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Michelle Ryan leaps into role of ‘Bionic Woman’

It’s already a phenomenon despite the fact that NBC’s new sci-fi drama “Bionic Woman” hasn’t yet hit the small screen. Wednesday night though, all that is about to change as British actress Michelle Ryan leaps into the role of scientifically altered Jaime Sommers in NBC’s “Bionic Woman.”
/ Source: Access Hollywood

It’s already a phenomenon despite the fact that NBC’s new sci-fi drama “Bionic Woman” hasn’t yet hit the small screen. Wenesday night though, all that is about to change as British actress Michelle Ryan leaps into the role of scientifically altered Jaime Sommers in NBC’s “Bionic Woman.”

Take one devious car crash and several experimental surgeries later and Jaime Sommers is the latest bionic model human. With super-powered limbs, Jaime quickly finds out she has to protect herself from the first bionic woman — Sarah Corvus (Katee Sackhoff), who is pissed off and out of control —  all the while still looking after her younger sister Becca (Lucy Hale). Did we mention the agency who put her together wants a part of her, too? Oh and of course there’s a romance — with Will Anthros (Chris Bowers).

Prior to joining the cast of “Bionic Woman,” Ryan was best known for starring on British television screens in “EastEnders,” playing Zoe Slater, the youngest sister in the Slater family. While “EastEnders” saw her character schooling and scheming, Jaime Sommers is pure superhero.

Access Hollywood sat down with Michelle to find out how things, including all her super-powered fight scenes, are going.

Do you enjoy the physicality of the role of Jaime Sommers?
I have to admit I love it. I think Katee and I are in competition to see who can be the most (physical). I got cuts from fighting with (Chris). This one today, I got fresh from a gun sort of being smashed into my arm.

How did that happen?
I think sometimes when you rehearse some of those people come in too close and it was already at my arm before I had a chance to move. But I have to admit I love it all. We were fighting yesterday and doing all these sort of flying spinning kicks in this really confined space. (I) used to dance so I can pick up the routines instantly ... I’m really enjoying it.

Are you excited for the premiere? Do you feel pressure for the show to do well?
All of those things. I’m excited that there is so much awareness because when you work really hard, and everyone has given 110 percent to this project, you want people to watch it. But I know the expectations are so high so you hope that the show meets expectations.

You’re English. How hard has it been to do an American accent?
It’s not too bad actually. I did an accent on the soap “EastEnders,” (which) I was on for five years in England, and I worked with a dialect coach for an American accent a good few years ago, so I was familiar with it. I guess by osmosis I’ve just kind of absorbed it. Now, when I come to do it, it’s not too difficult, and I think the longer I spend working on the series the easier it becomes.

How did “EastEnders” help you prepare for you for a role on a show like this?
I started the show when I was 16 and I spent five years on “EastEnders,” so I felt it was a real apprenticeship. I learned so much about myself, about the industry, about life, everything. I felt it was like a great grounding for “Bionic Woman” really.

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Was there ever a point where you thought about leaving acting?
Yeah. I started so young so there were moments when you feel ‘I’m not sure if I actually want to do this.’ Then ... I sort of found (out) this is exactly what I wanted to be doing. This is like a dream role — to do all the action sequences, to be up on big locations doing all the different stunt sequences, (to) be leading the show? It’s manic and it’s fast moving but I thrive on that. I love that and just playing such a strong empowered character? It’s great really.

Is playing this role a sort of vindication?
Yeah I think, I think it does, just to sort of have a strong young female character. She’s unapologetic about who she is and she’s learning and growing about herself.

It’s great to play — to have such a young female character that is so strong and smart and feisty. And she has her vulnerable moments. She makes mistakes but she learns and she wants to do the best by her sister and she sort of owns up to her responsibilities. Yeah it’s great to play a character like that. I think it’s a great message.

Do you have any advice?
I think it’s just accepting who you are. As you grow up you realize nobody is perfect and there is no such thing as perfection. To actually just be healthy and to be strong is a great thing. I still have my days when I don’t feel so great but you just work through it and learn to get over that because it is not just about that in life. There are so many things to sort of concern yourself with. I think it’s just a case when you’re really young you just, you feel self conscious and then you sort of grow into yourself really.

What was it like working with Isaiah Washington, who joined the “Bionic Woman” cast?
Really, really easy. Will and Katee (Sackhoff), myself, Isaiah are all sort of very sharp and quick when it comes to learning (the fight moves). It is moving so fast so it is sort of in on the day, learn the sequence and then do it. He’s easy to work with and very giving and sort of careful not to hurt one another even though we are sort of going at it. He is focused and yeah, it’s been great.