Tricia Helfer Dishes on Playing the 'Beautiful, Manipulative and Dangerous' Viondra in SyFy's 'Ascension'

Pam WrightLife

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Tricia Helfer debuted her new lead role in SyFy's six-part space mini-series, Ascension, on Monday.

The Battlestar Galactica alum plays the spacecraft captain's wife, Viondra Denninger, a woman described as “beautiful, manipulative and dangerous." Helfer said she has no beef with that description.

“At first you may think it’s not a compliment,” Helfer told the New York Post. “I’m pretty opposite of that in terms of my personality. But the manipulative and dangerous parts mean I’m probably going to have fun with the character. And what I consider fun is not jumping around for joy and having giggles, but something you can sink your teeth into.”

The premise of the mini-series, according to Business 2 Community is "that in 1963 with a surrounding fear of an impending nuclear war. The U.S. government launched a covert space mission sending hundreds of men, women and children on a century-long voyage aboard the starship Ascension to populate a new world. Nearly 50 years into the journey with no point of return, a mysterious murder of a young woman causes the ship’s population to question the true nature of their mission."

The show's co-creator, Philip Levens, said the part was made for Tricia Helfer.

“In the first draft of the script, I put in a parenthetical next to Viondra’s character description that read, ‘Think Tricia Helfer,’” he said.

The two, who share a talent agency, met up at a coffee shop to discuss the role and the deal was struck, just like that.

Helfer, 40, is best known as Cylon Number Six in Battlestar Galactica, which ended in 2009. She went on to star in a slew of television guest roles, always playing a strong female, which isn't necessarily a stretch for the Canadian.

“I like to think I’m a strong female myself, so I’m more drawn to that than to someone meek,” Helfer told the Post. “I grew up one of four daughters on a farm [in Donalda, Alberta], so I was driving tractors and fixing machinery. I certainly appreciate a nice pair of high heels and a pretty dress, but I have no problem getting down and dirty.”

The former model concedes that one of the reasons she seems to be more suited to kick-ass roles is her 5-foot-11-in frame.

“Probably the reason is that I’m really tall, and most male actors are not really tall,” Helfer said. “There’s not many romantic comedies for a girl who’s 5-foot-11.”

Part two of the three-night event airs 9 p.m. ET Tuesday on the SyFy Network

Pam Wright