Category: Article

The Mighty Marguerite

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Growing up in the entertainment industry has a tendency to take its toll on actors- particularly females who have made a brand for themselves off of being adorable. It’s all-too-common a tale told about the child starlet who relied on their megawatt smile until they no longer could, and many actresses who start acting young unfortunately peak early with their first performance being their best. However, when it comes to “Mighty Ducks” star Marguerite Moreau, that stereotype actually couldn’t be further from the case.

​Not that the captivating Disney franchise star isn’t cute. In fact, if her cult hit “Wet Hot American Summer” and it’s reboot miniseries taught us anything, it’s that the gorgeous actress simply doesn’t age, and she may very well be even more beautiful now than she was at the start of her career- with her own megawatt smile not only still perfectly intact, but also so unbelievably bright that earth could save on electricity by getting her to use it to light up every room. Nearly 30 years in the business, and Moreau certainly hasn’t lost that spark, quick to make audiences wonder if there may very well be a painting rotting in an attic somewhere that keeps the gorgeous actress looking so impossibly youthful and stunning.

​But, while the twinkly-eyed star’s beauty seems to only have multiplied through the years , so has her talent. Make no mistake- Moreau may still be cute as a button, and certainly still easy to love for indulging the nostalgia factor and giving details on her hit film franchise, as well as her roles on past hits like “Boy Meets World” and “Blossom,” but at the end of the day, the captivating beauty is in fact, a real actress- never once resting on her smile, her past hits, or her “brand” to carry her. A true dramaturge, Moreau has more than done her homework.

​While many actors that start young get sloppy in honing their craft later on- always looking for the next on-brand leading role that will solidify their stardom, Moreau is a risk-taker that frequently ventures down the path less traveled, exploring meaty guest parts on acclaimed hits like “Mad Men,” and “Lost,” while joining improv groups and theater companies outside of Hollywood in efforts to grow as an actress. Yes, you just read that right- a beautiful actress who got her start as a pre-teen in a huge blockbuster franchise works on her career with theater and improv! A thespian through and through, the former “Mighty Ducks” star has actually never again played a character similar to Connie, and as far as “building a brand” goes, every performance she has given is diverse from one another, demonstrating the wide-range and versatility the California native possesses.

​Take her famed “Wet Hot American Summer” role; Katie. On the surface, the cutesy character may very well seem like the obvious choice for an actress that got her start as the quintessential dream girl in an otherwise all male children’s movie. After all; Katie was the sweetheart of Camp Firewood, so it would make perfect sense for one of America’s most formidable sweethearts to slide into her shoes. That is, until audiences catch wind of the fact that the sweet-smiled camper is actually the dream girl from hell- quick to stomp on hearts with an alluring giggle. In many ways, it seemed as though after almost a decade of trying to be what Hollywood intended her to be with cutesy roles in projects like “The Mighty Ducks,” “Blossom,” and “3rd Rock From The Sun,” Moreau used her “Wet Hot American Summer” on-screen persona not only to lampoon the idea of her being “America’s Sweetheart,” but to use Katie to break the box she had been pigeonholed into, tearing it apart as she more than held her own amongst a master class of talent like Chris Meloni, Bradley Cooper, and Paul Rudd. In doing so, she proved that she was far more than just “cute,” perfectly conquering the tongue-in-cheek satire of the clever film while demonstrating expert comedic timing, slaughtering the idea of her only being simply “the pretty, cute girl.”

And if that wasn’t enough to put the final nail in the coffin of Moreau being merely reduced to her toothy smile, the intuitive actress officially killed that perception shortly thereafter with her performance in the gripping 2004 version of “Helter Skelter.” Dedicated to a fault and known for being a reader, the devoted artist immersed herself in research on the famed case in order to play deranged “good little girl gone bad” Sadie Atkins- another role that seemed tailor made for an actress looking to debunk any sweetheart stigmas. A true tour de force in the film, Moreau should have easily won an Emmy for her performance (or at the very least, garnered a nomination,) as her portrayal still to this day goes down in history as the greatest depiction ever of a Manson family member- and that’s actually saying a lot considering there have been well over a dozen Manson films and TV shows, with three out just this past summer alone.

​While Katie may have very well been the gripping actress’s way of destroying the sweetheart persona through comedy, Sadie was Moreau’s true time to shine, allowing the fascinating artist to truly prove to the world that she was being underestimated. Another twisted take on the cutesy dream girl role, the diabolical true crime character was the perfect part for the gifted artist to transform the way audiences saw her. Somewhat miscast as the homely and erratic Atkins, the luminous star in theory seemed a bit too beautiful and polished for the role- until she somehow made the character her own, replacing the haphazard and whiney nature of Atkins with a dark, evil confidence and open lack of empathy that somehow actually seemed more in tune with prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s harrowing tale. In fact, Moreau was so good that it seems as though all other actresses who have taken the role since then use her portrayal for research, rather than the real girl.

Full interview:

Marguerite Moreau – Into the Ashes

Q) What are the recent projects that you have been working on?
A) I just got back from Portland where I filmed a really cool show for Facebook Watch. It’s a horror show called “The Birch” and it has to do with bullying. Be careful if you’re a bully! Something is going to getcha!

