Home Town Provides Back Drop For Leggat's Latest Movie
Ashley Leggat is happy to be home, although she's not always sure where home is these days. Over the past couple of years the 27-year-old actor and St. Thomas More graduate has been splitting time between her family's west Mountain home, her condo in Toronto (which she rented out to one of the Toronto Blue Jays this season), various movie locations, Los Angeles, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Saskatchewan. Much of the travel is can be attributed to Jeremy Williams, Leggat's 29-year-old husband of more than two years, who is from Candiac, Saskatchewan and is playing pro hockey in Sweden after several years in the NHL, AHL and with other European clubs. Over the last few weeks Leggat has been working in Hamilton where she is a member of the cast of The Good Witch's Wonder, part of the Good Witch original movie series on the Hallmark Channel. Her scenes were shot at PierFourPark.
Leggat said she is happy to be back home and is quick to tell other cast members where in Hamilton they can go for a coffee, to shop or for dinner. "People have misconceptions about (Hamilton), especially the Torontonians," Leggat said. "So when they actually come (here), they get to see how beautiful it really is, I feel so proud." This is Leggat's third appearance in the series. She was also a cast member of the last two installments, The Good Witch's Charm and The Good Witch's Destiny, parts of which were shot in Sept. 2012 at a house in Dundas.
During the series Leggat becomes the love interest of a character played by Mathew Knight, who eight years younger. Leggat said she felt a bit weird about having to do kissing scenes with a younger man. "I kind of felt like a cougar," she laughed. "It was our goal to try and make me look a little younger and him a little older. After you get the first take out of the way...it becomes mechanical instead of awkward." In 2012, Leggat worked a number of roles including playing a student named Sloan in an episode of the popular television series Criminal Minds. "It's my favourite TV show," said Leggat, who has appeared in 14 television series including Life with Derek and the Murdoch Mysteries and 13 movies. Leggat said the Criminal Minds job was a surprise. She noted she was competing against 600-700 young women at the Los Angeles audition and when she got her chance to say her line she flubbed it. "My first line was 'so what was he doing with the organs he was removing'," Leggat recalled. "Well, don't I say 'what was he doing with the dead bodies he was removing'". Sometimes an actor will audition for a role just to get seen before a certain director or producer.
That's what was in Leggat's mind when she auditioned for the lead role for the movie Fifty Shades of Grey two months ago in Toronto. The movie is based on an erotic romance novel by E.L. James. "Oh my gosh, the words I had to say," said Leggat, who describes the lines as verbal pornography. "Things I've never said or even thought about, I had to say and believe I've done it. That was my most interesting audition to date." Leggat, who often goes over lines with her mother Patty, said she was too embarrassed by the dialogue to rehearse with her mother on this one. While she didn't get the part (it went to Dakota Johnson), Leggat said she probably would have turned the role down if it had been offered because she doesn't do nudity. She said her husband encouraged her to accept the job if it was offered because it would be, pardon the expression, good exposure before a large audience although he would probably not be among the viewers.
Leggat admits having her husband on another continent is tough, but the two talk daily via Skype and send messages back and forth via their iPhones. "The only good thing about it is we are both working and we're both so busy," said Leggat, who was expected to wrap up shooting on the Good Witch movie this week before heading off to join Williams in Sweden. Also keeping her company is Rambo, a six-and-a-half year-old blue bak terrier yorkie, that is seldom far from her lap. Leggat said she plans to return to Hamilton in November where she will guest teach some acting classes at Hillfield Strathallan College. She'll be joining her husband again over the Christmas period and then it's back to Los Angeles in February for more auditions. "Every time you go, there's at least 100 other girls there for that same role," Leggat said.
She's does charity work with the Count Me In group that promotes volunteering and positive social change to young people and she provides a yearly $300 scholarship to a student at St. Thomas More who has good grades and excels at sports, acting or other extracurricular activities. Leggat is also taking three online business courses through Mohawk College and often works on them in her trailer while waiting to be called to the set. She is keen to pass on her experience to budding young actors and her long term goal is to open a school for performers in Hamilton. Leggat and Williams are also looking to start a family in the next few years.
"We've been talking about it lately," Leggat said. "I don't think it will be too far in the future."