Stephanie Bennett has reason to be afraid of spooks.
The actress giggles like a teenager in a haunted corn maze at the thought of ghosts chasing her down, but she’s no stranger to terrifying plots. A scream queen in her own right, Bennett has put in time running from the ogre-like asylum ghosts of Grave Encounters 2 and surviving the deadly hijinks of the titular character in Leprechaun: Origins.
“I’ve always had a fascination with the supernatural ever since I was a little kid,” she says, while on the phone from Vancouver. “I love horror movies and that whole genre. It was really fun to actually be in some.”
Now she can be seen teaming up with fellow Grave Encounters alum Juan Riedinger on CBC TV’s The Romeo Section. Set in Bennett’s hometown of Vancouver, the show explores the double lives of spies infiltrating the criminal underworld. Riedinger plays Romeo agent Rufus, while Bennett plays Dee, Rufus’ girlfriend and the crack-addicted wife of a mobster.
“I knew right from the start it was going to be a really wild ride playing a character that was so unhinged because I knew I would need to take a lot of risks myself — develop more fearlessness in my work,” she admits. “I became more comfortable taking more risks and just putting myself out there.”
Bennett researched her role by observing how the people of Vancouver’s troubled east side communicated with each other. She also cites 1999’s east-side-focused documentary Through a Blue Lens and volunteering at a women’s shelter as additional wellsprings of information.
“I got to get a good glimpse of that to try to understand more of what it’s like,” she explains. “My character isn’t living in the downtown east side. She’s not living that lifestyle, but I did want to learn more about addiction because (Dee) certainly has some troubles with that in the show.”
Helping Bennett step out of her comfort zone on The Romeo Section is the show’s creator, Chris Haddock.
“He’s in control of it all, but the great thing about Chris is he’s very open with the actors, and he really has a respect for our ideas and our process through the whole thing,” says Bennett. “He was always willing to sit down and have conversations with us about what we wanted to try, despite the fact he had an idea of what he really wanted.”
Bennett is enthused with her next TV project, Shadowhunters, based on The Mortal Instruments novels by author Cassandra Clare.
Though details around the show are being kept hush-hush, Bennett was able to reveal that her character, Lydia Branwell, was created for the show, and she’ll be appearing in six episodes in early 2016.
“It was cool to come in with no preconceived notions about my character and see what the creators’ ideas were for Lydia, and then to bring myself, too,” she says. “The fans of the book series have been amazing. It was an immediate response as soon as my name was announced that I’d be working on the show.”
After that, there’s hope the CBC will renew The Romeo Section.
“We haven’t been told anything yet. Obviously we’ve been hoping. The series has been really, really well received so far.”
There may be more spooks in her future yet.