Liane Balaban in 2011.
June 24, 1980 |
North York, Ontario, Canada
Liane Balaban (born June 24, 1980) is a Canadian actress. Her film debut was in New Waterford Girl (1999), playing Agnes-Marie "Moonie" Pottie, and has since appeared in the films Definitely, Maybe (2008), Last Chance Harvey (2009), and the independent drama One Week (2008). She has guest-starred on the television series NCIS: Los Angeles, Covert Affairs and Alphas, and joined the cast of Supernatural for its eighth season.
Balaban was born in North York, Ontario, the daughter of a Catholic mother who worked as a medical secretary, and a Jewish father, who worked in real estate. She grew up in the Willowdale neighbourhood of North York, now part of Toronto, and went to high school at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute. Balaban majored in journalism at Ryerson University but left to concentrate on acting. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Concordia University.
Balaban made her feature film debut in New Waterford Girl (1999), playing a 15-year-old misfit longing to escape the Cape Breton coal-mining town, New Waterford. Set in the 1970s, the film was directed by Allan Moyle. Producer Julia Sereny, who had known Balaban through her aunt and uncle, asked her to audition for the film. Balaban had studied drama in high school, but had not intended to be an actor at that point. After seven auditions, Balaban landed the part that won a Special Jury Citation at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival and a nomination for a Canadian Comedy Award.
Balaban made a successful follow-up with Saint Jude (2000), directed by John L'Ecuyer. She starred in the TV movie After the Harvest (2001), opposite Sam Shepard, and appeared in Happy Here and Now (2002), opposite David Arquette and Ally Sheedy. She also starred in the horror film Spliced (2002), co-starring Ron Silver. Balaban was a member of the garage/electro/pop band We are Molecules where she sang and played keyboards and drums. She has also written for arts newspapers.
While previously unsure of acting as a career, Balaban committed to seriously pursuing acting around 2007. She appeared in her first mainstream Hollywood feature film, Definitely, Maybe in 2008, a romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. She next appeared in Last Chance Harvey, a romance starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson which had a wide release in January 2009. She played the supporting role of Susan, the estranged and soon-to-be-married daughter of Hoffman's character. She stated to The Globe and Mail that her time in London making the film was like "going to the best acting school in the world".
Balaban starred in the independent drama One Week (2008), as Samantha Pierce, a woman whose fiancé (Joshua Jackson) is diagnosed with terminal cancer and takes a motorcycle trip across Canada. Directed by Michael McGowan, Balaban was nominated for the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in 2010 for her performance. Balaban starred in the black comedy You Might as Well Live in 2009, playing a psychotic girl who is obsessed with explosives.
Balaban's other films in 2009 include Not Since You, a drama about a group of college friends, and The Trotsky, by Jacob Tierney. She also shot the CBC TV movie Abroad, based on the love life of Leah McLaren, a Toronto columnist for The Globe and Mail. Balaban was nominated for the Gemini Award for best lead actress in a dramatic program or miniseries for the role. She then starred in The New Tenants with Vincent D’Onofrio, a short film entered into the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, which also won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.
Balaban starred in the 2010 comedy/drama Coach, directed by Will Frears, as an emergency room doctor who falls for an inner city soccer coach (Hugh Dancy). She appeared in the episode "Communication Breakdown" of the TV series Covert Affairs playing Natasha Petrova, a Russian computer hacker, and the character Auggie (Chris Gorham)'s ex-girlfriend. She also voiced the role of Lucrezia Borgia in the video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Balaban played a journalist opposite Paul Ahmarani in The Future is Now!, a docudrama by Gary Burns.
Balaban made her stage debut in February 2011 starring as Claire in Divisadero: A Performance, at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. Directed by Daniel Brooks, the performance was an adaptation of an Governor General’s Award-winning novel by Michael Ondaatje, with music by Justin Rutledge. The show was restaged in February 2012.
Balaban filmed the independent comedy, Finding Joy, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in mid-2011. She signed on to a recurring role in the CW drama, Supernatural in 2012, playing Amelia, a young doctor with tragedy in her past. In August 2012, Balaban was in Newfoundland filming The Grand Seduction, an English-language version of the 2003 Québécois comedy, Seducing Doctor Lewis (French: La grande seduction). She plays the love interest, opposite Taylor Kitsch, directed by Don McKellar.
