Tag Archives: Canada A.M.

New songs by Norah, new tour for Danny, tweet talk from Rick and a stellar red carpet stroll for Lisa Ray

OUR TOWN: One of tonight’s Toronto filmfest Galas comes with an emotional punch no one could have anticipated when the film was chosen a few months ago. Lisa Ray, who co-stars with TIFF favourite Don McKellar in Dilip Mehta’s

RAY: blogging beauty

RAY: blogging beauty

new romantic comedy Cooking With Stella, will walk the red carpet tonight after going public last week with the news that she’s battling an incurable bone marrow cancer called multiple myeloma. The Toronto-based film star, even more famous in India than she is here, used her blog to reveal her illness to her fans last week. Mehta’s sister and collaborator Deepa Mehta, who directed Ray in Bollywood/Hollywood and Water, says the beautiful actress is “the epitome of grace under pressure. She will do the red carpet proud.” She certainly acquitted herself with grace and style Monday morning with Seamus O’Regan on Canada A.M. – if you missed it, just click here — and I have no doubt her fans will turn out in droves tonight Cooking With Stella premieres at Roy Thomson Hall.

MERCER: Twitter hints

MERCER: Twitter hints

TUBE TALK: Danny DeVito and the cast of the FX comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are touring with a live theater adaptation of the sitcom’s musical finale last season, The Nightman Cometh. Performances started last night in Boston and continue throughout the month in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and, of course, Philadelphia, where a second show has already been added  … fans of Rick Mercer, currently getting back in harness for the seventh season of his Rick Mercer Report on CBC, are following him on Twitter to get hints of what stunts he’s plotting for his new

WILLIAMS: Rama-bound

WILLIAMS: Rama-bound

season. Last week he tweeted about riding on a Death Train (!!) and this week he confided that he was off to Whistler to meet with legendary Man In Motion Rick Hansen. Hmmmmm … and the 10th annual Canadian Comedy Awards & Festival is set for Saint John, New Brunswick next month. Highlights include The Last Laugh Gala, hosted by Jessica Holmes on Saturday Oct 3, with veteran mirth-makers Jeremy Hotz, Tim Steeves, Debra DiGiovanni and Roger Abbott & Don Ferguson.

NOVEMBER IS THE COOLEST MONTH: November music-makers set to rock Casino Rama include Roger Daltrey (Nov 5,) Supertramp alumnus Roger Hodgson (Nov 6 & 7) and still-ticking Las Vegas legend Wayne Newton (Nov 13 & 14) … some 55 million albums and at least one Guinness Book of Records

NORAH JONES by Autumn de Wilde

NORAH JONES by Autumn de Wilde

entry later (having sold 1.6 million tickets on one day for his 2006 tour,) Robbie Williams’ new album, Reality Killed The Video Star, is set to go on sale here Nov. 10 … and Norah Jones’ upcoming album, The Fall, will be released on November 17 with eye-grabbing cover artwork by photographer Autumn de Wilde. Meanwhile, music-makers set to rock Casino Rama next month include Kelly Clarkson (Oct 15,) Vanessa Williams (Oct 29,) and Julio Iglesias (Oct 30 & 31.)

TOMORROW:

Who has the most movies at TIFF?

plus,  Chita’s new album & Julianne’s new role.


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Going green at the box office on ‘Earth’ day

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US:  Yes, it’s Earth Day. This special occasion, which becomes increasingly special each year, was launched almost four decades ago, when most of us were blissfully ignorant of the term “unrenewable resources.”

Good news is, we’re a lot smarter now. Better news is, we’re not alone. Millions of people around the world are taking it seriously. And yes, that includes major show business corporations.  

Disneynature is the first new Disney film label to be introduced by the Walt Disney empire in 60 (!!!) years. To celebrate its premiere film, Earth, being released nationally today, Disneynature will plant a tree in honour of every moviegoer who sees the film in its opening week.

So far, 500,000 trees will be planted. 

Now that’s a LOT of green!

