Emily Hampshire and Good Neighbours debut at TIFF
There is no one in the world like Emily Hampshire. Strikingly beautiful and with a personality full of quirks and interesting insights, I have never met another person like her.
She is also, hands down, my favourite Canadian actress. Her work is as special as she is. She comes across as genuine, affecting, and remarkably unique, on and off screen. I've always looked up to her. I was thrilled when she and I worked together a little over a year ago on a movie called Die that's being released in Canada in the New Year.
Her talent is widely recognized. She won a Gemini for her hilarious performance in the series Made in Canada. She has also been nominated for three Genie awards recognizing her work in film. She is most widely known for her critically acclaimed role in Snow Cake, opposite Alan Rickman and Sigourney Weaver. She recently starred in The Trotsky, a great film also starring Jay Baruchel and directed by her best friend Jacob Tierney.
I find she and Tierney very inspirational. They are two talented Canadian actors who have banded together, with an incredible loyalty, creating fantastic work. Watching them together at award shows, and parties, as well as their Facebook banter, is equal parts funny and touching. They are hilarious and witty, and they make me wish I had my own creative soul mate.
This year, Emily's starring in Tierney's Good Neighbours, making its debut at TIFF tonight. Set in 1995 during the second Quebec referendum, in an apartment building in Montreal's Notre-Dame-de-Gr창ce neighbourhood, the film follows three unusual tenants while a serial killer is on the loose.
Louise (Hampshire) is a waitress that works in a Chinese restaurant and has a rather unhealthy attachment to her cats. Her only friend Spencer (Scott Speedman) is a caustic widower who's confined to a wheelchair. Meanwhile, new tenant Victor (Baruchel) is an overly friendly elementary school teacher, who takes an interest in Louise, upsetting the routine that Louise and Spencer have developed - at the same time as a string of unsolved homicides take place in the area.
I'm really interested in what she has to say about being a Canadian film star and all things TIFF.
How did you and Jacob meet? Did you immediately know how connected you were going to be personally and professionally? It's such a special relationship you two have, being best friends and creative partners.
Awe, this is kind of sweet actually because the first time we laid eyes on each other was....quite fittingly, during TIFF. We met at the Boy Meet's Girl after party (my first TIFF movie). The director Jerry Ciccoritti was a mutual friend of ours and introduced us to one and other. However we didn't actually become friends until about 2 years later. Jacob was moving to Toronto (he was living in LA at the time) and was looking for an apartment... I happened to have a shitty apartment that I wanted to move out in order to move into the slightly less shitty apartment above it... so he took my sloppy seconds and pretty much had no choice but to be my friend (since I was living above him). So it was more like an "arranged marriage" than an 'immediate' love-at-first-sight kind of connection
For a woman so beautiful, you are never vain. Do you like red carpets? Or do you find them nerve racking?
Me?... 'never vain'? Um... are we pretending that you're not the girl I threatened to de-friend if you did not immediately untag me from that picture you posted of me on Facebook where I looked so large that it looked like my face was eating my features?
Honestly though..I don't like red carpets, it's not because I find them nerve racking though, it's more that... well, I just can't win. I either walk down the red carpet to end up first at the finish line only to find out the film's publicist thinks I was like INTENTIONALLY 'snubbing' the press by not stopping for interviews OR I stand around trying to find things to do... like ANYTHING (I've bent down to tie my shoe that DIDN'T HAVE LACES) to pretend I'm not actually just standing there waiting for interviews/photos, like I'm last picked in gym class.
Speaking of, how are you getting ready for TIFF?
Um... I just bought an iPad...does that count? You know, as something I've done to prepare?
Have you seen Good Neighbours? Do you find it difficult to watch yourself? Do you get nervous watching yourself in front of an audience?
I will see the finished film for the first time WITH AN AUDIENCE (caps = terrified!). I AM nervous to see it with an audience. Normally I'm not, because normally I've seen the movie so many times before that I don't stay and watch it, but we did this movie so fast that Jacob only finished it like last week so I haven't had the chance to see it. I don't find it difficult to watch myself on screen alone though.
I always watch dailies (and have an issue with anyone who has an issue with my doing that. there are sooooooo many things I am not mentally capable of handling on my own...so when it comes to one of the RARE things I CAN deal with (taking inventory of my own work as well as being able to see how the world I'm playing in actually looks, etc. etc.). I don't like to be told no.
What is the reality of being a successful Canadian actress?
Oof, you tell me! Gosh, I don't know... I think the reality of being a successful Canadian actress is the reality of being a successful anything, in that you need to find the measure of your success within yourself and realize it's nothing that anyone can give you or award you with. And for me that is to be genuinely proud of my work - and that's really the best feeling in the world because it's so fucking rare and hard to come by (I think I've had more award nominations that I've had genuine pride moments).
What motivated your move to LA? Do you miss Toronto?
My move to LA was purely a career based move, and it has become the place I least like to work (and/or just work the least) but the place I most like living. Which is soooo annoying because that's not how I planed PLANNED it, and I will always heart Toronto but I can't say I really miss it, miss it. I LOVE going back but I'm really happy living here.
What question should I be really embarrassed I didn't ask?
Jesus Katie, did you come up with that question yourself? Or did you steal it from somewhere because that is a really cool question and one that deserves to have the last word. So ask me it again, now... and I won't say anything. Go!
Writing by Katie Boland
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