Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No filter, no fear, no boundaries for Less Than Kind actress

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On the Winnipeg-shot comedy series Less Than Kind, everyone seems to be just a little crazy.

Winnipeg-born actress Lisa Durupt can certainly bring crazy to the table in the role of Shandra, girlfriend to Benjamin Arthur's hilariously self-centred actor Josh Blecher.

Durupt has a kind of Kristen Bell-like pertness. She's blond, athletic and even (at the risk of diminishing her potency in the role) cute.

Perhaps it's that perky veneer that makes it all the more surprising that her character is so delightfully, aggressively nuts.

The Winnipeg-born actress acknowledges that the caustically funny cable series makes fearlessness a prerequisite for the role.

"I take what every polite, rational woman would do and then I take away the filter," she says of her approach to Shandra. "You let her say what every woman's inner voice wants to say, and there's no boundaries. She doesn't have to worry about being polite and she doesn't have to worry about offending anyone."

Of course, fearlessness has never been a problem for the actress.

"When I was little and my mom said, 'Don't do that," my style was: you're going to do it and you're going to do it twice as bad," she says.

When Durupt entered the theatrical arena in Winnipeg, it brought her work onstage and in film. (She was a dancer in the Richard Gere-Jennifer Lopez movie Shall We Dance?.) At the same time, she was drafted as a frequent stunt performer by her drama professor, Rick Skene, who also happens to be the city's foremost stunt co-ordinator.

"People from out of town don't want to get pushed or fall down or they don't want to be in a vehicle that might get dinged, so he got me into that," Durupt says. "He found out I played hockey.

"They just kept taking it further and further and they saw that I was willing to try anything, as long as it was safe."

The same might be said for her requirements playing Shandra in Less Than Kind. Occasionally, Durupt has been abashed by what the series asks of her.

"I've had a few on those moments. I think my first moment was in Season 1 when I didn't know if my character was coming back or not," she says.

"I get the script and I thought, 'Oh great, I'm going to be in the script,' and then I read it and it's, 'And then Shandra takes off her shirt.'

"That was right at Christmas when everybody is being so good about what they eat," Durupt laughs.

"I don't think I've had anything like that this past season although there is a scene that involves me making out with another character -- not Josh -- that I was shocked to read," she says.

"I don't want to give it away, so I'll leave it at that," she says. "We all looked at each other at the read-through and said, 'Interesting.'"

Two years ago, Durupt left Winnipeg to stretch her wings in Vancouver, where the film and TV industry offers more opportunities. But she'll be happy to return to her hometown in the likely event they'll be shooting Season 4 of Less Than Kind this year.

"They really give you the go-ahead to try whatever," she says of the series. "And if they think it's too far or too much, they'll gladly rein you in. But for myself, personally, when it comes to comedy, I love it when they say: 'You go do whatever you want, you go as crazy as you want.'"

Less Than Kind is seen Sunday nights on HBO Canada. Check listings for times.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 9, 2012 E7

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