Actress Mylène Thériault’s Cinematic Destiny

Actress Mylène Thériault

Actress Mylène Thériault’s potent mix of skill, instinct and creativity is a formula for success, and these qualities radiate with such a depth of appeal that it’s not unusual for Mylène to elevate a project so it takes on a life of its own. Her work in the 2016 Dramatic short ‘Rencontre’ is a prime example — the charming slice of humanity spun off into an ongoing web series.

This knack for dramatic craftsmanship and sheer fortuitous propinquity is characteristic of Mylène, and she’s been conjuring it since childhood,

“I was that kid who was constantly putting up shows for my family and asking money in a hat at the end,” Mylène said. “Putting on costumes and doing fake commercials in my basement. During my first high school year I auditioned for a play didn’t get picked. I ended up replacing a friend who gave me her part and I’ve never stopped since then.

Born and raised in Lévis on Quebec City’s south shore, after high school the 17 year old moved to Sainte-Thérèse, earning a degree in Arts, Letters and Theater at Lionel-Groulx College. She returned to Quebec for an intensive four month acting on camera class at the Ecole of Television and Cinema and gained a bachelor’s degree in theatre at the Université de Laval. In addition to acting, she also learned to direct and immersed herself in all aspects of theatrical production. She eventually returned to Montreal and founded her own theater company before relocating to Toronto in 2016.

She naturally gravitated to The Actor’s Place (TAP), where the cities top professional actors meet once a week to perfect their craft and showcase their work at its annual TAPFest awards event. There, she met well-known Parisian actor-producer-writer Florian François and began a fruitful creative alliance that quickly gave birth to ‘Rencontre.’

Mylène Thériault, Florian François and Brennan Martin at the ‘Rencontre’ shoot. Photo by Rosey Tyler.

“At TAP, Florian saw me doing a hopeless character,” Mylène said, “I was sitting on the ground and he had that idea about a French tourist, meeting a homeless Quebecois girl in the street.”

The apparent simplicity of the concept — a random encounter between a homeless girl and a visiting tourist — was actually loaded with engaging emotional content and dramatic nuance, and they wasted no time in getting the production underway.

“We started on the story, Florian did a first draft and gave me carte blanche to write my character and dialogue,” Mylène said, “I found myself so inspired. I’d never really written before and it was a wonderful feeling and made the work more personal really enjoyed the process — I was in my flow.”

Florian originally proposed it with all French dialog, but the shrewd Mylène’s concept to do it as a bi-lingual picture opened it up to a broader audience.

“I had a friend, Brennan Martin, who is a director, actor and cinematographer who can speak and understand French,” Mylène said. “I asked him to direct it and Brennan came on board with his sound and camera gear. We also discussed the script and Brennan convinced us to change the ending.”

Production went smoothly, the tight-knit trio moved quickly and the film’s resulting combination of comedy and bittersweet drama took the audience at TAPFest by storm.

Winning Best Movie at TAPfest

“We won best movie, I won best actress and Florian best actor,” Mylène said. “Next, we screened at the CineFranco Film Festival in Toronto and had a Q&A after. Florian went to Cannes for the short film corner, We were invited by Sabine Mondestin at the Open World Film Toronto Festival to screen it and be part of a panel.”

With such a significant burst of momentum, the ‘Rencontre’ team approach Toronto’s IP-based network Bell Fibe TV1, pitching the concept as basis for a series which the company enthusiastically accepted.

“Florian and Brennan wrote ten episodes and shot them in one month,” Mylène said. “The deadline was super tight and it was much more like a sprint than a marathon. I played the lead in one episode and served as executive producer as well.”

Mylène in the ‘Rencontres’ webseries Photo by Brennan Martin

It’s an extraordinary chain of events, one that began with Mylène’s spontaneous characterization at TAP and wound up as a break out sensation. For Mylène, it felt like destiny.

“The whole project was easy, everything was fell into place,” she said. “It felt like the universe was supporting that project. It just had to be made.”

Naturally, the ambitious actress has capitalized on the success of ‘Rencontre’ and the pace of her already busy work load have steadily increased.

“It lead me to get more auditions and people started to hire me in their projects because they saw my performance,” Mylène said. “I kept acting and co-producing other projects as well, plus some interviews and Q&A’s. Recently, I revisited my first love, theater. Performing on stage has always energized me. I find it invigorating.”

Mylène’s natural skill, gift for compelling characterization and comprehensive grasp on creativity and dramatic technique assure her a long, successful career, one that’s just begun to blossom with spectacular results. The actress remains a model of professionalism, one with a selfless, dedicated philosophical approach that is as impressive as her screen and stage performances.

“I believe in collaboration and team work, having fun and working hard,” Mylène said. “Persistence, relationships, creating your own work, a little bit of luck, patience, focus. I don’t feel that I’m in competition with other actresses I think we are all unique and that’s what makes us interesting to watch as actors.”