Tag Archives: Lara Jean Chorostecki

The Women on Screen Out Loud podcast offers a unique conversation

I listen to a lot of podcasts, including several about the Canadian TV and film industry. Writers Talking TV, from the Writers Guild of Canada, is excellent, as is Sabrina Furminger’s YVR Screen Scene. If you haven’t already, listen to past episodes of the TV, Eh podcast by clicking on it in the top banner.

The latest podcast I’ve added to my subscribed list is Women on Screen Out Loud: The Podcast Essays. Hosted by Lara Jean Chorostecki (X Company) and Jennifer Pogue (Endlings), the podcast—now in its second season—sets itself apart from the podcast genre in a couple of ways.

First, it spotlights female voices from all sides of the camera. Secondly, each upload features a personal essay composed and read aloud by the interview subject, followed by a brief interview that delves deeper into their words and career journey. The result is can be a personal experience, a work of fiction or even a stream of consciousness.

We spoke to Lara Jean Chorostecki and Jen Pogue about the podcast, how it came about and what they hope to achieve with each episode.

Jen, can you give me the background on how the Women on Screen Out Loud podcast began? Is it part of a Women on Screen initiative?
Jen Pogue: Lara Jean and I were both associate producers for Women on Screen and have helped out with some of their programs that they’ve run and presentations they have each year. It was LJ’s idea to come up with this notion for a podcast, and she basically said, ‘Hey. You produce things and make things happen sometimes. I have this idea. I want to make it happen. Let’s have a coffee.’ And we had a coffee, and I was like, ‘Yeah, it sounds great. Let’s figure out how to make a podcast.’ So that’s kind of how it came to be.

LJ, was it something you’d been thinking about for a while? 
Lara Jean Chorostecki: As Jen mentioned, we were associate producers with Women on Screen with Lauren MacKinlay, Farah Merani and Ciara Murphy. I was doing the casting for their showcase with the web incubator that they do.

I’d been working with them for a while, and I was trying to figure out a way, in my limited spare time, that I could have another passion project to kind of get into. I was listening to a lot to NPR kind of podcasts, and this kind of a truncated format came to mind for me, where something that you could—back when you had to travel to work—that you could listen to on your way to work, or you’re doing half an hour on the treadmill, or going for your jog in the park. I really liked the long-form interview style, but I was really attracted to these short things that I would listen to while I was doing exercise or making breakfast or whatever it was.

Then I was thinking about how Women on Screen could get involved with this kind of very contained podcast idea. So, instead of an interview where you just talk to people forever, it’s got a focus. That’s the idea of the essay, which I’ve heard in a couple of other podcasts, where someone talks about what they do in their own words, and then you focus in on what they say. So that was the idea, that instead of this long interview, we would interview people in the Canadian landscape, in front and behind the camera, female-identifying, and talk about what they want to talk about. Instead of what I or Jen as the interviewer wants to talk about, it’s like, ‘OK, what have you written about? I’m so curious.’ So it’s a platform for people to tell their own stories, essentially.

I was listening to Kanietiio Horn’s podcast, and thought, ‘This is unlike anything that I’ve heard before,’ and followed that up with Stephanie Morgenstern’s, which had a totally different tone.
JP: We do our best to approach people of all different vocations of the camera. We really want to represent all that. A lot of them aren’t necessarily given this opportunity to speak or write too often. It’s been great.

How important was it to get a mix of people from all different parts of the industry?
LJC: Really important to us. I know the next episode that’s coming up is Alicia Turner, who’s a stunt coordinator. When we started, I think stunt coordinator was one of the first ones that we put on there that we were like, ‘Really want that.’ Giving a platform to women in the industry who challenge…

JP: Challenge, motivate and inspire…

LJC: …On all sides of the camera. That’s not our mandate, that’s actually the Women on Screen mandate, so we just took it and ran with it. Of course, there’s going to be writers and directors, and actors, because quite frankly, they’re the ones who love to write anyway. But these jobs that we don’t really know much about, like editors… we kind of understand what they do, but we don’t. Stunt coordinators. We have Lindsay Somers on this year, who’s an intimacy coordinator, which is a brand new job she kind of is spearheading it and inventing it as she goes along.

It was really important for Women on Screen, and for what Jen and I were passionate about, that the people who listen are able to be inspired in a way that shows them you don’t just have to be in front of the camera, or you don’t just have to be a director, to fulfill your passion of making films and making TV.

Download Women on Screen Out Loud: The Podcast Essays from your favourite podcast catcher.

Images courtesy of Women on Screen Out Loud: The Podcast Essays.


