Following Follows in the Spotlight By Olivia Gudaniec
Megan Follows, pronounced (Mee-gan), is a Canadian actress that I have had the pleasure of interacting and working with for the past two years. Being a Canadian in the film industry has challenges of its own, but luckily for Megan, Hollywood North has been welcoming her home time and time again. Currently, she is back in Toronto, Ontario shooting CW’s historical drama, Reign.
Megan Follows is a free spirit with an approachable aura. I can safely attest for her compassion to all people, regardless of what department they are employed in. There is never a day were Megan does not lend a smile or friendly ‘hello’. It is this sort of attitude and way of being that I believe has kept Megan working from her early years in the famous role of Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables to her current role as the strong and intimidating Catherine de Medici on Reign. It is these attributes and more that make Megan an actress that I admire and woman’s career worth following.
Megan comes from a family that is in the entertainment business. Her parents, Ted Follows and Dawn Greenhalgh, amongst her siblings, are all passionate about the arts. Growing up in such a theatrical environment, Megan began “acting as a toddler” (nytimes.com, 2015) where she learned how to play, discover and most of all to be persistent in this field. Megan references her upbringing by stating that: “… the unreal had as much importance as the real” (imbd.com, 2005). Show business is a way of life clearly engrained in Megan and she shows no signs of slowing down. One of the many things that stands out to me about the actress is that she is utterly and completely committed to the character she portrays, whether it be on stage or in film. On set I always see her asking questions, listening to feedback/direction, working out blockings extensively, and even showing up for second team rehearsals. Most of all, Megan has mastered the act of being present at all times, which is a hard enough task in regular life, let alone a career that is constantly demanding perfection and success. In addition, Megan puts in the time so audiences can see a complex, authentic and interesting character to watch. Like in any occupation that one wants to excel in, established actors are ambitious and dare to dream big.
Megan Follows was 15 years old when she auditioned for Anne of Green Gables and “just 16 years old when she was chosen to play Anne, a role that earned her a 1986 and a 1988 Gemini Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actress” (anne.sullivanmovies.com, 2015). The successful Canadian mini series may have made Megan an international name but she has worked on some fascinating and well known projects to date: Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000), Stephen King’s Silver Bullet (1985), ER (2001), Murder She Wrote (1995), CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2004), Shania: A Life in Eight Albums (2005), Back to Hannibal: The Return of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (1990), Law & Order (2000), The X-Files (2001), and Heartland (2009). Amongst many other character’s that she’s brought to life, Megan has even done some voice over work in the animated feature The Nutcracker Prince (1990).
We can thank Dawn Greenhalgh for taking Megan to many auditions and waiting patiently during the process, it has definitely paid off. I trust that Megan will continue to have a long and active involvement in the film and television industry. Just as the character she currently plays on Reign, Megan is a force to be reckoned with and an actress that I respect. I feel confident in Megan’s dedication to her craft and professionalism on set and want to acknowledge her for the many contributions she has made as woman, actress and a mother.
Take a look at my exclusive interview with Megan, as she has graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions in regards to her job in showbiz.
Olivia Gudaniec: In a few of your past interviews you mentioned the placement of sticky notes all over your room. These ‘notes’ acted as affirmations when preparing for your Anne of Green Gables role. Is this a practice you still incorporate into your daily lifestyle and/or work?
Megan Follows: When I did that I needed to convince myself that I was that character. My life’s experience was very different from hers and it was a way to take ownership of her character.
Olivia Gudaniec: You have been consistently involved with both theatre and film projects over the years. What has been one of your favorite roles to play so far in your career?
Megan Follows: I’m definitely having a ball playing Catherine De Medici. She is up there. I also loved playing Queen Penelope in Margret Atwood’s play The Penelopeiad. I must have a thing for royalty! Juliet in Romeo and Juliet and Marlene in Top Girls. Of course Anne was very special. I think I don’t have a favorite part…I just keep wanting more!
Olivia Gudaniec: How do you go about choosing your next role?
Megan Follows: Most times it chooses me.
Olivia Gudaniec: If there was another job you could do on set, what would it be and why?
Megan Follows: I would like to be a director. I want to expand my vision so I am serving the whole story not just my characters part in it. I have a huge respect for the DOP and the camera department. And I love acting and performers so it excites me to work with both.
© 2015 Olivia Gudaniec