Hard to believe it's been 10 years since Liane Balaban charmed audiences as Moonie Pottie in New Waterford Girl. Now, after a stint studying journalism at Ryerson, the 28-year-old head-turner is back in the movie business full-time.
Below, she discusses playing Dustin Hoffman's daughter in this week's midlife rom-com, Last Chance Harvey, Josh Jackson's fiancée in One Week (coming in March) and pretending to be Natalie Portman.
What was it like working with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson on Last Chance Harvey?
They were so generous, and made me feel like I belonged there as part of the creative team. Dustin is hilarious, always telling stories, and Emma is so inspiring as an actor, writer, activist and mother. She's a brilliant, brilliant person.
You go from that big Hollywood film to the tiny Canadian drama One Week, a soon-to-be-discovered gem from last year's TIFF. How was that experience?
It's an unabashedly Canadian film with a lot of spirit. We filmed on a shoestring, like a guerrilla set, like film camp, travelling in this rickety old bus across Canada, grabbing shots, stealing locations, and it turned into this great heartwarming little film that grapples with the questions "Is this the life that I want? Have I chosen to live this life, or has this life just happened to me? What do I really want?"
Have you answered those questions for yourself?
Yeah. I want to be an actor and I am being an actor. I'm not ready to run off on a road trip. Yet.
Is this where you expected to be 10 years after New Waterford Girl?
I thought I'd be a journalist, and only pursued acting intermittently while studying. My very first interview as a journalist was with David Usher of Moist, and he called the magazine the next day to say it was the best interview he'd done for his solo album. I felt like a million euros.
But for the last couple of years I've committed myself to acting. I don't want to say I was born to do this, but I love doing it. I do wonder why so many people who are born to be artists are thwarted and don't get to live their dreams, which is what One Week is about.
Are you pursuing more Hollywood roles, then?
Hollywood is a goal for most film actors, I think. But I like how Jay Baruchel does things - he does movies like Knocked Up and Tropic Thunder and then Canadian movies like The Trotsky, which we just made together, in which he believes he's the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky.
Gee, have you ever been mistaken for someone else?
Who could you possibly be referring to? I hear "Natalie Portman!" all the time. I've signed autographs as Natalie Portman. I was at a Film Festival party where someone asked if I was her, and I didn't want to embarrass them so I signed the autograph as her. I hope she doesn't mind.