Cuddled up in her favourite pyjamas, with a cup of tea in hand, Heather Doerksen settled in Sunday night to watch a Christmas movie.
But she wasn't watching any ordinary holiday flick. This movie, Anything But Christmas, featured her as a supporting actress, working alongside one of her all-time movie idols - Christopher Lloyd.
The cold, wet weather on the night of the movie's television premiere drew strong contrast to the 30-degree days of shooting for the film this past June in Kelowna.
"We were dressed up in wool sweaters and coats and gloves and scarves, in the middle of a sunny summer day," recalled Doerksen, a 32-year-old actor who got her start in acting while growing up in Langley.
"Between every two-minute take, the makeup artists had to rush in to powder our sweaty faces. That in itself was comical," she said, recounting how much fun she had making this romantic comedy.
Playing the supporting character of Charlene in this movie, Doerksen said the role was much different from most she's asked to play.
"This bubbly, almost cartoon-like Charlene is very enthusiastic and persistent about getting her ex-boyfriend (John played by Sergi di Zio) back when he breaks up with his current girlfriend (Grace, played by Elaine Hendrix). She takes some extreme measures to convince him, culminating in a scene that is a bit of a comedy of errors," Doerksen said.
It turns out her character is not the completely ignorant and unaware character first thought, and Doerksen said she enjoyed watching and helping her character grow.
While she said the entire cast got along "so great, and it really was a gem to work on this set," Doerksen said the highlight of the experience was working with Lloyd - again.
"Christopher and I worked on a mini-series in 2009 called Knights of Bloodsteel_ so I was excited to act with him again_ When I was in a scene with him, it was easy to just watch him do his thing, just sit back and watch - before realizing I better do my job too."
Doerksen - a pretty big Christmas fan in her own right - said this was not her first seasonal movie.
Last year she was involved in the making of Barbie: A Perfect Christmas. Dressed in a spandex jumpsuit covered with white computer-sensitive balls, she provided the physical movements for the character of Christie Clauson, with computer lasers capturing and converting her motion to that of the animated character.
"So, [Anything But Christmas] is not technically my first Christmas movie, but I still say it is because you actually see me in this one," said Doerksen, who has made quite a splash in film, radio, and stage in recent years.
While Anything But Christmas debuted this past weekend, the holiday movie airs again on Dec. 23 and 25.
In the meantime, earlier this month was also the international premiere of another of Doerksen's movies, Ambrosia, at the Cairo International Film Festival.
This movie, made for the big screen, positions the Walnut Grove grad as the head of a prestigious fashion design firm in an independent film about an Iranian couple's struggles after emigrating to Canada.
Doerksen's character, Sarah Lane, takes more than professional interest in the immigrant Leila (played by Miss Universe Canada's Sahar Biniaz), who has dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Needless to say Leila's marriage unravels under the pressure of her changing views and values.
"Lust, betrayal, innocence, and conflict colour this moving film from Iranian filmmaker Baharak Saeid Monir," said Doerksen, who attended SFU with the director years ago.
"I got a call from her out of the blue, wondering if I would be interested in playing one of her lead characters in her new film_ I was flattered she remembered me, and met with her to discuss the script_ One of the things I loved about being on the set was the multicultural climate she created. So many languages were being spoken at any given time, from Farsi to French to English."
While Doerksen has landed a few film roles, and will be heading to Los Angeles next July for the premiere of another of her movies, Pacific Rim, which she shot in Toronto for seven months between 2011 and 2012 - she's also been doing a lot of voice work.
"I'm voicing many holiday advertisements. You probably hear me in your car on the way to work," she said, noting she's also been on stage recently performing in a murder mystery called A Tomb With A View.
How the fascination began
Doerksen, discovered her love for entertain early.
Admittedly, she said, she was always one of those kids who liked to be on stage.
"You know the ones. Lots of homemade puppet shows, dressing up and making my parents sit down and watch my poor little brother dress up like a snowflake (or whatever the flavour was that day)," Doerksen said.
"I remember the first big part I had was as the doll Raggedy Ann in a Christmas play, about a janitor in a toy shop who is very humbug about the holidays. The toys come to life and teach him the meaning of the season. I was seven years old."
Her passion for acting was fueled while attending Grades 6 to 8 at Langley Fine Arts School.
"I entered Grade 6 and immediately fell in love with drama class," she recalled, noting that ballet was a giant part of her life at that time - consuming about 20 hours a week of her young life.
By the time she reached Grade 10 at Walnut Grove Secondary and landed her first lead role as Maria in The Sound of Music, the mold was cast.
But the teen, bowing to what she described as social pressures and expectations, fought her passion for acting, focusing more of her attentions on science and math "thinking they would get me a steady, well-paying job in the future."
She stayed true to that course for some time, pursuing a science major at SFU until a teacher told her to close her eyes and picture what made her hear sing.
"For me, it was performing. So I switched my major from science to theatre, and things just started rolling for me."
She hasn't looked back.
She was nominated for best female lead in a dramatic short for a role she played in the recent film, Alchemy and Other Imperfections.
Viewers might also recognize her from recurring roles in Fringe, Smallville, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate: Atlantis. And she's also had roles in feature films such as The Cabin in the Woods, Marmaduke, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Client List, In the Name of the King: Two Worlds, The Uninvited, The Eye, and Indie Jonesing.