2016 is shaping up to be a breakout year for Toronto actress Ann Pirvu. First up, she’s playing in The Masked Saint (check out the trailer here), which is coming to Canadian theatres January twenty-second. It stars Brett Granstaff as a wrestler-turned-pastor-turned-vigilante and also features Rowdy Roddy Piper as a wrestling promoter.
Quickly following that, Pirvu is featured in Steven Soderbergh’s new TV series The Girlfriend Experience, based on his 2008 film of the same name.
We caught up with Pirvu for a quick word.
Tell us about your role in The Masked Saint?
The Masked Saint is based on the true story of Pastor Chris Whaley, a former professional wrestler who grapples with these seemingly opposing identities… until he meets my character. In a dramatic way.
I play spunky small-town waitress, Emily Anne, a young single mother thrown into a very dangerous situation that the Masked Saint decides to help with, and both their lives change from that point on.
I was really excited to take on this part because of the broader issue of violence, particularly gun violence, it touches on—something the youth of today are unfortunately faced with more and more. You never know what could happen. Anywhere. Any time. So the way you handle yourself in high-octane situations is very important. I thought a lot about that. You’d hope to be able to find the courage to do the right thing, but that’s certainly not easy. And it’s those hard things you do in life that are usually most rewarding… So, Emily Anne has to wrestle with some tough decisions and I loved navigating that journey with her.
What was it like working with Roddy Piper?
Roddy plays Nicky Stone, a shady WWF-style promoter. Brilliantly. He’s immensely charismatic and entertaining, I wish Emily Anne was a wrestler but, sadly, we didn’t have any scenes together. I did get to watch him work over the three-week shoot in Sault Ste. Marie and he was electric! He certainly knows how to command the ring but he was also very kind with fans between takes, and humble. Such a lovely human!
Are you heading to Sundance for the debut of The Girlfriend Experience?
I just got back from Nashville for the US Premiere of The Masked Saint and we’re gearing up for the January twenty-second Canadian release, so unfortunately I can’t go to Sundance for GFE. But what a treat to find out that the show will get its debut at such a prestigious festival! I’m looking into getting a STARZ network subscription for when it comes out after!
How similar is the TV series The Girlfriend Experience to the 2008 movie?
The series is loosely based on the movie but completely different. It explores relationships in a very unique way. That’s sure to grab your interest!
If you could work with any director on any script, which would they be?
Great question! What immediately comes to mind (because I just saw it the other day!) is the kind of role Leo DiCaprio plays in The Revenant. The sheer complexity and effort that goes into a performance like that is intriguing. I love to throw myself into material that is completely out of my comfort zone; powerful, meaningful, and the more challenging the better. There are so many directors that I’d love to, one day, be lucky enough to work with, but that combination of unique storytelling and a great story to tell… I find most exciting. That goes for comedy as well! I had a fun little taste of that playing therapeutic clown Josey on the Global series Remedy. I didn’t know anything about the profession going in, but it was fascinating to learn! And introduce audiences to it. So, I guess I’d work with any director on any script that would challenge and enrich my perspective of the world!
I’m a big wine girl! Reds, whites, mmmm! The European in me . . . but I was just in Cuba for New Year’s and, let me tell you, there was no shortage of Pina Coladas, mojitos, and Havanna Specials… I’m becoming a rum fan!