It's been a while since we've seen a Canadian rising star on the big screen, hasn't it? We have our Goslings who make it big and venture down to the US, sure, but it's such a lovely treat to have a Canadian who doesn't abscond south as soon as they have a taste of fame.

Tatiana Maslany shot to notoriety after she won a World Cinema Special Jury Prize for her 'breakout performance' at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010 for her role in coming-of-age drama "Grown Up Movie Star." Since then, she has appeared in several movies and TV shows, including her latest starring role as Claire in "Picture Day."

Screening at the Toronto Film Festival, "Picture Day" is the directorial debut of Kate Melville, a native Torontonian. Maslany's Claire is a rebellious, misunderstood teenager who's trying to graduate high school -- for the second time. Moviefone Canada spoke on phone with Maslany, talking about everything from playing a teen in your mid-20s to embodying that character you're not even sure you like.

What has it been like with all of this "rising star" stuff? Is it trippy? It's super surreal. It's the part of the industry that I pretend doesn't exist. What I love about it, though, is it gives me the opportunity to talk about what I love. The [Toronto Film Festival] Rising Stars program is wicked, and they're so supportive of young people in this community ... people who are just starting out, to give them that edge. This is a very adult, very daunting industry.

You've been getting a lot of attention as well, ever since Sundance. How does that feel? Sundance comes up, and then the attention is really hot for a couple of months, and then it dies away. Then you're just an actor working. As the years go on, you may have a few more doors opening for you, but you go right back into the fog of it. These things happen, you get buzzed and you get hyped, but then, ultimately, you're going back to auditioning and working like everybody else. You can get really swept up into the excitement. It's just the way the world works.

What drew you to "Picture Day" in the first place? Well I talked to Kate [Melville, the director] and read the script, and I loved the character Claire. She's fascinating to me because she's just like those girls I knew in high school, those girls with the well-maintained exteriors. Claire is an enigma; she's out of reach. She's guarded, which I think comes off as tough or cool or edgy to people in high school, but when you actually see who she is at her core, she's very vulnerable and very lost. She also lacks any ability to be appropriately intimate with people.

How much of Claire is you? Or is any of Claire you? I think there's some part of me in every character I've ever played. We all have aspects of Claire in us. What drew me to Claire was that guardedness, her defensiveness. I don't know if I would like Claire in high school ... or maybe I wish I was more like Claire in high school. [Laughs]

The weird thing, watching "Picture Day," was how my feelings changed towards Claire. I liked her at the beginning but started to hate her towards the end. I take that as a huge compliment because I think there's something interesting in someone who's neither a villain nor the "good guy." That's what's cool about Claire. She borders on that line all the time. She's morally ambiguous. She's not black or white, she lives in that grey area. As the movie goes on, you start to see the cracks in her, the foibles. That, to me, is a fascinating character.

Did any of the stuff you did in "Picture Day" remind you of your high school experience? [Laughs] Umm ... no, not really! [Laughs] I was super shy, kind of like a lone wolf. I was very, very innocent.

What's up with you always playing a teenager? For someone in their mid-20s that's quite the compliment. I've done that a lot! I look like a zero-year-old, so they cast me there. I'm starting to break the adult roles, which is fun because it's a whole new territory. I'm finally graduating! [Laughs]

"Picture Day" at TIFF
categories Movies