Before I fell in love with Elise Bauman the person, I fell in love with Elise Bauman the actor. Our mutual friend invited us both to participate in gay zoom reads of movie scripts at the start of the pandemic and, even then, her commitment to craft was obvious. And by craft, I mean to play a French maid in Clue she taped a printout of boobs to her shirt and to play Scott Caan’s character in Ocean’s 11 she made chest tufts out of her real hair.
Long story short, those live reads led to becoming Instagram mutuals which led to us now being three years into a relationship. But I’m not here today to talk about Elise Bauman, my girlfriend. I’m here to talk about Elise Bauman, the actor, because tonight on CBC the new sitcom One More Time premieres and she’s one of the leads.
Created by standup comedian DJ Demers, One More Time is about a used sporting goods store and the colorful cast of characters who work there. A workplace comedy with just a dash more hockey. Elise plays Jen Hauser, a gay Olympic javelin thrower who brings the same competitive spirit to her job that she does to her sport.
I’m so excited for Canadian audiences — and patient/crafty international audiences (*cough* stream free on CBC Gem with a VPN blocker *cough*) — to witness Elise’s talent as an actor, a comedian, and a jock. That’s called being a triple threat, baby.
In anticipation of the premiere tonight, I talked to Elise about why Jen Hauser was her dream role, how her own queerness has evolved while playing queer characters, and so much more.
Elise: It’s so nice to be here… on our living room sofa.
Drew: It’s a lot easier to coordinate an interview when you live with the talent.
Elise: (laughs) The talent? Oh boy.
Drew: That’s what they call you. In… the business.
Elise: That’s also what I make you call me.
Drew: The business?
Elise: (laughs) The talent.
Drew: (laughs) Oh yes.
Elise: On our shared calendar—
Drew: We did just start a shared calendar!
Elise: Yeah and guess what this interview didn’t make it onto? The shared calendar.
Drew: I’m barely adjusting to keeping my Autostraddle calendar up to date. I’ve never kept a calendar like that!
Elise: I can tell.
Drew: I’m going to actually interview you. Is that okay? Like I’m going to talk to you about the show.
Elise: And you’re objective because you don’t know me at all.
Drew: No, but this is actually in right now. Lots of celebrity interviews lately are like celebrities interviewing other celebrities or—
Elise: Are you calling yourself a celebrity?
Drew: (laughs) No. Or the chicken shop girl.
Elise: The chicken shop girl?
Elise: Oh right. Amelia Bedelia.
Drew: Amelia Dimoldenberg. I wish Amelia Bedelia had an interview show.
Anyways, film journalists getting to do interviews is kind of out right now which is a bummer, but now I’m a film journalist getting to do an interview because I’m dating you.
Elise: So it’s like nepotism.
Drew: Yeah exactly.
Elise: Now that that’s been established…
Drew: When you first got the audition for One More Time — I know this because I date you — you were like “this is the one.”
Drew: What was it about the part that made you feel that way?
Elise: As you may have witnessed, this audition sent me on a slow descent into madness. Because I got the breakdown and it just ticked off so many boxes of things I’ve been wanting to do.
Drew: What were those boxes?
Elise: It’s been my big, big dream for a long time to play a queer character on a half hour sitcom. That’s been the goal. And then when you add in that the character was extremely competitive and driven and sporty and not femme. It was very exciting to me. So I said: I MUST HAVE THIS ONE.
Instead of having a nice, healthy relationship to the audition where you do it and then you let it go, I decided to obsess about it for twenty… four hours of the day… seven days a week… which is all of the hours in case you didn’t know.
Drew: And how long was it from when you first got the breakdown to when you got cast?
Elise: I got the breakdown beginning of March. Is that right?
Drew: It was March 1 because I flew into Toronto that day.
Elise: And then we started filming on July 4 and I was cast maybe a couple weeks before we started filming.
Elise: So it was a really long process and I was so patient throughout the whole thing. I definitely didn’t bring it up constantly and go I HAVE TO GET THIS NOW. And you probably loved every second of it.
