Ashley Leggat Is California Dreaming
By MARK NEWMAN, NEWS STAFF
Arts & Entertainment
Mar 02, 2011
Ashley Leggat plays with pet Rambo during a recent visit with her family.
With television pilot season looming, Ashley Leggat wants to remind the producers and other executives in Los Angeles that she offers a wealth of talent and experience from north of the border. The 24-year-old actress, who now lives in Toronto, was back at her family's west Mountain home recently making preparations for a trip to L.A.next month, where she plans to meet with a number of producers and hopefully find her way back in front of the camera.
"It's a little scary," Leggat said of the intense competition for work in the television and motion picture business in the U.S. "You go down there, you're surrounded by a thousand other girls who look just like you." The trip to L.A. could be put off if some other roles that Leggat is being considered for materialize, although she won't say what they are. Leggat, who is engaged to Jeremy Williams, a forward with the Connecticut Whale of the American Hockey League, has appeared in dozens of television and big screen movies and television series on both sides of the border.
Perhaps her most notable role was playing Casey, the female lead in the series Life with Derek, which ran from 2005 to 2009 and can still be found on cable television.
She was also superb in the role of Ivy, a circus freak in an episode of the Murdoch Mysteries last year.
Leggat is hoping 2011 will be as busy as 2010, when she filmed two made-for-TV movies that are due out later this year. She plays Ashley Dunnfield in The Perfect Roommate, a dramatic thriller that was shot in Ottawa last October and stars Boti Bliss of CSI Miami fame.
"I take on a roommate who isn't what she appears to be," said Leggat. "It was funny because some of the cast was from Los Angeles so they were out there in parkas and snow suits and I'm out in a T-shirt." The other movie, My Dog's Christmas Miracle, was shot in L.A. last December. Leggat plays Chloe, a spoiled young woman who likes older men. Chloe is the daughter of the lead character, who is played by Cynthia Gibb, who hockey fans may remember from the movie Youngblood.
"I had the best time ever because in the middle of winter (I was) in warm sun and on the beach," said Leggat, who is hoping the comedy love story where the viewer can hear what the dog is thinking will become a TV staple each holiday season. Leggat said working on the movie, which was shot at a mansion in the Hollywood hills, also gave her a chance to see the difference between movie making in Canada and Hollywood. "It's very business-like," said Leggat. "You don't have all day to do a scene, you are expected to know everything and come in completely prepared." Leggat said it's hard not to notice all the glitz and glamour around the movie sets in L.A., along with many "very, very thin" young women.
Leggat said she eats normally and doesn't get to the gym as much as she should. There's no way she could ever be as thin as some of the actresses in Hollywood. "I'm not a stick figure," she said. "I wouldn't be able to skip a meal." Leggat said she has enjoyed the previous roles where she played a teenager and is now looking for parts more suited to her age as a young woman. "I don't think I can play the high school character any more," she said. "I'd like to get into some meatier kind of roles." Leggat noted that being a young woman has also meant she's had to turn down some offers because they involve scenes she's not comfortable with.
"The problem I'm finding is a lot of the roles are ones that would involve some sort of nudity or scenes that I don't want to do," she said. "It's really hard at this age to find a character with a lot of substance and value." Leggat didn't close the door completely to doing nudity if the perfect role came along.
"I'll never say never," she said.
"Right now, how I feel, I just couldn't do it." The former west Mountain resident said she would also consider doing live theatre again after playing the female lead Baby in Dirty Dancing, a Mirvish Productions show at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto in 2008 and 2009. "It was such a learning experience for me," Leggat said.
"Not only do you have to make something you've done a thousand times seem fresh every night, but you have to take a whole room full of people with you."