The Big Empty, episode four of Season 13 of Supernatural, was definitely a hefty one, emotionally wise. Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) finally speak about the loss of Mary – all thanks to the character Mia Vallens, a grief counselor, played by Rukiya Bernard. Sam and Dean visit Mia due to a case (a shapeshifter, to be exact), to find themselves talking a bit more than just about the case.
Rukiya also has a reoccurring role on Van Helsing.
I played Mia Vallens, a grief counselor; you think she’s all good and everything and then you find out that she’s a shapeshifter, which in Supernatural history, isn’t a good thing. She turns out to be a very helpful shapeshifter as she helps people see their loved ones for one last time so that they can move on. And she has a sordid past.
What did you enjoy most about your role?
I found the feud between the brothers very interesting. I love how my character unknowingly touches upon some very sore topics with them. Being able to play with Jared and Jensen, really trying to get into their heads as the character, I found very enjoyable.
The scene with Sam and Dean – where Sam storms out of the office – was very emotionally charged. Tell us what it was like filming that scene.
It was actually a lot of fun. Those guys, they joke around all day, every day, between takes … It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so much, it’s uncontrollably laughing. The scene had such depth, but as soon as they called cut, they were back to joking. It was a lot of fun shooting that scene.
You were also in a Supernatural episode back in 2011 – as Camille Thibideaux, in the episode The Mentalists. What, if anything, did you find different when filming this year?
Other than the character was quite different – my character back in 2011, Camille, she died, so that was different too. The show has been going on for such a long time I feel like there wasn’t much different in terms of the experience of being on set; the people that have worked with them, a lot of them have been there from the very, very beginning, from the pilot episode. I went back, and it was just with welcome arms, they remembered. I was like, wow, it’s been so long ago, but you remember me! I really like working on that show. I remember the first time thinking, this is a well-oiled machine. Going back the second time, it was exactly the same; a joy to be on set – everything seems to work pretty steadily because everyone knows each other very well. Quite a family.
Tell us about your role in Van Helsing.
Van Helsing, my show! I play a character named Doc; she is a survivor of the vampire apocalypse. She’s normally very introverted, prefers to be by herself, she was a forensic coroner at a hospital. On the unlucky day when the uprising happened, she got stuck in a hospital, luckily, with a soldier – perhaps the saviour of the human race, Vanessa Van Helsing. Now we’re in Season 2, and stuff has definitely gone down. Doc, who is like the everyday person, who’s not necessarily a fighter; she’s not going to kick your ass or anything like that. She is very fearful and makes lots of mistakes; in Season 2, she’s learning how to fend for herself, as she’s by herself.
Did anything particularly funny happen during filming?
Did anything? The whole week of shooting was hilarious!
What sticks in your mind the most?
There was so many! For example, Alex Calvert’s character (Jack) comes in – the new “brother” … the shot was from half the body up so you can’t see everybody’s hands. They kept on pinching at his legs, during the take so that he couldn’t keep a straight face, the whole time. That took a long time to shoot. They were doing the same thing with me …
I have a story! There was another scene where I’m telling them that I think I know who the evil shapeshifter is, and I tell them it’s my ex, Buddy. They shot all their stuff and then they turn around on me, and they’re making faces at me, and I’m trying to have this emotional moment … all I can do is laugh. They’re crossing their eyes; they were just goofing off off-camera.
Do you have any upcoming roles to share?
I have a Christmas movie coming out, Dec. 2, on Hallmark, called Christmas in Evergreen. That should be pretty fun. I have another guest starring spot on Travelers; I’ll be appearing in episode 11.
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