If anyone knows how to succeed in business without really trying, it’s actress Liane Balaban. The Toronto native scored her first gig — a starring role in the 1999 drama “New Waterford Girl” — after being approached by her aunt’s neighbor at age 17. Not that the actress would have necessarily minded pounding the pavement. “It was a blessing and a curse,” says Balaban, 27, of her big break. “I’d often wonder if it’s a mistake or if I should really be here, because there are so many people who wanted it more.”
Lately, Balaban has found it harder to second-guess herself. In the three years since she began acting full time, the actress has scored roles opposite Ryan Reynolds in the romantic comedy “Definitely, Maybe” and, most recently, alongside Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson in “Last Chance Harvey,” which hits select theaters on Dec. 25.
This story first appeared in the December 23, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In the flick, Balaban plays Hoffman’s daughter Susan, a bride-to-be whose nuptials are complicated by her parents’ acrimonious split. “This movie talks about weddings in a real way,” says Balaban, whose folks are divorced in real life. “Not in a la-di-da Hollywood way or in a farcical, high-concept comedy way, but in a subtle nuanced way where there is tension, humor and awkwardness.”
Up next, Balaban costars opposite Hugh Dancy in Will Frears’ drama “Coach,” and after that she will appear with Joshua Jackson in “One Week,” as a bride-to-be yet again. “I think 27 is the movie age for bride-dom,” Balaban says with a laugh.
WRITE STUFF: While most actresses wait tables or temp in offices on the side, Balaban spent two years as a freelance reporter for Montreal-based art magazines to pay the bills between acting gigs. But that hasn’t made press junkets any easier. “I feel like I should be the one asking the questions,” says Balaban, who majored in journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto. “I want to be a good interviewee.”
KNOT REALLY: Though the starlet has played many a blushing bride on-screen, Balaban has yet to take the plunge in real life. But the brunette, who has dated “The Fruit Hunters” author Adam Gollner for eight years, says, “I feel like I’m married — without the papers.”
CLEARLY CANADIAN: She still maintains a primary residence in Montreal, and even hangs out with her fellow countrymen while in L.A. “I find that most of my friends in L.A. are Canadian,” she says. “We spend our time playing Boggle, putting on sunscreen and picking up litter.”