Few television actresses are as recognizable as Guylaine Tremblay. She has played central rolls in some of Montréwood’s most successful TV drama and comedy series, which have included La Petite vie, Omerta, Unité 9, and Les Rescapés.
I recently listened to an on-air radio interview in which Marina Orsini interviewed Guylaine Tremblay. In the interview, I think Orsini hit the nail on the head when she told Tremblay she believes Tremblay’s public appeal lies in her being someone the public can identify with – the person who could be anyone’s sister, mother, or daughter – and that it is not only reflected through her acting rolls, but how she leads her life in general.
Tremblay is the mother of adopted daughters (the theme of not carrying one’s own children is a theme which Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt discuss in detail – which I present in the next post), and lives with her husband.
I will say, one thing which caught my eye (actually quite surprisingly) was when Tremblay politicised herself (at least in the sense of giving herself a public political label in the mind of people who have followed her career). I say this because, over the course of her 30 year career, she’s someone I, and others, grew up watching in Western Canada (she is very well respected by Francophones, Francophiles, and French speaking Anglophones all across Canada) – and she was someone I always considered to be part of my own cultural sphere. She unexpectedly appeared (at least for me it was unexpected) on stage at the Parti Québécois’ “Rassemblement national” prior to last-year’s election. That doesn’t bother me in-and-of-itself (I think political engagement is important and a necessary part of our democracy – and a society must have to have opposing political views to make keep the democratic process healthy and make it work). But it has always felt like a case of “innocence lost” when actors and actresses take on a high-profile political stance (regardless of the political party or ideology) — and when they do, it always seems to feel like they jumped off the pedestal on which you purposely wanted to place them. When I saw Tremblay get on stage that night, I can distinctly remember thinking to myself “Oh man! Guylaine, of all the things you could have done, why did you have to go and choose to do ‘this thing’?”. It’s a bit disconcerting, because as the public, we tend to think that our actors and actresses belong to all of us, regardless of political stripes. In that sense, they are so often a point of commonality and unity in a world often filled with petty divisions and differences. That’s one of the beautiful things of the acting profession which should be cherished. But then some go and take that feeling away by placing themselves in a political camp – basically saying, there’s “us” and then there’s “you”. It’s just not a nice feeling.
But I suppose at the end of the day, there is still a human behind every acting role, and everyone has the right to express their political beliefs – and we should respect everyone’s right to make such choices. It’s maybe not a pleasant reality, but we live in a very real world, not in utiopia.
Regardless, she’s still an amazingly talented actor, one of the best Québec & Canada has – and all the drama series in which she appears would not have nearly the same degree of a human element without her (she is a very human person – and anytime I see her true personality in interviews, I really get the impression she could so easily have been any of the bubbly, kind, caring, and empathetic people I grew up with in Alberta, or anywhere, really – be it friends or family… that’s why I really like her).
In the next post, we’ll take a brief look at a summary of the conversation Guylaine Tremblay and Ariane Moffatt had when they met and shared a one-on-one meal on L’Autre côté à la table d’à côté.
MINI “EAVESDROPPING” SERIES
- Ariane Moffatt – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 1 of 3 (#150)
- Guylaine Tremblay – An “eavesdropping” short series: Moffatt-Tremblay – Post 2 of 3 (#151)
- “L’autre midi, À la table d’à côte”; Moffatt-Tremblay discussion summary post 3 of 3 (#152) (with link to the radio episode)