Mélanie St. Pierre is a multi-talented actress who has appeared in the indie hit Barney’s Version and Showcase’s Dead Like Me. She is about to wow audiences in a major starring role as the protagonist Khara in the live action/animated film Garm Wars: The Last Druid, which premieres on October 2nd. Along with Garm Wars, Mélanie can be seen in a guest star appearance on the upcoming NBC series Heroes Reborn.
So what has it been like working on these two shows as well as rekindling her love for martial arts and stunts? Here’s what she told us…
Tell us about Garm Wars?
Garm Wars is the newest film from anime director Mamoru Oshii. It’s a live-action/animation hybrid that takes place in Annwn, a world at war that is populated by tribes of clones called Garm. I play Khara, a clone fighter pilot for the Columba Tribe. In battle, Khara gets separated from her tribe when she rescues a mysterious trio from a Briga cruiser: Wydd, a Kumtach tribal elder, a sacred animal called a Gula, and Nascien, a young Druid, the last of her kind. After a near-fatal fight between Khara and their captor, the ruthless Briga soldier Skellig, they negotiate a truce and embark on a journey to Dual Grund, a sacred place forbidden to the Garm. There they search for the truth of their existence and the meaning behind their endless warring. Along the way, their uneasy alliance quickly becomes a true camaraderie as they face off against the Giants, Titan-like guardians of Dual Grund.
And we’d love to know more about your role on Heroes Reborn too.
I was a big fan of the original Heroes series, and was really thrilled to shoot the pilot of Heroes Reborn. As you’ve seen in the pilot that aired September 24th, there are a lot of new faces in this reboot, and the Evos (people with abilities) are now being hunted due to an Evo terrorist attack one year prior.
I played a woman who is a part of a small group of Evos that are living in secret and tired of hiding. They meet secretly in a church basement to strategize, but there is an enemy among them: Luke Collins (played by Zac Levi), an anti-Evo vigilante. He and his wife Joanna, who lost their son at the hands of Evos, gun down the entire group at the church and torch the building. It was a very intense week of shooting, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and working with the awesome cast and crew of the show… definitely one to cross off the bucket list.
What type of training in martial arts and acrobatics do you do? How long have you done that, and what sparked an interest in these two disciplines?
I started in Ballet and Acro (a mix of dance and acrobatics) when I was a toddler, but really found my passion when my parents signed me up for circus arts. Throughout my childhood and teens I was a contortionist and solo trapeze performer. Circus is actually what brought me to film and television, when at 13, I was cast as a contortionist in HBO’s Stories of Courage with Darryl Hannah.
I also did karate growing up, but it was actually training with the insanely talented stunt team from Garm Wars that reignited my passion for martial arts. It was so gruelling, but I loved every single second of it. The moment we finished shooting, I started training in Taekwondo. Martial arts has had such a fantastic influence on me. I really find my inner serenity in the Dojang. I’m so excited to do more fight choreography on camera – shooting the action sequences for Garm Wars was the time of my life!
Were you a fan of science-fiction prior to your sci-fi roles?
I’ve always been a big fan of sci-fi, whether it be books, movies or TV series. I read Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time when I was a kid, and I was hooked. The combination of fiction and theoretical physics has always been my personal favourite – throw in some fantasy and I’m on board! I’ve read the Dark Tower series from Stephen King twice and if we’re honest, I’ll probably read it all again. My favourite sci-fi shows were The X-Files, Battlestar Galactica and Firefly, and I’m really loving Extant with Halle Berry right now. I grew up watching the Aliens films, so working with Lance Henriksen was really a special treat for me.
Who is someone in the business you’d love to work with and why?
Angelina Jolie. She’s definitely one of my idols, and I’d love to work with her, whether she is acting or directing. Not only is she an inspiration with her humanitarian work, [but] she’s managed to build her career on playing incredibly strong women, which I think is so important. I think we need more badass women in action and sci-fi.
What’s one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I have what I like to call a Snow White Complex… I have a menagerie of wild animals like blue jays, crows, ravens, chipmunks, and squirrels that I feed by hand every summer while up north, and they all recognize my voice and come when they are called. The chipmunks like to run up my legs to sit on my shoulders. I think I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by nature and animals… especially the furry or feathered variety.
Photo: Lane Dorsey