Jessica Paré (born December 5, 1982)
is a Canadian film and television actress. She has appeared in the films
Stardom (2000), Lost and Delirious (2001), and Wicker Park (2004), and
co-starred in the vampire horror-comedy Suck (2009).
Paré was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, the daughter of Anthony Paré,
the head of the education department at McGill University, and Louise
Mercier, a conference translator. She grew up in the Montreal suburb
Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and has three brothers. Paré is bilingual, speaking
both English and French. Her parents were both actors, her father toured
with a theatre company and was a drama teacher, her mother acted in
amateur productions. As a child, Paré would watch her father at
rehearsals; when helping him learn his lines for The Tempest, Paré became
interested in acting herself. Paré attended Villa Maria, a private
catholic girl's high school in Montreal. She played Jesus in a production
of Godspell there and also studied drama at TheatreWorks. She appeared in
over half a dozen amateur theater productions as a teenager, including a
role as Maid Marian in Robin Hood.
Paré landed a small role in Bonanno: A Godfather's Story, a mafia TV
movie, during her last year of high school, which convinced her to pursue
acting as a career. She also found small roles in an episode of the
horror/teen TV series Big Wolf on Campus and in the French film En
Vacances in 1999. She dropped out of the fine-arts program at a Montreal
college and pursued acting for two years. After auditioning for a bit part
for the independent film Stardom (2000), director Denys Arcand chose Paré
to star in the film. She played a naive ice hockey player propelled to
international stardom as a supermodel, co-starring with Dan Aykroyd; the
role paralleled her own involvement with the film. The comedic satire
closed the 2000 Cannes Film Festival with mixed reviews from critics. Paré
became the Canadian film industry’s "it girl" following the release of the
film. She was voted one of the 25 most beautiful people in Canada by a
Canadian magazine, a title she didn't take very seriously.
Paré next appeared in Lost and Delirious (2001), starring opposite Piper
Perabo, in a story of two young lovers set in a girls' boarding school.
The film, the English-language debut of director Léa Pool, debuted at the
Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. In 2002, Paré appeared in the
miniseries Random Passage, set in Newfoundland in the 1800s, based on a
series of award-winning novels by Bernice Morgan. Also that year, she
appeared in the miniseries Napoléon as the emperor’s mistress. She had a
cameo as a pop singer in Deepa Mehta's Bollywood/Hollywood, and starred in
the girl gang thriller Posers. Paré next appeared in the CTV miniseries
The Death and Life of Nancy Eaton (2003), directed by Jerry Ciccoritti, in
the title role of murdered heiress Nancy Eaton.
In 2004, Paré made her Hollywood film debut in the feature Wicker Park, as
Josh Hartnett's fiancee, directed by Paul McGuigan. Paré also starred in
the TV miniseries Lives of the Saints (2004), with Sophia Loren and Kris
Kristofferson, set in the 1960s. Also in 2004 was the mockumentary See
This Movie, with Seth Myers and John Cho, and a role on The WB's Jack &
Bobby, a teen drama about two brothers, one who grows up to be President
of the United States. Paré's character grows up to be First Lady.
In 2007, Paré shot the TV pilot, Protect and Serve, with Dean Cain. She
also shot the independent romantic comedy, Shoe at Your Foot, co-starring
Justin Bartha, Mélanie Laurent, and Billy Boyd. Paré shot a small role in
the comedy, The Trotsky, in Montreal in late-2008, directed by Jacob
Tierney. That year, she also filmed Suck, a vampire horror-comedy written
and directed by Rob Stefaniuk, beginning in November 2008. Paré learned to
play the bass guitar for the role. Suck premiered at the 2009 Toronto
International Film Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema
programme. In 2009, Paré filmed Red Coat Justice by Wyeth Clarkson.
As of 2009, Paré lives in Los Angeles, California, where she has been
living since around 2004. She is married to writer and producer Joe Smith.