Saturday, August 10, 2013

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Elyse Levesque on Her Career, Future Dreams and New Role on CEDAR COVE

Elyse Levesque
Elyse Levesque exuberates multiple talents including acting, modeling, a strong dance background, fluency in French, and the unique ability to master different language dialects. Realizing her passion and talent at a young age, Elyse was cast in the popular Canadian children series THE INCREDIBLE STUDIO. Shortly after this Levesque moved to Vancouver, British Columbia to pursue her dreams.

The Canadian born actor has appeared in a variety of films and television shows starring alongside big names such as Keith David in Sons of Liberty, Mimi Rogers in Storm Cell, and Lou Diamond Phillips and Robert Carlyle in MGM Universal’s STARGATE UNIVERSE, where she played Chloe Armstrong. Levesque’s other credits include her notable role in MEN IN TREES, SMALLVILLE, and Warner Brother's Journey to the Center of the Earth. She has also appeared in Canadian filmmaker Carl Bessai’s Normal, which went on to win Best Western Canadian Film at the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Levesque is currently starring as the energetic, "love life juggling" art manager Maryellen in Hallmark Channel's first original scripted series, CEDAR COVE, airing on Saturday nights.

We Love Soaps recently spoke with Levesque about her career and her latest role as Maryellen in CEDAR COVE. Read our exclusive interview below:

WE LOVE SOAPS: It seems like you have been in the business in one form or another for a long time. Did you always want to be an actor?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: As long as I can remember I wanted to be an actor; that or a mermaid. [Laughs] It turns out actor was just more feasible.

I was pretty fortunate when I was 11 years old. The teacher of my sixth grade class heard of an open call for kids. They were looking at casting a series in my hometown. I was always putting on plays in class, and my medium when I had an assignment would be to film something or act it out, so my teacher suggested I go to this open call.  I went, got a callback, and then they cast me on it. That's how I got my start.

WE LOVE SOAPS: What was your goal at that point? Did you want to be in the movies? Or just be famous?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: I don't think I understood what it meant to be famous at that point. I just knew I always had so much fun playing make-believe, and I liked to make people laugh. I think a part of me was just a show off who liked the attention. [Laughs] I'm sure as a kid there was some glorified idea of being a "movie star" and glamour but I really enjoyed playing around. I was an only child so I became very imaginative and talked to myself a lot. It just kind of made sense.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Were there any heroes or people you looked up to or aspired to be like?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: There's a lot of great women in this business that I look up to. I've always loved Meryl Streep and think she's fantastic. I love Jessica Lange, Gena Rowlands, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, pretty much any of those strong, ballsy, versatile women. I've always aspired to have that kind of career with that level of diversity. I have a lot of respect for them because they are about the work and not about all the other stuff that comes with the job.

WE LOVE SOAPS: You have played so many different roles in your career already. Would you say you get most recognized from SGU? I know sci-fi fans are some of the most loyal fans in the world.
ELYSE LEVESQUE: Yes! In Vancouver getting recognized doesn't happen that often; it happens more if I'm in the States. But I have a hilarious story. One time I was snowboarding up in Whistler, and I'm terrible because I'm from the prairies and like things that are flat. But I decided it would be interesting to strap myself to a piece of wood and go down the side of a mountain. [Laughs]

I got separated from my friends because they are all really good. I went down this one path and ended up bailing super hard and lying like a lump in a pile of snow. This snowboarder came up and said, "Oh my God! Are you okay? You're look really bad." I said, "No, I'm okay, I'm fine." Then he's said, "Are you Chloe Armstrong?!" I thought to myself, "This is my moment to be recognized? You've got to be kidding!" He asked, "Can I get a picture with you?" I said, "Um, yes, sure."

So I would say STARGATE is definitely the one I get recognized from, maybe MASTERS OF HORROR once or twice.

WE LOVE SOAPS: That was actually a really nice fan. These days it's a miracle he didn't just take a picture, tweet it and leave. [Laughs]
ELYSE LEVESQUE: He was. He asked if I needed help down the mountain.

