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Downloading the Lowdown from ‘Bionic Woman’ Michelle Ryan

[IMG:L]The fall season’s breakout TV star Michelle Ryan gives Hollywood.com some tech support regarding her role as Bionic Woman’s cyborg siren Jaime Sommers.

On whether it’s Jaime’s hardware or software that’s most appealing:
“It’s absolutely the human side. I mean I haven’t read a script like Bionic Woman. After I left [the British soap] EastEnders, I was like, “I’m never going to try out for anything with huge [time] options.” And then I read this script for Bionic and I was like “Okay, I take it back.” She has these deeper abilities, but at the core of it, it’s this young woman’s journey of self-discovery and her rise to empowerment, and I feel like I’m on that journey and I just felt like an instant connection. She’s very compassionate and she questions every step of the way when Jonas and Antonio Pope are saying to her, “This is what we should be doing; we’re the good guys.” She questions everything. And I love that she’s just this very grounded, multi-layered character and person. There’s so much to play with her, aside from the action sequences and the sci-fi element. At the core of it, it’s this human being. I wanted to find my voice and I want to be strong and confident and I feel like playing Jaime is helping me get there.”

On maintaining that state-of-the-art operating system:
“I work out probably about three and a half hours a day, I would say. It’s two hours of personal training and two hours of [Israeli martial art] Krav Maga, like an hour and a half of personal training. if I didn’t have to work out I wouldn’t do it. I mean, I used to dance and swim and do gymnastics, but this really has gotten me into shape. I’m getting abs and my muscles are getting bigger. I’m also being much more conscious of what I’m eating. I’m just trying to eat a lot more like sushi and fish and fruit and vegetables. I’m cutting out sweets–I’ve got such a sweet tooth, especially chocolate!”

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On high-speed performance:
“I’ve had so many incredible action sequences. We’re using a Krav Maga style of fighting and the stunt coordinators have been coming up with some really dynamic moves for Jaime. So it’s lots of sort of flying spinning kicks. They had me up in a harness yesterday and then I’m on another harness today doing these sort of crazy stunts. So yeah, I’m a real adrenaline junkie, I absolutely love doing it and as much as possible I’ll do my own stunts. It sort of gives you a real buzz as you go through the week. And what I haven’t done, which is what I think is coming up, are some water sequences. I sort of had a chat with the writers and I thought wouldn’t it be great if Jaime falls into the water and I think that’s coming up so I think I should be careful what I wish for, really.

[IMG:R]On the show’s Mac vs. PC debate, a.k.a. the rain-soaked rooftop throwdown with her bionic nemesis Katee Sackhoff:
“I loved working with Katee. She has so much energy. I was sort of fighting with the stunt woman and then I would fight with Katee and I’d be like ‘Wow. I got bruises.’ There was this sort of one section where I had to punch her and she was saying to me ‘Hit me, hit me!’ I was like ‘But I don’t want to hurt you.’ She said ‘No. Just hit me.’ So it was interesting how she was coaxing it out of me. I’ve done all my training, but then I sort of get in there with her–when you fight on the set you’re obviously not going to really hurt anyone, but she was like ‘Just do it.’ It was interesting how she was bringing that out of me as much as Sarah is sort of bringing out the strength in Jaime.”

On seeing Jaime, er, interface in the future:
“I think there are a lot of different ideas for love triangles, and there’s obviously the relationship with Will. I mean, she’s a woman and so all of those feelings and emotions and hormones will come up. I think that initially though it’ll be dealing with becoming bionic and understanding her abilities, but absolutely down the line she’s got to have some romance.”

On dealing with her fame spreading like a computer virus:
“Having spent five years on EastEnders, I feel like it was the best apprenticeship, because at times the show was watched by 20 million viewers an episode when I joined the show at 16. So I kind of feel like that was the dress rehearsal for this moment. And I’m just kind of in a little cocoon in Vancouver working all hours. People have emailed me pictures of the big billboards and I feel kind of detached, which I think is good, because I can just focus purely on the work and then I come over to L.A. and do some press and I’m like ‘Wow, this is real and this is happening and it’s huge and it’s everywhere.’ But I’m just sort of enjoying the ride and sort of trying to focus on doing the best I can do. I feel like I’m giving all of myself and I’m loving it. It’s just like I feel like a kid getting to live out all my childhood fantasies.”

[IMG:L]On her own ideal upgrades:
“I would love to be able to sort of leap across buildings and to be able to hear like that. Wouldn’t it be so great to be able to hear what everyone is saying about you–really saying?”

On networking with the original bionic babe, and another adorable asskicker:
“I haven’t heard from Lindsay Wagner. Everyone is sort of like, ‘Have you met her?’ and I’m like I would like to. She’s seems like a very nice lady. I did share a lift with Jennifer Garner, which I thought was an interesting omen. I didn’t say anything, though.”

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