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Janna is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. Born and raised in a small Ontario town, she made her move to Toronto for university and immediately fell in love with the excitement and pace of the big city. She holds an Honors Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from York University, specializing in editing and screenwriting. She currently works as an assistant editor for a television production company. Janna loves stories told in all mediums, especially film, and takes herself to the movies as much as she possibly can. She can generally be found taking a Zumba class, exploring some of Toronto’s lesser-known gems, or relaxing with her fluffy feline roommate.

Canadian Pride: WHAT IF’s Meghan Heffern

For Canadian actors in the film and television industry, their options seem relatively clear-cut: work in the Canadian film scene, work on American projects shot in Canada, or move to the States to try and make a career in Hollywood. So when a project comes along that’s shot and set in Canada, features big-name talent, and has the potential for international exposure, actors will fight tooth and nail to be a part of it. In this case, the film in question is What If, a romantic comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe. And the lucky actress who was cast is the talented, Canadian-born Meghan Heffern.

Heffern, who’s been acting in the film and television industry since she was fifteen, has quickly climbed the ladder of success. She began as a stand-in on a popular children’s series, and since then, her roles have just gotten bigger. She now has over thirty film and TV credits under her belt, and has worked with comedy legends such as Eugene Levy, Colin Mochrie, Paul Reiser, and Martin Short. She worked alongside the Belleville brothers as a series lead in the Showcase comedy Almost Heroes, and in 2010, she was cast as Kate the Cheerleader in the Spike TV comedy Blue Mountain State.

Credit Angela Besharah

Credit Angela Besharah

But she isn’t just a comedian—Heffern has had her share of dramatic roles, as well. In 2009, she played a pivotal role in Atom Egoyan’s thriller Chloe, starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore. She’s also done guest spots on popular dramas such as CTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation, NBC’s Saving Hope and The CW’s The LA Complex. Heffern’s versatility is one of her best qualities as an actor, and she loves the fact that she’s been able to play both comedic and dramatic roles throughout her career so far.

“I’ve been really lucky to get to do both. That’s what’s so great about being an actor!” she says. “Sometimes my years are more comedy-heavy, and others are full of drama. I find comedy a lot harder than drama, so making someone laugh is always a huge pay-off.”

And now, Heffern’s been able to stretch her comedic chops once again, here on her home turf—she can be seen appearing alongside Daniel Radcliffe, Zoe Kazan, and Adam Driver in the romantic comedy What If. Known as The F Word in Canada and internationally, the romantic comedy was shot in Toronto and opens in wide release this Friday. It tells the story of medical school dropout Wallace and animator Chantry, who meet at a party and form an instant connection—despite Chantry’s longtime boyfriend, Ben. As the two strike up a close friendship, it leaves them to wonder: what if the love of your life is actually your best friend?

Heffern plays Tabby, one of Chantry’s coworkers and friends. She can be seen in several scenes—most notably during one that presented her with quite the challenge! “I had to knit through a scene… and had no idea how to knit!” she tells me. “That was my biggest challenge on this film.”

With What If being both set and shot in Toronto, it’s no wonder that Canadian talent flocked to the film’s auditions. It was a long audition process, but Heffern says it was all completely worth it. “Auditioning was weirdly dramatic. I happened to be in different cities at the time of each audition. I think I had to rearrange three flights when all was said and done!”

Credit Angela Besharah

Credit Angela Besharah

It’s incredibly rare for Toronto to represent itself onscreen, as opposed to acting as a double for American cities like New York or Boston, and Torontonians are excited about the change. Heffern agrees. “I love that Toronto is starting to play Toronto. It’s so cool seeing your city come alive on the big screen,” she enthuses. “It’s especially nice working in Toronto because you always see the same amazing crew. Whether you’re working on a little indie, or a huge Hollywood movie, you always see someone you know. That makes the atmosphere really easy.”

Knowing members of the crew is always calming, especially when a film’s cast is rather high-profile. What If features Adam Driver, Zoe Kazan, and Daniel Radcliffe—names that could easily be intimidating to a lot of actors. But Heffern says that everyone got along, and that the environment on set was wonderful.

“I had a blast working with everyone,” she says. “They are all such smart, funny actors. Hopefully I learned how to be a smart, funny actor too… fingers crossed!”

But a great cast doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great movie—many, many films with talented stars have fallen flat and been disappointing. The deck is certainly stacked against romantic comedies. With people seeing them as formulaic, romantic comedies have to work even harder to surpass expectations and please their audience. And Heffern says that What If does exactly that. “It’s a very well-written romantic comedy,” she tells me. “It feels real, and the acting is so natural. It really makes you want to fall in love.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have worked on such a quirky, funny, great film.”

And that great film is lucky to be able to count Meghan Heffern as one of its cast members.

What If (known as The F Word in Canada and other countries) is already playing in select major cities, and goes into wide release on Friday, August 22nd.

Meghan Heffern can be seen next in the independent film A Sunday Kind of Love, and in Blue Mountain State: The Movie, which shoots this fall. To keep up with her upcoming projects, check out her official website or follow her on Twitter.

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