Roseanne Supernault |The Northlander (2016) Benjimin Ross Hayden
Muskrat Magazine’s Akeesha Footman caught up with the talented and beautiful Roseanne Supernault to talk about Supernault’s exciting acting career and what it was like to star in The Northlander. The new film screens on October 23rd @ 4:00 pm in part of the 17th imagineNATIVE Media Arts + Film Festival.
MM: You deliver a strong dramatic performance in The Northlander as the character Mari. What process did you take in order to prepare for that role?
RS: I found that one of the strengths in being a performer is not reaching for results but coming to an honest and authentic place as a performer, so that anything I do, I am doing it from a genuine place. Whether it’s tuning into an emotion like fear or intensity or whatever emotions that are there and that are present, I use them in an honest and genuine way.
Mentally speaking, I like to know who I am working with and I knew that was my co-star Corey Sevier and in the love scene, I knew I could trust him because he is such a nice guy. Working across from contemporaries and costars that are incredibly professional is very important. Cory started out as a child actor and has been an actor his entire life and has been in the industry his whole life. I’ve been in the industry since I was a very young girl, so knowing I was coming into a scene like that, I knew I could trust that space. In terms of the trust, that comes from my training background as well. I graduated from the Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts in Edmonton and I learned the upmost professionalism there, it is sort of this idea that you leave the drama on the stage, you don’t take that outside with you, you leave it there on set or wherever you are in that professional space.
Also I have a lot of martial arts background, I’ve trained in MMA, boxing, and tae kwon do, so I was really excited to perform those action sequences. I was asking the director and sort of pushing him, because I came to set and all of these guys had all these fight scenes and had stunt actors and I let the director know, “hey I would like to kick some ass too” and he started laughing and he asked me, “is that something you could do?” and I let him know my martial arts background so he’s was like “Ok great!” and he was going to make sure that there is a sequence in there where you’re fighting. So I am excited for everybody to see that aspect of the film.
MM: What inspired you to begin acting? How was your interest in acting supported or encouraged by your family?
RS: When I was thirteen, I had the opportunity to start my acting journey with an agent and I saw the power in storytelling. I saw the responsibility and the effect that I could positively have by portraying strong Indigenous images. At a young age, I saw opportunity to recalibrate the images of Indigenous people in a more positive or at least authentic light. My family support came very naturally at a young age. My dad drove me to all my auditions and he would drive out of town to other cities for my call-backs. I would not be where I am today as an actress without my family support.
My older sister taught me discipline and taught me how important it is to practice for my auditions and to be prepared. I come from a very educated family and they instilled in me a discipline and work ethic that treated acting seriously. So it was like if you’re going to be an actor and if you’re not going to be an actor than go to secondary school, get your post-secondary degree and get an education. And that is still an option for me, I feel very free in my life as an artist, I can do that still if I want to. When I was eighteen I got my first acting coach and he was phenomenal support for me and has kept in touch with me throughout my career. I have a mentor as well so I have had a support system helping me along the way and I wouldn’t have wanted to do it alone because there are a lot of hurdles that I have to overcome as a storyteller and I am very grateful for my family’s love and support.
MM: Where is the most exciting place that your acting career has taken you?
RS: I love traveling and it really excites me that with my career, I have opportunities to work internationally. I love to travel for film festivals, I have been to Shanghai, China and I just finished filming a TV show called Jamestown with the producers of Downton Abbey. In Jamestown I play Matachanna and we filmed that in the summer in Budapest, Hungary. I’ve been to film festivals in Germany, in France to Cannes and Paris. It’s very exciting and it’s one of my favourite aspects of my career. I get to take nice vacations when I’m in those regions and take time off work. Right now I’m in Mexico and I just finished presenting the film Neither Wolf Nor Dog at the San Diego International Film Festival with the filmmaker Steven Lewis Simpson, my co-star Christopher Sweeney and my good friend Matika Wilbur was present to help, she does Project 562 where she photographs every federally recognized tribe in the United States. It is very wonderful to have friends and people that I love coming with me on this journey, especially to international destinations, it one of my favourite parts of my work.
Roseanne Supernault is a Vancouver based, award-winning actress originally from East Prairie Métis Settlement in Alberta. Recognizable from the APTN hit TV Series, “Blackstone,” and the historical pre-contact epic, “Maina,” where she plays the title character, and TIFF Top 10 selection, “Rhymes For Young Ghouls.” Through her teens she spent vital extra-curricular hours dedicated to team sports, film acting workshops, and immersion in First Nations Culture. She was raised by her single father and had an upbringing in a large family; her intrinsic ties to Métis Cree culture and value system is what is what keeps her balanced in her life and work.