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JAMES: weekly series

JAMES: weekly series

 

 

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Boy, that Ryan Reynolds gets around.  The B.C.-born Hollywood heartthrob has two potential megahits about to hit North American movie screens — X-Men Origins: Wolverine with Hugh Jackman, and The Proposal, a quirky new romantic comedy with Sandra Bullock as the subject of his affection and Betty White, Mary Steenburgen and Craig T. Nelson also on board … good news for Ron James fans — your hero is now officially inked to headline his own weekly prime-time series on CBC Television this fall … and frequently unheralded screen legend Steve McQueen gets his own retrospective next month at Lincoln Center.  The retrospective, aptly titled Yesterday’s Loner, is set to run May 20-26 and will feature 12 of his finest performances, “all on the best prints available.”

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THOMPSON: body & soul

THOMPSON: body & soul

 

 

FOOTLIGHTS:  Still haven’t seen it, despite the rave reviews from everyone you know? Me neither. But let’s really try to get to Jersey Boys now that the transplanted Broadway musical has been extended ’til June 28 … speaking of rave reviews, has any revival won as much lavish praise as the current Mirvish incarnation of Sound Of Music? … bad news for Dr. Seuss fans: Dancap has canceled plans to mount How The Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical, as renovations on the Sony Centre are behind schedule and the theatre will not be ready in time … good news for Judith Thompson fans — her Dove-inspired creation body & soul, which played to sold out houses and standing ovations for its entire run at the Young Centre iast year, will be performed at the Tarragon extra space from June 4th-21.

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JONES: floral tribute

JONES: floral tribute

 

 

DISSED BY ‘THE DUKE:’  Some of the starry folk unable to attend last week’s Norman Jewison tribute in L.A. sent notes and posies instead. Jewison received extravagant floral offerings from Marisa Tomei and Quincy Jones, among others, and truly personal regrets from Goldie Hawn, David Foster, Martin Short (who came down with flu and decided not to share it) and Canadian Film Centre alumnus Vincenzo Natali (Cube,) who couldn’t attend for a reason that delighted Jewison: Natali was on location directing a new movie … and Bev Thomson coaxed some great stories out of liberal activist Jewison on her Canada A.M. exclusive earlier this week, including the fact that John Wayne dissed him as “that Canadian pinko.” To see her interview with the award-laden Jewison, click here.

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As Hollywood watches, Cher finally thanks her Moonstruck mentor Jewison for her Oscar (at last!)

HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD:  When Nicholas Campbell, Angie Dickinson and Shawn Doyle are members of the audience, sitting a few rows ahead of Canadian uber-agent Michael Levine, Beverly Hills columnist George Christy and M.A.S.H. producer Burt Metcalfe, you know there’s something special happening on stage. And what is happening on stage at the L.A. County Museum of Art is very special indeed.

Assembled to tell tales, some tall, some small, are an illustrious clutch of Oscar winners: Classic beauty Eva Marie Saint, still-ravishing screen siren Faye Dunaway, artful cinematographer Haskell Wexler, brilliant songwriters Marilyn & Alan Bergman. Joining them is still-irrepressible funnyman Carl Reiner. Emceeing the evening is veteran film historian Leonard Maltin. And sitting between Maltin and Dunaway is the subject of all their stories, and the object of their bubbling affection: Screen director Norman Jewison.

Reiner and Saint, of course, led the all-star cast of Jewison’s classic comedy hit The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming;  even before that, Reiner had scripted Jewison’ s curious comedy about marketing immortality, The Art Of Love, with Ms. Dickinson  and Dick Van Dyke. Dunaway had co-starred with Steve McQueen in Jewison’s notorious romantic thriller, The Thomas Crown Affair.  Haskell Wexler owned the eyes behind the camera on such diverse Jewison films as In The Heat Of The Night and Other People’s Money.  And Marilyn & Alan Bergman wrote the original songs, now American standards, that graced such Jewison gems as Best Friends (How Do You Keep The Music Playing) and Thomas Crown Affair (Windmills Of Your Mind.) And all of them have some wonderful tales to tell. But the master story teller, naturally, is Jewison himself. 

When he tells us how Steve McQueen misbehaved on Thomas Crown Affair, going AWOL in a dune buggy while the cast and crew watched the light fade, Dunaway is clearly entranced. “I never knew that!” she exclaims. Thomas Crown was only her third film, she says; Warren Beattywas still locked in the editing room with Bonnie & Clyde,  and Jewison had hired her after seeing her off-Broadway in Hogan’s Goat. And when McQueen disappeared from the set, Jewison had told her to wait in her trailer until he called her. “And I did what I was told!” she adds, chuckling softly.

