Former Nova Scotia Politician Gone Rogue – Lenore Zann Stars In New X-Men Series

A former Nova Scotia politician has gone Rogue.

You may know Lenore Zann as the former MP for Cumberland-Colchester and MLA for Truro-Bible Hill-Millbrook-Salmon River, but Zann had another side from before politics many don’t know, she was the voice behind popular character Rogue in the long running X-Men series.

Zann had taken a break from an acting career to shift into Nova Scotia politics, but when she lost her seat in 2021, she wasn’t sure where things would go.

“This came at a time when I was grieving. My young niece Maya had passed away from cancer. I had also just lost my seat as Member of Parliament after four terms as a public servant. After 12 years of putting my acting career on the shelf to make the world better for Nova Scotia and its constituents, I found myself free-falling,” she said.

Today, you can find Zann in the popular reboot, X-Men ‘ 97 streaming on Disney+.

Lenore Zann stars as the voice of Rouge in X-Men ’97 – Photo: IMDB

Born in Sydney, Australia in 1959, Zann and her parents emigrated in 1968, eventually settling in Truro. After time all over the world, she settled back in Truro in 2008, where today she maintains residence.

“I wondered how I’d jump back into acting at 62, and when the call came that Disney was trying to track me down, I thought it was a prank.”

A casting director with Disney had Zann do an audition, but the name of the character wasn’t attached. As soon as Zann read the lines, she knew.

“I started looking at them and immediately realized it was Rogue. Some of the lines were from episodes I’d done in the original series years earlier. I laid down the lines, and off it went to Hollywood,” she said.

A month later, the role she portrayed in the long-running X-Men series from 1992-1997 was hers again.

X-Men ’97 character Rouge is voiced by Truro’s Lenore Zann. – Photo: Disney+

“I got to speak to the producers, and I read with the casting director. They were huge fans of the original show, and of me. They said they’d be honoured if I’d reprise my role, and this was a huge chance to be Rogue for a whole new generation,” she said.

Zann got her big moment to shine last week, when her character was involved in a major plot twist during a tragic episode that has the Internet buzzing.

No stranger to popular titles, Zann has starred in animated spin-offs over the years for Spider-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and an X-Men vs. Street Fighter video game. Other performances included live-action roles in Street Legal, Cold Squad and Thom Fitzgerald’s work, Stage Mother.

X-Men ’97 has drawn rave reviews, sporting a 98 per cent approval rating on popular critical review site Rotten Tomatoes, with a 93 per cent audience score.

VIDEO: E-Talk features actress Lenore Zann of X-Men ’97

“I care deeply about social justice, the environment, and human rights, and I brought my passion to politics. I really believed a better world was possible, and I wanted to improve the lives of my constituents,” she said.

“Looking at things right now, I’m so happy the federal government is moving toward free dental care. It was part of my platform when I ran for leadership of the NDP in 2016. I have also been an advocate for free post-secondary education and universal daycare, as well as affordable housing.”

One of the things she’s most proud of during her political career is a move that’s been 10 years in the making.

“A disproportional number of dumps, landfills and waste sites are put beside racialized communities,” she said. “I put out a private members bill in 2014 titled “Bill 101” to address environmental racism. I worked with Dr. Ingrid Waldron, and at the time no one was talking about it.”

X-Men ’97’s character Rouge – Photo: Disney+

“The bill didn’t pass in Nova Scotia, but I told Dr. Waldron that if it was introduced, at least people would talk about it, and it’d move the needle.”

When she moved to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal party in 2019, she asked for a meeting with parliamentary lawyers on her first day in Ottawa. From that, the National Strategy to Address Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice was introduced.

“Unfortunately, a sudden election during a pandemic was rough, and I didn’t hold onto my seat. The bill came off the table.”

However, a discussion with Green Party MP Elizabeth May led to a resurrection for the idea. She asked to reintroduce the bill, and the Prime Minister and Minister of Environment said they’d support it.

The bill has gone through Parliament, passed, and is now with the Environmental Committee. It will go to the Senate for a third and final reading, and if it passes, will become law.

Zann has a memoir coming in October from Pottersfield Press and distributed by Nimbus Publishing titled Rogue’s Tale. Right now, she finds herself traveling to Comic Cons across America meeting fans.

“Sometimes I go, and I’m meeting grandparents, parents, and children all together. They come dressed as different characters, and it’s amazing. I also love that – because Disney+ releases episodes weekly – folks are going back to the original series and watching. It’s seen a resurgence,” she said.

“I just feel really blessed for what I’m doing, and for the positive reaction people are having to this show. I love this character, and I’m happy others do too.”

Check out X-Men ’97 on Disney+ weekly. New episodes air on Wednesdays

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