Some here will remember or will have heard of Nelly Arcan, a former Montreal escort (who used the name Marilyn) who became a famous writer and sadly committed suicide in 2009. Here is an interview with the actress who will portray Nelly in a film about her that will be released this year. It was filmed in Montreal last fall.
Q&A: Mylène Mackay is about to have a very good year
Published on: January 22, 2016 |
Actress Mylene Mackay stars in the new film Endorphine and the upcoming biopic Nelly.
Twenty-eight-year-old Montreal actress Mylène Mackay makes her first major big-screen appearance in Quebec director André Turpin’s Endorphine, now in cinemas, and she will be seen later in 2016 in another Quebec film, Embrasse-moi comme tu m’aimes. But it’s Nelly that will likely draw the most heat. In that film, Mackay plays four characters that represent different aspects of the personality of Nelly Arcan, the Quebec author who took her own life in 2009, at the age of 36. I recently sat down for a chat with Mackay.
BK: Where were you born?
MM: In Saint-Didace in Lanaudière. It’s a little village.
BK: What do your parents do there?
MM: They’re gardeners. They have a garden that’s open to the public. It’s called Les jardins du grand-portage. My father (Yves Gagnon) gives conferences and has written books about ecological gardening. My mother (Diane Mackay) taught English to adults. They moved there when they were 25 and they planted all kinds of things. I was born at home, hippie-style, with a mid-wife. I went to the grade school in the village. Then I came to study theatre in Montreal at the age of 12.
BK: That’s very young.
MM: My parents split the job of being with me in Montreal. I went to École St-Louis, a school in Mile End with a theatre focus.
BK: What was it like starting out as an actress after you graduated from the École nationale de théâtre in 2011?
MM: The hardest thing was to act less. At school, you’re always acting in plays by the greatest authors so you’re always fulfilled. Then you graduate and it’s something else altogether. That’s why I created my theatre company and I wrote plays that I wanted to act in. I want to express myself as a woman. And once I started expressing myself with my own company, that’s when things started to happen in my career. My show Elles XXx really worked well and it led to other things. It’s like gardening. You reap what you sow.
BK: Was there one big break?
MM: I think it’s Nelly. It’s big. But (Endorphine director) André (Turpin) also gave me a break. He cast me in this role even though I had very little film experience. And once you have an important film role, there’s a kind of domino effect. All of a sudden other filmmakers are interested in you.
BK: Nelly sounds very interesting.
MM: Yeah it’s four parts of her. It’s four types of women that she tried to be. But she never managed to be any of them. In the film, we’ll hear the voice of Nelly, her complexity. She’s a woman who can’t be defined. She put her finger on a lot of female paradoxes and she said it in a very rough style.
BK: Endorphine is your first major film role. What was that experience like for you?
MM: I was nervous and I had to play a woman who’s very anxious and awkward so I was able to use my real-life nervousness to get into character.
BK: It’s often said that there are still less good roles for actresses.
MM: You often receive invites to auditions that say – ‘beautiful blonde with large breasts’.
MM: I exaggerate a bit. But it’s almost that. ‘Beautiful blonde with voluptuous bust.’ So it’s fun to get out of that pigeonhole.
BK: What’s next for you?
MM: I’m dubbing the next Disney film. Zootopia. I play Judy. She’s a rabbit.
Endorphine opened in Montreal cinemas on Friday, Jan. 22.