Q) How was your character Tara Brenner from the film Into the Ashes originally described to you?
A) As a rose among thorns. I was intrigued. Then, they were like, “Alabama.” I was like, “Yes!” My friend Brady Smith has a wonderful role in the movie actually called me and asked me if I wanted to be a part of it because he’s really good friends with the director, Aaron Harvey. I got to act on screen with one of my buddies and that’s something you don’t always get to do, but it was one of the best things ever! I have always been trying to get to that since Wet Hot American Summer since all of them were old friends and I was watching all of them and thinking, “That looks so much fun!” You can make friends on movies and they are your new friends and you have a lot of fun, but when you have an old friendship with someone and then you get to be on set with them – it just feels different and it’s amazing.

Q) Was there anything you added to the role that wasn’t in the initial breakdown for her?
A) Oh! That’s a fun question. I’m sure. Inevitably you are going to bring yourself to it, which is a little bit of a different flavor than what is on the page. But I think that’s a better question for the director than me. I honestly can’t remember. Tara and I are one now, girl!

Q) What did you find challenging about the role?
A) She’s definitely a girl from another area of the country and Birmingham has a whole other vibe than Southern California. So, I called my friend Megan who is from the town that we shot in and had some good long talks. She told me, “Go sit at this counter and have a cherry limeade. You’ll soak up all that Birmingham has to offer.”

Q) Is that how you found the accent as well?
A) Absolutely! Listening. Trying to assimilate as fast as possible anywhere I am. Also, I recorded my friend Megan doing some of the material, which was also super fun. [laughs] She’s not an actress so she was a really good sport.

Q) Talk about building chemistry with costar Luke Grimes.
A) The second I touched down in Alabama I called Luke and he was like, “Meet met at this address.” We got together and spent as much time together as we could, but we kind of had to jump into pretty quickly. We spent a lot of time texting music back and forth to each other to try to build up some sort of a vibe.

Q) Was there something that director Aaron Harvey mentioned while filming that you took to heart?
A) He gave me a list of reference films that were pertinent to the overall tone of the movie like A History of Violence, Deer Hunter and Foxcatcher (which I was hoping was more for tone).

Q) How did you shake off a long day of filming?
Well, my buddy Brady and I were staying at the same hotel so we’d just go out. The whole city of Birmingham has a beautiful record of the journey of civil rights. We went for ribs. We went for our cherry limeade. We went all over town just soaking up everything that Birmingham is about.

Q) What do you think it is about Into the Ashes that stands out to you?
A) I think what I liked most about the movie is that it tells the tale of how hard it is to avoid our base human impulses. It does it in a great genre. It seems like Goodfellas, but from a different part of the country. I like films that kind of explore what makes us human, what makes us vulnerable and what are strengths and weaknesses. But I also love a beautifully shot movie piece to kind of give an overall complexity to the stuff that we all see.

Q) You’ve an incredible and lengthy career as an actress. What were some of your favorite projects to work on?
A) Well, I just saw the rough cut of a movie I finished at Christmas called Monuments, which I’m super excited about. It’s got a real camp feel to it. I did it with Jack C. Newell who is an awesome director out of Chicago and he runs the film department at Second City. One of my favorite characters is definitely Linda from “Shameless,” Katie from “Wet Hot,” Connie from Mighty Ducks and absolutely Dr. Emma Marling from “Grey’s Anatomy.” That was so fun to be on that show because I was a fan. I was like, “Uh…I just walked into one of my favorite shows. And now Christina Yang (Sandra Oh) is yelling at me. This is amazing!” She was like, “I’m so sorry I’m yelling at you on your first day!” I said, “Are you kidding me?! I just got ‘Yang’d!’ I’m in heaven!” She was like, “Yang’d! That’s amazing!” [laughs] I was like, “Later I get to say “Derek” and “Meredith” on camera!” That was crazy to me and so cool! Also, it was just fun to play that role. I wish that her and Owen (Kevin McKidd) had figured it out, but they didn’t. She always saw the best in him.

Q) You were a part of the iconic film The Mighty Ducks. What did you personally take way from your time on these films?
A) It was so incredibly special to get to be a part of something that took up pretty much my entire high school year. I kind of got to have two high school experiences – one in my normal high school and then kind of one with the Ducks. We all kind of went through that time together. That was in addition to get to make these movies that were so much fun! We kind of didn’t know at the beginning what it was going to turn out like. Just celebrating recently with everybody at the actual arena in Anaheim and getting to show my son, “This is what your mom is about. You might not understand it now.” But it was incredibly special and I feel very lucky and privileged to have been a part of that. Thank you to Disney, Jordan Kerner (the producer) and all the directors. It was incredibly special for a kid!

Q) Have all of you kept in touch much?
Oh yeah! We all keep in touch. We see each other from time to time and I hear how some of the others are doing whom I see more regularly. It’s nice! We have a plan to get together in New York at one of their houses and we all just really recognize it was this special thing that brought us together.

Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and the work you do?
A) Thank you very much! Let me know what else you want to see and I’ll work on it. But thank you. It’s an honor and privilege to get to do what I do and I love it when I hear from people and have that back and forth about what they are going through or what they responded to. It’s really nice.