If there’s one thing actress Rachelle Lefevre has learned over the course of her decade long career, it’s how to land on ones feet. In fact, one needn’t look further than her prolific imdb resume to realize that the moment her career takes a turn for the worst, the actress manages to turn things around with a string of high profile starring roles. Which is precisely why it came as no surprise that fresh off the disappointment of ABC’s OFF THE MAP, the in-demand actress currently finds herself in New York City playing a doctor of an entirely different kind in CBS’ A GIFTED MAN. So just what keeps Lefevre going amidst all the ups and downs of the roller-coaster that is her career and what is it that attracted her to her latest role? We recently had the pleasure of catching up with the affable actor to find out just that. See for yourself, after the jump.
As a fellow Canadian, we’re always curious as to how a girl from Quebec manages to make it big in Hollywood?
Rachelle Lefevre: Literally elbow grease. I made audition tapes in my living room with a very good friend of mine who would spend hours with me directing them, coming over and helping me decide which scenes to send. I had done a series for Fox Family Channel many many years ago called BIG WOLF ON CAMPUS which also aired on YTV in Canada and from that I got a manager and agent in the US who I guess saw some potential and was willing to invest time in getting me auditions. I spent all my waitressing money to ship audition tapes and finally I booked a pilot for a sitcom on Fox that got picked up and went to series so I moved to LA to shoot the series.
So much of an actor’s career is learning to deal with disappointment and rejection. How easy was it to pick yourself up after the cancelation of OFF THE MAP?
I think that growing up in Canada gave me a strong advantage. Growing up in Montreal, all my friends were not actors, I didn’t grow up with this sort of — I have to do this or I’m nothing — kind of mentality. I grew up in a community where people wanted to be a million different things, I went to McGill [University] where people were studying a million different things. I always wanted to be an actress but I could see right away just from my upbringing that that wasn’t the thing that was going to make me happy and be the source of my balance in life if you will. Like people studying English or Marine Biology, acting was just something I wanted to do and I found support and just kind of went off and tried to do it. I never put my happiness or the balance of my entire life never kind of hung on my career as an actress.
Thankfully though, you seem to have landed on your feet. How did your current role on A GIFTED MAN come about?
Like most things in life, a lot of the time you’re laying groundwork for things you have no idea you’re laying groundwork for. Over the years I had worked in TV a lot, had done a few guest spots and pilots for CBS and I’ve always had a really great relationship with the Network which has always been a joy to work for. When A GIFTED MAN came along and they were revamping the pilot, wanting to add a character, it turns out that I knew a lot of the people involved including writer/producer Sara Timberman whom I had met to talk about other projects. So it just became this great collaboration. I got on Skype with Neal Baer, one of the show’s executive producers, they were excited to work with me, I was excited, and in a way I had kind of been auditioning for years, if that makes any sense.
What was it in particular that got you most excited about your role as Dr. Kate Sykora?
The character is smart, really strong willed and I guess people have pointed out to me that I tend to be drawn to those character who are — whether it’s full on stubborn or just confident and sure of themselves — no bull kind of women. Either that or women who are really damaged! I go from one extreme to the next. But she was just so strong and funny and that was one of the things that I loved. When I had my conversation with Neal Baer, he said that Patrick’s [Wilson] character has a lot of humor in him because that’s who Patrick is. When you meet him he’s actually kind of a goofball — which is a nice combination for the ladies by the way, a smart guy who is a goofball but looks like Paul Newman! So Neal said to me we wanted her to be smart, really challenge him, but we also wanted someone who can play with him and find the humor and kind of poke at him in a kind of light hearted way and I was really attracted to that. I love the humor in everyday life and the way people relate to each other is sometimes kind of funny even in life and death medical situations. People are strange, they do weird dances around one another and so I liked the idea of that.
So much of a CBS procedurals success — at least in our humble opinon — is the execution of the almost obligatory will-they-or-won’t-they. Do you think a relationship is in Kate and Michael’s future, or do you see their relationship as more of a teaching/student one?
The beautiful thing about it is that I think there is a potential for all of those things. It’s already a mentorship in terms of being a two way street. Which is to say, when Michael [Patrick WIlson] comes to volunteer at the clinic my character ends up teaching him some things about real world medicine because he only caters to a very exclusive clientele where he works. yet at the same time he has more experience as a doctor and a neurosurgeon so he can offer me. So there are beautiful moments like in a recent episode we end up doing a very complicated surgery that I have very limited knowledge about and he’ll guide my hand and do some very sweet things to teach me in the midst of being guarded. That said, I very much enjoy working with Patrick and I’ve been told we have good onscreen chemistry so I think certainly there is the possibility there for romance at some point but who long that will take and how many hurdles they’ll have to go over I have no idea. A lot I would imagine!
A GIFTED MAN airs Fridays at 8PM on CBS (Global TV in Canada). Catch up on past episodes you may have missed for free online at clicktowatch.tv