Caroline Dhavernas has done plenty of high-profile American projects and
many homegrown productions, and she loves mixing it up like that.
"I think it’s the variety that makes this job exciting,” said Dhavernas, in a chat during the press day for the new Quebec science fiction film Mars et Avril.
plays Avril, an alluring photographer who falls for the much older
Jacob (Jacques Languirand), an unusual fellow who plays wind instruments
inspired by women’s bodies. The film from writer-director Martin
Villeneuve — which is set in a futuristic Montreal — also features Paul
Ahmarani as the guy who designs the instruments and actor/director
Robert Lepage as a cosmologist. Mars et Avril opens Friday.
"When you have different roles, different languages, different countries, that’s when things get interesting,” Dhavernas says. "I’ve been doing this job for 26 years, so there always have to be new challenges.”
who began dubbing TV shows when she was 8, first shot to prominence in
the English world thanks to her starring role in the critically laudeded
but short-lived Fox series Wonderfalls.
Fox aired only four
episodes back in 2004 before axing the quirky series about a young
woman, played by Dhavernas, who worked at a gift shop in Niagara Falls.
But millions of fans signed a petition to try to persuade Fox to keep it
alive, and the studio eventually released all 13 episodes on DVD. It
turned into quite the cult item, a show that’s still talked about eight
years after its all-too-brief run on network television.
"It had a very short life on air but other networks picked it up afterward, both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world,” Dhavernas said.
recently reunited with Wonderfalls co-creator Bryan Fuller. He penned
Hannibal, the NBC series inspired by the Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon,
which Dhavernas is currently shooting in Toronto. It features a young
Hannibal Lecter, the same hungry cannibal who takes centre-stage in
Harris’s novel The Silence of the Lambs (and the film of the same name).
"It was a bit unreal to talk to him that first day that we were in Toronto,” Dhavernas said. "He
was talking about the character and I was having trouble concentrating.
I just kept thinking — ‘Wow I can’t believe we’re working together
In Hannibal, Dhavernas portrays Dr. Alana
Stewart, a psychiatrist who used to be a student of gourmand serial
killer Lecter, played by Mads Mikkelsen. The cast of the series also
includes Laurence Fishburne and Hugh Dancy.
She was most recently
seen on American television in the Hawaii-shot, South America-set
medical drama Off the Map, alongside fellow Montrealer Rachelle Lefevre.
has done high-profile Quebec projects in the past few years, notably De
père en flic and Surviving My Mother, but she mentions, surprisingly
enough, that she hasn’t worked in her home province since she shot Mars
et Avril 3½ years ago.
"I really miss working here,” Dhavernas said. "Sometimes
I get scripts which I don’t feel like doing. Also I’m away a lot. I was
in Hawaii for six months. Now I’m in Toronto. So sometimes I’m not
available. But also people think, because you work elsewhere, that
you’re not interested (in doing Quebec productions). I think that’s the
Dhavernas knows Mars et Avril
director Villeneuve from their CEGEP days together at Brébeuf, but the
odd wrinkle is that Villeneuve was initially thinking of Marie-Josée
Croze for the role of Avril. Most of the main actors in the film —
including Languirand, Ahmarani and Lepage — were featured in the photos
in the original books — which are photo-romans — written by Villeneuve.
In the books, it was Croze in the photos, but she was not available when
the time came to shoot the film.
not a big science-fiction fan. I find it can often be a kind of cold
universe. But I found a real warmth in Martin’s screenplay. It’s a love
story. There’s a real poetry in the film. I really have a lot of
admiration for Martin.”