True Detective Star Anna Lambe talking about Nightcountry for the first time, Dark Secrets Unveiled

“I have a story to tell as an actor, I feel like it goes so much further than that—I have a story to tell as an Inuk woman who grew up in an isolated community.”


Inuk actor Anna Lambe was preparing to head to Germany for an audition when she got a call. Filmmaker Issa López wanted her to do a chemistry read via Zoom for the fourth season of True Detective, which López would be showrunning. Details set, Lambe left her Ottawa home for a very long travel day, cramming for both auditions on the plane. “I was so exhausted,” she recalls. “I got to the hotel, looked in the mirror and said, ‘This is going to be rough.’” Lambe—who is from Iqaluit and known for her Canadian Screen Award-nominated turn in the 2018 Canadian sports film The Grizzlies and her role in the landmark CBC supernatural thriller Trickster—got through the Zoom audition but remembers feeling…less than great about it. “I cried after,” she says. “Then I messaged my manager and was like, ‘I’m so sorry—I messed it up.’” Apparently not, though, because within 36 hours, she found out that she had just landed a starring role in HBO’s True Detective: Night Country alongside Jodie Foster. Set in Alaska during the darkest days of winter, the story is about the eerie disappearance of a group of research-lab scientists, which is somehow connected to a different cold-case murder, and Lambe shines as Kayla Prior—a nurse and the wife of young cop Peter Prior (Finn Bennett)—who’s fighting to protect her family. And you can rest assured that this is just the start for Lambe. You’ll next see her leading a yet-to-be-titled comedy series being co-produced by CBC, APTN and Netflix about a young Inuk mother who finds it challenging to carve out her own path in her small Arctic town.

Isabella Star LaBlanc and Anna Lambe Are the Heart and Soul of True  Detective: Night Country | Glamour
“The prospect of True Detective was huge. I hadn’t worked for a while before that—things had been quiet for me—so I put my heart into every single project I read for. I was just so terrified and really hoping that at least one thing would go my way. When I got the call, it was, like, 2 a.m. in Germany. Then I cried in bed and called my dad.”

“I was born in Newfoundland, but I spent most of my life in Nunavut until I left to go to university in Ottawa [at 19]. If I could live in Nunavut, I would. But there’s no real opportunity to act there—we don’t even have, like, a centre for the arts, though there’s been a big push to get one. When I was 15, there was a workshop in my hometown [for anyone who wanted] to audition for this movie called The Grizzlies, and my drama teacher thought I might be interested.”

“There have been a lot of highs and lows— every actor has quiet and busy moments. Before True Detective, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can handle the amount of rejection that comes with this industry anymore.’ You’re left to ponder all of your failings and why you weren’t good enough, and that is such a difficult thing to deal with. But there’s always been something to pull me back in, and two years ago, it was True Detective. Now I feel a level of confidence and self-assuredness that I’ve never felt before.”

“[Before I started acting], I always knew I wanted to study social sciences [at university]—development and empowerment are really important to me, especially having grown up in a country where there are so many socio-economic issues. I studied international development and globalization at the University of Ottawa, and I thought that if we could take these theories, ideas and international projects and apply them to Northern Indigenous communities, we’d be able to [provide access] to things like clean water, food and safe housing. Now I’m one or two semesters away from wrapping up my degree.”

“I want to work—I’m very eager to work. I love storytelling. I want to get my face out there as much as possible and be like, ‘I’m here, I want to work and I will put my heart and soul into everything I do.’ I love acting, but I also want to produce, I want to write and I want to start working behind the camera more. As much as I feel like I have a story to tell as an actor, I feel like it goes so much further than that—I have a story to tell as an Inuk woman who grew up in an isolated community.”

“The new series I’m doing will be the first big- budget Arctic project. It’s so special in its own way. The producers and creators behind it—who were actually the producers on The Grizzlies—have made such a massive effort to push for meaningful and accurate representation but also for access to infrastructure. They got funding to build the first studio in Nunavut specifically in preparation for this show. It’s literally a dream project.”


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