Hollywood North: Vancouver actor Fiona Vroom on board for ride on Snowpiercer sci-fi TV train (2023)

Vancouver actor Fiona Vroom has a recurring role in TNT's new TV series Snowpiercer, adapted from Bong Joon-ho’s 2013 South Korean dystopian sci-fi film of the same name.

Author of the article:

Dana Gee

Publishing date:

May 13, 2020May 13, 20205 minute read Join the conversation

Hollywood North: Vancouver actor Fiona Vroom on board for ride on Snowpiercer sci-fi TV train (1)

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Snowpiercer

When: Begins May 17, 9 p.m.

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Where: TNT

Hollywood North: Vancouver actor Fiona Vroom on board for ride on Snowpiercer sci-fi TV train (2)

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When TNT’s new TV series Snowpiercer leaves the station, Vancouver’s Fiona Vroom will be aboard.

The busy actor has a recurring role as schoolteacher Miss Gillies in the new series. Adapted from Academy Award winning best picture (Parasite) filmmaker Bong Joon ho’s 2013 South Korean dystopian sci-fi film of the same name, the hour-long drama was shot in Langley and boasts a strong cast lead by Jennifer Connelly and Daveed Diggs.

Like the movie, the TV series delves into stories of intrigue, class warfare and social injustice as the last members of humanity live out their lives on a train that is perpetually circling the globe.

“Miss Gillies is a member of the second class on the train. So she’s quite prim and proper and educated,” said Vroom. “Of course there are moments where you don’t know what side she’s really on. I think that’s a continuous theme throughout the show — who can you trust?”

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Raised in Steveston, Vroom had in the past entertained ideas of teaching.

“I have played a teacher a couple times. And I take my inspiration from my little sister (Leanne Trazolini), who was a kindergarten teacher for 10 years,” said Vroom.

“I am a big kid at heart. I love kids. So getting to work with kids on set was a complete dream come true.”

While Snowpiercer is deeply rooted in the sci-fi and dystopian genres it is not a CGI-heavy production. According to Vroom it is actually the opposite, as big intricate sets were constructed in Langley studios for the production. For Vroom that real life playground made going to work each day an adventure.

“The sets are incredible. Every train car is built with a specific design in mind,” said Vroom. “The production designers have done such a beautiful job.

“I had the most amazing classroom,” added Vroom. “It was so colourful and playful, that you would forget completely that you’re actually on a train.”

Hollywood North: Vancouver actor Fiona Vroom on board for ride on Snowpiercer sci-fi TV train (3)

Well you would forget until you had to leave the make-believe classroom.

“So a lot of the time, we’re working in really tight hallways, and the trains move,” said Vroom.

“You’ve got grips on each side of the train that are constantly moving it, so it’s bouncing the whole time. So you do get that chugga, chugga train feeling.”

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Vroom grew up the middle kid of three daughters. Her older sister went on to be a financial adviser and her younger sister was a teacher then a child psychologist.

“I’m definitely the black sheep,” Vroom said with a laugh, before adding that both her parents were very artistic and very supportive of her creative choices.

Those choices began with dance, which she studied seriously before moving onto musical theatre.

“I studied ballet for 20 years and fell in love with the stage. I studied at the Canadian College of Performing Arts,” said Vroom.

“I went into musical theatre and worked on stage all across Canada.”

Vroom’s resume varied from her first stage credit of Ruthie Gillies in the famed Anne of Green Gables production in Charlottetown. Her career then literally set sail as she signed up to work as an entertainer on cruise ships for three years. During that time she visited 21 countries.

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“The most amazing thing about working on the cruise ships for me was the people that I met from all different corners of the world … (and) I’m still in contact with them today. … I’m talking like from every corner of the world. That’s the really cool thing about a ship, it’s like a little international floating island.”

Vroom decided to look into film acting in 2005 after people from her stage gigs kept telling her she was right for a life in front of the camera.

Vroom said she gave herself until age 30 before she was going to re-evaluate her career path. Lucky for her, 30 was a good number.

“I think after I turned 30 I booked a role in Tim Burton’s movie Big Eyes. And that, for me, was a big stamp of approval. I’m a huge fan of his films,” said Vroom, 36, who played the gallery assistant in the 2014 film.

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“To be able to work with someone that calibre who wanted to work with me and trusted to put me beside Christoph Waltz, that was a big turning point in my career and I always said, you know, I’ll give it a try to turn 30 and see what happens, and then literally when I hit 30 is when I haven’t stopped working.”

Season two of Snowpiercer is ready, but likely won’t be out until sometime in 2021.

The second season was one of the many Vancouver productions that were suddenly shuttered in mid-March due to COVID-19. According to Vroom there were nine shooting days left on the schedule when the production went dark.

Vroom said she was scheduled for a couple of more days of work on the series and had just started shooting a recurring role on the Global TV’s new drama Family Law.

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“I’m definitely laying low. I’m doing my part to stay home,” said Vroom.

Lucky for Vroom, her lifelong love of dance has given her an outlet via online training.

“I’m pretty sore,” said Vroom about her new online dance regime.

“It’s been a while since I’ve really danced but I enjoy it so much. So it’s been a nice anchor for me to wake up, put my ballet gear on, listen to the classical music and just rock away in the kitchen.”

Also, like a lot of actors, Vroom is able to audition online.

“I actually was surprised to get an audition last week. So I actually did a read for a new CBC series,” she said.

“Everybody, we’re all sort of wondering after the shakedown how our jobs will be? How they will change? How are we going to do things? It’ll be interesting to see,” said Vroom, whose acting credits include the TV shows Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark, Netflix’s Altered Carbon, Man in the High Castle from Amazon, Fox’s The X-Files, and A&E’s Bates Motel as well as feature films Power Rangers and Star Trek Beyond.

And, for the record, her last name really is Vroom.

“Yeah, that’s my dad’s my family name. It’s Dutch. And I wear it proudly,” said Vroom. “It’s a good conversation starter, and I think it makes people remember me.”

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