Diverse artistry: Get to know actress/filmmaker Rebecca Lamarche
Rebecca Lamarche is a true renaissance woman. She was raised speaking English and French in Canada, and she honed her talent for storytelling at the Dalhousie University. As an actress, Lamarche has appeared in dozens of TV films like Hometown Holiday (2018) and Love by Accident (2020). As a writer, producer, and casting director, she has championed diversity onscreen and spoken at a Toronto BIPOC TV & Film community panel to discuss the need for representation.
Lamarche, who graduated from the Canadian Military Journalism Course and is a competitive pistol shooter, is gearing up for her busiest year yet. She stars in the new Hallmark Channel rom-com Fit for a Prince, and is slated to appear in the Super Channel romance My Boss’ Wedding, as well as the Lifetime thriller Deadly Mom Retreat. The former is set for release on March 27th.
Film Daily was fortunate enough to chat with Rebecca Lamarche about her varied career, her upcoming films, and her desire for increased diversity.
You have lots of experience in the entertainment industry. How did you start your journey?
I started off with acting and working as a journalist. I love telling stories and decided to adapt my toolkit as a journalist to use as a filmmaker. Now, I spend my year pivoting between acting and filmmaking projects. It’s my goal to start combining each skill set in the coming years!
You’re not just an actress, but a producer, filmmaker & casting director. Which career field has been the most challenging?
Definitely acting. I didn’t grow up in the business and I had no personal resources or connections getting started – it made me feel like I was always playing catch up. You’re at the mercy of so many people and various business decisions to get one part let alone build a career. Lastly, you’re also at the mercy of market trends that you have no control over, and truly, it makes sense.
There is much more than your looks or your acting ability in getting a role. It’s wild when you get into it and I really appreciate that now that I work in Casting and Producing. It makes me so very grateful to the people who consistently support me as an actor.
Who has been your biggest influence throughout your career?
There are many people who stand out for very different reasons. There’s actress Alisen Down who used to coach and I was lucky enough to work with her for about a year. She helped me grow so much as an actress, but also was a major turning point for my mental health in the business.
There is Chad Archibald who referred me to Patrick McBrearty, who offered me my first paid job as a filmmaker. Brigitte Kingsley who was one of the first filmmakers to be vocal and active in supporting me as an actress.
Cha Cha Da Vinci who was my first “big break” when it came to agents. She even got me a Marvel movie in-person audition the day I signed with her. Cha still reps me in Montreal, Quebec.
You’re appearing in three films this year, two rom-coms and a thriller. Which genre have you enjoyed the most & why?
I wish I had an answer for you, but the variety in genres is what makes each so enjoyable and brings out the magic in the other. With the rom-coms, you get to laugh and have fun on set and with the thrillers, you get to play with drama and suspense. I will say though, I very much want to get into action and fantasy – so maybe those will change the game.
Tell us about one of these rom-coms, Fit for a Prince.
I play a devilishly privileged socialite, Brooke Hamilton. Brooke has never known “no” and always demands more. Her biggest horror would probably be being photographed in the same gown twice. Brookie loves hosting and sees it as an opportunity to dazzle the readers of Page 6 with her latest escapades.
In Fit for a Prince, she and her family are hosting Prince Ronan for a charity ball and Brookie will not suffer a lowly seamstress stepping out of line on her big day.
How was your working relationship with co-stars Natalie Hall & Jonathan Kelts?
It was great! Both performers were very generous with their time – always giving their all during long days, and whether it was their coverage or not. They’re also both Canadian talent and I love seeing my fellow Canadians’ shine!
Natalie was particularly sweet and made a point to check in and make sure we were on the same page for the scene where she accidentally throws a glass of wine on me at a party (not a spoiler – it’s in the trailer!). She even checked in after wrap and I thought that was not only sweet, but very classy.
How did Fit for a Prince differ in comparison to your other upcoming rom-com My Boss’s Wedding?
Where “Brooke” takes everything very seriously, “Rebecca” (from My Boss’ Wedding) is just there to have a ball. Ironic since Brooke actually attends them! Rebecca is so excited for her and her daughter, Samantha, to shine in any and every occasion. Where Brooke might delight in causing trouble, I think Rebecca would be oblivious to it!
You’ve appeared on many TV shows & films, which do you prefer?
Whichever my character has a larger story arc! The more you get to dig in, the more fun it is as an actor.
What was your favorite moment when filming Lifetime’s thriller Deadly Mom Retreat?
All the improv! Marita Grabiak is really generous and trusting with her actors all while leading with a very clear vision. On Deadly Mom Retreat she would give me a new idea and then have me improv – and I’m talking about improving a breakup and improving a full-on fight.
