To show connections on screen without breaking sanitary rules, Quebec series are increasingly recruiting real actor couples. This strategy may increase the burden on the casting side, but it is yielding convincing results by creating the illusion of a world without a pandemic.
District 31 was one of the first series to adopt this approach. While in September the two-meter gap between each figure was rather noticeable, today it seems to have melted. There are not only hugs, but kisses.
Some viewers noticed it in the October 29 episode, when Florence (Catherine Proulx-Lemay) went to rescue her friend, held hostage by her ex-boyfriend. The actors who played these routed ex-spouses were Steve Gagnon and Claudiane Ruelland, who form a real couple far from the spotlight.
The ball rolling continued a few days later with Marc Beaupré and Catherine Larochelle, hired to play two singles who are having sex. And more recently, the story of a girl who reunites with her natural mother was carried by Anouk Simard and Ariane-Li Simard-Côté, a true tandem of mother-daughter actresses.
The Escape also employs this technique. The only expressions of tenderness observed come from Isabelle Blais and Pierre-Luc Brillant, in a relationship since 2012.
The popularity of professional acting couples is skyrocketing this fall, confirms Lucie Robitaille, casting director of District 31, which is also responsible for several other films and series. In the beginning, requests were rather rare, but today they are frequent. Not only for lovers, but for actors from the same family or the same “bubble”.
“It happened gradually,” says Ms. Robitaille. The more we advance, the more we refine the techniques … We continue to find new ways of working. “
This new reality, however, complicates Lucie Robitaille’s work. “It takes a lot of thought. We have to call the agencies, ask which actor couples are free, etc. It’s longer. And it is a much more complex schedule management than in normal times. “
Reconciliations will multiply this winter. Not only because Sébastien Diaz and Bianca Gervais will give each other a line (and probably more) in The countries above, but because Noovo will broadcast Between two sheets, a new sketch comedy that covers the daily life of four couples and two roommates.
In order to be able to shoot the series without altering the original script, the production company KOTV has hired duos of actors who already live together, such as Karine Gonthier-Hyndman and Guillaume Girard, François Papineau and Bénédicte Décary, and Pier-Luc Funk and Virginie Ranger. -Beautiful eyes.
“It creates casting issues, for sure,” says executive producer Geneviève Babin. At first, we saw it as a mountain, but in the end it turned out well. We were lucky. “
“The rule is that they share the same address,” she continues. We wouldn’t have been able to shoot without restrictions with two actors as a couple, but who don’t live together. “
Engaging real lovers does not only allow you to shoot more freely during COVID-19, specifies Geneviève Babin.
“The chemistry operates immediately,” she points out. We immediately feel the complicity. It creates a great atmosphere during the shoot. “