Q·Q with Tom Power

Sheila McCarthy is having a feminist full-circle moment with Women Talking

Actor Sheila McCarthy joined Tom Power to reflect on a career playing unconventional leading ladies, plus her role in Sarah Polley's new film Women Talking.

In a Q interview, the Canadian actor reflected on her nearly 40-year career, plus her role in Women Talking

A still from Women Talking of six women wearing old-fashioned dresses sitting together in a barn.
Rooney Mara, left, Claire Foy, Judith Ivey, Sheila McCarthy, Michelle McLeod and Jessie Buckley in a scene from Women Talking. (AP)
Thirty-five years after Sheila McCarthy starred in the groundbreaking Canadian movie I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, she reflects on her career of playing quirky, funny and complicated characters who were never conventional leading ladies, and how playing an elder in Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” feels like a feminist full-circle moment.

If you sat down and made a list of the Canadian actors who've appeared in the most iconically Canadian projects of all time, Sheila McCarthy would be right up there.

Over her almost 40-year career, she's been a part of The Littlest HoboE.N.G., Street LegalLittle Mosque on the Prairie, and pretty much the entire Anne of Green Gables universe, including Road to Avonlea and Emily of New Moon.

But before she became the Canadian icon she is today — with two Genies, two Geminis, an ACTRA Award and two Doras under her belt — McCarthy was already a feminist icon. She hit the big time when she starred in the 1987 film I've Heard the Mermaids Singing, which made history as the first Canadian English-language film to ever win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Now, McCarthy is in another film told through a feminist lens: Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley and based on the novel by Miriam Toews. The actor sat down with Tom Power in the Q studio to talk about it.

WATCH | Official trailer for Women Talking:

The full interview with Sheila McCarthy is available on our podcast, Q with Tom Power. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Interview with Sheila McCarthy produced by Jennifer Warren.