Not too many Quebec actresses are offered a top role by one to the big U.S. networks on a silver platter. But that’s exactly what happened to ABC’s new star, Caroline Dhavernas.
She’s been in Hawaii since August shooting Off the Map, a medical drama from the producer of Grey’s Anatomy that debuts Wednesday on ABC and Global."I didn’t audition for the role, they offered it to me on a silver platter,”
The actress first read the script while she was travelling in Bali last January, and it caught her attention."ABC had been courting me for a long time but I was never interested because of the projects they proposed,”
Since her experience starring in Wonderfalls, a 2004 FOX show cancelled after one season, she learned to lower her expectations.
"Normally, I decide not to participate in pilot season because I know what it entails.”
But the role of Minnesota doctor Lily Brenner, who leaves to start a new life in South America, seduced the hesitant actress."I never liked medical dramas but this one has a backdrop of humanitarian aid,”
she said. "I liked that.”
The show is filmed in a paradise-like setting and Dhavernas lives in a house nestled in the mountains with tropical views of the jungle and exotic birds."There are days I pinch myself because I can’t believe this is where I work,”
Off the Map was written by Jenna Bans, who worked for Grey’s Anatomy and Sex and the City, and is produced by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice).
It tells the tale of six young American doctors who are fleeing inner demons to start from scratch in a remote clinic in the bush.
Dhavernas spent her first day on set suspended on a cable above the trees for a dramatic rescue scene, hanging over the same jungle where Jurassic Park was filmed.
She co-stars with Meryl Streep’s daughter, Mamie Gummer, and fellow Montrealer Rachelle Lefevre, who she never knew prior despite their shared hometown."It’s funny, because there aren’t too many Montrealers who‘ve made careers in the U.S. and here we are on the same set,”
Despite spending five months on the set so far, the Passchendaele star said the actors are still learning about their characters."I look forward to seeing how this will turn out because the tone is hard to find, we shift from drama to comedy,”
she said."We’re all still trying to find our feet.”
So what does Dhavernas expect from the Jan. 12 premiere?"It’s beyond my control,”
"What matters to me most is what happens in my own life. Here, we’ve been a little protected from the start. If it doesn’t work out I’ll pack my little bags and head off for new adventures.”