Famke Janssen has been a Bond girl, and Wolverine's love interest, Dr. Jean Grey in X-Men.

But in the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove, the actress has really found something to sink her teeth into.

The series, shot in and around Toronto, is based on the popular vampire/werewolf novel of the same name by Brian McGreevy. It's executive produced by gore master Eli Roth (Hostel).

In the fictional town of Hemlock Grove, everyone has secrets, but no one more than Janssen's character Olivia Godfrey. 

The matriarch of a wealthy family, Godfrey is an ageless beauty for a reason: she's a upir, a particularly powerful vampire of Eastern European origin.

While the character is essentially a villain, her devotion to her son Roman is unquestionable – a theme explored in other TV characters, like Cersei Lannister on Game of Thrones (played by Lena Headey), or Vera Farmiga's Norma Bates in The Bates Motel.

In an interview with CBC Arts reporter Deana Sumanac, Janssen says the maternal instinct gives the audience a reason to care for these characters – even if they dislike them at the same time.

"I think at the core of most women who are mothers is this urge to, no matter what it takes, you protect your child. I mean, that's sort of a given and it's what everybody can relate to."

Janssen says roles like these show why television – not film – offers some of the juiciest roles for actresses these days.

"My favourite time in film was the 1920s, 1930s," says Janssen of the roles available to women in movies. 

"Since then, it just started to go down and down and down, to the nineties and two-thousands, until it just really stopped. So I think it's fantastic that there are more and more great female parts that we can turn to on places like Netflix."

Watch Deana Sumanac's interview with Famke Janssen in the above video.

Hemlock Grove Season 2 is now available on Netflix.