Actors Torri Higginson, Rick Roberts, Lauren Lee Smith, and Kristopher Turner may come from familiar artistic backgrounds but together, along with many, many more talented actors, they are about to become Canada’s new favourite family, the Lawsons, in CBC Television’s drama series, THIS LIFE.
Torri Higginson, formerly Dr. Elizabeth Weir in the celebrated Canadian-American science fiction series, Stargate Atlantis, stars as Natalie Lawson.
Hailing from Burlington, ON, Higginson’s artistic pedigree earned her a Gemini Award in 2000 for her role in the Toronto-based soap opera, The City. She’s since guest starred in NCIS and Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.
Although Higginson now calls Los Angeles home, she continues to share her love of theatre across the 49th parallel, appearing in Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre, the National Arts Centre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, and Factory Theatre. Last year, Higginson acted in the one-woman, “kickstarted” play The List, which performed in Toronto and Montreal.
In THIS LIFE, Higginson’s character is hit with an unexpected cancer diagnosis, left struggling to keep her family, her column, and her own hopes for a personal reinvention from crumbling.
Rick Roberts, from Hamilton, ON, stars as Matthew, a doctor who’s trying to prevent an old mistake from snowballing into a family-shattering event.
You may remember Roberts’s 2013 Canadian Screen Award-winning portrayal of Jack Layton in CBC Television’s film, Jack. The role landed him 2013’s “Best Lead Actor in a Television Film or Miniseries” at the CSA’s along with the ACTRA Award for “Best Actor”. After guest starring in CBC’s The Book of Negroes, Cracked, and Republic of Doyle this stalwart of Canadian television will now try his hand as Natalie’s paternalistic older brother.
Meanwhile, Turner plays Oliver, an artist and expat with a secret. Oliver leaves LA and returns home to be there for Natalie, only to rekindle his turbulent relationship with his parents.
Both performers have made diverse creative inroads, but, most notably, the model-turned-actor Smith was introduced to international audiences as a series regular on The L Word and her two-season stint as Riley Adams in CSI: Crime Investigations Unit. She also guest starred in CBC’s period detective drama, Murdoch Mysteries.
Turner, of Winnipeg, MB, starred in The LA Complex and most recently took another dramatic turn as Dr. Gavin Murphy in CTV’s Saving Hope.
Now, like a new guest at Sunday dinner, it’s time to say hello to the Lawson grandparents. Gerald and Janine Lawson are played by award-winning, seasoned veterans of Canadian film and television, Peter Macneill and Janet-Laine Greene.
Macneill’s been a close collaborator with Canadian film auteur David Cronenberg, having appeared in his critically acclaimed feature A History of Violence, while Greene’s talents landed her roles in She’s The Mayor, Anne Of Green Gables and the CBC classic, The Beachcombers.
Dan, from our nation’s capital, plays Romy, Natalie’s youngest and most gifted child, whose struggles with brilliance create a new level of friction in the family.
Dan’s young career began with appearances in YTV’s Game On and SyFy’s Helix but she’s sure to make an international splash with her performance in Denis Villeneuve’s upcoming feature film, Story of Your Life.
Romy’s older sister, Janusauskas’s character Emma, is a maturing young teenager, grappling with the drama of her first relationship.
Janusauskas is born and raised in the same neighbourhood as her TV family, Notre-Dame-de-Grace in Montreal, QC. She started accruing roles by the age of 6, having acted in features such as Picture This, Reverse Angle, The Saver and Punisher: War Zone.
Caleb, played by Wotherspoon, is Emma and Romy’s level-headed older brother. The tsunami of stress that comes with his mother’s diagnosis, along with other coming-of-age pressures, compromise his status as the Lawson golden boy.
Wotherspoon, from Aurora, ON, went from screenwriting at a coffee shop to shooting his first commercial in Cuba in a matter of days. From his unlikely discovery to his first starring role in THIS LIFE, Wotherspoon’s talents are about to show themselves in a big way this fall.
Finally, Emma and Romy’s affable school principal, Andrew Wallace, who’s played by the prolific Shawn Doyle.
Although Andrew falls outside of the Lawson family tree, Doyle’s character navigates an unlikely relationship with Natalie while trying to do what’s best for her kids.
Doyle’s previous roles include Sir John A. McDonald in CBC Television’s own TV film, John A.: Birth of a Country. His turn as one of the Father’s of Confederation garnered him his own 2013 CSA for “Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Television Film or Miniseries”. Doyle has also made appearances on critically acclaimed TV favourites Fargo, Hannibal, House of Cards, and Republic of Doyle.
THIS LIFE is a riveting story about what it means to reinvent one’s life in the face of everyday, relatable challenges, big and small.
As for me, I’m Max Morin, Story Coordinator and your official insider for all things THIS LIFE.