X Company and Slasher stars guest on Saving Hope

Last week’s episode of Saving Hope was certainly memorable, wasn’t it? It’s not every day a car comes crashing into Hope Zion’s ER. Not only did the accident send shockwaves through the hospital,  but caused Thomas Leffering to seriously rethink cutting so many of Hope Zion’s services. And what about Alex realizing she’s pregnant?

Thomas’ rethink continues in this week’s new instalment, “Knowing Me, Knowing You,” which I visited the set of during production last year. Here’s what CTV has revealed regarding some key storylines:

Dr. Charlie Harris and Dr. Manny Palmer treat two love birds who have an annual weekend-long love fest, despite the fact the woman is married to someone else. Meanwhile, when Charlie assigns Dr. Maggie Lin to evaluate the interns, it brings out her nurturing side and leads Dr. Billy Scott to ask Maggie to be his mentor. Following Dr. Zach Miller’s advice to use the “kill them with kindness” approach to negotiating, Dr. Dawn Bell struggles to bring out her nurturing side when she tries to get her Chief of Surgery position back. Maggie and Dawn find themselves at odds when they work together to treat a single dad with a ninja star lodged in his neck.

And here’s what we can tell you after watching a screener.

Shahir shines …
I’ve been missing Shahir’s eccentricities of late, so it’s nice to have him back—and full of quips—on Sunday. Also, we finally meet Jonathan, played by Slasher‘s Christopher Jacot, who is hoping to score some business from the hospital.

… and Michelle Nolden does too
Dawn is a pretty uptight individual, so her quest to reclaim her Chief of Surgery gig is odd and incredibly funny. The scenes allow Nolden to showcase her comic timing and we want more.

X Company star in the house!
Lara Jean Chorostecki guest-stars as Claudia, who is in the ER with her injured love match when things go really bad.

Thomas has a change of heart
Let’s just say the events of the last episode has had a profound effect on Thomas.

Saving Hope airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.


X Company’s Lara Jean Chorostecki on Krystina’s expanded Season 3 role

X Company‘s Krystina Breeland  has been itching to leave the confines of Camp X and become a field agent since the show began. Now, in the third and final season of the World War II spy drama, Sinclair’s (Hugh Dillon) most-trusted intelligence officer may finally get her wish.

“Back in Canada there’s a lot you can do, but I think she feels quite impotent and really wants to make a contribution overseas after the death of Tom (Dustin Milligan),” says actress Lara Jean Chorostecki.

But Krystina’s new path won’t be easy on her boss.

“She thinks that Sinclair is going to grant this wish, and I think we’re going to see a bit of tension between the two of them as he tries to battle with whether or not he could do well without her back at home, back in Canada,” she previews.

Like her character, Chorostecki also hoped to prove her abilities when she first signed onto the series–and showrunners Mark Ellis and Stephanie Morgenstern took notice.

“They always say when writers get to know you, that they realize what they have,” she says. “I feel really grateful that Mark and Stephanie realized that I was capable of a lot more and started to write some interesting stuff, and I’m grateful that it fit into their storyline.”

Chorostecki, a native of Brampton, Ontario, joins us by phone from Toronto to share her thoughts on Krystina’s Season 3 journey, the end of X Company, and the current state of Canadian television.

Krystina’s storyline has expanded every season. Did you have any idea what her story arc was going to be when you landed the gig?
No, not really, actually. That role came about while I was in contention for another role that I ended up walking away from. So I was really, really excited to sign on, because I was excited to do Budapest, I really liked Mark and Stephanie’s work, and also World War II. That particular time period is something that has great importance in our lives and something that has great fascination for me, and a  lot of my family is military. So there were a lot of reasons to want to sign up for it.

My mentor always used to say to me that when you sign on for something, that you always sign on for the good of the story and not to be selfish as an actor and always look to the bigger picture, and I’m just happy that Krystina’s storyline, especially this season, has been able to find some room for growth within the greater story, which has always been about the team overseas.

How is Krystina coping with the loss of Tom as Season 3 begins?
I think the best line at the end of Season 2–one I really connected to–was when she was reading a letter in Sinclair’s office and when he started to kind of console her, and I think he just says, “I’m so sorry,” and she says, “Just give me something to do. I just need something to do.” So how she’s coping with this is she’s one of those people — and especially in that time period I think it really fits in–people didn’t have time to mourn. They just had time to move forward. So you bury the anger and you bury the grief and you put it into trying to actively do something, and that is the impetus for why she goes after Scubaman back at home.

Speaking of Scubaman, when we last saw Krystina in the season premiere, she was about to begin interrogating him after his capture. What can you tease about their interaction in Episode 302?
I think it was already previewed at the end of Episode 301, where she said, “My boss is not here, so it’s only me and you.” So you see a lot of this battle of wits between Scubaman and her to try to get him to reveal what he knows. She is left to have to torture someone, I think, for the first time in her life and figure out how to manipulate this character to give up what she needs. So I think it’s really intriguing, and I think the story continues and concludes very well.

