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Simon Barry Talks Van Helsing “Stay Inside” 

Photo Credit: Dan Power/Helsing S1 Productions/Syfy
Photo Credit: Dan Power/Helsing S1 Productions/Syfy

Tonight’s Van Helsing was a combo of action, gore, and emotion that drew us further into the story. In the next part of my interview series with Simon Barry, we talk about Vanessa’s lineage, Axel and the Doc, and what’s next for the crew.

While we know, because of the show title, who Vanessa is, Barry says they won’t make that a focal point onscreen. “We made a conscious decision early on that the discovery of her powers is more important than the discovery of her name, and ultimately the leverage she would have and the leverage others would use against her would be based on that as opposed to the name having substantial meaning to any of these characters,” he explains.

“We felt like it was great for recognition of the show, but we didn’t think it would play [within the show]. Let’s leave that for her so that she can discover her lineage in a way that’s interesting as a character story, instead of something we have to service as a plot. Ultimately it’s what she can do that is the real hook for her and her place in the story, and the name reinforces that, certainly, but it lets her discover the history of the name with the audience.”

Photo Credit: Dan Power/Helsing S1 Productions/Syfy
Photo Credit: Dan Power/Helsing S1 Productions/Syfy

During the episode, we also see Vanessa waver on what she believes about her daughter. That push and pull will continue. “We do get clues as to what may have happened to her daughter We wanted to keep that thread moving to help motivate characters to get on the road,” says Barry.

“It’s emotionally something that Vanessa needs to sometimes believe and sometimes not believe, and we wouldn’t want to dilute the importance of that by landing too hard.” He adds that the crew will make their way out of the hospital, too. “They’re hoping to find a place,” he says. “We do open the door to the idea that there are safe havens toward mid-season.”

Once Axel and Vanessa are out in the world together, we see how they interact away from everyone, and Barry enjoyed discovering that. “He had, in his own mind, built up who Vanessa was over the years. The idea [being] that he believed that she had something to do with a solution to this bigger issue,” he points out. “It’s a hard reckoning to discover that your Messiah, if you will, has their own opinion and wants to do things their own way and maybe isn’t the person you built up in your imagination.”

“We loved the idea that she was going to push back against his notion of what she might be. That was an interesting dynamic, and the idea that she might escape to find her daughter wasn’t something he had considered as an option. And it speaks to what happens later in the show, as both sides of the war kind of see Vanessa as something they can use without taking into consideration what she wants.”

Axel gets the Doc back at the end of the hour, and Barry promises we’ll delve deeper into that relationship, which had a strong enough bond for Axel to keep her alive with his own blood, and save her from having to live with memories of killing humans. “We will explore that very unique relationship,” he says. “I think it’s one of the best character and story arcs in the season.”

Van Helsing airs Fridays at 10/9c on Syfy.

If you’re in Vancouver this weekend, come to VIFF Saturday for a screening of the pilot and a Q&A with Simon Barry at 6 pm.

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