Ten years ago, Rachelle Lefevre packed her bags and moved from her beloved hometown of Montreal to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. It was a difficult transition for the spunky redhead, who says the city made her feel completely isolated and alone. “I cried a lot the first year. When I was living in Montreal, I interacted with people all day. In L.A., if you talk to someone you don’t know, they look at you like, what do you want from me you weirdo?”
Now, a decade later, she’s established her roots—and an impressive acting career—in the City of Angels, but in her role on CBS’ hit sci-fi drama series Under the Dome, Lefevre’s finding herself in isolation once again. Based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel of the same name, the series is about a small town in Maine where residents have become inexplicably cut off from society by an invisible dome. Lefevre plays investigative reporter Julia Shumway, which is a bit of a departure from her prior acting gigs—she’s been cast as a doctor on four different television shows, including A Gifted Man and Off the Map, and played a vampire in the first two Twilight films. Below, the 35-year-old actress shares some insight into the upcoming season (premiering today) and sounds off on the “hazing” process of moving to L.A.
What’s life like on set?
I definitely think it can be a little crazy sometimes just because we do so much on a limited schedule. It’s fast-paced, but we’re a large ensemble and have such a great chemistry in the cast. And on a personal level, we all have a really good time hanging out; that’s what makes the pace bearable. We’re very focused, but there’s a lot of joking around, a lot of friendly banter and that’s what helps keep your energy up all day.
How involved is Stephen King?
He was on set in the beginning for the first couple of days to check in and be there. This time was a little different because he wrote the first episode of our second season. He was involved a lot before we started production because as the writer, he had to constantly be liaising with the other writers and production. He definitely keeps in touch with the writers and participates in the story developments.
What can people expect for season two?
The overall theme is transformation. Last year, it was about the significance of the dome. This year, it’s about the significance of each character as they pertain to the dome. Every character will have a moment where they’re looking up at the dome and going, ‘What do you want from me?’ For my character Julia, the dome clearly wants her to lead in some way, but it hasn’t been defined what that is. So that will be her journey. Am I really supposed to lead Chester’s Mill? Am I the chosen person? What does that mean?
The whole cast and crew lives together in Wilmington, North Carolina while you guys are filming. Does it ever start to feel like life imitating art, being trapped with your cast-mates?
It’s funny because it is a parallel. We’re all here without our loved ones, some of us without our families, and all we have is each other—it definitely does have that feel.
Is it true you played a doctor three times on shows that never made it past the first season?
Four if you count the stripper who was a chiropractor on What About Brian.
Would you ever take another role as a doctor or do you think it’s bad luck?
Absolutely. This is going to sound like me coming off as an asshole, but I just think I’ve been typecast as being really, really smart [laughs]. And I’m also really good at handling a stethoscope.
Did you know anyone before moving to L.A.?
I moved completely blind. A lot of people who lived out here had given me their numbers and said, ‘If you’re ever in L.A., please call me!’ So I got there and fresh off the bus I started making phone calls like, ‘Hey, I’m in L.A.—want to have lunch?’ And nobody would call me back. I felt like that was my hazing.
So now that you’re settled and have friends it’s not as intimidating…
Yeah, now I bump into people who said they wanted to have lunch and I tell them to go fuck themselves.