NEW YORK -- Caroline Dhavernas has seen the best and worst of this
city in her eight years of dropping by. From 9/11 to the Times Square
celebration of Obama's inauguration.
The Canadian actor of Passchendaele fame took some time between auditions to show us around.
"When I come to New York, it's as if I've arrived in another
neighbourhood in Montreal," Dhavernas said seated in one of her
favourite spots, Alice's Tea Cup on the Upper West Side.
The 30-year-old is in town this time for auditions. The day before our interview it was for a role in a romantic comedy.
She comes to Manhattan several times a year, which is why she
keeps an apartment in the East Village. That area is a mix of punks,
students from New York University, Indian and Japanese restaurants. In
short, it's a living, breathing, vibrant melting pot that Dhavernas
wouldn't dream of trading for the bourgeois streets around Central
Only 20 years ago, before Rudy Giuliani cleaned things up, the area was considered fairly dangerous.
So why did the blue-eyed Montreal native choose New York over Los Angeles?
"It was the actress Patricia Clarkson who introduced me to my
agent, and he's based in New York. I also really like the city and it's
close to Montreal (where she just purchased a home). I couldn't live in
Natural, calm and level-headed, it is obvious Dhavernas doesn't really fit the typical image of a Tinseltown girl.
An actress's life here in New York is far from easy.
The competition is stiff and the work harder to find right now,
a result of the labour problems between the Screen Actors Guild and
"But after eight years here, they're starting to recognize me and I have access to some super auditions," she said.
"It's different from Montreal, where there's a greater respect
for actors. Here you have to give a good impression immediately."
Dhavernas has been working since she was 8, so she doesn't mind the downtime between shoots.
In her spare time she draws, does renovations and makes jewellery. But Dhavernas' career is planned out.
"This year I had lots of offers from American TV series and I
turned them all down. I'm choosing quality of life because with TV
series, the studios ask you to sign with them exclusively for the next
seven years of your life. I did that with Wonderfalls (the FOX show
that was cancelled after airing four episodes) and I saw what that was
like. I prefer making films."
Strangely, the success of Passchendaele ($4.43 million at the
box office in 2008) hasn't brought any other Canadian productions her
In the coming months, audiences will see her in the Quebec
production De Pere en Flic and she'll shoot Martin Villeneuve's Mars et
The series The Pacific, produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg and shot in Australia, is due out in 2010.
All too soon, our time is up and the lovely Dhavernas has gone home to begin sorting through an impressive pile of scripts.