April 22nd, 2024

Canadian actress Evelyne Brochu stars with Zach Braff, Vanessa Hudgens in new rom-com

By Marriska Fernandes, The Canadian Press on March 14, 2024.

In “French Girl,” a new romantic comedy from Canadian writer-directors James A. Woods and Nicolas Wright, Quebec City is as much of a character as the film’s lead roles. Evelyne Brochu, left, is shown in an undated still image handout from the film "French Girl." THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Elevation Pictures, Laurent Guerin, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

In “French Girl,” a new romantic comedy from Canadian writer-directors James A. Woods and Nicolas Wright, Quebec City is as much of a character as the film’s lead roles.

It was the “perfect setting,” said star Evelyne Brochu, a French Canadian actress known for her work on the sci-fi TV series “Orphan Black.”

“It’s romantic. It has a bit of a taste of Europe,” she said in a virtual interview. “I feel like in rom-coms, cities are often a character, if you think about Seattle, if you could think of it like New York, Paris “¦ It’s the city where you want to walk hand-in-hand with someone.”

The movie follows Gordon, played by Zach Braff, a hopeless New York City romantic whose plan to propose to his girlfriend Sophie, portrayed by Brochu, is thrown into chaos. A job offer at the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac from sophisticated celebrity chef Ruby ““ played by Vanessa Hudgens ““ who also happens to be Sophie’s ex, lures her back to her hometown of Quebec City.

Determined to keep their love alive, Gordon follows his girlfriend, only to find himself hilariously out of his depth in attempting to charm her hard-to-impress, French-speaking family.

Brochu, who is from Quebec City, said she signed on to do the film because it’s a “love letter to French Canadian women, French Canadian families,” and the city itself.

She felt a real connection to her character, especially since she’s a francophone who is dating an anglophone from Montreal. She said the filmmakers captured a world she knew well.

For Braff, it was the elements of comedy that drew him in, but also his love of Quebec cities.

“My reps had said that it’s kind of in the tone of “˜Meet the Parents,’ which is a movie I love, but with a twist and also it’s taking place in French Canada, which was interesting to me because I love Montreal,” he said. “And I just laughed through the whole thing. I was like, “˜Sign me up. I’m in.'”

Braff, who starred in the TV comedy “Scrubs,” said this latest project was in his wheelhouse.

“I just love comedies like this. They don’t make a lot of movies like this anymore.”

The movie was mostly filmed in Montreal and Quebec City, and the cast said the atmosphere added to the filming experience.

Braff noted that the cast stayed in the Château Frontenac in Quebec City while filming their scenes there. He also billed Montreal’s Old Town as “one of the prettiest places in North America.”

“High School Musical” franchise star Vanessa Hudgens, who had previously filmed in Montreal about 12 years ago, was equally charmed.

“It really is such a magical place, truly unlike anywhere else,” she said. “There’s just like an old world air about it that just feels really magical.”

Hudgens, who has starred in several rom-coms, including “The Princess Switch,” said she loved returning to the genre, but added that it afforded her a chance to put on a different hat ““ and play the villain.

“This is one where the women are really empowered, which is always just lovely to be able to see and to tell that story.”

“French Girl” hits theatres on Friday.

““ Marriska Fernandes is a Toronto-based entertainment journalist, host and film critic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 14, 2024.

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