LOST Media Mentions - DarkUFO

Evangeline Lilly is working on a film with lots of French flavour and she couldn't be happier. Lilly is currently in Montreal shooting the indie flick Afterwards, a suspense outing that also stars John Malkovich and French leading man Romain Duris.

The Alberta-born actress is most famous for playing Kate, one of the plane-crash survivors in the phenomenally popular ABC adventure-mystery series Lost. A virtual unknown when she was hired by the Lost producers, the show almost immediately transformed Lilly into one of the hottest young talents in Hollywood.

Which is why it's more than a little surprising to see that she's picked an off-the-beaten-track France-Canada co-production for her first major film role. Clearly the Golden Globe-nominated actress could have had her pick of A-list Hollywood projects. But she instead chose an arty film that is way off the Tinseltown radar.

In a phone interview last week from her Montreal hotel room, the 27-year-old from Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., said she accepted the role in Afterwards, which is being co-produced by Montreal's Christal Films, precisely because it's a real franco affair.

It turns out that Lilly speaks fluent French and has always been a closet francophile, and she jumped at the chance to use her summer break from shooting Lost to take part in a largely franco film. Though it is an English-language movie, the director is French (Gilles Bourdos), the producers are French and Quebecois, and much of the crew hail from Quebec.

"I've been with the crew working on prep and working on the film for the last month," Lilly said. "We did prep in New York and then were (filming) in New Mexico. So for the last month I have been a francophone. I have really not had the opportunity to speak English very often in the last month. The crew are mostly French-Canadian, the director is from Nice, my co-star (Duris) is French, and John (Malkovich) speaks fluent French and lives in France. So it's been a French set and it's been wonderful."

Lilly has had a thing for the language of Truffaut since she was a little girl back in Fort Saskatchewan. She started in immersion in kindergarten and hasn't looked back since.

"It wasn't my parents' idea," said Lilly. "It was mine, at

5 years old. I don't know how it's possible that a 5-year-old child gets it into her head that she's going to go into an immersion school. But I used to come home from English school every day and complain to my mother that I was bored, and that I wanted to go into French immersion. She finally caved and conceded to let me, about two months into kindergarten. I've searched and looked and thought, and I finally realized that it must've come from the fact that two of (my parents') best friends were francophones. (The couple) spoke English to us and English to their children, but every once in a while they'd say something in French and I was just completely enchanted by it."

Lilly stayed in French immersion until Grade 7 when she had to give it up because they moved school districts and there was no nearby immersion school. But by then she was hooked and she kept up her French, in part by sitting in her bedroom "having conversations with imaginary people" en francais. At 16, she came to Montreal as part of a student exchange, spending a few weeks living with a francophone family here.

This is her first trip to Montreal since that summer when she was 16 and she's pumped to be back in North America's leading French city, working on a film with lots of French connections.

In Afterwards, she plays the ex-wife of Nathan (Duris), a Frenchman living in the U.S. who is so absorbed in his job as a high-powered lawyer that he grows completely estranged from his ex and their young daughter. Their lives are thrown for a loop when they meet a mysterious doctor (Malkovich) who claims to be able to predict people's deaths.

Lilly said she's been waiting for a project like this ever since Lost broke big. "I have struggled to find the right combination of factors," said Lilly. "I was daunted by the notion that my only option might be to go do some big Hollywood film because that doesn't interest me whatsoever. I don't see any value in fame and I don't see any value in big blockbuster hit films. I have been looking for a quiet beautiful little project for three years."

Lilly will be in Montreal working on Afterwards until tomorrow. The shoot continues here until the end of the month.

Source: The Gazette

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