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Q & A with Liane Balaban

Genie Award-nominated actress Liane Balaban stars in the made-for-TV movie Abroad, based on the love life of Globe and Mail columnist Leah McLaren, which debuts Sunday, March 14 at 8 p.m. on CBC. Popj.ca spoke with Balaban about her latest role, her thoughts on the potential for a series and what lies ahead.

Describe if you can, in your own words, what this movie is about.
Abroad is about a young Canadian woman who’s trying to establish herself as a print journalist, deal with life issues and finding someone to love, all while living abroad in London, England.

I’ve read descriptions of the show comparing it to Sex and the City-meets-Bridget Jones’ Diary. I think it more closely resembles The Mary Tyler Moore Show. What do you think?
Wow, that’s a really interesting take on it. Definitely Bridget Jones’ Diary and Sex and the City are always mentioned as the inspirations, but you know, Mary Tyler Moore fits in nicely as well. That’s a new take I’ve not heard until now.

You seem to play the indie, quirky characters in a lot of your films. Is this a conscious decision on your part?
For sure there is no character more quirky than the one I played in New Waterford Girl. Maybe it set the tone for some of the other roles I got, but I really don’t look for them.

I read somewhere that this movie may actually be a pilot for a weekly series. What are your thoughts?
Oh my gosh, I would love it if it was picked up as a series. It would be great to develop and grow with a character. Up until now, I have not had the opportunity to do this. Not to mention that although I know the production schedule on a series can be a grind, it would allow me to be in one place for a longer period of time.

I don’t mean to spoil it — SPOILER ALERT — but have there been discussions about revising the movie’s ending if the series did in fact get picked up?
Oh you’re a journalist that actually watched the movie! Well all I can say is that the writer and producers knew there had to be some sort of resolution to the movie so they made it more of a stand alone instead of a pilot. They’ll definitely have to figure something out.

How did you prepare for this role?
Well I thought I had the journalism part down as I was a journalism student at Ryerson for a couple of years. Playing someone like Amy wasn’t too hard, it allowed me to wear some amazing clothes and make out with really sexy guys.

What’s next for Liane Balaban?
I have a couple of movies coming out. I wish I could IMDB myself so I could get the order straight. And I’ve just received a Genie nomination for One Week, so I’m psyched for that.

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