Liane Balaban


Liane Balaban (born June 24, 1980)[1] is a Canadian actress. Her film debut was in New Waterford Girl (1999), playing Agnes-Marie "Mooney" Pottie, and has since appeared in the films Definitely, Maybe (2008), Last Chance Harvey (2008), and the independent drama One Week (2008). She has guest-starred on the television series NCIS: Los Angeles, Covert Affairs and Alphas, and joined the cast of Supernatural for its eighth season.

Liane Balaban
A portrait of the actress.
Balaban in 2011
Born (1980-06-24) June 24, 1980 (age 42)[1]
Alma materConcordia University (BA)
Years active1999–present

Early lifeEdit

Balaban was born in North York, Ontario, the daughter of a Catholic mother who worked as a medical secretary, and a Jewish father from the Uzbek SSR in the Soviet Union, who worked in real estate.[2] She grew up in the Willowdale neighbourhood of North York, now part of Toronto, and went to high school at Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute in which she was classmates with singer Henry Lau. Balaban majored in journalism at Ryerson University but left to concentrate on acting. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Concordia University.[1]


Balaban made her feature film debut in New Waterford Girl (1999),[3] playing a 15-year-old misfit longing to escape the Cape Breton coal-mining town, New Waterford. Set in the 1970s, the film was directed by Allan Moyle. Producer Julia Sereny, who had known Balaban through her aunt and uncle, asked her to audition for the film. Balaban had studied drama in high school, but had not intended to be an actor at that point. After seven auditions, Balaban landed the part that won a Special Jury Citation at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival and a nomination for a Canadian Comedy Award.[4]

Balaban made a successful follow-up with Saint Jude (2000), directed by John L'Ecuyer. She starred in the TV movie After the Harvest (2001), opposite Sam Shepard, and appeared in Happy Here and Now (2002), opposite David Arquette and Ally Sheedy. She also starred in the horror film Spliced (2002), co-starring Ron Silver. Balaban was a member of the garage/electro/pop band We are Molecules where she sang and played keyboards and drums.[1] She has also written for arts newspapers.[5]

While previously unsure of acting as a career, Balaban committed to seriously pursuing acting around 2007. She appeared in her first mainstream Hollywood feature film, Definitely, Maybe in 2008, a romantic comedy starring Ryan Reynolds. She next appeared in Last Chance Harvey, a romance starring Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson which had a wide release in January 2009. She played the supporting role of Susan, the estranged and soon-to-be-married daughter of Hoffman's character.[5] She stated to The Globe and Mail that her time in London making the film was like "going to the best acting school in the world".[6]

Balaban starred in the independent drama One Week (2008), as Samantha Pierce, a woman whose fiancé (Joshua Jackson) is diagnosed with terminal cancer and takes a motorcycle trip across Canada.[7] Directed by Michael McGowan, Balaban was nominated for the Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in 2010 for her performance.[8] Balaban starred in the black comedy You Might as Well Live in 2009, playing a psychotic girl who is obsessed with explosives.

Balaban's other films in 2009 include Not Since You, a drama about a group of college friends, and The Trotsky, by Jacob Tierney. She also shot the CBC TV movie Abroad, based on the love life of Leah McLaren, a Toronto columnist for The Globe and Mail. Balaban was nominated for the Gemini Award for best lead actress in a dramatic program or miniseries for the role.[9] She then starred in The New Tenants with Vincent D’Onofrio, a short film entered into the CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival,[10] which also won the 2010 Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.[11]

Balaban starred in the 2010 comedy/drama Coach, directed by Will Frears, as an emergency room doctor who falls for an inner city soccer coach (Hugh Dancy).[12] She appeared in the episode "Communication Breakdown" of the TV series Covert Affairs playing Natasha Petrova, a Russian computer hacker, and the character Auggie (Chris Gorham)'s ex-girlfriend.[13] She also voiced the role of Lucrezia Borgia in the video game Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. Balaban played a journalist opposite Paul Ahmarani in The Future is Now!, a docudrama by Gary Burns.[14]

Balaban made her stage debut in February 2011 starring as Claire in Divisadero: A Performance, at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto.[15] Directed by Daniel Brooks, the performance was an adaptation of a Governor General’s Award-winning novel by Michael Ondaatje, with music by Justin Rutledge.[4] The show was restaged in February 2012.[16]

Balaban filmed the independent comedy, Finding Joy, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in mid-2011.[17] She signed on to a recurring role in the CW drama, Supernatural in 2012, playing Amelia, a young doctor with tragedy in her past.[18] In August 2012, Balaban was in Newfoundland filming The Grand Seduction, an English-language version of the 2003 Québécois comedy, Seducing Doctor Lewis (French: La grande séduction). She plays the love interest, opposite Taylor Kitsch, directed by Don McKellar.[19] She will also appear in the independent film The People Garden, starring Pamela Anderson, and written and directed by Nadia Litz.[20]

Personal lifeEdit

As of 2007, Balaban lived in Mile End, Montreal. She described Montreal as "not a city that revolves around acting, so you stay very grounded here" to Hour magazine.[21] Balaban includes reading, writing, going to art galleries, and experiencing music as her leisure activities.[21] Balaban told Toronto's Now magazine in January 2009 that she is often mistaken for the actress Natalie Portman.[22] She moved to Los Angeles in 2010.[19] As of 2013, she resides in both Los Angeles and Toronto. Balaban married in November 2013.[23] She gave birth to a son on March 1, 2016.[24]


