Michelle Ryan on Bionic Woman
By Fred Topel | Image property of NBC.
The Bionic Woman is an American treasure, but we’re trusting the new version to a Brit. Michelle Ryan plays the title role in NBC’s new Bionic Woman, but don’t worry. She sounds like the right girl for the job.
The British Woman
“I am a real tomboy, so I love the fact that I get to jump off things and throw myself around and be one of the guys,” said Ryan. “In England, everyone is so excited about it and excited that I've got the role. And I think it's just as big over there as it was here, and I just feel so privileged to be part of it. I think it's so fantastic that it's such a young, strong female lead, and I just feel like for me to be doing all that I'm doing, Krav Maga training, I'm trekking up mountains, I'm working with a personal trainer, dialect coach, acting coach. So I'm sort of being put through it. I kind of sent an e-mail to [producer] David Eick saying, ‘If I can get to the top of this mountain, I'm ready to shoot the series.’”
Yes, it certainly sounds like NBC found the newest kick ass chick for our amusement, even if they did have to cross the pond for her. “I was filming a horror film with Faye Dunaway, a very low-budget British film, and I got the call saying, ‘Would you like to audition?’ So I wrapped at 2:00 in the morning, drove down back to London, and put myself on tape. I didn't think anything of it, and then I got a call saying, ‘They'd love to fly you out to screen test.’ And I thought, ‘Oh, okay, great. I can go to L.A., hopefully sign with a good agent, and it would be good experience to go in a few meetings.’ Then I went in and met David Eick and all the producers. I got so excited because they were so enthusiastic about the project, and I just thought, ‘Actually, I really want this now.’”
She got the part and now has a chance to do her share for the feminist movement. “Just going back to the fact that she's so strong and smart and so young, I think it's great that NBC have decided to take Bionic Woman and at a time where there are so many strong female characters out there. As a young actress, I always am drawn to strong female actresses. When you see Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider and you see her kicking ass, you're like, ‘Yeah, I want to be like that. I want to be strong, and I want to be confident and empowered.’ And I think that's a really great message that Bionic Woman will hopefully bring out there.”
It’s working too. Even though there is no cape or cowl, just dressing up like an undercover Bionic Woman pumps Ryan up. “We were shooting the promo for the series the other day and they had me on set. When I put on the costume and I'm on set and I'm running around, I do feel stronger and I feel good about myself. It's just a dream role for me, because I'm such a tomboy. And I get to sort of lead the show, and I just feel like I'm really sort of testing myself every day. Every day I have a different sort of shoot to do or different people to meet. I feel like I'm constantly learning and growing. And I think that's very much what [my character[ Jaime is going to be doing as we go along, finding out about herself. I mean, I'm re-locating myself for this job. I'm moving to Vancouver and living on my own for the first time and changing light bulbs and doing things for myself that I have not done before. So I feel like I'm as much on a journey of self-discovery as Jaime is.”
She’s also learning to speak American like Jaime. “I think I've always been good at accents. I was working on an American accent a few years ago because I always hoped I would have an opportunity over here. So it's been a long time I've been working on it.”
Bionic Woman premieres September 26 on NBC.
Sources: Image property of NBC
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