Honesty might be the best policy, but it’s also the best tool an actress can possess, says Debra Lynne McCabe.
“I’m interested in the authenticity of a character. When I watch a movie, TV show or play, I am drawn to the roles that are played with the most honesty,” says McCabe. “That is what I strive for in my work; the never-ending search for the truth of a heart or a story.”
Judging by her list of showbiz credits — more than 12 series and movies portraying everything from hookers to mothers to lawyers — the Simon Fraser University acting graduate knows what she’s doing.
You might, for instance, remember her as Danica from SAW III. Howard Stern did, dubbing her “babe-cicles” after she was frozen to death nude.
You might also recognize her from the CBC drama, The Border. She plays Yvonne Castle, the tough as nails lawyer, who continually locks horns with her lover, Mike Kessler. Then there’s her role as Alex’s troubled mom on Degrassi: The Next Generation.
This fall, you’ll see her in the CBC mini-series Guns, a tragic art-imitates-life piece where McCabe plays a mother, who rallies the city, media and other mothers after her daughter is killed in a gang-led crossfire of bullets. She’ll also partake in the next Toronto International Film Festival with the feature film Adam Avenger.
McCabe, a self-described paradox of age-old wisdom and innocent naiveté, is every bit the chameleon. Perhaps that stems from her “gypsy-esque” upbringing. Born in northern Quebec, the Irish-Canadian spent much of her childhood in Quebec City before moving to Swift Current, Sask. After high school, McCabe headed to Calgary for a year before enlisting in acting school in Vancouver. A few years later, the east coast winds whisked her here.
“I let my imagination run its course,” says McCabe when asked about how she stays on top of her craft. “I don’t put locks on it.”