Sara Canning (born July 14, 1987) is a Canadian actress who plays Jenna Sommers on The Vampire Diaries. Recently she has had small roles on other CW hit series, Smallville and Supernatural. She also starred in the 2009 feature film, Black Field. She stars as Dylan Weir in the Canadian television series, Primeval: New World.
Canning was born in Gander, Newfoundland, Canada, the daughter of Wayne and Daphne Canning, and was raised in Sherwood Park, near Edmonton, Alberta. She competed as a figure skater in her childhood and early adolescent years, and became interested in theatre as a student at F.R. Haythorne Junior High. Canning starred in several stage productions while attending Bev Facey Community High School, and acted in shows at her hometown stage at Festival Place. Canning made her professional acting debut in George Orwell's 1984 at the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton at the age of 18. She began studying general arts at the University of Alberta, and considered going into journalism. Still interested in performing, Canning left university and moved to Vancouver at 19, to pursue a career in acting. She graduated from a year-long acting program at the Vancouver Film School.
Canning found an agent and began acting in television series and TV films produced in Vancouver. She worked in a restaurant and would take time off to film. Her first role was in 2008, playing Nicky Hilton in Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story. In 2009, she guest-starred on Smallville, and Kyle XY, and starred in the based-on-real-events TV movie, Taken in Broad Daylight. She played Anne Sluti, a 17-year- old girl who was abducted by a demented criminal (James Van Der Beek). In 2009, Canning filmed a pilot for The Vampire Diaries, a CW network television series. She then starred in the feature film Black Field, a 19th Century gothic period piece, directed by Danishka Esterhazy. Canning shot the drama in May 2009, near Tyndall, Manitoba, Canada. She played Maggie McGregor, the older of two Scottish sisters struggling take make their way on the Canadian Prairies. The film premiered at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2009. The Vampire Diaries was picked up as a television series, just three weeks after she completed work on the film. Canning co-starred as Jenna Sommers on The Vampire Diaries, the aunt and guardian of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and her younger brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). Canning was the same age, or younger, than her fellow cast members who played high school students. Makeup artists and the wardrobe team worked to make her look older than she usually did. Canning downplayed her Canadian accent for the role. Her character's love interest, Alaric Saltzman, was played by Matthew Davis. Canning appeared on the second season of The Vampire Diaries from 2010–2011, until her character was killed in the episode, "The Sun Also Rises". Canning is interested in writing and directing. As of September 2010, she was co-writing a love story set in the Western time period. In 2011, she worked on a short film noir, titled "Corvus". She shot the Lifetime network film, Hunt for the I-5 Killer, in Vancouver that year, and signed on to play the lead in the Canadian horror film, Blitzed. She starred alongside Greystone Holt in the Hallmark Movie Channel Western, Hannah's Law, which began filming in Calgary, Alberta in October 2011. Canning will appear in I Think I Do, which began filming in Edmonton in January 2012. She stars as Audrey, an event planner who runs a business alongside her two sisters (Mia Kirschner and Jenny Cooper). The romantic comedy will air on the W and Lifetime networks in 2013. Canning also filmed The Right Kind of Wrong in Alberta in late 2012. She stars in the independent romantic comedy with Ryan Kwanten and Catherine O'Hara. Canning stars in the television series Primeval: New World with Niall Matter, a Canadian spin-off of the sci-fi series Primeval. She plays wildlife officer Dylan Weir. The series was filmed in Vancouver.
- Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story (2008)
- Smallville (2008)
- Slap Shot 3: The Junior League (2008)
- Kyle XY (2009)
- Taken in Broad Daylight (2009)
- Come Dance at My Wedding (2009)
- Black Rain (2009)
- Black Field (2009)
- The Vampire Diaries (2009-2012)
- The Hunt for I-5 Killer (2011)
- Supernatural (2012)
- Hannah's Law (2012)
- Primeval: New World (2012)