Emily Hampshire's character in director Gia Milani's debut film, the Halifax-shot All The Wrong Reasons isn't the most endearing person in the world, which speaks volumes about Hampshire's acting ability.
Enthusiastic and open, even after a day full of interviews ("I just get the phone passed to me, then taken away," she says, laughing), Hampshire is the polar opposite of her conflicted and impulsive character in Milani's film.
All The Wrong Reasons centres around four compelling people whose lives intersect under the fluorescent lights of the WalMart-esque big box store where they all work.
The film is tense and tangled, showing the best and worst of humanity in the tightly wound characters. Starring Cory Monteith in one of his final roles, the film recently took the $10,000 Discovery Award at the Toronto Film Festival.
Hampshire plays Nicole, a single mother struggling with the loss of her youth. Montreal-born, LA-based Hampshire described working in Halifax "like going home" and notes that her Canadian indie film roots–including roles in Cosmopolis, Snow Cake and The Trotsky among others–allowed her to grow as an actor, sinking her teeth into more substantial roles early in her career. With a low budget film like All The Wrong Reasons, she says: "the only thing you have is talent and creativity. I noticed this in All The Wrong Reasons, we all loved it. We didn't do it for the money, you don't bring egos into that.
"Gia really lucked out with the cast because easily one person could have come in and wanted to rock the boat and complain, but no one was like that. Everyone was there for the script," she says. "Cory especially, because he was the most famous, he really set that tone. He was being grateful to be there and have the opportunity."
Hampshire says her co-star Monteith impressed her in this dark role as the eyes-on-the-prize manager. "I remember when I first met Cory I expected to meet a teen because of Glee, and I saw this man who was so excited to get to play an adult of his own age," says Hampshire. "This is not a role you've seen before. People will get to see a different side of who he was."