This fall, Karine Vanasse returns to TV hosting by taking over the reins of Traitors, 25 years after holding the reins of a certain scientific youth magazine. When we visit the set of the show and she arrives dressed in a tartan corselet-puffy white blouse combo, we know we are far from Débrouillards.

As we place our phone in front of the actress to record the interview, we mention her elegant outfit, which is difficult to go unnoticed. “You should see my other outfits… It’s nothing compared to the rest,” she replies, smirking.

“I’ve never had so many looks,” she continues. All things I would never have thought of for red carpets! »

This ragtag conversation may seem incidental, but it allows us to get to grips with the world of Traitors and, above all, to understand why Karine Vanasse agreed to dive into it.

The actress approached her role as host as she approaches any fictional character: by trying to find her color.

In the Quebec adaptation – and the English-Canadian one (because she pilots both versions) – of the Dutch format, Karine Vanasse plays a sort of modern-day baroness who welcomes 20 strangers into her immense home. The latter will have to cooperate to accomplish missions, in the hope of pocketing a common prize pool which could reach $100,000. But be careful: within the group there are traitors who will try to sabotage collective efforts and “assassinate” a faithful person every day, just to keep the loot for themselves.

“For me, it’s a suspense series with people from the public,” says Karine Vanasse.

The first season of Traitors is directed by Francis Côté. Filming took place last summer, partly at the Rouville-Campbell mansion in Mont-Saint-Hilaire, 40 minutes from Montreal. For the occasion, the Tudor-inspired neo-Gothic building was transformed into a setting seemingly straight out of an Agatha Christie novel, thanks to animal-themed wallpapers, canvases, trinkets and wall ornaments such as ‘a deer’s head suspended above the fireplace.

“We wanted to go all out and take advantage of the fact that I’m an actress,” she explains. I wanted people to believe in my character. I didn’t want to be a caricature. For me, it’s a way of imposing a sort of authority over competitors. When everyone is seated and I come in with my costumes, my hairstyles… It creates something oppressive. It creates a special climate. »

Karine Vanasse admits to having thought about what people would say before accepting the offer from Bell Media and Entourage. How was this career choice going to be perceived, coming from a serious actress?

The 39-year-old is ultimately “really, really happy” to have dared. “I would have blamed myself for letting myself slow down. It’s a nice trip. »

“I had just finished the second season of Before the Crash when I started The Traitors,” she continues. I am spoiled with the film and series projects in which I participate, but I was happy to observe people react. I was happy to come into direct contact with them. »

The English-Canadian version of The Traitors, titled The Traitors: Canada, airs on CTV this Monday evening. Its Quebec counterpart will land on Noovo in the winter. In an interview, Karine Vanasse prefers to talk about a reality game than a reality show. It was after taking a look at the American and British versions that she was convinced.

“Reality TV, normally, is not something that appeals to me a lot,” admits the host. I had already been offered to host one, but the formats interested me less. The Traitors participants are different. They are here to win, but above all they are here to play. They’re here because they were having Zoom Werewolves parties with their friends during the pandemic, and they feel like they’re going to be able to experience it in real life. »

Speaking of the participants, those who we will be able to follow in the Quebec adaptation of Traitors did not pass any audition. They were instead recruited by the production team of the weekly meeting. The first vintage will notably be composed of a hairdresser, a former spy, a police officer, a former customs officer, a clairvoyant, a soldier, an Olympic athlete and a lawyer . No influencer on the program, nor public figure, unlike the Canadian-English counterpart, which brings together, among others, a drag queen, a former MuchMusic VJ and a few reality TV winners (Survivor, The Amazing Race Canada, MasterChef Canada).

“We wanted people who are capable of reading others,” explains Nathalie Brigitte Bustos, director of development, fiction, feature films and documentaries at Entourage.

And for those who believe that in Quebec, competitors will not dare to deceive and betray to end up at the top, think again. “It’s tough,” says Mathieu Ouellet, director of TV development at Entourage. The cast was hungry. It was beautiful to see. »