WE LOVE SOAPS: I have to ask you about one movie in your credits that sounds interesting, Slumber Party Slaughter.
ELYSE LEVESQUE: It was exactly what you think it would be like. That was the job that got me my papers to work in the States. It was my first time filming in Los Angeles. I didn't have a big part, and just worked a couple of days on it.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Did you get slaughtered? Or can you say?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: Oh, I get slaughtered alright, on a microphone. That's how I died. My character was a singer, but she's not a talented one, she's really bad, and the killer came up behind me and slammed my mouth on a microphone and I choked to death. He decapitated me if I recall.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Are you a singer?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: That's one talent I was not blessed with. At least for Slumber Party I didn't have to be a good singer, but for MASTERS OF HORROR I had to play this classically trained singer. For the audition they asked me to sing something so I sang "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," and it was brutal. They loved me though. They ended up just dubbing in another singer with a similar voice to me. It looked like I'm a legit singer when you watched it but it's actually not me.

I can spit rhymes, oddly enough, I do rap.

WE LOVE SOAPS: The CEDAR COVE premiere movie had great ratings and now the series is out. How would you describe your character, Maryellen?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: She's the daughter of Grace (Teryl Rothery), one of the main characters. She's different from a lot of people you will see in the show. She's kind of outrageous in the way she dresses; she's artistically inclined and runs the local art gallery. She's this scattered, unintentionally self-centered person with foot-in-mouth syndrome but is incredibly positive. I think that's what makes her charming.

She's sort of a Bambi on ice throwing caution to the wind, jumping into things and not worrying about the repercussions. We see her fumbling along the way which I think is endearing. And she has this dalliance with an artist.

At least for the first portion of the show, she's one of the lighter, quirkier characters. As the season progresses we see her mature, and a lot of it has to do with her relationships.

ELYSE LEVESQUE: Mostly in the Greater Vancouver area. We shot most of it in Fort Langley, which is this quaint little town about 40 minutes outside Vancouver. The movie was shot in Victoria on the island, but the series has been in different areas in and around Vancouver, like out in White Rock and the cute little fishing areas.

WE LOVE SOAPS: There are tons of shows shooting up there now.
ELYSE LEVESQUE: Hopefully it continues to be that way. We've lost a lot of our tax incentives but right now it's really busy up here which is fantastic.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Here in New York we've also lost some shows to Connecticut because of tax breaks and incentives. But speaking of New York, would you ever like to work here in the theater or on Broadway?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: That's the dream actually to do that. I feel like it's one of the scariest things I could do as an actor. I've done a bit of theater and I did my first legit play this past April in Los Angeles. I was shooting in Vancouver at the same time so it was an insane month. The play was an original piece called "Julia Arduck," the story of this acting teacher who committed suicide and how her students got together to try to figure out why she did it. It was a really well-written piece of work and was intimidating for my first experience doing theater but at the end of it all I had such a great time. For me, down the line, I would like to do more of it.

WE LOVE SOAPS: Is there any type of role you haven't played that you would like to take on?
ELYSE LEVESQUE: The characters I play tend to be damsels in distress or the bubblier, lighter sweet innocent type. I would love the opportunity to play something really missed up, something completely opposite of me, dark and disturbing. I could be getting myself in a whole lot of trouble. [Laughs] On the total opposite end of the spectrum I would love to do more broad comedy. I make videos with my girlfriends and have a lot of fun doing that but haven't been able to put it into my work professionally. I would love to get the opportunity to do that at some point.

- CEDAR COVE "Suspicious Minds" Preview

Roger Newcomb is a producer and writer in New York City. Aside from co-hosting WE LOVE SOAPS TV, he has written and produced a full-length indie film, Manhattanites, and two radio soap operas, SCRIPTS & SCRUPLES and ROCKLAND COUNTY. He has also made acting appearances in indie web series IMAGINARY BITCHES and EMPIRE. He has consulted on numerous indie soaps, worked as a producer on the first two seasons of Emmy-nominated THE BAY, and is executive producer on the indie short May Mercy Lie, which is currently making the rounds at film festivals. He appeared in FRANCOPRHENIA in 2012 and the documentary SOAP LIFE, out on DVD in 2013.