Veteran actress Tricia Helfer’s versatility will be showcased in the coming months.
Helfer, 46, is reprising her role as Dracula on the fifth and final season of Syfy’s “Van Helsing” — premiering Friday (April 16) at 10 p.m. — and will reappear in “Lucifer” as Lucifer’s (Tom Ellis) mother in the upcoming sixth and final season of the wry Netflix fantasy series. She’s also joined the dance drama “Step Up: High Water,” airing on Starz.
The actress, who rose to TV fame as Number Six on “Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09), answered some questions about her work and her love of animals.
Was it serendipity or coincidence that you were cast in the genre-specific series “Lucifer” and “Van Helsing?”
I don’t think it was either. I think it was a well-thought-out decision by the production teams. Both were straight offers, and while I’m sure they had a list of people they went to first, they ultimately ended up offering the roles to me. I’m glad they did because both roles were really fun to play.
Will “Van Helsing” fans be surprised by the evolution of Dracula this season?
Because Dracula was only introduced briefly last season, even fans from the beginning of the show don’t know too much about her. She is, obviously, this enigmatic, powerful being who is the leader of darkness. In our story, she has been locked away in the dark realm for a very long time and is now just newly released into the world, so no one really knows what to expect from her yet. The upcoming season will be really exciting for the fans, I think. I can’t say much right now without giving away spoilers. All I’ll say is that there is a different side to Dracula that we see early on — and due to actions that happen, she may not necessarily be at her ultimate strength going forward.
You’ve been working non-stop in television for 20 years; would you consider a starring series role at this point?
I think almost any actor would be lying if they said they didn’t want a starring role but, like anything, there are pros and cons to both. I’m just happy to have been able to play many series regular roles in a variety of projects. It certainly keeps it interesting. But of course if the right lead role came up and it made sense for me to play it, then I’d be happy to sign on.
Comedies or dramas?
I don’t have a preference. I’ve done more dramas so it appears [that’s] the preference of those hiring me, but as an actor, the main perk I see is getting to play all types of roles in all types of projects. Studying and learning who a character is, and what her world is only expands your own knowledge and curiosity. Being able to switch it up and play something more lighthearted is lovely because, especially if the role or subject matter is very dark, it can wear on you a bit.
Besides Number Six, is there one role that still resonates with you?
I do wish I had gotten to play Molly Parker in the short-lived  ABC series “Killer Women” longer. We only did one eight-episode season, and the show was just starting to find its feet. The tone was specific, and they got lost trying to make it too stylized in the first episodes instead of just letting it be a bit of a quirky procedural. It was also a little ahead of its time, I think. But I really loved playing that character, Texas Ranger Molly Parker, and wished I would have gotten to do it for longer.
Was there an incident that sparked your devotion to animal-welfare causes?
No. I’ve always been an animal lover and to be quite honest, I usually prefer the company of animals than I do of humans. With heavy travel like I did during my modeling career, and for most of my acting career, it’s never really been too much of an option to be a hands-on physical volunteer because you’re so often gone, and your schedule is so last-minute, that you aren’t really that reliable. So most of the efforts that I do are in advocacy or awareness, donating and helping to raise money. I can certainly do better, and I will continue to strive for that, but it does give me a sense of pride to do what I can and to be amongst the group of animal activists that strive to make the lives of animals better.