Interview: Emmanuelle Vaugier: Horror Star Turned Sitcom Queen
by Scott Juba
Published: February 6, 2006
Having a main role in “Saw II,” one of 2005’s most successful horror films, would be enough to convince most actresses they had arrived on the Hollywood scene. But Emmanuelle Vaugier didn’t stop there. Since then, she has portrayed a superhero in the Sci-Fi Channel’s “Painkiller Jane,” and she landed a recurring role on CBS’ top-rated sitcom, Two and a Half Men.
On Two and a Half Men Vaugier plays a ballet teacher who becomes Charlie Sheen’s love interest. “Everything’s very mellow,” she says of filming the show. “It runs so smoothly. There’s never any fighting. Nobody ever raises their voice. It’s just a lot of fun. It’s very telling that a show’s very successful when things run that smoothly.”
Vaugier will once again be in the spotlight when the “Saw II” DVD lands on store shelves February 14. She credits the filmmakers, as well as the marketing department at Lions Gate, for creating a sequel that lives up to its predecessor. “The writers and creators of it were very careful not to let their audience down,” she remarks. “They were dealing with a very sophisticated film audience in general. Plus, the horror genre fan base is so particular about what they see, and they’re so much more sophisticated than they were perhaps 20 years ago. They expect a lot more out of you. If you don’t show them what they want, you’re not going to get very far. So they took a lot of time and care in making sure that we had a great story and the casting was right. The success even goes all the way down to the marketing of it. They just really took their time and were very careful with that. I think that makes a huge difference.”
Despite the movie’s intense subject matter, Vaugier says several bloopers occurred during the filming that lightened the mood on the set. “There was this one particular stunt where one character kicks another one in the privates, and the female stunt coordinator was like, ‘Let me show you how to do it.’…Gregg Hoffman, who just recently passed away, volunteered to demonstrate for the two cast members. They had a special little cup on him and everything. She goes to demonstrate, and I guess she missed or kind of nicked something that shouldn’t have been nicked and his face just went, ‘Oop!’ The whole place was silent for a second. Then laughter just erupted all over the stage. It was really funny. [Laughs].”
Vaugier will star in two more horror movies in 2006, “Unearthed” and “House of the Dead 2: Dead Aim.” “I think it just sort of happened that I got cast in a lot of horror movies, especially after Saw II,” she explains. “That kind of opened up that whole door to the horror movie world for me. That’s why Two and a Half Men was such a nice 180 from all that. But work is work, and it’s fun. As long as I’m enjoying the people I’m working with, and it’s a fun movie, and we’re having a good time, why not?”
Although working alongside famous actors is nothing new to her, she admits she still gets star-struck in the presence of certain celebrities. “I saw Philip Seymour Hoffman sitting outside my gym the other day, and he was talking to somebody,” Vaugier recalls. “I was like, ‘That’s Philip Seymour Hoffman. Oh my God!’ I wanted to wave, but I just managed a dorky smile and walked away. [Laughs].”
In addition to her film and television roles, many men recognize Vaugier for her appearance on the cover of Maxim’s February issue. “It’s very exciting,” she says. “It’s very flattering to be one of twelve girls out of all the girls each year that grace one of the covers. I’m very happy with that.”
And while the Vancouver native looks like a glamour queen, she proved she could also play a tough girl when she starred as a superhero in “Painkiller Jane.” She ranks flying and teleportation as the two special powers she’d most like to have in real life. “Flying because just the sensation of being up in the air and being able to swoop down would just be an incredible feeling,” she says. “Teleportation because I do so much traveling. It would be really nice to snap my fingers and be like, ‘I want to take this, this and this with me, and I want to be there now.’ [Laughs]. There’d be no airport security, no car to the airport, no waiting for the flight, no delayed flight – nothing. You can be in Italy in 30 seconds. It would be very nice.”
Even without super powers, Vaugier has already accomplished more than most women her age, and her acting career shows no signs of slowing down.