It sounds like things will get pretty intense. What was it like filming the interrogation scenes with Trevor White?
Trevor is one of the loveliest men you’ll ever meet. He’s Canadian–well English, too, but Canadian bred–and really, really kind and lovely and just whip-smart as well and vicious in his portrayal. It’s really great to meet someone who can really bury themselves, because he is so kind underneath this veneer. His acting is just so fantastic and very collaborative, which is wonderful.

So they were good. They were hard. It was different because it was a very different side of Krystina, but it was certainly something I enjoyed. She’s been so witty and soft and caring and kind, and [there were] little moments with Klaus last year of seeing that she is capable of being something else, but she’s someone who always brings herself into her work no matter what, so you get in the interrogation that anger that she’s trying to repress and also her skill.

What else is coming up for Krystina in Season 3?
After this particular mission, you’re going to see her request to Sinclair that she gets to go out into the field. I think she feels very impotent back in Canada and just wants to get out there and do something physically with the rest of the team and do something that she feels is contributing in a larger way — even though what’s she’s doing back at home is actually extremely important — but contributing, I guess, in a physical, visceral way. And putting her skill set, because she is one of the most skilled people back at the camp, to good use. She thinks that Sinclair is going to grant this wish, and I think we’re going to see a bit of tension between the two of them as he tries to battle with whether or not he could do well without her back at home, back in Canada. Because he really relies on her friendship a lot, so you really see that friendship strained.

You’ve worked with Hugh Dillon a lot throughout the series. What’s he like as an acting partner?
Wonderful. We get along extremely well. It was great. I didn’t know, three years ago, what to expect when I arrived, and he’s just a really, really hard-working individual and wants to do good work and wants to get things done, and it’s a really great personality for me to be on set with, because we just kind of figure it out together, and figure out how to get it done in way that is best for the characters and best for us as actors and for the world.  We’ve been fortunate to have a friendship from this, and I’m very grateful for that.

Season 3 is X Company’s final season. What do you think you’ll remember most from your time on the show?
Delving into this world, which, as I said, means a lot to this human race and also means a lot to me, personally. Exploring this character in the military. I think scene-wise, the stuff with Dustin [Milligan] was a lot of fun, because we really had some freedom and opportunity to explore those characters, and because there wasn’t much of a buildup in Season 1 to us being together. It was just a lot of fun and hard work to discover what our relationship would be. And then, of course, having a friendship with Hugh, I think was huge.


And above anything, which is not particularly linked to the show or the characters, being able to be in Budapest for that long was wonderful. It was wonderful to explore that city and get to know the crews out there, who are really great.

Did you take anything home from the set?
I don’t think I did. I usually do! I couldn’t really, because all she had — well, this season she got to wear other outfits — but all she had was her uniform. I didn’t really have anything to take home. Oh, I’m so boring. I took a lot of pictures. I took a lot of pictures of the set in general, and I got to do my last clap, the last take, I got to do the clapper, which was a lot of fun, and I have a little video of that that I’ll put up on our series finale.

You also play Beth MacLeish on Designated Survivor, which had a huge midseason finale cliffhanger. Can you tease anything about the second half of the season?
It’s hard to say, because there was a shot that happened, so we’ll have to wait and see on March 8th, when it comes back. All I can say is there was a shot, and people are speculating on who was shot, and I don’t really want to ruin people’s speculation.

I think that people can look forward to deepening that mystery and figuring out more about who was behind the attack on the Capitol. I think that’s safe to say. It’s so hard when they end on a cliffhanger. I’m literally tongue-tied. [laughs]

A lot of people still pick on Canadian TV, despite the fact that many top-quality dramas, including X Company, Orphan Black, and 19-2, have come out of Canada in recent years. As someone who frequently works in both American and Canadian productions, what’s your impression of the Canadian industry right now?
I just think we’re finding really interesting voices these days, and that Canada is not exempt from the Golden Age of TV. I think we’ve been putting in our own entries that could fall under that category of Golden Age of TV. Certainly 19-2 and Orphan Black–and I think X Company is excellent, of course. I also think we have some great comedies. The Baroness Von Sketch Show is so fantastic. It’s so good. So across the board we’re challenging ourselves. And Baroness Von Sketch, in particular, and Orphan Black are really bringing female voices front and center. . . We have diversity. We’re really building on what we had before. I’m really encouraged. I do split my time, but I haven’t officially made the move out of Canada yet, and that’s because there’s so much interesting work happening here. It’s not just because there are American shows that are shooting here–and I happen to be grateful to be a part of it–but it’s because the Canadian shows are so fantastic. There’s no need to move, which is really encouraging.

X Company airs Wednesday at 9 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.