Even if in 16 years of business, Sophie Desmarais has participated in many beautiful projects, she has never stopped dreaming of roles that would allow her to explore new areas. Over time, her ambition hasn’t changed, but her self-confidence has. We found her this fall in two major TV series and we see her now in The switcha film inspired by a true story that addresses the issue of post-traumatic shock among war veterans.
Sophie, you’re starring in the movie The switch. Is this a project that you immediately accepted at the read the script?
Yes, but also because François Arnaud plays the main role. He contacted me in 2019 to offer me the role. I hadn’t worked with him since The great heat. He’s a friend, and I really wanted to work with him again. When he read the screenplay The switch, he thought it would be nice to do the project with me. I was lucky, because the director had also thought of me. François and he had the same flash. I didn’t know Michael (Kandinsky, the director), but he had seen my work with Denis Côté in Curling.
• Read also: The projects follow one another for François Arnaud
Did you film during your pregnancy?
Initially, we were supposed to shoot at the end of 2019. I wanted to do this film, but since I was pregnant, the role no longer worked. In the end, Michel liked the idea of Julie, my character, being pregnant so much that when the film was pushed back a year and I had already had my baby, he wanted to keep the idea of pregnancy. So we used a double, to pretend I was expecting a baby.
In the end, were you accommodated so that you could play the role?
Absolutely. It’s a nice project that doesn’t have a lot of budget, but we feel that it’s done with heart. As a creator, you want to be with artists, designers and creators who love it as much as you do. My character is a single mother, a funny girl. She seems quite free in her choices. We finally shot in September 2020.
Was 2020 a quieter time for you?
Yes and no. I had just had my baby, but I worked a lot, among other things in the theater. I’ve done all kinds of stuff and been busy.
Tell us about your different projects…
I played in For you Flora, a series produced and directed by Indigenous people. I play Sister Émilie, a young teacher with Aboriginal children. He is a luminous character, very gentle, benevolent. I invite people to watch this series, because we learn a lot about our history. It is extremely touching. I also did That’s how I love you, a series in which I play Marie-Josée, a psychopath. She is a resolutely feminist character, but also confused in her desires. I will have the chance to shoot season 3 next summer. It’s a nice gang. I’m happy to have had two completely different roles. Chloe’s movie (Robichaud), Happy Days, will also be released in 2023. I play a conductor. It’s a huge project for me. I also did a solo at the Prospero Theater last March, The One Dollar Story. I’m going to perform the play in Paris in January. It’s an experience I’ve never had. I am very excited.
Is it heartbreaking to have to leave?
No, I’m happy. I am currently shooting for Philippe Lesage’s film, a co-production between France and Quebec. I shoot in an outfitter north of La Tuque with a great cast of actors.
What role led you to change your look and cut your hair?
Chloe Robichaud’s film, Happy Days. It was really clear, for Chloé, that I had to have short hair for this role. It makes a huge difference and it helped me understand this character of Emma, a young conductor. I worked for a year and a half with the Orchester métropolitain and Yannick (Nezet-Seguin) to prepare for this role. Even if I was a millionaire, I couldn’t have afforded a privilege like that! I really lead the orchestra in the film.
You have no resistance to transform yourself physically?
No. My character is cheerful, she is serious. It is very far from me. It was a daunting request, but I trust Chloé Robichaud, and she trusts me. This dialogue is extremely valuable. We talk frankly to each other when we talk about art or love. I feel privileged to have worked with her for a second feature film.
Did you manage to achieve many of the dreams you had in this profession?
Several. In 16 years in the business, I have often pinched myself because I felt privileged to work with certain people, to participate in certain projects. I continue to dream, to imagine that I am participating in projects. It feeds me, it makes me feel good. I feel super lucky to have held different roles, to have received different proposals. I tried things. I’m quite reserved, I’m not the one who shares his life the most and I’m not on all the TV shows. I want people to talk more about my work than about me, and I’m happy to be able to live my job in this way.
You were talking about your dreams recently. Which ones carry you?
I have small and big dreams. I dream of having roles that would allow me to explore new areas. I would like to embody a historical figure, shoot a period film, play in a great love story. I would like to shoot elsewhere, caress other territories. It is a profession in which one can quickly be disappointed. You shouldn’t have too many expectations. You have to embrace life and opportunity. I would also like to find another passion, something that makes me feel good. Just for me. An activity that would fascinate me and occupy my imagination, which is sometimes overflowing. I would like to find a way to channel this surplus of imagination.
Is your ambition different from when you started?
No, but my confidence has changed though. I have more self-confidence than when I was young. I doubt my abilities less. Often I worry about nothing. I’m not the most ambitious person out there. I am instinctive, I go where I feel I have to go. It’s my way of life. I’m not going to knock on doors, but if I had to because I felt like I really needed to be on a project, I would. It has to come from the heart.
Do you cope well with periods without work?
I’m lucky, I’ve always had a job. This summer I had more vacations, so I spent time with family and saw friends. I worked a lot before and in order not to jeopardize productions, I didn’t see my friends. So I sent out several dinner invitations. I wanted there to be people at home. I traveled, I saw my family. I want to take time off, I don’t just want to work. As an artist, you need fallow periods, times when you are not producing, when you are in everyday life, which is also very inspiring. I like everyday life, but there has to be movement in my life. I could not only be in everyday life or only in work. It’s the balance of all that that makes the days beautiful.
The film The switch is currently in theaters across Quebec.
Happy Days will be released in the year 2023.
We find For you Flora and That’s why I love you on Tou.tv Extra.