What if… The roles they didn’t get | “I would have been Sophie Paquin before being Édith Cochrane”

In this new series, actors talk about a role they didn’t get and imagine how this commitment would have changed their career and their lives.

Edith Cochrane was “nobody” in 2006. (Those are her words; not ours.) And yet, she narrowly missed landing the title role in a flagship series of the era, a project that we today closely associate with Suzanne Clément: The ups and downs of Sophie Paquin.

In an interview, Édith Cochrane revisits this chapter with serenity. Without a hint of bitterness or sourness. The actress and host is, however, convinced of one thing: the series would have transformed her professional career.

And for good reason. Written by Richard Blaimert (New address, Cerebrum), The ups and downs of Sophie Paquin remained on the air on Radio-Canada for 4 seasons and 52 episodes, winning 16 Gémeaux awards along the way and recording average audience ratings of 605,000 viewers.

“No one knew who I was at the time. I would have been Sophie Paquin before being Édith Cochrane. Suzanne Clément had done a lot more things than me. She was an actress we knew. »

Recounting the misadventures of a young single mother at the helm of an artistic agency, the comedy produced by Sphère Média was exported to several countries (France, Hungary, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland), in addition to being adapted in English Canada (Sophie) and generate a derived series (Penthouse 5-0). Today, it continues to be broadcast on Unis TV.


Series The ups and downs of Sophie Paquin featured, around Suzanne Clément, Élise Guilbault, Jean-Nicolas Verreault, Danny Blanco, Pauline Martin and Éric Bernier.

I realize how much it could have changed in my life. It’s certain that I would have been propelled more quickly. It would have taken me less time to reach a certain standard…

Edith Cochrane

“And today I would play in STAT ! “, she said jokingly.

Three auditions

When Édith Cochrane maintains that she had not accomplished “much” before auditioning for Sophie Paquin, she deliberately omits her previous careers, as a special education teacher in a reception center, then a secondary school teacher. On the artistic side, his curriculum vitae, started in 2002 with the youth show Sofaincluded supporting roles in a few popular series (Rumors, Coffee camera, The invincibles, Casino), the National Improvisation League and Call me Stéphanea play by Claude Meunier and Louis Saia, revived in 2005.

“I had an atypical background,” says the main person involved. My business was going well. »

Edith Cochrane knew full well that Sophie Paquin was “something big”. After a successful first audition, his chumthe actor Emmanuel Bilodeau, had convinced her to retain the services of a coach The second audition, held in the presence of director Claude Desrosiers, also went smoothly.

Edith Cochrane found she was close to the Holy Grail when she appeared in the third and final audition round. The production had contacted its agency to find out its availability in anticipation of possible filming. And above all, only one other actress (whose identity she did not know) was considered.

All hopes were allowed. “It became very concrete,” says the actress.

A collapsing house of cards

Spoiler: Édith Cochrane did not get the role, offered instead to Suzanne Clément. Twenty years later, the actress remembers her reaction when she heard the news. “It’s like a house of cards collapsing. »

This was the first big rejection I received. It was also the first time I thought, “Oh boy… OK… This isn’t easy.” It was a big disappointment. The days after, it came back in waves. I had planned. I had imagined myself on set… It wasn’t really a question of notoriety or money; I was disappointed with the work experience.

Edith Cochrane

Edith Cochrane managed to dispel the disappointment by using humor, by placing exaggerated emphasis on everything that she would not have been able to do if Sophie Paquin had monopolized his days. “It was like a joke. I was always like: “A chance I didn’t have Sophie Paquin, I couldn’t have done this or that business, like going camping!” It was nonsense, but for me it worked. »


Suzanne Clément in The ups and downs of Sophie Paquin

Fun detail: Édith Cochrane met Suzanne Clément shortly after the broadcast of Sophie Paquinin 2006. The finalist took the opportunity to congratulate the lucky winner.

“I was really happy for her. Really. And she was so good! »

No resentment

Edith Cochrane seems to have always had easy happiness. This innate ability to take a gentle and positive look at (almost) everything helps him get through certain challenges without too much difficulty, including an unsuccessful audition.

I also have a certain detachment from the profession [d’actrice]. I never feel like I’m acting out my life in auditions. Because this career fell into my lap.

Edith Cochrane

Édith Cochrane never felt resentment towards Suzanne Clément, Claude Desrosiers and company. The main reason ? If she had gotten the role, she would inevitably have transformed her family portrait.

“I had my first son [Siméon] in 2008 and my second [Paul-Émile] in 2010. It’s not something I would have wanted to change. For nothing in the world. »

Missed appointment

Edith Cochrane admits that she would probably give another speech if she had not succeeded in breaking through. Over the past two decades, she has carved a niche for herself in the industry, not only as an actress, but as a host.

Last fall she starred in Breathe in breathe out on Crave. For two weeks, she has been starring in the film On earth as in heaven, by Nathalie Saint-Pierre. On the animation side, she pilots the documentary series It’s more than a garden on Unis TV, and the show Crazy times at Télé-Québec.

If I had a life that I didn’t like, maybe I would have a different attitude.

Edith Cochrane


Edith Cochrane at the helm of Crazy times at Télé-Québec

Edith Cochrane made peace with Sophie Paquinbut she continues to hope that one day her name will appear at the top of the credits of a work of fiction.

“I would challenge Richard Blaimert to write another series starring, say, a 46-year-old who makes a living in business. A series which would be directed by Claude Desrosiers. And I would happily go and audition. We could resume our missed meeting…”

Edith Cochrane

Hearing: The ups and downs of Sophie Paquin

Role: Sophie Paquin (obtained by Suzanne Clément)

Years of broadcast: 2006-2009

“Playing the title role of a big show on Radio-Canada is an opportunity that I have never had. But is it really serious? It’s not like, in retrospect, it was downhill for me. I did lots of other business after that. »

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