A new star in the world of Sci-Fi, Melanie St Pierre, shines in her role in the live action/animated film as Garm Wars: The Last Druid. This adventurous, nature-loving actress from Ontario, Canada is a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in dance, trapeze, acrobatics, and martial arts. Her filmography is getting exciting with her guest role on the new NBC series Heroes: Reborn, and roles in the indie hit Barney’s Version and Dead Like Me. Bonus, she also adores Sci-Fi and comics.
Q: You play the character of Khara in the film Garm Wars: The Last Druid. What was it like acting in a live action and animated mixed film set? How much was voice work and how much was live?
A: “Before we started shooting Garm Wars I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was so relieved when I saw what we were going to be working with! We had an incredible team from Montreal create full set pieces that were just spectacular, including a partly operational tank, and even a massive sculpted tree that served as our Tree of Life. You can’t help but feel fully immersed when you get to work with such amazing set ups.
Every morning we had a big storyboard to look at, including some concept art from the VFX team, so we would know what our surroundings were going to look like. Everything in the film was shot live, with very minimal voice work, though for some of the shoot, Oshii-san did choose a very non-traditional shooting style: We shot some scenes in what we called a “storyboard format”, sometimes shooting just one or two lines at a time. It was a really cool experience, challenging at times, and always fun to flex your imagination.”
Q: Your character of Khara looks completely badass. What can you share about your character?
A: “Khara is a Garm (clone) fighter pilot from the Columba tribe. The Columbas are known for their agility and dominate the skies with birdlike planes, called 6-wings. There are many, many Kharas aboard our ship, but one, Khara-23, is separated from her pack and finds herself alone in the wastelands of the planet Annwn. After a near-fatal battle with a soldier from the Briga tribe (Skellig, played by Kevin Durand), Khara agrees to accompany him and his prisoner, an old Kumtach tribal elder (Wydd, played by Lance Henriksen) to the sacred land of Dual Grund, where they hope to find answers about their existence.
Khara is an anomaly in her pack, the first to really introspect and question her existence, a trait not known to the Garm. As Skellig puts it, “We fight, we die, we download.” She, on the other hand, seeks knowledge and understanding, and an end to the Garm’s endless wars. I loved playing Khara, it’s really rare to find a female protagonist role in action or scifi that is so layered and philosophical, deep, yet lethal… the combination really intrigued me.”
Q: What was it like to be on the set of Heroes: Reborn? It was such a highly anticipated new series. Was it tense at all?
A: “I was a big fan of the first Heroes series, I even remember watching the original pilot and saying to myself: “One day, I want to do a show like this.” I felt very honored to be a part of the very first few days of shooting the new reboot, and as opposed to tense, it was actually quite uplifting: Tim Kring, the show’s creator, gave a small speech about what it meant to him to be coming back to tell more of the Heroes story, and I think we all felt very inspired. The scenes we shot that week were very intense with lots of action sequences, gunplay, etc, so it was an exciting and fun shoot for me!”
Q: You have a fabulous filmography. What can you share about any projects you have in the works?
A: “Thank you! I do have a couple projects on the go and in development, and I’ve also been learning the ropes as a producer. I will be boarding one film as both an actor and a producer for the first time this year, as I’ve found that I really enjoy wearing both hats: they offer completely different experiences in making a film. One thing that can be hard as an actor is to just let go of all control over your character the minute you’re done shooting. So much happens in post-production, and as an actor, it’s fascinating to be able to peek “behind the curtain”.
Q: So many of my readers are geeks. They would just love to know — Are you a fan of science-fiction or comic books?
A: “YES, I’m a huge fan of both! One of my favorite books growing up was Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I am freakishly excited that the first manga I ever bought, Battle Angel Alita, is being made as a film by James Cameron. This is such an interesting time… with the current technology available making it possible to adapt these fantastical stories to film. V for Vendetta is one of my favorite films, and I think it’s a perfect example of a successful comic-film crossover. Something the genre allows for is very imaginative storytelling, something I really respond to. There is so much great material out there. I’m excited to see what comes next.”