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Interview: Boundaries’ Emily VanCamp

by Charles Trapunski

I was lucky to speak to the warm and generous Emily VanCamp in a one-on-one interview at TIFF in 2016, and coincidentally, at the exact same downtown Toronto hotel in which I later spoke with her The Resident co-star Manish Dayal about nine months later (although at the time I didn’t know about the show).

The film Boundaries is a powerful and challenging film which features VanCamp speaking French and was quite a departure from Captain America: Civil War, which had come out about four months prior (at the time). Boundaries is a fascinating film and one that we championed at the festival and are now encouraging people to check out on Rogers On Demand.

Here is a condensed and edited version of our conversation with Emily VanCamp.

Brief Take: The film has such a distinct look to it. 

Emily VanCamp: Mmmm, yeah. It was very raw. It was shot on film, which I think lent itself well to the story. It was meant to look like a film lost in time. They really accomplished that. It feels like a different time period. That was all in the set design and the colours that they chose and the wardrobe. Everybody worked together so well to create this sense of, almost like a place that just hasn’t moved on. It had that kind of feeling.

BT: The scenes in which Emily (your character) talks on Skype are quite awkward.

EVC: Yeah. That scene was even hard for me to watch because you’re watching someone trying to connect with her kid, but it’s hard for her, and that’s when her personal arc and journey really begins in that moment, when you don’t quite believe her. You know she loves her son, but there’s something missing. I was trying to figure that out with [director]  Chloé and she was helpful in letting us riff off each other and we were actually Skyping, and pulling me back from my natural way of things, which is just to gush. Even though there was genuine love, there was just something missing. It’s her struggle, it’s just about her ability to let go of this profession that she almost cares more deeply about and her family. It was hard for me. Chloé and I talked a lot and I…couldn’t empathize with her in the beginning. I think that in order to play any character, you have surrender to them, and what they feel and what they think and I feel like I was judging the character and I knew I had to let go of that and turn it around in my head in order to play her. To me it broke my heart, but that’s the heartbreaking point of it, and I had to kind of see it as selfless that because she is obviously missing something towards her son, because there is a breakdown in the marriage, because there is obviously something keeping her from running home, when we see her finally breaking down, we see that she is not meant to do this, she was not meant to be a Mom, she was not meant to do what she was doing.

BT: The film being called Boundaries plays into all of that…

EVC: She is clearly reflecting on that throughout the film. She’s a little drunk, and she’s talking with Félixe about, “you are your own peninsula” and “what are your boundaries?”. She’s clearly been pondering this quite a bit and that’s her indication that this meltdown is about to come because it exists so deeply within her and the struggle is really affecting her even though when we see her in mediation mode, she’s almost got an armour around her.

BT: It’s certainly a timely film.

EVC: In many ways, in terms of the political discussion we were having, the shooting, I mean all of these things seem very relevant to today. Oh my gosh, I’ve been in the States, so talk about another situation. *laughs* It’s intense. She does it in such a subtle way that it’s very relatable but still very beautiful to watch, I think. Chloé did a great job, I’m very proud of her.

BT: You have a very passionate fanbase.

EVC: I think so, yeah. *laughs* I’ve had people who liked my work and followed me through many, many years so yeah, I would definitely say loyal and kind. I don’t ever have the kind of…maybe with Captain America, I did, because those fans are very specific and diehards. I feel like I have a really lovely following. I’m grateful for that.


Boundaries is currently available on Rogers on Demand and catch Emily on The Resident, Mondays at 9 p.m. on City.

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Brief Take