It would be a stretch to say Calgary-born actress Julie Lynn Mortensen has been typecast, but it’s safe to say she has found herself occupying a unique niche in the past few years.She calls them the “wild women of history,” although her most recent role in the ghoulish horror series Van Helsing doesn’t actually spring from real life.She plays Lillian (Lily) Van Helsing, a vampire hunter and great great grandmother of the show’s protagonist, Vanessa Van Helsing (Kelly Overton). The latter is the descendant of famed vampire killer and Dracula foe Abraham Van Helsing and has spent two seasons battling evil forces in a near-future, post-apocalyptic world where the bloodsuckers have ascended to supremacy.The war continues in Season 3, which recently began streaming on Netflix. But we also get a glimpse of the family lineage thanks to flashbacks to the early 20th century that introduce us to Lily, the strong-willed granddaughter of Abraham who makes her first appearance in episode 2 of the third season. Without giving too much away, we can say that her first appearance has her in an asylum sporting a straitjacket. In the next episode, Vanessa travels back in time to a previous period in her great-great grandmother’s life.“It’s before her husband has accepted or acknowledged Lily’s role as a vampire hunter, so she is sneaking out trying to save the world with this oppressive husband who just wants to have a normal, obedient wife of the times,” says Mortensen, who is now based in Vancouver.There is more to the story. But because of the unique way Van Helsing has rolled out geographically, to say too much may spoil the plot for Canadian fans. The show airs on the Syfy network in the U.S., which finished airing the third season late last year. But in Canada, fans have only been able to stream Season 3 for a couple of days.Cameras are already rolling for Season 4 of the series in Vancouver under new showrunner Jonathan Walker, who took over from renowned playwright and filmmaker Neil Labute. The series is produced by Calgary-based Nomadic Films.So while there is a good chance Canadian devotees may have already dutifully binged all of Season 3 these past few days and learned of Lily’s fate, to be safe we’ll just say that there is a good chance her story is not over in the Van Helsing universe.Which has been a nice surprise for Mortensen.“It was a small role, but I was really excited,” she says. “I was a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan in high school, so I was like ‘I’m going to play a vampire hunter! I’m going to enjoy this.’ It was great to land the role and great to have it blossom into more than I expected.”The Calgary native is probably best known for a more down-to-earth historical character, playing the blue-blooded U.S. expat Catharine Robb in the biopic romance Drawing Home. The decades-spanning film chronicled the real-life relationship between Catherine and her eventual husband, artist Peter Whyte in Banff. That film, which was shot in Calgary and surrounding area, was Mortensen’s first. In fact, it was the result of her very first film audition. Shot more than five years ago and co-starring Banff native Juan Riedinger as Peter, Kate Mulgrew as Catharine’s mother and Rutger Hauer as fellow artist Carl Rungius, Drawing Home only recently made it to iTunes after spending a few years on the festival circuit. It was released Feb. 14, just in time for Valentine’s Day.Mortensen has since continued her penchant for playing historical characters with a twist. In the short western Last Stand to Nowhere, she plays gunslinger Billy Clanton in Vancouver filmmaker Michelle Muldoon’s reimagining of the famous gunfight at the OK Corral as a battle between two clans of feuding sisters. The film is currently touring festivals.“It’s been a really great experience,” Mortensen says. “It’s really awesome to continue to be offered to play brave and wild women of history. Lily isn’t as true to life as Catharine was, but it’s really awesome to embody that spirit and that energy in my work.”Season 3 of Van Helsing is now on Netflix.