David La Haye | The Canadian Encyclopedia


David La Haye

David La Haye, actor (born at Belœil, Que 19 Apr 1966).

David La Haye, actor (born at Belœil, Que 19 Apr 1966). Trained in the theatre option at the CEGEP de Saint-Hyacinthe (1988), La Haye quickly charmed the theatre community, thanks to an expansive acting style capable of both restraint and spirited outbursts that enabled him to portray widely disparate characters. This versatility soon served him equally in film and on television, mediums to which he fully dedicated himself only several years after his promising stage debut.

He was introduced to Montréal audiences in 1989 with his lively and ingenuous performance of Melchior in Frank Wedekind's L'Éveil du printemps, directed by René Richard Cyr, alongside the young Anne Dorval and Sylvie Drapeau, and the first steady steps of this gifted newly-minted actor on stage at the Théâtre de Quat'Sous did not go unnoticed. The Théâtre du Nouveau Monde quickly opened its doors to David La Haye: Olivier Reichenbach first offered him the opportunity to play a spirited Laertes in his Hamlet (1990), then a poignant Perdican in Musset's On ne badine pas avec l'amour (1991); then Lorraine Pintal directed him in Réjean Ducharme's Ines Pérée et Inat Tendu (1991) as a highly colourful Pierre-Pierre Pierre. Although he excelled playing standard energetic roles and supporting characters flirting with perversion, La Haye showed the same precision in inwardly-focussed roles, as in the performance he delivered in Bernard-Marie Koltès's Dans la solitude des champs de coton, directed by Alice Ronfard in 1991 at l'Espace GO. In a bewitching exchange with René Gagnon, his role as the Client, a vulnerable and broken man, was among the most accomplished he ever championed on stage. He appeared again at l'Espace GO the following year in Provincetown Playhouse, juillet 1919, j'avais 19 ans by Normand Chaurette (dir. Alice Ronfard), and in Bérénice (dir. Brigitte Haentjens), in which he played a deeply moving Antiochus. His final theatre roles date back to 1994, and he is remembered for his flamboyant portrayal of Cosmo, a self-important manipulator in Pitchfork Disney by British playwright Philip Ridley produced by Marie-Louise Leblanc at the Quat'Sous.

The "7th art" attracted La Haye right from the beginning of his career, and he made his film debut in 1989 with a sensitive performance as a self-centred young man at loose ends in Yves Simoneau's Dans le ventre du dragon. Since then, he has appeared in some 40 films in Québec and abroad. He pursued his exploration of the introverted man-child in Robert Ménard's L'Enfant d'eau (1995) in the role of a simpleton. His endearing rendition of Alex, the engaging, irresponsible and fickle photographer in André Turpin's Un crabe dans la tête (2001) earned several nominations and won La Haye best actor at the Santo Domingo Film Festival (2003). In Jean Beaudin's historical drama Nouvelle-France (2004), he played opposite Noémie Godin-Vigneault, as the amorous adventurer François Le Gardeur. In another register entirely, he took part in the dramas La Vie avec mon père by Sébastien Rose (2005), as Patrick the serious son, and in Bluff by Marc-André Lavoie and Simon-Olivier Fecteau (2007).

La Haye has appeared in about 20 television series, including Blanche (1992), Montréal P.Q. (1991-1994), Omertà II (1996-1997), Music-hall (2002), and more recently, Mirador (2009), where he played the foul and evil Luc Racine with conviction.

In the early 2000s, La Haye began a career as a producer, dividing his time between Montréal and Los Angeles.