Canadian actress Gabrielle Miller laughs in Toronto on Tuesday

Corner Gas star Gabrielle Miller relished freedom of new film

Three years ago, when Corner Gas ended its run as one of the most successful Canadian TV shows ever, star Gabrielle Miller was ready for a brand new project: a family.

Three years ago, when Corner Gas ended its run as one of the most successful Canadian TV shows ever, star Gabrielle Miller was ready for a brand new project: a family.

“My husband and I got married on hiatus of our last season of ’Corner Gas.’ We finished the series at the end of October and in January we met our son,” explains the actress during a chat about her upcoming film Sisters&Brothers, from Vancouver-based director Carl Bessai.

Miller, 38, and her husband adopted Mthobisi, now 5, from Swaziland. The Zulu name means “he who makes things quiet” (although Miller ruefully admits that’s not always the case).

“I took over two years off working to focus on my son and being at home and I was really ready for that. I needed a break and my son was the most important thing … that situation, becoming a family, is so huge and I was lucky that I could take some time off, so I did.”

Before she became known to TV viewers as Dog River diner owner Lacey Burrows on Gas, Miller had a long list of small-screen credits to her name, including stints on Robson Arms and Alienated.

After the initial time with her son, she eventually got back to TV work, with guest spots on U.S. shows including Cold Case and NCIS.

But Miller says she “absolutely” seeks out Canadian jobs and was thrilled to land a role in Jason Priestley’s raunchy Halifax-shot comedy Call Me Fitz.

“I’m a huge fan of the show … And the character I play is quite a departure from Lacey,” said the Vancouver-bred, Toronto-based actress.

Sisters&Brothers, the final instalment in Bessai’s family trilogy (following 2010’s Fathers & Sons and 2008’s Mothers & Daughters), also offered up something distinctly different from Gas.

Bessai employs a wildly unconventional style as he spins separate narratives about four sets of siblings, including an acrimonious brother duo played by Glee star Cory Monteith and Dustin Milligan (90210).

Working without a script, the director discussed character relationships and a vague story arc with actors and then simply let the cameras roll.

At the Toronto International Film Festival, where Sisters&Brothers screened last September, Monteith said the experience was creatively exhilarating. Miller — long a fan of Bessai’s work — was similarly effusive.

“The approach to that kind of work is so exciting and fascinating and very different from the kind of projects and the way I’d approached my work before that,” she said.

“It was wonderful and scary too.”

Miller’s storyline — a sister who struggles to help her mentally disturbed brother — saw her reuniting with her onetime acting coach Ben Ratner (Da Vinci’s City Hall). Bessai’s freewheeling style meant she was often surprised by what emerged when the pair were shooting.

And coming from a family of six siblings, Miller says she could relate to some of the over-arching themes Bessai was examining.

“That kind of love and concern … I have an understanding of the psychology that can happen when you’re a caregiver,” she said. “And that’s where I started, that she was a caregiver to her brother.”

While Miller looks back on Gas as an amazing time in her life, she has no plans to team up with former castmates, who have gone on to work together on projects such as Hiccups and Dan for Mayor. Instead, the actress is seeking more roles outside her comfort zone.

Next up, for example, is a play in New York City called Psycho Therapy.

“I have been an actor for 20 years and my background is completely in television and film so this is another one of those experiences that I wanted to explore, and that I’m scared of,” said Miller with a laugh. “It’ll be good.”

Sisters&Brothers opens Friday in Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria.

Just Posted

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

Central Alberta real estate sales follow a familiar pattern

2018 house sale numbers mirror 2017 in central Alberta

Red Deer hospital settles dispute, welcomes neonatal nurse

A dispute over nursing levels at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre’s emergency… Continue reading

Drumheller-Stettler MLA quits UCP

Rick Strankman to sit as Independent

UPDATED: Missing Innisfail and Red Deer children found safe

RCMP say two missing central Alberta children have been located in Airdrie,… Continue reading

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Big Valley family gives back to community

Donates $24,560 to Stettler Health Foundation and Edmonton Stollery Children’s Hospital

Giordano notches three points to lead Flames in 7-1 blowout of Coyotes

CALGARY — Flames captain Mark Giordano celebrated his 800th NHL game in… Continue reading

All-female team out to prove women racers aren’t a gimmick

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Every racing series in the world is full… Continue reading

‘Game of Thrones’ final season to debut on April 14

NEW YORK — “Game of Thrones” fans, get ready. HBO announced Sunday… Continue reading

Kylie Jenner loses record for most-liked Instagram post

NEW YORK — Kylie Jenner’s birth announcement is no longer the most-liked… Continue reading

Study shows black bears need a variety of salmon species to be healthy

VANCOUVER — Black bears need access to different species of salmon rather… Continue reading

Trade war’s wounded: Companies improvise to dodge cost hikes

WASHINGTON — In Rochester, New York, a maker of furnaces for semiconductor… Continue reading

Most Read