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Interview: Maxim Roy

Intense, riveting and suspenseful are just a few words to describe the Canadian series 19-2. The show follows the personal and professional lives of the patrol officers from the Montreal Police Service.

The original 19-2 series aired in French on Radio-Canada starting in 2011 and the English language version currently airs on Bell Media's Bravo channel. Currently, the series is in production on its upcoming third season.

One of the reasons for the success of the series is the work of French-Canadian actor Maxim Roy. The busy actor has worked in theater, film and television. She’s appeared in hit series such as ReGenesis, Heartland and Defying Gravity. On the big screen, she’s had parts in films such as The Factory, Hidden Agenda and Babel. In 2016, she will be part of the cast for the highly anticipated ABC Family/Freeform series Shadowhunters.

Today, we sit down with Maxim to talk about her work on 19-2, how she prepared for the role, her upcoming new series Shadowhunters as well as some of the environmental work she is involved with.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us the basic premise of the series 19-2?

Maxim Roy – 19-2 is not your typical cop show because I find that it’s more of a human drama. We follow these two main characters around, but it’s more about their lives and their struggles and what they have been through. They seem very different in the first season, but, in the second season, you realize that they are way more alike than they think. I really hate saying it’s a cop show because it’s much more than that. They could do any other job and it would still be interesting. The fact that they are cops is more the backstory of the show, because it’s more about who they are as people.

All the cops on the show have different struggles, and they relate to each other. That’s why you find them at Marie’s bar at the end of the day, because there is something very similar in their personalities and their lives that they connect with. I don’t know about everywhere else, but, in Montreal, cops hang out with cops because they see things that other people don’t see and go through things other people can’t imagine.

Pop Culture Principle – Can you tell us about your character, Isabelle Latendresse?

Maxim Roy - Isabelle is a very complex woman. She comes off as being very abrasive in the first few episodes, but she’s a torn woman. She’s very much in love with her husband and, when they met, they were partners and she was in car 19-2 when she first started. She decided that she wanted to go up in the world and not stay a patrolwoman.

When cops don’t agree with other cops going up the ladder and becoming “white” shirts, they are sort of seen as being the enemy. She has great intentions and just wants to do a good job, but she is really torn with her past and her past co-workers and going up the ladder. There is still very strong chemistry with her husband that she can’t deny, so it’s really hard for her and people don’t really get where she is coming from.

If Isabelle were a male character, I don’t think she would be perceived as a bitch. I think the whole man/woman thing is there as well, but I don’t think she’s a bitch at all. A woman in a position of power—especially over her ex-husband—she is going to be perceived as that and I don’t think she is.

Pop Culture Principle – What kind of preparation did you do for this role?

Maxim Roy – We had several days of training, and I patrolled with a couple of officers just to know the stress level. She was a patrolwoman before, so I needed that stress and needed to know what she had seen. I actually met the woman that the character Isabelle is based on, and she is a sergeant detective. I went on a crime scene with her and I was traumatized for a few weeks to say the least. I could never do that job and distance myself from situations, people, and death. It’s horrifying and I could never do that. Those images stay with you and they are stuck in your mind for weeks and weeks. I don’t know how they do it.

Pop Culture Principle – You and Adrian Holmes have great chemistry in the series. What is it like working with him?

Maxim Roy – He’s great, and everyone on that show is there for the right reason, which is to do a good job and make it as real as possible. We work really well together, we try different things, and we listen to each other. He’s one of those guys that you really want to work with and he doesn’t take himself too seriously, which is great. I love him and love everybody on that show.

Pop Culture Principle – The Season Two premiere, entitled “School”, is probably the most intense of the series so far. It’s based on an actual school shooting that took place in Montreal. What was it like filming that episode?

Maxim Roy – I didn’t have much to do in that episode because it was all about the guys. We actually met the cops that were involved with the Dawson College shooting that took place in Montreal. They actually came to set and prepped us and told us about the stress level they were under. We got to listen to the actual calls for Dawson College, because the radio transmissions are all taped in situations like that.

Listening to those actual calls was very intense and we all had chills. The cops who responded saw things that we just can’t imagine: kids being shot in front of them, and it felt like they were at war. It was amazing of them and very generous of them to open up to us and to tell us what they went through and what it was like afterwards. To this day, many of them are still affected by the shooting.

Pop Culture Principle – 19-2 doesn’t shy away from controversial subjects such as alcoholism and domestic abuse. Do you think it’s important that these issues are talked about on the series?

Maxim Roy – Absolutely. It really bugs me when television censors everything. We aren’t promoting violence or alcoholism; we need to talk about this and why these people drink, and why this guy beats up on his wife and what women should do. Real life is not Walt Disney, and I think it’s real important that we talk about these subjects and be real about it and not paint it pink, because it’s not pink at all.