Drew: I mean, one thing I did love was I got to see how—
Elise: (laughs) How insane I am?
Drew: Yeah but also how driven you are. We’re both ambitious, but I really respected the fact that you were… not without shame, but—
Drew: Like we went ax throwing for a friend’s birthday and you got a lot of bullseyes so you sent the casting director a video of you getting bullseyes because your character is a javelin thrower and we don’t have javelin birthday parties.
Elise: But you know what? We should.
Drew: I’m always like, if they want me they want me and if they don’t they don’t, which can be healthy in other ways, but I appreciated you being so direct about this thing you wanted.
Elise: I don’t think that type of approach works all the time. But I think my character is so obsessive and needs to be the best at everything. So I sort of decided to approach the casting process as the character might which I do think helped me because then they saw that within me.
Drew: And you also really weren’t crazy… to them.
Drew: (laughs) You did go above and beyond. But most of the anxiety was at home.
Elise: Yeah. I did know one of the readers for one of the callbacks and afterward she was like you seemed so cool and confident. And I was like I AM FREAKING OUT.
Drew: But you got the part!
Elise: It sure did work this time! It usually doesn’t!
Drew: It is really exciting to get to see you play a character like this. Obviously you’re not your character, but it’s fun to get to see you a play a character who’s funny and competitive and masc. It’s very you. I think you have a lot of range as an actor but it’s fun when you get to tap into something real.
Elise: It’s great to do something that is so specifically in my wheelhouse. It feels really liberating. But also I don’t think I would have been able to do this role a few years ago. I needed more time to settle into myself.
Drew: Also when you first auditioned we watched DJ’s standup and were like oh it’s really good! That’s nice!
Elise: (laughs) Thank God. A comedian creating a show can really go one of two ways. Luckily, DJ is incredibly kind and supportive and so funny.
That’s another reason I wanted the part so badly. The audition sides were making me laugh out loud.
Drew: So once you got cast, what was the shooting process like? What was the pace?
Elise: We shot July 4 to September 15. What’s the math on that?
Drew: I’ll do it.
Elise: Insert doing math here.
Drew: Like two and a half months.
Elise: And we shot 13 episodes. So it was a lot. And it’s all fast-paced, snappy dialogue and really high energy too. That’s something that was an adjustment. After years of the pandemic, I wasn’t used to being around that many people anymore. I’m a bit of an introvert so figuring out how to maintain my energy while using so much of my energy. Let’s just say I went to bed at eight o’clock most nights.
Drew: You were just filming days then?
Elise: We shot 11 hour days which is pretty unheard of.
Drew: Because usually people shoot 12 hour days.
Elise: Right and then overtime.
Drew: Right I’m just saying that for everyone reading.
Elise: For the plebeians reading this!
Drew: (laughs) Yeah.
Elise: But no exactly. We had really reasonable hours. I know it’s something the producers were passionate about.
Drew: I love that.
Elise: I also love it.
Drew: What was the most fun day on set?
Elise: I really liked the episode when—
Drew: This comes out the day of the premiere so no spoilers.
Drew: You have to be vague.
Elise: Hmm. Do you remember my most fun day?
Drew: (laughs) I guess I’ll just interview myself!
Elise: (laughs) Oh oh there was a day where I actually got to throw — it wasn’t a javelin — but it was something I was throwing as if it was a javelin. And the stunt guy took me across the street to the park and was like let’s practice a few throws. Then I did it and it was perfect my first try. And he was like, well I feel confident in you. That was amazing.
Also a day when my character was working out with a medicine ball. The camera team was going to do a special shot so it looked like I threw the medicine ball and it landed perfectly on the shelf. And I was like pfft I bet I could do that for real and then the camera team was like I bet you can’t and then I did it every single shot.
Drew: So the best part of being an actor is throwing things well in front of men?
Elise: (laughs) Exactly.
Drew: Without spoiling season one, what is something you hope to see for Jen Hauser, your character, if One More Time runs for several seasons?
