The incredibly talented Clara Pasieka is one of the many reasons hometown boy David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars is one of the films we’ve been most looking forward to at TIFF 2014. Although Cronenberg has the kind of Hollywood clout that allows him to have headlining heavyweights like Julianne Moore, Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, John Cusack, and Carrie Fisher (playing herself in the movie) on board for his latest project, he always introduces us to up-and-coming Canadian actors in his films – artists who might not yet have a household name but who impress us with their talent nonetheless.
Cronenberg has brought stars to our attention like the incredible Sarah Gadon – who’s now been in A History of Violence, Cosmopolis and now Maps to the Stars – and we’re psyched to see Pasieka – a Canadian actor, screenplay writer, playwright, and producer – in his latest TIFF offering. It’s her biggest film to date, and we’re sure it’s just the start of what will be an amazing career. We caught up with the actress before the TIFF premiere of Maps to the Stars to find out more…
What are you most nervous or excited for when it comes to seeing the film on the big screen with audiences for the first time?
I was actually at the international premiere of the film at Cannes, so I was probably more nervous then than I am now. It was really well-received at Cannes. When we looked up and all around us at hundreds and hundreds of people on their feet it was a pretty special feeling. I’m excited to bring the film home to Canada to share in the experience with the people I love.
What did you take away from the experience of Maps to the Stars as an actor? How did filming such a huge blockbuster with critically-acclaimed talent help shape you?
Maps to the Stars is the biggest film I’ve ever done, but I felt a great sense of belonging every minute I was on the set. I definitely had major butterflies sitting and waiting to shoot our first scene, but David has a way of making everyone he works with feel like he trusts you as an artist completely. It’s a delight every time we have spoken – even if we say very little to each other. A takeaway for me was a desire to leave others that I work with in the future feeling the way David left me feeling – trusted and like they belonged doing just what they were doing.
Finish this sentence: I love TIFF because…
…it’s a chance to reconnect with artists you’ve worked with over the years who you aren’t in the same room with very often and to celebrate the amazing work Canada has to offer.
What movies, besides your own, are you most excited to see at TIFF 2014 and why?
I particularly love seeing Canadian films because I often know someone involved or might be able to work with someone involved in the near future. I’m particularly excited about Bang Bang Baby, which two of my co-stars from other films are in, and Guidance.
What’s one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
Someone I know recently described me as a tomboy. This actually surprised me because I’m really into a lot of traditionally “girly” things – like dresses, ballet and tea parties – and I’m not into many of the traditionally more masculine things, like sports. However, most of my closest friends right now are boys. Sometimes it’s like I’m one of the guys, but I also know that they seek me out to talk about things they wouldn’t talk to each other about, or at least, not in the same way. I know they like that they can roughhouse with me like they would each other, but they appreciate that I’m maternal and different from them in some ways.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I recently won two Mario Kart tournaments… Yeah, the video game. I was in so much shock that my heart raced and my body felt like it was shaking for several minutes. Apparently this was a talent hidden even from me until recently.
How would you describe your red carpet style? Any favourite designers or secret style tips?
I usually choose classical or whimsical rather than “sexy” dresses. Lately, I’ve gotten a little bit braver in the dresses I’ve chosen. But an off-white lace dress will still always makes my friends say, “That’s so Clara,” even if it’s on someone else! This TIFF I’m loving designers Narces and Lucien Matis.
I can’t deal with being cold. Once I chose a full-length dress solely so I could wear fleece lined tights under it… it was in February in Canada. Secret red carpet secrets! Before I walked the red carpet at SIFF I had almost no time to get ready. I’d just flown into Seattle and didn’t even know I had been invited to walk the carpet for the opening night gala film until I arrived at the theatre. So, in an alley with my suitcase and my friend Natalie as my stylist, I put my hair into a classic bun and I changed right there in the alley because I had a dress that was easy to slip into. Now I always bring a dress to festivals that is super easy to style and slip into in case I ever need to be ready really quickly. Hair tip: If your hair is already curly naturally or curled or unbrushed from an event the previous day, just hold it in a messy up-do and start shoving in hair pins. It will look cool and takes only about a minute.
What’s always in your beauty bag?
I’m pretty into Lancome Teinte Idole Ultra foundation; I’ve been wearing it for years. But most important is an oil-free moisturizer with SPF. I often don’t wear makeup if I’m not dressing up, but I almost never leave the house without putting on moisturizer with SPF.
Where do you hope to see yourself in 10 to 15 years?
I think that telling stories on screen or on stage can change the world; it can make it better. I’d like to have been in major films that deal head-on with major socio-political issues in our world and that instigate a positive discourse. I love films that show me the world from multiple perspectives, where the views are balanced, where it’s complicated. I’d love to have been in more films that achieve this feat. I’d like to be playing (and sometimes writing) strong female leads that are at least as complex and compelling as some of the amazing women I’ve come to know. I also want to be a mom one day.