When you’re given that much freedom, really fun stuff comes out of it! Another favorite thing are the friendships that have come out of that film. The lovely Lara Amersey is the lead and we’ve become quite good friends.
As a filmmaker, do you think 2020 was a challenging year for creatives?
Definitely, and I actually think that, if you were fortunate enough to have worked, it was most challenging for the business side of things – I’m talking Producers and Executive Producers. We really had to re-think how productions were run to both keep things safe and keep the production economically viable. I actually had fun with the challenge of it all, it keeps it interesting.
You’ve worked alongside many indie filmmakers, is there one particular indie filmmaker we should keep an eye out for?
Yes, I have SO many to name, but I’ll name a few. My good friend Justin G. Dyke is coming off of his hit, Anything for Jackson and is working on some very exciting new projects.
My friends at Good Soldier Film who made My Boss’ Wedding, do a great job making these wonderful rom-coms, but also have some very exciting and beautiful genre-films both out and releasing soon. There’s Brigitte Kingsley, Andrew Cymek, and Patrick McBrearty who have joined their team.
What is your advice for aspiring filmmakers?
It’s all about the people you work with and the stories you’re telling. Support one another because there really is room for everyone. When first starting out, get involved wherever you can and hone in on where you want to specialize and with the people you want to work with.
Are you part of any acting communities?
Hahah nothing that’s particularly structured or organized. Right now, during COVID, I do Zoom classes where you can do scenes with actors from around the world. I think that’s really cool, fun, and different.
The other week I was zooming from my self-tape studio at night and my scene partner, who was entirely new to me, was in a bright sunny room from Australia. We were zooming a fun scene on technically different calendar days of the week and in different hemispheres. I love it.
What was it like to sit on a panel for the Toronto BIPOC TV & Film community?
I was really honored to be invited but was at first hesitant because, well, I’m a blonde, white woman. It was great to get to answer questions and share insight into the TV-movie genre for BIPOC writers who were looking to break into the genre. I’ve been passionate for years about pushing more inclusive casting, but I think having more culturally diverse writing-rooms will serve film just as much or possibly more.
There’s that old trope that the same X-number of stories are told on loop. Once more people in the BIPOC community get involved on a scripting level, I think we’ll start discovering new perspectives and new stories. That’s really exciting to me!
You’re also known to be an advocate for people of color in the film industry, why is the BLM Movement important to you?
Thank you, I think inclusive filmmaking is important from a social perspective and also an asset in creating commercially viable products – I’m proud to have been and continue to be an ally in that. To answer your question, the Black Lives Matter movement is important beyond film, it’s important in every aspect of life. The way I continue to benefit from feminist men and women, I care to be an ally to my brothers and sisters of color.
What is your ultimate goal in the film industry?
My ultimate goal as a filmmaker is to tell true story adaptations that have, or have had, a profound impact on our society. In tandem with that, my other ultimate goal as a filmmaker is to produce the projects I want to act in.
That doesn’t mean that every future project will be a vehicle for my acting but there are many women I plan to portray as an actor and would like to produce those stories. My immediate goals as an actor are to continue to diversify across genres and to break into the action genre.
Do you think the film industry is changing in regards to female voices in production & filmmaking?
Absolutely, it’s a movement and a shift that is growing and I really don’t think is temporary. I work for Brain Power Studio, a company owned and run by Beth Stevenson and where many key and meaningful positions are filled by women.
I also am very proud to say that the men I work with are allies and great colleagues and friends. An example of this on a far larger scale would be Reece Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine. Women are here to stay, and we have some amazing male allies in the community.
If you could live in one rom-com, which film would it be?
Wow!! Hahah I keep laughing every time I think of one, but I have the perfect answer: My Best Friend’s Wedding.
We know you have a lot of hobbies like yoga, polo competitive pistol shooting, and practicing your craft. Have you learned any new skills during lockdown/pandemic?
I’m working on a few! My boyfriend, Kyle, who is a retired national athlete, is teaching me Boxing. Although I think my favorite part of that is getting to kiss the coach! Recently, as we’re nearing the end of our winter here in Toronto, I’ve started re-learning how to ice skate on some outdoor rinks.
I used to figure skate as a young girl and think it will be fun to keep teaching myself. Things are starting to thaw now, so I’ll leave the cool skills to next winter. This summer I’m hoping to learn equestrian polo or vaulting.
What has been your biggest success?
Maintaining my self-esteem and belief in myself, as well as not succumbing to damaging beauty trends.