Over the years Heartland has had a lot of great guest stars playing amazing characters. This year another one joined the Heartland family, because on episode 1104 we saw the arrival of Jen, Casey’s sister-in-law, who had just lost her husband and moved in with Casey. And, since on the last week’s Heartland episode we saw Lou hire Jen as Maggie’s new manager, it looks like Jen and her two sons, Wyatt and Brick, are sticking around.
So, to mark the occasion I have a treat for you – an interview with Lisa Durupt, the actress who plays Jen. Find out what was Lisa’s time on the Heartland set like, what can we expect to see in the next Heartland episodes, what’s next for Lisa in terms of new projects and more by reading the interview below. Hope you enjoy! And big thanks to Lisa and her team for the interview!
TVshowpilot: How did you get involved with Heartland? What attracted you to the project?
Lisa Durupt: Heartland was looking to add a new character to change things up a bit. Originally they were not open to seeing me because their cast is quite tall. They were searching for a while before they agreed to see little ol’ 5’3″ me. I was a bit of a wild card but in the end, it worked out thanks to my agent – he is great!
Above anything else, I was excited to join a show on the CBC with so much history. It is a longstanding show that has become an international attraction for horse lovers everywhere. The main cast has been together since the beginning, which, to me, spoke volumes about the type of family show it really is. The added bonus was the scenery and the animals. I was eager to be part of the experience.
TVshowpilot: What was your experience working on Heartland like?
Lisa Durupt: Overall it has been wonderful. Because it is such a well-oiled machine with so many moving parts, I have been learning so much on the fly. The cast and crew are very friendly and helpful – especially Victoria Pratt, who plays ‘Casey’. She and I were instantly a match made in heaven… two of the loudest laughers around. She is the best.
Really, the only thing that has been tough is the ever-changing weather. You never know what to expect in Alberta. Rain, sunshine, wind, snow… sometimes all in one day.
TVshowpilot: I imagine there were animals on set for many of your scenes. What was it like to work with horses and other ‘animal actors’?
Lisa Durupt: Having horses on the set has been amazing. I had no idea how majestic they were until I saw them up close and personal. The first couple of days, I would find myself blurting out random thoughts about how cool they were, of course not taking into account that everyone else was used to them and I was the newbie geeking-out hard. The kid in me was dumbfounded by their beauty, their magnitude, and their unique personalities.
TVshowpilot: Any interesting or funny behind-the-scenes moments you can share from the Heartland set?
Lisa Durupt: Fun fact: The entire cast is very funny. Michelle Morgan won me over instantly between takes when she would pull out her phone and show me clips of the Baroness von Sketch Show she had been reciting. She also introduced me to the best reality TV show ever – RuPaul’s Drag Race. She is so much fun!
One of my favorite behind-the-scenes moments was watching Victoria playfully razz Chris Potter before they had to do a kissing scene. He is such a gentle, serious man and she is a witty firecracker. She just peppered him with hilarious one-liners to rattle him right before they yelled action. He could not help but laugh. Those two have such a great working relationship.
TVshowpilot: On the newest Heartland episode, we saw Lou ask Jen to be Maggie’s new manager. Can you tease anything about what’s next for Jen?
Lisa Durupt: Jen definitely takes her new job seriously and sets out to make things happen quickly – all while trying to be there for her oldest son, who is still struggling to find his way after his dad’s death.
TVshowpilot: What would you like to see happen for your character on this season of Heartland?
Lisa Durupt: I think this year is just a taste of where Jen can go. The writers are doing a great job of slowly introducing the Heartland audience to a fun new storyline.
Jen and her sons are not afraid to speak their minds, no matter what others think. I think she would be a great match for Tim’s witty banter at Maggie’s. Chris Potter and I get along great so it would be fun to play more with him. I would love for her to get to dig into Casey’s unknown storyline – being her sister-in-law – and I think there are two very good looking single men (Kevin McGarry’s Mitch and Gabriel Hogan’s Peter) who could be possible suitors down the road. All of it would be fun, providing that the fans want to see more of Jen, of course.
TVshowpilot: What’s your process like when preparing to play a new character? How did you prepare to play Jen?
Lisa Durupt: For television roles, I like to watch the end of the previous season to get a sense of the show and the feel of the characters around me. As for Jen, it was a bit of an easier process because I have several members of my friend and family circle who, unfortunately, lost their husbands very suddenly. Having witnessed the fog that these women have gone through in such a heartbreaking situation and then seeing the strength and drive that they have found to push through tragedy was mind-blowing.
— Lisa Durupt (@thelisadurupt) October 23, 2017
TVshowpilot: You started out in the industry as a dancer and stunt performer. Will we see any of that on Heartland? Or maybe in some of your upcoming projects?
Lisa Durupt: I am always up for anything but when it comes to stunts, I will gladly leave that to the true stunt professionals in this industry. They train daily and they are brilliant at it!
TVshowpilot: What would be your dream project either to star in or to be a part of in a behind-the-scenes capacity?
Lisa Durupt: My dream project would be some sort of musical comedy. I love that Rachel Bloom created Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on CW, bringing the musical style to the screen. With La La Land and shows like Smash and Nashville, I think it is very clear audiences are open to the concept. Currently, I am in the process of developing a comedic horror musical. I saw it on stage 20 years ago at a fringe festival. It is a long journey, but I am really excited about it and hope to work more on the other side of the camera in the near future.
TVshowpilot: You are involved with “Hockey Helps the Homeless” and other causes like Multiple Sclerosis. Talk a little about those and why these particular causes are near and dear to your heart!
Lisa Durupt: I have been involved with Hockey Helps the Homeless for 3 years. Since 1996, they have raised over $10 million for more than 45 local support homeless agencies across Canada. Homelessness is sadly a cause that affects so many people in our own backyards every day. Home, to me, has always been a sanctuary. Coming home after a long day is the best feeling in the world. It breaks my heart to think what people go through when that is not an option. During my time with the organization, I have seen the dedication that they have to help end homelessness.
Multiple Sclerosis is a very personal cause for me. I was diagnosed with it at age 18 and have been living happily with it ever since. I try to be a good role model for anyone going through a similar situation. A positive mindset, educating myself on the research that is out there, and really listening to what my body needs have all really helped me navigate this disease.
TVshowpilot: Finally, what’s next for you in terms of new projects? Anything you can share?
Lisa Durupt: In the new year, people can catch me as the voice of my first cartoon character. It is still under wraps, so I can’t spill the beans yet, but you can keep up with me on my website (LisaDurupt.com) or on social media (@TheLisaDurupt on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram) and I will be sure to let you know once it comes out!
So there you have it, an interview with the lovely Lisa Durupt about all things Heartland, acting, new projects, charity work and so much more. I think we can all agree that we would love to see more of Jen on Heartland. And Lisa’s new project sounds very exciting! So be sure to follow Lisa on her social media accounts to keep up with her appearances on Heartland and all the other great things she is doing.