Helix’s Kyra Zagorsky Talks Acting And Motherhood
We recently had a chance to speak to the lovely Kyra Zagorsky, who plays Dr. Julia Walker, the star of the popular new Showcase show – ‘Helix.’ Kyra who juggles an acting career and raising two kids, tells us how she started in the business and about some of the wild behind-the-scenes moments of this SyFy thriller.
Real Style: Tell us a little about your background.
Kyra Zagorsky: “I grew up in a really small town. I was born in New York, raised in Colorado. I was always into writing and that was what I was going to go to college for. Then I ended up going to Ashland, home to the Shakespeare Festival, and got swept up in the theatre scene. I got a BFA and MFA in acting, so I trained pretty diligently, and I did theatre for many, many years. I didn’t really get into the film and TV side until 2007.”
Real Style: You also have quite a bit of a sci-fi background. You were on ‘Atlantis,’ ‘Supernatural’ and ‘Fringe.’
Kyra Zagorsky: Part of it is because I didn’t get into TV until I came out to Vancouver, and this is what shoots here.
Real Style: All the freaky stuff happens in Canada!
Kyra Zagorsky: “It happens in Canada! For a while I just thought it’s my look, I’m all dark and edgy.”
Real Style: You also have done tons of martial arts, including kick boxing and more. Tell us about that.
Kyra Zagorsky: “I like to be physical, and years ago I got into training different types of martial arts because I wanted to feel confident and strong. I first moved to New York and I had no money, just all this ambition, and it’s pretty crazy out here! So I trained in different things to feel good about myself. Any skill I would pick up was so I could do something for a role, because I often got cast in things where I had to be active. It’s fun to be living in high stakes.”
Real Style: Yeah, sci-fi leads to that. You’re always on the verge of semi-dying so you’ve got to be able to fight! And what’s your favourite part about working on the show?
Kyra Zagorsky: “Honestly, the great cast and crew. They’re amazing and talented. I remember Billy [Campbell] mentioned in a recent interview we did that none of us ever spent time in our trailers; we’re always together on set. It makes working together very easy. And Montreal is such a fun, beautiful, amazing city.”
Real Style: And do you relate to you character in some way? How similar is Julia Walker to you?
Kyra Zagorsky: “I brought a lot of myself to the role. It’s a leading lady kind of part. It’s a part of me that they wanted and saw as Julia Walker. They took an essence of me and fused that into the character. She’s just such a fantastic female character for TV. I go through so much in the first season, the arc is huge. By the end of the season, people are going to be absolutely shocked. I got to be physically creative and emotionally charged, and it was really challenging.”
Real Style: She is a strong and educated person who’s put into extraordinary situations, and it’s about how she uses her education and strength.
Kyra Zagorsky: “Absolutely. She’s just so brave. She’s always putting herself right in the line of fire. It’s great to see female characters on TV who are not all glam and exist for reasons beyond their romantic relationships.”
Real Style: So you have two children?
Kyra Zagorsky: “Yes we do!”
Real Style: How old are they?
Kyra Zagorsky: “My daughter is eight, my son is six.”
Real Style: How are they feeling about this wild actor life?
Kyra Zagorsky: “They’ve been incredibly supportive. When I was shooting in Montreal, it was one of those things where mommy had to go away from home and they were so cool about the whole thing. I would visit when I could and Skype all the time. I think they were old enough to let me do it because until now, I’ve made sure to work close to home.”
Real Style: Will they ever watch the show or no way?
Kyra Zagorsky: “No way! There’s no way they’re watching this, I don’t need them freaking out.”
Real Style: Was there ever a moment on set where you were really uncomfortable or genuinely freaked out to shoot a scene?
Kyra Zagorsky: “I never got too freaked out. I was nervous the first time I read the script. There’s a shower scene, the intimate psycho-tribute scene at the end of episode two. That was where I was like, okay, so there’s a shower scene, that’s a good thing to know. But our director, Brad Turner, who’s also our executive producer, is such a classy guy and told me how he was going to shoot, so that took some of the nerves away so I could just focus on the scene. And Neil Napier, who plays Peter, is so awesome and so much fun that we ended up having a blast shooting it.”
Real Style: That was a crazy scene. Imagine having to do that over and over again, and having that black stuff going in your mouth.
Kyra Zagorsky: “Yeah! We also wanted to get different angles, so when we came in to shoot episode three, we had to shoot it all over again because Steven Adelson was using a different camera technique for the flashback. But it looked so good!”
Real Style: So how many takes did you do for that scene?
Kyra Zagorsky: “I have no idea, But when I watched it, I still felt it in my stomach. Everybody says that scene just makes you feel something.”
Real Style: I hope the black stuff tasted good!
Kyra Zagorsky: “It does actually, it’s chocolate mixed with something like vanilla and almonds, and there’s definitely some kind of dye in it because it stains. But it’s not terrible, it’s just terrible in large quantities.”
Real Style: So is ‘Helix’ the big thing you’re focusing on, or are there other projects on the table?
Kyra Zagorsky:“There’s lots of things I’m focusing on, I always have to balance between career and kind of what I want to do with my own creative projects, my artistry and then also just raising kids. There’s always a balancing act going on with my life and it’s a really great challenge and I’m glad that I have all of those things. And sometimes it’s time to focus more on I need to be more present when I’m with my kids or maybe this is my chance to just stop everything, I just need to do a play. I did that a couple years ago and I needed that because I walked away from it for a bit and I needed it to just recharge and just connect to some good, meaty roles in stories again. ‘Helix’ was just a time for me to just bring all of it to the table. And my family was supportive, my husband was supportive and everyone was just at that point where they could just let me go for it. It happened at the right time.”
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