Jennifer Spence is a 21st-century woman. The Toronto-born thespian, with dashes of Japanese and British heritage, is looking to portray dynamic female roles.
“I want to continue working on stronger, more authoritative characters,” she said. “I’d really like to work towards playing more lawyers or DAs, that kind of thing, where you’re in positions of power — a bit of a ball-buster.”
She gets to test her tough-girl acting chops in the television series Continuum. Spence plays Betty Robertson, a cop and IT specialist in the modern world who helps a police officer from the year 2077 battle anti-corporate terrorists.
There’s just one issue with helping a time-travelling detective played by Rachel Nichols.
“One of my characters tragic flaws is that I carry a huge torch for Victor Webster’s character, Carlos, who is the main cop that (Nichols’) is partnered up with,” she said.
When asked if there could be sparks a la Dynasty’s Linda Evans versus Joan Collins, Spence laughs, “It’s kind of fun to have a bit of that rivalry that women sometimes have,” she said. “I think it’s more on my character’s part than Rachel’s.
“Rachel’s character is coming into it not knowing why I have a problem with because she didn’t do anything to me.”
Continuum is shot on location in Vancouver. Though she’s been to many a city across Canada, she opted to move to Van City because her parents headed to Victoria.
And the acting work has been plentiful, as the 35-year-old has appeared on shows like Supernatural, Alcatraz, SGU Stargate Universe and The Killing.
“(Vancouver) tends to have a lot of sci-fi shows up here,” she said. “I’m not entirely sure why, but we seem to get a lot of those here, so thankfully they’re all high quality shows so it’s always a pleasure to work on them.”
Regardless of genre, Spence admits working on shows with experienced cast and crew has been rewarding.
“It’s nice because there’s a well-established vibe on the set,” she said. “It’s been in production for a while and everyone’s got their routine. They’re all good people and that gives you a sense of belonging and a sense of calm on the set.”
Sometimes, however, creepy locations disturb that sense of solitude.
“I do remember when I was shooting Alcatraz, being in the makeup trailer and Jorge Garcia was talking about how he was scaring himself the night before and couldn’t sleep,” she said. “That day we were actually shooting at the non-functional wing of a mental hospital here in Vancouver.
“There are all these rumours and stories about (Riverview Hospital) being haunted and stuff, so I guess it got into his psyche a little bit,” she said. “That made the trailer erupt into all these ghost stories, ‘We’ve got to shoot in there in an hour and somebody saw a face a couple of weeks ago in one of the windows of the abandoned building’.”