TV series 'Moonshine' and 'Chapelwaite': interview with actress Allegra Fulton
Tv / Interview - 08 May 2023
Moonshine airs on CBC Television.
Allegra Fulton has worked on the TV series Moonshine and Chapelwaite. Recent work includes The Shape of Water - The Shape of Water, Superman & Lois, and The Good Doctor.
In the TV series Moonshine you play Jill Leblanc. Can you tell us about your character?
Jill Leblanc is one of the most fun characters I’ve been asked to play recently. She is a criminal matriarch, disguising herself (not even very well) as a humble painter… but she is involved with some dastardly deeds that makes life for the Finley-Cullens really complicated. She has a daughter, who she loves and hates, for being both not as bright as she’d like her to be, and because she seems to have not ambitions to follow in the family business, she’s disappointed with her. Especially when she betrays her. Jill is wily, and conniving and always looking out for herself, and her business opportunities, and yet at the core of her, I think she’s actually quite lonely, and desperate to fit in to a family of sorts. The hugely gifted creator Sheri Elwood is such a fantastic writer and gives women voice that not everybody does. The whole show is female centric and really delves into so many pockets of women’s lives in this modern world through a brilliant comedic and empathetic lens. I am so grateful she invited me on this MOONSHINE journey! We were just up for awards including for best show at the Canadian Screen Awards, again this year. No jinxes, but hope this is so next year for season 4 as well.
The series is about a dysfunctional family, kind of like Shameless or American Kingdom. Do you like this kind of storytelling?
Definitely MOONSHINE has qualities of those shows as well as Ozark, Animal Kingdom, but also with a dash of Arrested Development in some ways, because the comedy plays right alongside the drama… and it’s really very funny. I’m lucky to work with one of the most talented casts around, who can alternately make you laugh your a** off, and then seconds later make you cry. They are all lovely humans too. I guess at the heart of it, all families are dysfunctional, and so being able to play it out in a long form, is really juicy and satisfying.
Where did they take place?
We shot in the very spot where Sheri Elwood’s parents long ago started a summer resort. Trailer parks and cottages grew up all around there, and now, Hubbards, Nova Scotia, is well known for it’s summertime beach culture. We were so lucky because Covid had just begun a few months before and we were in the Nova Scotia Bubble all together, living very close to set. It was like we were all in summer camp together. A very fun and tight knit group, and in such beautiful surroundings. I call the South Shore of Nova Scotia the “Rocky Riviera”. It’s really beautiful. But …shhhhhh… don’t tell. We don’t want it invaded by more tourists.
You also worked on the series Chapelwaite. What was the experience like?
I was doing the play Copenhagen at the National Theatre of Canada when Covid shut down our rehearsals. I went home thinking i might not work for awhile Only a short time later I was cast in 2 series, shooting at the same time in Nova Scotia. I think I might be the luckiest woman in the world!!!Both productions worked it out so I could do both. I’ve always been a huge Stephen King fan, so it was a thrill to be in Chapelwaite, playing Emily Hampshires' mother, and again, having a really great time with a tremendous cast. Many good friends of mine were in it, and then some new people, like Adrian Brody, who I have great regard for, but never met. In a way, I had the experience of repertory Theatre, but in TV land, because one day i’d be in 1850’s old fashioned hoop skirts and bonnets, horse drawn carriages and such, and then the next day, an hour away, in modern dress being a sexy criminal matriarch. Fortunately there were only a couple of days with huge overlaps, where i’d race from one set to the other. That was pretty crazy! But I really did have the best 5 months.
Is there any project you are working on as a director?
At this moment i’m not directing anything, but there is a short film I/ve written and plan to direct, with any luck before too much more time goes by. I was to do it 4 years ago, but life got in the way. I’ve been too busy, which is always a great problem to have as an actor.
What is your next project?
I’m set to do an indie feature film, MONICA’S NEWS again in Nova Scotia this summer and i’ve just been asked to do a role in a new Judith Thompson play, with my friend Clare Coulter. There is a writers strike looming with the WGA in the US, so it feels like everyone in on pause, and it affects a lot of work here as well… so we wait to see what will happen next. Strange but important moment in our industry.
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