It's not without relief that Nathalie Coupal turned last year around. The year 2023 was full of challenges both professionally and personally, but also rich in lessons of all kinds. The actress, who returns to the screen in Project Innocence, looks back on the challenges that shaped her path in the last few months.
Julien Faugere / TVA Publication
Nathalie, you are part of the cast of Innocence Project. What role do you play in this new series?
This is a fascinating legal series! Nowadays I play legal roles. In “The Rebels” I am Sarah-Jeanne Labrosse’s mother and play a judge. This time I'm Leboeuf, Crown prosecutor. I read all the texts and was blown away by the range explored in this series. We are investigating a miscarriage of justice. A man is convicted of murder. The criminalist, played by Guy Nadon, wants to achieve justice at all costs. I'm exploring the facets of a character who has a very intellectual, very Cartesian confidence that I haven't had the opportunity to play very often before.
• Also read: The character Emi Chicoine will have to prove herself in Project Innocence
Are there other parallel projects?
Yes. Last fall I filmed the English version of Plan B. I had done the French version of the series, and when the project was picked up by the CBC, I was offered – as was the case with Vincent Leclerc – to take over my role. I hadn't worked in English much. I was happy about the offer. It was great! I knew the story, the character, the situations and sometimes even the locations! Playing in another language is different and very interesting. This made me want to work in English. As for the rest, I don't know what to expect. I've had a difficult year… In 2023 I had to face one challenge after another.
What are you referring to?
I ended 2022 with the withdrawal of the hotel series. From one day to the next we had to say goodbye to a great group. Luckily I had something else, but I realized how precarious this job is.
Photo: Bertrand Calmeau /
When we last met you were happy to be in your new life. You had sold your suburban home to settle in the country…
My life is changing a lot at the moment. I love my work more than ever. I am extremely happy on set. But I don't want to do anything anymore. I have to have interest and passion for a project to take it on, because I find that the life I have built for myself in the country has great meaning. There is more space for creation, meditation, the forest, physical life, reflection, writing.
Do you still live alone in the country?
My boyfriend has an apartment in Montreal but is often with me. We don't live together. Each of us has our freedom. Your own room is an important element. I set up a workshop in the garage. I have set up a beautiful creative space that sometimes becomes a guest room. I can do whatever I want there: write, paint. I started making ceramics. I want all of this to take up more space in my life. I want to find a balance between the two worlds, because one inevitably feeds the other. The sense of accomplishment I feel at work is not the same as the one I feel when I walk in the woods. It's a connection with my soul.
You've adapted well to this new life…
Yes, but I fear the developments. Together with other citizens, I fight with all my strength for the uniqueness and wealth of the forest and its biodiversity. Carrying out developments in such magical places is stupidity! I also had to mobilize for this purpose this year. But it's in my nature to avoid conflict. That doesn't mean I don't have the strength to defend myself, but that's not what I want in life. 2023 started with the hotel not coming back, then there was a mobilization against a developer. And there were also a lot of difficulties in my family with my elderly parents.
Julien Faugere / TVA Publication
Were your parents sick?
Both had to leave their homes. So I made two parental moves. My father had an extraordinary wife. She suffered from a degenerative disease that took her life within two months. It was an annus horribilis, a year in which I had to support my parents and child who needed me. The good news is that I learned that fear is a part of life and that it is necessary to accept it. We can't constantly think magically and tell ourselves everything is fabulous. Conflicts exist, but we can learn to prepare ourselves to deal with them. Losses are a part of life. The support of loved ones is very nourishing.
Would you say that in some ways you have become your parents' parent?
Yes. It is very demanding but also very rewarding. Taking care of our parents also means observing the state of our family; a condition that can sometimes be surprising. In my family we really came together on an emotional level: there was a lot of help and support. They say that what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. I don't want to be stronger, I just want to continue to be happy and enjoy the beautiful things in life. It helped that my love life was extraordinarily rich and beautiful. For all these reasons, it has been a busy year.
Watch Innocence Project Tuesdays at 8pm on Noovo.
Plan B will air on CBC in 2024.
You can see The Rebels on Club illico.
Nathalie takes over the dubbing direction. She lends her voice, among other things, to Caillou's mother.