It’s hard to make a woman as beautiful as Natalie Brown look like something out of your nightmares. Unless we’re talking about The Strain, a show where Brown plays Kelly, a single mother who has recently been turned into a horrifying vampire. The Canadian actress is the first to admit it’s not her best look, but she’s relishing the murderous change of pace.
Tell me about your character Kelly.
She’s the estranged wife of Corey Stoll’s character. In season one she starts off as a devoted mother who is seeking out a stable home life for her only son Jack. Unfortunately, near the end of the season, her boyfriend Mat turns her into a vampire after he is infected himself. It’s a horrific scene. One of the first posters for the show was an eyeball with the worm in it. Well, it turns out that that’s Kelly’s eyeball. I had no clue. Obviously, that’s not my eye. It’s a younger blue eye, but that is exactly how Kelly was infected.
Do you have more fun playing Kelly the Mother or Kelly the Vampire?
I’m having a ton of fun playing Kelly The Vampire. I can’t lie; I’m having a great time. I mean both Kelly the mother and Kelly the vampire present different opportunities and challenges. My preparation for season two was much more physical. I took physical theatre workshops and studied martial arts and muay thai, worked with a trainer. This season was less about dialogue and more about our actions through the unspoken.
I used to watch the show, but it actually scared me too much to continue.
I’m not surprised because you’re not the first person to have that kind of a response. There’s no denying the fact that it’s a disturbing show, but it’s also really compelling and I’ve just been re-watching the first season and realizing how disturbing it can be. So, I won’t fault you for it.
Are you easily scared?
I’m a pretty big scaredy cat myself. I’ve never been able to handle horror. I believe in evil and I find I’m usually really affected when I’m watching something of this nature. It’s a good show if you don’t believe in vampires. I’ve been assured that they don’t exist, so I find the show more entertaining than actually disturbing.
So, you’re enjoying playing in the horror genre.
I’m really enjoying playing in the horror genre, which is not something I thought I would find myself doing. And I know you had asked if it seems like I’ve been involved in quite a few genres, at this point, but I’ve always played the human. When I worked on Sci-Fi’s Being Human I was the normal ex-wife and on Bitten I was the human best friend. This is actually the first time being involved in a genre where I finally get my monster on. It’s a mother role like no other [laughs].
You’ve finally made the cross over.
As I get older, I expected roles to slowly dry up or become more limited as you age, but this is the most interesting I’ve gotten to date. I’m really excited to say, my career has only gotten more evolved and more interesting.
Your makeup in the previews for season two look really, well, gross.
It’s horrifying and awesome. It’s four and a half hours just to apply. They put layers and layers and layers of really thin, transparent, almost translucent paint to give the illusion of rotting flesh. And the longer that Kelly has been a vampire, the more that her flesh starts to erode, and the more hair she loses. After my hair has been glued down and the bald cap comes on, they apply a wig that has very few remaining hairs on it. That’s what looks horrifying. Before the last two hairs go on, I look kind of cool, kind of endogenous, bald. Those hairs solidify the horror.
I have to psych myself up to watch again.
You really do! I feel like if you’ve read the books you can de-sensitize quite easily. I certainly did. I found that one of my goals playing Kelly was to make her relatable. You still want to be able to feel for this monster because she’s still a real being and all she wants is to connect in the only new way that she knows how. She just wants her son back. It’s painful to not be able to connect with the only that you love.