Grace Dove, a Shuswap actress originally from Canim Lake Indian Band in Northern British Columbia, was on her way to film her APTN Television show underEXPOSED when she got the call to audition a second time for The Revenant.
Uncertain if she should afford to pay her own way to do it, she traveled to the audition anyway, luggage and her snowboard in hand – and nailed it.
The actress who played Leonardo DiCaprio’s wife in The Revenant, directed by Oscar winning director, Alejandro Iñárritu, tells ICTMN what is was like to play the part millions of people would die to play.
How have things been since The Revenant has been released?
Every day has been completely different. I think everything about my whole world is different In many wonderful ways. I have been pretty busy since then. I have a television show on APTN so I am on the road most of the time.
You play the wife of Leonardo DiCaprio, a dream role for millions of people. What do you say to that?
I try to tell people, especially youth who might be attempting to go into this field, that this feels like it’s been a long time coming. People always say they are impressed that I am young and I’ve had this big opportunity, but the truth is that I have been in this field and working toward this dream my entire life.
I was on my first TV show when I was 10 years old. That is when I knew that that is what I wanted to do. I went to film school and I’ve studied acting school for a number of years when I first moved to Vancouver. Right after I arrived I went right into auditioning. This was without success for a number of years and I wasn’t booking anything.
Eventually I found some success, I’ve been doing this TV show for a number of years now and then this audition came along. Everything lined up for whatever reason, to take me to the next level in my work.
There are so many things out of your control as an actor. There could be a million reasons why you don’t get selected for a part. Even if you had a great audition filled with truth, it doesn’t mean you deserved the role.
You just have to hope that the time comes around that you are ready when you are right for that part. You have to have faith that your time will come.
What was the audition process for you?
I had already auditioned a year before my final audition, so I knew about The Revenant and had some idea of what was coming. The day came when I got a call and they wanted to bring me back to audition for a different role.
At first I said, “I can’t do it,” because I was flying out to do my TV show and I thought, “Oh well, what can you do?” Curiosity got the best of me and I read my audition and I realized, “this is for the part of Hugh Glass’s wife?” Hugh Glass is Leonardo DiCaprio!
I called my agent, and I said, “I have to do this.” My agent said, “Yes, you have to do this.” I asked the producers on my show to support me, I changed my ticket – I went to my audition with my bags and my snowboard. It just all came together.
When I was leaving that room [after that second audition], I was thinking ‘Wow, I just found a new level of my work.” I could feel it – I was just vibrating. It was pretty amazing that something like this all came together and it now has absolutely changed my life forever.
How did you find out you got the part?
?It was months and months later. When it comes to the work, my teachers have always told me, “Once you are done auditioning, you have to let it go. Because there will be another one tomorrow and another one after that day. If you let them get you down, you’re not in a good place, so let it go.”
I remember walking down Commercial Drive in East Vancouver and I got the call from my agent. It was so surreal. I was crying and laughing.
In this industry, even though you get the green light, you can’t really celebrate too early and until you’re on set and you are working. I didn’t tell anyone for months, actually not until I was finished filming. I don’t want those kinds of expectations on me. I finally told people six months after I knew.
How was it working with the Oscar winning director Alejandro Iñárritu?
Oh my gosh! I am so lucky. He is brilliant and he continues to inspire me every day. I have never seen this type of vision from someone before, It is so encouraging because he is so precise, it is ridiculous.
This film is a total piece of art. He knows what he wants and he is constantly trying to push himself further as an artist.
How did it feel to be with Leonardo DiCaprio as the envy of millions?
I don’t even know how it feels. I am very grateful for the work and for the experience. To have been around his energy, I am so grateful to have learned so much. Leo is one of those guys who has something special.
I have been watching a lot of his movies lately, and he is never the same person. The same thing with Tom Hardy [who played John Fitzgerald]. They aren’t there in the role, they are whoever their character is. I’d like to drop into those type of roles while being conscious of not falling into a stereotype. I am so inspired to find a deeper level of my work.
How do you feel about all the shout-outs to native people, Including DiCaprio’s mention when receiving the Golden Globe?
It is so great. I wouldn’t expect it from anyone else. I felt first-hand the respect on a human level In regards to what happened in the past to indigenous people. I think Leonardo DiCaprio was bold enough to make that statement. His words started a conversation, he knows it can’t save the world but he brought awareness to First Nations people and honored what we had done for the film.
He also honored our place in this world and that is admirable. This is just a conversation of course and we have a long way to go. But much respect to him for saying something.
I’ll be on the road shooting my television show. I have already been to Los Angeles for a few auditions. I have a few callbacks here in Vancouver. I am going to be sitting down with my agent to create a game plan to ensure I choose the right script to jump off to next.
All of this is just crazy and a dream come true, now I just have to ride the wave, just do it and say yes!
Follow ICTMN’s Arts and Entertainment Editor Vincent Schilling on Twitter – @VinceSchilling