Laura Mennell is no stranger to sci-fi television – she's had roles on "Fringe," "Smallville," "Supernatural," and "Sanctuary," to name just a few, and now she's got a starring role on the Syfy original series "Alphas." Mennell took some time out from her busy schedule to talk to Crave about the awesome role of Nina Theroux, why she decided to go vegetarian, and what her secret talent is (thumb wrestling anyone?).
CraveOnline: Tell us about your work on "Alphas."
Laura Mennell: In "Alphas" I play Nina Theroux, a highly intelligent, extremely capable individual. The next part is getting to play her special abilities because she gets to induce people into doing anything she wants. I love that her talent gives her a lot of power and makes her an extreme asset to her team – her power really allows her to get involved in difficult situations and really save the day at times.
It's a lot of fun when she uses her power for her own gain. It's been a wonderful first season and luckily we've been called back for a second. We have a wonderfully amazing cast and our wonderful crew, and it will be a lot of fun to go back.
CraveOnline: What else are you working on right now?
Laura Mennell: I've been working so intensely on "Alphas," which has been a great, that I'm not in any hurry to jump into another project. I'm thinking about doing a bit more traveling and keeping my eyes open to see what I love.
CraveOnline: Have you always been a fan of sci-fi?
Laura Mennell: I love sci-fi but I've always been a fan of good shows in general no matter what the genre. There are wonderful sci-fis out there like "Matrix," and I love TV shows like "The X-Files" and "Firefly" as well as "Roswell" – it's one of my guilty pleasure shows right now. I've worked on a nice amount of genre shows so I have an appreciation for them. I love the escapist element of the sci-fi world and it's a lot of fun to play the different things these shows throw at you.
CraveOnline: How long have you been a vegetarian? How did you get started?
Laura Mennell: I'm a vegetarian and have been for as long as I can remember. I love animals and eating them started to bother me in my teens, so I researched things like the treatment of animals, especially in factory farms, and I was horrified. That pretty much did it for me! I think my dad was hoping it would be a phase.
CraveOnline: You're from Vancouver but live in Toronto – do you like Toronto?
Laura Mennell: Yes, I enjoy being in Toronto – there's lots of energy, lots of neat different neighbourhoods, but Vancouver is still home and always will be. I miss going for walks on the ocean with beautiful mountains.
CraveOnline: Have you lived anywhere else in Canada?
Laura Mennell: I've worked in other cities short-term, and I have to say Montreal seems like a really liveable city. There's wonderful people, great French culture, and the best food in Canada hands down – I could eat my way through that city and be happy.
CraveOnline: Were you at TIFF?
Laura Mennell: Unfortunately I was travelling around Quebec for a lot of the festival and then I had family coming to visit, but I was able to enjoy a bit of the festivities. I had a great time at the InStyle and Hollwyood Foreign Press party – that was really cool. I wish I could have made it to some of the screenings – I love seeing foreign films. Maybe I'll get there next year.
CraveOnline: Toronto has become a hub again for great TV and movies – do you see this trend as well?
Laura Mennell: I think Toronto has always sort of been like that – "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" was shot here and now there are lots of great TV shows here. I like "Flashpoint" and it's nice that it's partially Canadian, and now they're shooting "The Firm," which is going to be a big deal. And of course "Alphas" (laughs). It's a busy place.
CraveOnline: Who do you look up to most?
Laura Mennell: There are too many! I fall in love with roles more than just following a few different actors. I love Hilary Swank in movies like "Boys Don't Cry" – she can be really raw and honest. I also can't get enough of Audrey Tautou from "Amelie" – she's sweet and charismatic and makes me laugh and cry all at the same time.
CraveOnline: Are you into social media?
Laura Mennell: I am still fairly new to the whole social media thing – I am definitely tweeting and Facebooking. It's a nice way to connect with fans. They've been really supportive of the show and it's great getting their feedback and hearing the wonderful things they say. I can't always write back to everyone but I've been pretty good at trying to respond here and there. You find me on twitter @l_mennell, which also connects to my Facebook profile.
CraveOnline: What's something people would be surprised to know about you?
Laura Mennell: I have odd thumbs that are extremely flexible. I can bend them quite far down the back side of my hand, basically the opposite side you'd even try to attempt bending your thumb. Because of that I'm a very good thumb wrestler.
Photo Credit: Lisa Sang