Mariel Belanger: I have always loved the feeling live theatre gives you when you’re on stage. I was involved in a few school plays growing up, took drama in high school and got a scholarship to a local theatre school for directing in my senior year. After high school I toured with a local native theatre company. I had a family to take care of and went on hiatus for a few years, getting my education. I went to theatre school for a summer and got re-connected to the overall attachment to acting and slowly made my way into commercials and independents. It’s been a life long passion of mine. I just love being a part of the ‘set family’. Even with 5:30am call times! It’s really the only time a 16 hour work day doesn’t get me down.
QWP: What is the perfect role you would like to be cast in?
MB: The cool mom role. It’s a personal thing haha. No I think I’d love to be in an action movie, tough girl with a gun maybe. The unsuspecting character. But in terms of role models, I think I’d love to be Buffy St Marie. She’s got an amazing story to tell.
QWP: Many seem to agree that the Twilight saga movies have “opened doors” for Native American actors to more modern roles. What are your thoughts on this?
MB: The saga has definitely opened doors for some actors, I can’t say my role was modern because it wasn’t. I think the only real way doors are going to be opened is if screen writers generalize their characters more. The majority of roles are still written for Caucasian characters even though we live in a bi-racial/multi-ethnic society. The writing/casting needs to reflect that more.
QWP: What was filming on the set of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse like? Was it different from other projects you’ve worked on?
MB: It was very different. TSE was much bigger than anything I had worked on. I’ve been on some T.V. sets but it was definitely different. There is so much going on all the time in many different places. The daily call sheets were quite long and laid out the going ons of every actor/ key person needed that day, what they were supposed to be doing etc. It opens your eyes as to the level of multi-tasking skills needed by key crewmembers.
QWP: What was it like to work under the direction of David Slade?
MB: I only got to work with him 2 days, but my time in front of the camera was nice. He wasn’t condescending or impatient. He made me feel important and after we shot my last scene he congratulated me on now being a ‘star’.
QWP: Were there any memorable moments on the set of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse that you can share with the fans?
MB: I spent as much time as I could on set and not in my trailer just so I could take in the whole experience. I got to watch Kristen Stewart as she mimicked my performance for the morphing into Third Wife part. She was nice, introduced herself to me. I felt welcomed by pretty much everyone I got to meet. I really enjoyed watching the stunts, it happens so fast, but when you’re on set – you know exactly how many falls and hits they take.
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