and it’s two sisters against each other.
TTVJ: I really love a good sisters storyline so I’m here for it.
KSM: Me too! I’m really close to my sister in real life so it was interesting, because I also like Laura so much, to have that dynamic on set. I’m very curious as well to see how it continues to progress. I also think we really did the books justice in terms of their relationships. There are some differences in the storyline, but their dynamic is definitely the same.
TTVJ: You went into a little bit about how people have to have the gene in order to turn, but how are the vampires on V-Wars different from vampires we may have encountered in other series?
KSM: On other shows vampires are usually ancient creatures with powers who glitter in the sun. On V-Wars, that’s not it at all. They are not glamorous. They are ugly, raw, and vicious. It’s a disease and they don’t know if there’s a cure. All they know is that people are turning at a rapid rate, and Dr. Swann is looking for a cure. People are fending for their lives and there’s a war happening between humanity and the bloods. Who you are today is not who you may be tomorrow. Is there humanity in that? Do you just get rid of vampires? That’s a genocide. Do you kill people because they are different? The series really questions all of that.
TTVJ: Genre TV can sometimes be dismissed, but I find one of the best things about it is that it often makes some of the best social commentaries.
KSM: That’s especially true here because the whole show starts because of climate change and the melting of the ice caps. Dr. Swann and Michael Fayne go on an expedition and that’s when the virus escapes the ice caps. Fayne has the mutated gene so he’s Patient Zero. Everything starts because of climate change and the government getting involved. A war erupts over people wanting to get rid of the vampires and it’s all relevant to what’s happening today. Our writers were very smart about making a social statement.
TTVJ: Something I noticed and thought was cool was that your co-star Ian Somerhalder directs one of the V-Wars episodes. What was that experience like having Ian step behind the camera?
KSM: Props to him because at the time he was a new father with a 6 month old. He was in most of the scenes as the lead, talking all this scientific jargon, and heavily involved in producing and the creative. On top of that, he directed an episode. He’s just a superman!
He’s a great actor and so passionate, but he’s very descriptive as a director. One of my favorite things was that before calling out ‘Action!’ he’d yell out two or three words that he wanted actors to keep in mind for the scene. So he’d yell out like “Sexy! Tension! Action!” I thought it was so great because sometimes as an actor I’m so in my head, and he’d yell out the words and bring me back to the intention of the scene. He was really great while wearing a lot of hats.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.