This Walk­ing Dead s tar on her r ole in the up­com­ing Dumb & Dumber se­quel and her fond mem­o­ries of grow­ing up in For­est Hill

Village Post - - Front page - By Martha Wor­boy

Lau­rie Holden has left be­hind the brain-dead for … well … the brain­dead.

Best known for her role in the hit AMC zom­bie out­break drama The Walk­ing Dead, Holden re­cently fin­ished shoot­ing the long-awaited Far­relly broth­ers com­edy se­quel Dumb and Dumber To, star­ring along­side fel­low Cana­dian Jim Car­rey and Jeff Daniels.

(The movie hits the­atres this Novem­ber.)

Holden plays the schem­ing wife of a doc­tor who con­cocts an evil plan to use Car­rey and Daniels’ lov­able, low-IQ char­ac­ters (Lloyd Christ­mas and Harry Dunne, re­spec­tively) as scape­goats.

The Los Angeles–born, Toronto-bred ac­tress says her switch f rom work­ing in the dark land of TV hor­ror — as a hu­man sur­vivor of a zom­bie apoca­lypse on The Walk­ing

Dead’s first three sea­sons — to laugh-out-loud com­edy was a much-needed change of pace in her ca­reer.

“I was itch­ing to do some­thing dif­fer­ent — some­thing light and some­thing fun,” says Holden.

“The Walk­ing Dead was emo­tion­ally tax­ing and hard on the spirit, so I loved be­ing able to let loose and go crazy with this cast.”

Not only was the shoot pure fun, Holden says, it was also a fast-tracked ed­u­ca­tion in comic act­ing with Car­rey and Daniels tak­ing the lead.

“Jeff and Jim are truly bril­liant — work­ing with them and watch­ing them was like a mas­ter class on ev­ery­thing com­i­cally ab­surd,” Holden says.

Un­der­stand­ably, one of the great­est chal­lenges on the shoot, Holden says, was keep­ing a straight face.

For an ac­tor who has un­der­taken many dra­matic roles to date — she acted in the Amer­i­can drama The

Ma­jes­tic (also with Jim Car­rey) and the crit­i­cally ac­claimed FX po­lice drama The Shield — Holden says she feels for­tu­nate to have landed in the world of com­edy in a Far­relly broth­ers film.

She’s al­ways been an enor­mous fan of the di­rect­ing duo who have be­come known for come­dies in­volv­ing a mix of gross-out scenes, toi­let hu­mour and sweet ro­mance.

( There’s Some­thing About Mary, King­pin, Me My­self & Irene).

Holden was pleased to dis­cover that work­ing on their films is just as much fun as watch­ing them.

The loose at­mos­phere cre­ated on set, she says, put ev­ery­one at ease and re­ally brought out the funny in the ac­tors.

“It was very im­pro­vi­sa­tional and a lot of the film­ing was off the cuff,” Holden says. “It was the fun­ni­est [shoot]. If you thought Dumb and Dumber was funny, this takes it to the next level.”

Al­though Holden has been in the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness since she was a child, it seems she’s come into her own more re­cently af­ter years spent hon­ing her act­ing skills.

With par­ents who were both ac­tors them­selves and a film di­rec­tor step­dad, Holden says it seemed ob­vi­ous to ev­ery­one but her that she would fol­low in the fam­ily busi­ness.

Her first role came when she was hang­ing out on her step­fa­ther Michael An­der­son’s set for the sci-fi TV minis­eries The Mar­tian Chron­i­cles (1980), and a child was needed to play Rock Hud­son’s daugh­ter.

Holden says she saw the parts she played when she was younger as ways to make pocket money in the sum­mer­time.

Grow­ing up in Toronto, Holden re­mem­bers a well-rounded child­hood at­tend­ing Bishop Strachan School (BSS) in For­est Hill Vil­lage.

She played a lot of sports, went to school dances at Up­per Canada Col­lege and had lunch with her friends in the Vil­lage.

Most im­por­tantly, she says, at­tend­ing BSS gave her a strong foun­da­tion that has served her well in the fickle in­dus­try of show busi­ness.

“I re­mem­ber at BSS it was cool to be smart and ath­letic,” she says. “We wore uni­forms and didn’t wear a lot of makeup, and it was all about be­ing your best self.”

When it came time to pur­sue a ca­reer, Holden sur­prised her fam­ily by an­nounc­ing she wanted to be a banker and en­rolled at McGill Univer­sity in eco­nom­ics and po­lit­i­cal sci­ence.

Holden ex­plains her brief flir­ta­tion with the bank­ing life was a re­bel­lion against parental ex­pec­ta­tions. She even­tu­ally re­al­ized she wasn’t stay­ing true to her­self.

“I was in an artis­tic fam­ily, so be­com­ing an ac­tor was kind of ex­pected. Since my fam­ily wanted me to do it, I re­belled against it,” she says. “Once they let go of that, I found my way back. I re­al­ized I, too, was artis­tic.”

Af­ter de­cid­ing she’d rather tell sto­ries than de­ter­mine lend­ing cri­te­ria, Holden left Mon­treal for Cal­i­for­nia where she earned a de­gree in theatre and film at UCLA.

In her early days as an ac­tor in Los Angeles, Holden joined a theatre work­shop run by act­ing coach Larry Moss (his name is of­ten men­tioned in Academy Award–win­ning speeches).

At Moss’s stu­dio in Santa Mon­ica, Holden and a group of ac­tors would reg­u­larly put on plays and one acts and try out their own ma­te­rial.

“For me, it re­ally be­gan with Larry Moss. [His work­shop] is what gave me the love for what I do,” Holden says.

Holden also feels for­tu­nate to have had fam­ily mem­bers in the in­dus­try be­fore her, since they’ve been able to help guide her.

Now, Holden says, she’s of­ten asked for ad­vice by young ac­tors start­ing out.

“I tell them the most im­por­tant thing is to get an ed­u­ca­tion — to ed­u­cate yourself in his­tory, theatre and sci­ence — be­cause you’ll draw on all of that in your work all the time.”

Holden says she finds bal­ance in her life by vol­un­teer­ing for causes she’s pas­sion­ate about, like work­ing with the or­ga­ni­za­tion Oper­a­tion Un­der­ground Rail­road, to free women and chil­dren from be­ing traf­ficked.

Al­though Holden’s roots in Los Angeles con­tinue to be strength­ened by the con­stant work she’s get­ting there (she’s cur­rently guest star­ring on TNT’s po­lice pro­ce­dural se­ries Ma­jor

Crimes), she vis­its Toronto reg­u­larly. She loves com­ing to the city to dine at such hot spots as Opus in the An­nex, Agra on King Street West and Turf Lounge on Bay.

But the main rea­son she vis­its is to see fam­ily and re­con­nect with old BSS friends.

More sim­ply put, she loves vis­it­ing here be­cause it’s home.

“And — you know — home is where the heart is,” she says.

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