Elise: As I read more scripts and got to play opposite more characters, I discovered that underneath Jen’s confidence and bravado there’s a lot of insecurity. Part of what’s driving her to be so competitive is she had a parent who was really hard on her and it would be fun to get to meet that parent and explore that relationship. I want us to see more of what turned her into this driven monster and find the cracks in that.
Also there’s an episode where I get to flirt a little bit and one of my friends was cast and it was so fun. I’d love to see Jen flirt with a lot of ladies. And then maybe eventually there’s one person who she can’t seduce and that person—
Drew: That’s the couple all the fans will ship. A little slow burn.
Drew: Well, speaking of queerness, you’ve played a lot of queer characters throughout your career. And queer-coded characters.
Drew: What’s it been like growing up in your own queerness alongside portraying queerness on-screen?
Elise: One thing I’ll say is it’s a lot more fun playing queer characters when I’m more comfortable in my own queerness. (laughs) Early days it was a lot about discovery and that’s tumultuous and exciting. But there’s something more gratifying about getting to exist within the thing that’s found.
That’s part of why I felt so ready for this role and so excited for this role. I feel like I’ve gone through so much discovery about myself and now I get to live in it. Especially since — not to get gushy — but since being with you I feel like I’ve really deepened parts of myself. So getting to be on-screen and be seen on-screen when I feel more seen in my real life is exciting.
Drew: That’s really nice.
Elise: Ewww gross! Feelings! I take it back, I take it back.
Drew: What other kinds of projects do you want to work on? Obviously more seasons of this…
Elise: Well, having just semi-moved to New York with you — side note to the Canadian government that I’m still spending six plus months of the year in Canada… Ontario specifically — I want more financial security. And stability in general. One thing that was really nice about One More Time is this was the longest I’ve ever been on a shoot and I really loved the consistency of going to work and seeing the same people every day.
But right now I’m rewatching Suits. (laughs)
Drew: (laughs) Go on.
Elise: And there is something so appealing to me about being the funny guy at the office.
Drew: In like a legal drama?
Elise: Not necessarily a legal drama…
Drew: But like something more dramatic where you’re funny. You want to be the comedic relief in a drama.
Drew: Right now you’re comedy in comedy. Next you want to be comedy in drama.
Elise: Yes. I would love to be the goofy little guy who is like, “Oh no the briefs have been breached!”
Drew: What’s the actor’s name? The guy who was in the Hanukkah movie?
Elise: The guy who plays Louis Litt? Yeah I kind of want to be the Louis Litt of a non-cop procedural.
Drew: I was going to ask what other shows and movies you’re watching and loving right now but Suits clearly.
Elise: Okay I don’t want to be known as the person who’s watching Suits. That’s really embarrassing for me. What else have we been watching?
Drew: We’re finally watching Normal People.
Elise: Yeah that one is brutal. God I need those straight people to communicate better.
Drew: The Curse.
Elise: Also brutal. A different kind of brutal.
Drew: We’re watching Ingmar Bergman movies. Those are light.
Elise: (laughs) We have been watching Ingmar Bergman movies. What are you watching? Fanny and Alexander!
Drew: We also watched The Apartment.
Elise: Oh that was great.
Drew: When we first started dating, I showed you Clueless and you thought that was an old movie.
Elise: It is an old movie.
Drew: But the fact that I’ve gotten you to love a lot of older movies brings me a lot of joy.
Elise: And I show you gems like…
Drew: High School Musical was the first movie you showed me.
Elise: Yes, it was.
Drew: Okay but also Center Stage!
Elise: Oh yeah!
Drew: That’s a great movie.
Elise: One of those actors is in Suits.
Elise: But I really do love movies. That’s another dream of mine. So if anyone wants to make that happen.
Drew: Look I’m trying.
Drew: I’m also excited for you to direct more. I think you have such a good eye.
Drew: And that’s my best shot at acting in an indie film. (laughs)
Elise: (laughs) I’d cast you.
Elise: Nepotism strikes again!
One More Time premieres on CBC and CBC Gem tonight at 9 pm.