Rebecca Lamarche is an actor, filmmaker, producer and casting director. I spoke with Rebecca about landing her first acting role, working as a casting director and producer, and her upcoming projects.
Did you always want to pursue a career in acting, and how did you land your first role?
No, I've always had lots of interests. I think this actually helps me as an actor. Growing up, I was particularly interested in medicine. In elementary and middle school, I wanted to be a veterinarian and then in high school I wanted to be a surgeon. During that time, I worked as a COOP student for MacMaster Children's Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, working with preemie babies. I spent half of every day there for a semester. It was amazing. Somehow, I kept feeling the call of acting and decided to try it. I made a point to keep a high grade average in university so that I wasn't closing the door on Medicine if I changed my mind.
I went to university in Canada's beautiful Maritimes and was in Halifax where they had a small but strong film industry at the time. I signed with a local agency and was auditioning, but I had also been finding myself some background work. I was supposed to be doing one day of background on a national comedy series called Mr. D for the CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation). As a comedy, there was a lot of improv with the lead actors, and they decided to bump me from background to actor, so I got to work with the leads. It was a blast and one of my first exposures to television. It's actually a really fun show that's on Netflix now if you want a laugh.
Is there anyone in the industry who has influenced your work as an actor?
Alisen Down is a local Toronto actor and she was the first actor I worked with as a coach who really made a difference that "clicked". She was so gracious and nurturing and is a very smart performer herself. I drove for over an hour to her home every Monday, for just under or about a year, and was there for 8+ hours straight of group training. Her mindset was very empowering and positive, that was one of the biggest takeaways I've kept with me. I also still approach learning my scenes in some of the methods she laid out. She's such a successful actor, as well as a mother, that she couldn't stretch her time enough to continue training other actors, but I'm so grateful for the many hours we had together!
What draws you to a script?
An offer! Haha. I don't like scripts that are overindulgent or over explanatory. I think that the audience is smart and very perceptive. I won't do a project if I find the material derogatory or if I feel it contributes to negative stereotypes. Lastly, I enjoy clever, witty, humour.
You also work as a casting director and producer. Do you prefer working behind the camera, and how does it inform your work as an actor?
I love producing and casting and feel so privileged to get to do this work. It's fun and exciting, as well as empowering. That being said, acting is definitely my favourite job in the industry, it's such a joy to do.
Working as a filmmaker, specifically in casting and producing, has definitely made me a more intuitive actor. And, truly, vice versa. As an actor, I better understand what the story requires from my characters, which I think helps me to elevate my roles. I have a good grasp of tone. I've learned an unquantifiable amount about auditioning from holding thousands of auditions myself. I'm also much more confident now that I understand the casting process and how out of our hands it is as an actor. I just show up and bring my best interpretation.
What’s your mantra, or the best advice you've ever had?
I show up every time on every project. This means that I do the best work I can on every project without compromise. I think you see a lot of people phone it in when working on lower budget projects - bearing in mind that "lower" is a relative term. Really, I'm of the opinion that if you accept a job, make it worthwhile.
If I'm acting in a film and my character happens to be called in for continuity on a day and I'm paid as an actor to sit in the background of a scene - my girl has opinions on everything going on. She is working. I give them options on something to cut to and, usually, they do.
If I'm casting and or producing a project that happens to have a lower budget, I go the extra mile. I find a way to get the best our money can buy, or sometimes, bring the best to the budget. Of course, I prefer working with higher budgets, but the lower-budget indie projects are exciting and creative in their own right, largely because budgets are so restrictive. Really cool decisions materialize by way of solutions.
Are you currently working on any projects?
Yes, I just finished casting, and am associate producing, a film set in the world of gymnastics. It's hard to believe but we will have it released in time for this year's summer Olympics. It was very challenging to cast, especially during Covid, and I was looking at actors within a 4+ hour radius of our studio, doing search after search to find the right fits, finding the right doubles for some of the actors, everything. It was very challenging but also a lot of fun. I'm very proud of what we've put together.
On the acting front, My Boss' Wedding, is a Romantic Comedy premiering on Super Channel Heart and Home Saturday March 27th. Also, my first thriller, Deadly Mom Retreat, in which I have a supporting role, will be premiering soon - details to come! Of course, there are lots of fun project's cooking - can't wait for more to come soon.