List of acting performances in film and television
Year Title Role Notes
1999 New Waterford Girl Mooney Pottie Film debut, Nominated – Canadian Comedy Award[4]
2000 The City Alison TV series, episode: "Blindside!"
2000 Saint Jude Jude
2001 Full Meryl
2001 After the Harvest Lind Archer TV film
2001 World Traveler Meg
2002 Happy Here and Now Amelia
2002 The Annual Crafts & Arts Contest Neilburt
2002 Spliced Mary
2004 Seven Times Lucky Fiona
2004 Eternal Lisa
2005 Anniversary Present Sandra Dobbs TV film
2005 Leo Ameilia
2005 Burnt Toast Woman TV film
2006 Above and Beyond Shelagh Emberly TV miniseries
2007 The Canadian Shield Genvieve
2007 St. Urbain's Horseman Jenny TV miniseries
2008 Definitely, Maybe Kelly
2008 Beware of Dog
2008 One Week Samantha Pierce Nominated – Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role[8]
2008 Heartless Disappearance Into Labrador Seas Lily
2008 Last Chance Harvey Susan
2008 A Valentine Haircut Clare Short film
2009 You Might as Well Live Edna Kemperton
2009 Numb3rs Jessie Robertson TV series, episode: "First Law"
2009 The Trotsky Nadza
2009 Not Since You Heather
2009 The New Tenants Irene Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
2010 Abroad Amy Pearce TV film; Nominated – Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series[9]
2010 Coach Gabrielle
2010; 2014 Covert Affairs Natasha Petrova TV series, recurring, 1 episode in Season 1, 5 episodes in season 4, and 2 episodes in season 5
2010 NCIS: Los Angeles Emma Mastin TV series, episode: "Black Widow"
2011 The Future is Now! Woman of Tomorrow
2011 Rise of the Damned Jesse
2011–2012 Alphas Anna TV series, 3 episodes: "Rosetta", "Original Sin", "Gaslight"
2012 Maniac Judy
2012–2013 Supernatural Amelia Richardson TV series
2013 Motive Sarah Muller TV series, episode: "Against All Odds"
2013 Finding Joy Joy
2013 The Grand Seduction Kathleen
2013 Played Lida Simenko TV series, episode: "Untouchables"
2013 Rookie Blue Kelly Harrison TV series, episode: "Two Truths and a Lie"
2014 Saving Hope Abigail/Kayla Bradly TV series, episode: "Don't Poke the Bear"
2014 Republic of Doyle Ruby Rennette TV series, 2 episodes
2015 Man Seeking Woman Claire TV series, episode: "Feather"
2017 Meditation Park Dylan
2021 Woman in Car Safiye
2021 A Small Fortune Sam
2022 You Can Live Forever Beth


  1. ^ a b c d Sara Wilson (March 25, 2005). "7 questions: Liane Balaban". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  2. ^ Jennifer, Paterson (September 2007). "Liane Balaban". Post City Magazines. Archived from the original on November 20, 2008. Retrieved October 8, 2007.
  3. ^ Scott, A. O. (July 26, 2000). "New Waterford Girl (1999) FILM REVIEW; Clueless And Angry In a Small 70's Town". The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b c Kates, Kathryn (February 3, 2011). "Film star Liane Balaban makes her stage debut". Canadian Jewish News. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Stone, Jay (January 8, 2009). "New water works girl". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
  6. ^ Macdonald, Gayle (January 9, 2009). "Liane Balaban: The Undergraduate". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  7. ^ Young, Robyn (February 27, 2009). "Balaban's Week of grand Canadiana". Metro Canada. Archived from the original on June 15, 2009. Retrieved March 2, 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Polytechnique tops Genie nominations". CBC News. March 1, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "'Flashpoint' leads Gemini pack with 15 nominations". CTV News. August 31, 2010. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  10. ^ Leong, Melissa (May 11, 2010). "Short films come to the big screens in Toronto". National Post. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  11. ^ Larnick, Eric (March 7, 2010). "What Is 'The New Tenants'? All About the Oscar-Winning Short Film". Archived from the original on August 31, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2013.
  12. ^ Longsdorf, Amy (June 11, 2010). "New on DVD this week". Retrieved June 13, 2010.
  13. ^ Ausiello, Michael (August 12, 2010). "Exclusive Video: 'Covert Affairs' hottie Chris Gorham hops the sex-press train!". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on August 14, 2010. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  14. ^ Volmers, Eric (January 21, 2010). "Burns brightens up on new documentary". The Windsor Star. Retrieved January 24, 2010.
  15. ^ Kaplan, Jon (January 6, 2011). "Get your tickets now..." Now. Retrieved January 9, 2011.
  16. ^ "Today in Toronto: Divisadero, Hanson, War Horse and more". Toronto Life. February 10, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
  17. ^ Dussault, Sarah (June 20, 2011). "Independent film 'Finding Joy' being made in downtown Fort Lauderdale". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved August 5, 2011.
  18. ^ Stanhope, Kate (July 9, 2012). "Supernatural Casts a Spell on Liane Balaban for Season 8". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved July 30, 2012.
  19. ^ a b Paterson, David (September 1, 2012). "Liane Balaban is back in the spotlight". Post City Magazines. Retrieved September 3, 2012.
  20. ^ Vlessing, Etan (December 9, 2014). "Pamela Anderson Joins Canadian Indie 'The People Garden'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  21. ^ a b Koepke, Melora (January 8, 2009). "Last Chance Harvey". Hour. Archived from the original on January 15, 2013. Retrieved January 26, 2009.
  22. ^ Hooper, Barrett (January 14, 2009). "Q&A: Liane Balaban". Now. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  23. ^ Rae, Kate (September 7, 2013). "Actress Liane Balaban shows how glamour can also be personal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 17, 2014.
  24. ^ "Canadian Performers Unite To Improve Benefits for New Moms". March 16, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.

External linksEdit