“Who doesn’t want to be a superhero?”
Those are the words of brunette siren Elise Gatien who played Mia Dearden on ‘Smallville’.
Though comic-book character Speedy is not the only time she’s flexed her caped-crusader muscles, Gatien admits she’s drawn to the world of spandex and paranormal mystery.
In ‘Tower Prep’ she played CJ Ward, a teen who could read other people while reticent to reveal her secrets.
The flexibility in her seemingly tabula rasa character CJ, is what she loves about being in front of the camera.
“Acting is so cool that you get to play all these different characters and try to figure out how you can relate to them,” she said. “It’s kind of cool bringing the human aspects to a superhero.”
Though where they shot the show at the abandoned Riverview Hospital in Coquitlam, British Columbia, the venue raised the hair on her neck.
“I would get stomach aches going there before because the place just freaks me right out,” she says. “I can’t even explain to you. You’d be standing there — and we filmed down in the tunnels a lot — and it was terrifying.
“You can’t work at Riverview and not believe in ghosts,” she adds. “It’s just crazy the energy that’s in that place.”
Travel four hours northeast to Gatien’s hometown of Kamloops, and you’ll find another Halloween-themed haunt: Former sanatorium Tranquille-on-the-Lake. The convalescence centre for TB patients in the 1950s was closed in 1984 but it is not
without its resident ghost stories.
Gatien laughs when asked if she ever explored the 471-acre property.
“I’m probably one of the only people in Kamloops that hasn’t done that,” she says. “All of my friends used to sneak in and party there, explore and I really believe in ghosts and spirits so it really freaks me out. So, I was a baby and I never ended up going.”
Still, the vastness of the geography in Kamloops, from sprawling mountain vistas to riverside meadows to even witnessing the desert denizen tumbleweed, has given Gatien an ideal background for pursuing her acting dream.
Once she graduated from high school, and with the support of mom Pam and dad Joe, she moved to Van City.
Now 23, Gatien has acquired a three-year visa for the United States, an opportunity that’s bound to lead to more mysteries unravelled.
“That’s going to open a lot of doors for me and I’m really excited about it,” she says.