Working alongside big talent like Jon Hamm, Christina Hendricks and January Jones on Mad Men, Montreal-born actress Jessica Paré is used to dealing with quirky Hollywood handlers. But even she was taken aback by the entourage accompanying her to set on the Yukon-shot epic drama The Mountie.
“You had to go with the bear escort who carried a shotgun,” the 28-year-old says, on the phone from her adopted hometown of Los Angeles. “After a couple of days he just stopped coming to work. We’re like, ‘So we’re not worried about bears anymore?’”
For the film, about a Mountie’s fight to clean up a Yukon town, Paré slept in a Coleman tent that, at first, didn’t even have a mattress. “I was complaining to the make-up artist. I was like ‘What the hell? Do they expect me to just lie on the cold, hard floor?’,” Paré says. “And he stopped what he was doing and was like, ‘You have a floor?’ My chair was right on the mossy ground.” On the set of The Mountie, that was enough to make Paré the cast’s J.Lo. “Sorry, I don’t mean to brag but I do have a floor,” she laughs.
Playing a stoic Latvian beauty who disguises her face in head scarves to mask a disfiguring scar, the role is a world away from the glamorous, urbane Megan on the thinking TV fan’s fave Mad Men. Paré, whose 13 year career includes credits in Denys Arcand’s Stardom, opposite Josh Hartnett in Wicker Park, and more recently the John Cusack comedy Hot Tub Time Machine, has been struck by how passionate the Mad Men fans are. “Every audience member brings some interpretation to what’s going on,” she says. “I often feel like talking to people about the show, you’re actually learning more about the person.”
Having over a decade’s experience riding the waves of a career in show business, Paré is cautiously optimistic about where her Mad Men roll will lead. “It doesn’t just take one big break,” she says. “It takes one after another… Mad Men is definitely helpful in that respect because a lot of
people watch it, it’s a very classy show and it’s superbly written. I’m very lucky.”
Just don’t bother asking her what’s in store for Megan and her fiancé Don Draper when the series returns in March 2012. “They just started in the writer’s room a few weeks ago. Even if they knew they wouldn’t tell me,” she says, breaking into a laugh. “And even if they did tell me, I couldn’t tell you.”
The Mountie opens in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary on Friday, July 1. It expands to Winnipeg, Grand Prairie, Abbotsford, Whitehorse and Kelowna on Friday, July 8.