Actress / Director / Screenwriter
“You need to have good energy and initiative, not only for yourself, but also for others”
You might have recently seen her in BARKSKINS as Isabelle, Maude Bouchard is a name to keep anchored in your mind as you will hear it again and again. This young talented artist is a local inspiration and House of Actors wanted to highlight her story by sharing a wonderful interview we had the pleasure to have with her.
Since when did you know you wanted to work as an actress?
As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted to become an actress. I can’t remember a particular time when I was like “oh, I think I want to be an actress”. It’s just always been there. I grew up knowing that I wanted to do this job and I have never doubted. I never let anyone convince me that this profession was too difficult or that I would never have a job. When I have an idea in mind, a project, I go for it.
What does this art represent to you?
Although I have always had an unconditional love for this art, I have long thought that it was a bit of a futile profession. Yes, art is important, but I’m not saving a life doing this job, I won’t change the world this way. Younger, that’s what I told myself. Then, I realized how much my life, my tastes, my personality had been influenced by several films and characters that I listened to while growing up. Movies, actors and stories can influence the world and that is precious. It’s also, in my opinion, the best therapy there is. We have to get to know ourselves so well and be connected to our emotions. It creates a good mental balance.
How do you stay inspired / active in your art?
I like to stay informed and discover new actors. I also love to listen to my old favorite classic movies, it brings me back to what inspired me in the beginning. I also give myself goals, objectives, it forces me to always stay motivated and to move forward.
Congratulations on your role in the Barkskins series, how does your character in the series, Isabelle, look like you? And how is she different?
The biggest difference is that I don’t think I would have had the courage to make the 2 month boat trip and start my life over. We are talking about the time of the colonization of New France, and these men and women had so much courage. Even today, it would be difficult for me to go into exile like this, despite all the good media communication we have now. I always try to find in myself a part of the character that I’m playing, but I must admit that in this case, it was a whole universe away from everything I know, I had to really use my imagination. Isabelle has a completely opposite life to mine and has completely different customs. The advantage for Barkskins is that they built the set from A to Z. They built a village deep in the woods, by hand and ax. It was really impressive to see the first time I went on set. Everything was very detailed. We entered the houses, like the convent in which we shot several scenes, and there were old beds, candlesticks, a chapel, Bibles, etc. The costumes were also very precise to match the era so it was quite easy to put ourselves in our characters’ shoes and imagine yourself back then. All the actors felt very pampered, it makes an actor’s job a lot easier not to have to act on a green screen.
What was your biggest challenge during filming and playing this role?
I shot a scene where my character is crying, she is questioning her choice of husband and there is no going back at that point, she has to get married. On set, I was able to quickly put myself in this emotion. In acting school, we are trained for that, but it’s still a stressful time before you perform. The most challenging thing was to stay in this emotion for at least an hour, while we were shooting the scene. We also have to take breaks between shots, while they replace the cameras, then go back and resume as we left off. That’s difficult. Also, the pressure of performing with so many people looking at you behind the camera. It was a really big set, there were always about 50 people. But the beauty of acting is that between action and cut, you forget about it all, there is no more stress, only what your character is going through.
What did you learn during the shoot that will follow you for a long time?
I learned a lot of things during this shoot. I had never been on a mega-production, so I got to see a lot of how everyone worked in the different departments. On the acting side, I was lucky enough to be in scenes alongside great actors like David Thewlis. He’s a brilliant actor, and being able to watch him work was a huge learning experience. There was a very large cast made up of as many British actors as Quebec actors, all very talented. You can learn a lot from observing the work of others, and I was very blessed with that on this set.
What is the most beautiful quality or attitude that an artist could adopt according to you?
In my opinion, you have to have a good energy; a mixture of positivity, self-confidence and you have to be a go-getter too. It’s a difficult job and you meet a lot of actors who are negative. I strongly believe in the power of the mind and in attracting what you think. You need to have good energy and initiative, not only for yourself, but also for others.
We wish you great success for the future and would like to ask you one last question: what would be your dream project?
Working on a film directed by Clint Eastwood would be a dream project. Also, I constantly fight to try to change stereotypes about women, inequalities. The female characters featured on screen are often uninspiring to young girls (although that is slowly changing). I also write and I realize, I have at heart to create characters that will inspire young girls, teach them to speak loudly and to stand up. There is one scenario in particular that I have had in mind for a few years. It’s a story about characters that I really care to bring to screen one day.