As of 2007, Balaban lived in Mile End, Montreal. She described Montreal as "not a city that revolves around acting, so you stay very grounded here" to Hour magazine. Balaban includes reading, writing, going to art galleries, and experiencing music as her leisure activities. Balaban told Toronto's Now magazine in January 2009 that she is often mistaken for the actress Natalie Portman. She moved to Los Angeles in 2010.
|1999||New Waterford Girl||Moonie Pottie||Film debut, Nominated – Canadian Comedy Award|
|2000||The City||Alison||TV series, episode: "Blindside!"|
|2001||After the Harvest||Lind Archer||TV film|
|2002||Happy Here and Now||Amelia|
|2002||The Annual Crafts & Arts Contest||Neilburt|
|2004||Seven Times Lucky||Fiona|
|2005||Anniversary Present||Sandra Dobbs||TV film|
|2005||Burnt Toast||Woman||TV film|
|2006||Above and Beyond||Shelagh Emberly||TV miniseries|
|2007||The Canadian Shield||Genvieve|
|2007||St. Urbain's Horseman||Jenny||TV miniseries|
|2008||Beware of Dog|
|2008||One Week||Samantha Pierce||Nominated – Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role|
|2008||Heartless Disappearance Into Labrador Seas||Lily|
|2008||Last Chance Harvey||Susan|
|2008||A Valentine Haircut||Clare||Short film|
|2009||You Might as Well Live||Edna Kemperton|
|2009||Numb3rs||Jessie Robertson||TV series, episode: "First Law"|
|2009||Not Since You||Heather|
|2009||The New Tenants||Irene||Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film|
|2010||Abroad||Amy Pearce||TV film; Nominated – Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series|
|2010||Covert Affairs||Natasha Petrova||TV series, episode: "Communication Breakdown"|
|2010||NCIS: Los Angeles||Emma Mastin||TV series, episode: "Black Widow"|
|2011||The Future is Now!||Woman of Tomorrow|
|2011||Rise of the Damned||Jesse|
|2011–2012||Alphas||Anna||TV series, 3 episodes: "Rosetta", "Original Sin", "Gaslight"|
|2012–2013||Supernatural||Amelia Richardson||TV series|
|2013||Motive||Sarah Muller||TV series, episode: "Against All Odds"|
|2013||The Grand Seduction||Kathleen||Filming|
- Sara Wilson (March 25, 2005). "7 questions: Liane Balaban". Globe and Mail. p. R34.
- Jennifer, Paterson (September 2007). "Liane Balaban". Post City Magazines. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
- Kates, Kathryn (February 3, 2011). "Film star Liane Balaban makes her stage debut". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
- Stone, Jay (January 8, 2009). "New water works girl". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- Macdonald, Gayle (January 9, 2009). "Liane Balaban: The Undergraduate". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- Young, Robyn (February 27, 2009). "Balaban’s Week of grand Canadiana". Metro Canada. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
- "Polytechnique tops Genie nominations". CBC News. March 1, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- "'Flashpoint' leads Gemini pack with 15 nominations". CTV News. August 31, 2010. Retrieved September 5, 2010.
- Leong, Melissa (May 11, 2010). "Short films come to the big screens in Toronto". National Post. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
- Larnick, Eric (March 7, 2010). "What Is 'The New Tenants'? All About the Oscar-Winning Short Film". Moviefone.com. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
- Longsdorf, Amy (June 11, 2010). "New on DVD this week". NorthJersey.com. Retrieved June 13, 2010.
- Ausiello, Michael (August 12, 2010). "Exclusive Video: 'Covert Affairs' hottie Chris Gorham hops the sex-press train!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
- Volmers, Eric (January 21, 2010). "Burns brightens up on new documentary". The Windsor Star. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
- Kaplan, Jon (January 6, 2011). "Get your tickets now...". Now. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
- "Today in Toronto: Divisadero, Hanson, War Horse and more". Toronto Life. February 10, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Dussault, Sarah (June 20, 2011). "Independent film 'Finding Joy' being made in downtown Fort Lauderdale". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
- Stanhope, Kate (July 9, 2012). "Supernatural Casts a Spell on Liane Balaban for Season 8". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
- Paterson, David (September 1, 2012). "Liane Balaban is back in the spotlight". Post City Magazines. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
- Koepke, Melora (January 8, 2009). "Last Chance Harvey". Hour. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
- Hooper, Barrett (January 14, 2009). "Q&A: Liane Balaban". Now. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
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