This Week at PCA: Paula Brancati

In December 2011, I traveled to the small city of Oakville, Ontario to see a little independent Canadian film called Moon Point.  Now as much as I love films, it’s not very often that I’m willing to take a three hour trip just to see a movie.  But this was special because attending the screening were the film’s stars, including Canadian actress Paula Brancati.  Now I’m gonna admit that I have the biggest crush on Paula Brancati via her role as unstable party girl Jenny Zalen on what is possibly one of my all-time favourite Canadian television series, Being Erica.  However, I’m not alone.  One of the cutest girls on Canadian television, Paula Brancati has been a favourite of viewers across North America, with her most prominent success being her role of Jane Vaughn in Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Part of the Toronto entertainment industry since the age of nine Paula Brancati has been a part of three successful television series.  With her initial success as the co-star of the award winning kid’s fantasy series, Dark Oracle, Paula found her strongest foothold in the Canadian industry when she joined the legendary Degrassi franchise.  In the role of Jane Vaughn, Paula’s storylines focused on her attempts to join the school’s football team, supporting her boyfriend through a battle with testicle cancer and in one of the series’ most monumental two part episodes, a dramatic revelation that she was the victim of child abuse.  As Jane Vaughn, Paula Brancati not only flexed her dramatic acting muscles, but became a fan favourite on the series.

Paula Brancati in her most standout role to date, Jane Vaughn, on “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

However, her next role couldn’t have been more different than her Degrassi character.  In the CBC sci-fi/fantasy/dramedy Being Erica, Paula played the irresponsible yet loyal and lovable Jenny Zalen. Her character was the self-destructive childhood friend of the series’ hero Erica Strange who she often pulled down with her antics.  Combining elements of shows like Sex and the City and Doctor Who, Being Erica ran for four seasons in Canada, and gained cult followings in the US and Europe.  Jenny was a character that you could both love and hate at the same time. There was something endearing about Jenny because everybody has had a friend like them in their life.

For her most recent project, Paula Brancati has been finding further success with Moon Point.  Quietly becoming a cult hit all its own, Paula shot the film in 2011, which made its debut in 2012.  One of the most unusual road trip films ever made, Moon Point is the story of a slacker named Darryl who enlists the help of his disabled friend Femur to drive him to the town of Moon Point so he can find a childhood crush that he hadn’t seen since he was ten.  However, their mode of transportation is a wagon attached to Femur’s electric wheelchair.  Along the way they encounter Paula’s character Kristin, a stranded traveler at a personal crossroads of her own who decides to go along for the ride.

Months after our brief encounter in Oakville, I had the pleasure to visit with Paula just as Moon Point was to be released on DVD and was getting exposure on the Movie Network.  High energy and easy to talk to, Paula discussed her entire career with me and managed to get my heart beating out of my chest again.  What can I say?  I have such a huge crush on Paula Brancati.

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