Pop Culture Principle – Would you agree that the series strikes the right balance with humor, drama and action?

Maxim Roy – You know what, when I was doing the ride-alongs, those guys need to laugh because they are under so much pressure, they need to let the steam out. So most of them are actually really funny, and some of the things that come out of their mouths are just hilarious.

You can’t believe what they say sometimes. I think it’s important to have some humor in the show because, if you didn’t, it would be too dark and I wouldn’t want to watch it as an audience. After an hour of nothing but drama you would be exhausted and would want to start drinking yourself, so you would want to have a smile on your face at some point.

Pop Culture Principle – In what direction would you like to see your character head in the upcoming new season?

Maxim Roy – What I can tell you is that I am not going to be as present in Season Three. It’s a bit of a bummer, but they decided to go in a totally different way like the French series did. In Episode Two of Season Two, they decided to do something else so my character is not going to be as present, which is okay because I am doing this new series, Shadowhunters. I wouldn’t have been able to do both, so things worked out really well. I haven’t received any scripts, so I have no idea what is going to happen.

Pop Culture Principle – You recently signed on for the new ABC series Shadowhunters. What can you tell us about the show and your character?

Maxim Roy – I can say a couple of things because the series is based on books. The fans know what is going to happen, and we aren’t reinventing anything. I think it’s going to be a really cool show, and we have some amazing directors coming on board. McG directed the first episode and he is awesome as a director, a leader, and a visionary. All the directors that have come on board have amazing resumés. Also, the CGI aspect of the series is going to be cool, because I’ve seen a couple of things already and it looks amazing. When you are shooting and you are fighting a monster that is not there it’s always awkward. I always have this out-of-body experience wondering what I am doing, and what is this odd job that I am doing fighting with swords and invisible people! They did an amazing job, and they make us look crazy good and look like heroes.

The young actors on the series are amazing as well. Katherine McNamara, who plays my daughter, is just a genius. She finished high school at fourteen and university at seventeen, so she’s the smartest kid that I have ever met. Dominic Sherwood is this hunky, little British guy who is a great actor and a great person. I’m really excited, it’s a great cast, and I think the fans are going to be happy. There is already a huge buzz even though we don’t air until January. I’ve never seen anything like this; my Twitter and Instagram accounts have increased a lot already.

Pop Culture Principle – You were part of the short-lived series Defying Gravity. What was your experience like working on that series?

Maxim Roy – It’s funny, because a lot of people loved that show. It was an amazing show with a fantastic premise and some amazing writing. To be honest, I think we got screwed over because they just aired us at the wrong time and we didn’t get promotion. I am still friends with a lot of the cast even though it’s been six years since the show has been on the air. It was really heartbreaking that we didn’t get a second season.

Pop Culture Principle – What advice would you give to up-and-coming actors?

Maxim Roy – You have to do this for the right reason. Just be sure that you are getting into this not to be a star or not to get an award but because you like to act, and then you’ll be happy. It is a really tough business—especially on women—and the business has changed a lot. The whole social media thing—we didn’t have that when I was starting, and it was so much easier. Now there is this whole image thing that you have to cultivate all the time. You need to not get sucked into that, but you need to do it for the right reasons like promoting a show and not promoting yourself. It’s really important to stay focused or else you will be terribly unhappy.

It’s a very empty place to be a star and to do it for that reason. Once you get there, if you don’t love the acting, the job, and the craft, you’ll have a lot of pressure to stay up there even though you don’t love your job. I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years, and I always have to start over. If I didn’t love my job I wouldn’t still be going for auditions, fighting for parts, and reinventing myself. I really love what I do, so that would be the best advice I would give to someone wanting to get into this business.

Pop Culture Principle – You do a lot of work for the environment. Can you tell us about that?

Maxim Roy – I am a member of Greenpeace and I am an environmentalist, and that’s a cause that I work for and promote a lot. The environment is very important to me, and I am also a spokesperson for an organization for fifteen years that works to bring kids in from the streets back to school. They did an amazing job and, although I moved away for a couple of years, I am still involved with them as well. I try to do as much as I can for other people to keep my sanity. I think that really keeps you sane if you are helping others.

We would like to thank Maxim Roy for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with us. 19-2 is currently not airing in the United States, but it is a show that we feel everyone should at least be aware of. Shadowhunters will make its premiere in 2016 on the ABC Family/Freeform channel. If you would like to keep up with all of Maxim's latest news and projects, you can visit her official website here or you can follow her on Twitter @Mllemaximroy.

**Main photo courtesy of Jan Thijs 2014**

**19-2 photos courtesy of Bravo**

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