Henderson steps into big boots

ANIKA VAN WYK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:11 PM ET

Meredith Henderson is on her way.

The Canadian actress/musician portrays Eilleen Twain during the time she adopted the moniker Shania (Ojibwa for I'm on my way) in tonight's CBC movie Shania: A Life in Eight Albums.

"It was really cool to play her. It taught me so much ... to portray such strength made me stronger," says Henderson about stepping into the skin of the superstar from the ages of 17-27.

Two other actresses -- Reva Timbers and Shenae Grimes -- also play Twain at different ages in this unauthorized drama about her life before fame.

Henderson, a Gemini-winner (The Adventures of Shirley Holmes), was nervous about telling the superstar's story without her blessing. The task became easier as she learned more about the star, visited Twain's hometown of Timmins, Ont. and found similarities in their backgrounds.

"There are a lot of things the same between Eilleen and I. For one, I started singing when I was young."

It also helped that Henderson grew to respect Twain.

"The sacrifice of her career for her siblings was huge to me. She has her head on her shoulders and she has her priorities straight.

"I have so much respect for her -- it's crazy.

"Her base was so strong and filled with love and support, that she was able to stay strong."

Shania: A Life in Eight Albums, which also stars Megan Follows and Gordon Tootoosis, airs at 8 p.m. on CBC.


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