The  tribute to Jewison is originally slated to run 45-60 minutes, but the hush from the appreciative crowd inspires Maltin to let his all-star gabbers hold sway. Reiner, who played a leading man for the first time in his life in Jewison’s Russians Are Coming, reveals that the director had originally asked him to play the Russian sailor, a plum role that Alan Arkin eventually won. Reiner and Saint further regale the audience with tales of white-knuckle flights to Jewison locations;  Wexler reminds us of Jewison the activist and his deep commitment to U.S. civil rights; and the Bergmans praise him as one of only two directors they’ve worked with (the other, sadly, being his friend, the late Sydney Pollack) whose passion for music gives him a unique  understanding of  the potential of original music in screen storytelling.

The near-capacity crowd is clearly enthralled. Close to the front LACMA honcho Ian Birney, another transplanted Canadian, is grinning happily. Beside him sit the co-hosts of the event, Film Independent’s Dawn Hudson and Canadian Film Centre chief  Slawko Klymkiw, beaming like proud parents. Klymkiw, aided and abetted by Birney and Hudson, has initiated this event (among others) to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Toronto film centre Jewison founded two decades earlier, and celebrated alumni Christina Jennings and Clement Virgo, among others, are sitting in the theatre with the rest of his fans.

Leonard Maltin is admittedly fascinated by the fact that in addition to international megahits as Jesus Christ Superstar and Fiddler On The Roof, this Canadian director, in his opinion, has  also produced some of the most quintessentially American films ever to come out of Hollywood. And the on-stage showbiz love-in is well into its second hour when Maltin raises the subject of another polished Jewison diamond, Moonstruck, which will be screened immediately following the tribute. And then he utters the magic phrase that so many of us have been hoping to hear.

“Let’s invite Cher up here,” says Leonard Maltin.

A gasp from the audience, a truly all-ages group from 9 to 99, as a woman seated near the front of the house makes her way to the stairs leading up to the stage,  her long black hair a perfect contrast to her stylish white designer duds and funky white fedora. Cher is on stage kissing Reiner, shaking hands with Saint, embracing Dunaway — the audience is standing now, and cheering — and greets Jewison with an enormous bear hug. Cher is in the house, and an already excited crowd is now deliriously beside themselves.

The fun is just beginning. When she confesses she was a “bad kid” on Moonstruck, Jewison smiles in tacit agreement. “But,” he interjects,” you’re a good girl tonight.” Yes, she agrees, she’s a good girl tonight. And she proves it, by telling wonderful anecdotes, revealing and occasionally touching, about the fact that Jewison had to cajole, trick and at times even threaten her to enable her to do the best screen work of her career. 

She tells tales out of school, too, stories that make Jewison laugh out loud. About how he finally got Nicolas Cage to loosen up for a scene by relentlessly goading him until Cage picked up a chair and threw it across the room. “And we were all shocked,” she recalls, “and we all looked at Norman, waiting for him to say something, anything! …  and Norman said, ‘Action!’  And he got the scene he wanted.”

When she and Jewison weren’t at odds with other — a creative tension she now suspects he manufactured, to enhance her performance — they were a formidable tag team. For one thing, they both wanted Cage for her leading man. Cher had seen him in Peggy Sue Got Married, “and I thought he was terrific.”

And Jewison remembers thinking that the young actor, at that time, was clearly “the most tortured soul in Hollywood.”

“So of course Norman and I thought he’d be perfect for the role!” adds Cher, grinning.

When MGM balked at casting Cage, she huddled with Norman and then told her manager to tell the studio she would walk out on the picture if they didn’t hire Cage. “Which, of course, I had no intention of doing!” she add with a guilty grin.

But hey, she and Norman got the leading man they wanted. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Movie history, that is. Which brings me to another piece of movie history.  When Cher won her Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck, she facetiously thanked her hairdresser and her make-up artist, but neglected to acknowledge the guardian angel of her performance.

On Friday night she makes up for that 20-year-old gaffe.  After a brief intermission she returns to the stage to introduce Moonstruck, and gives the speech she should have given 20 years ago at the Academy Awards. It is short, sweet and unmistakably sincere — a luscious cherry to top a spectacularly rich evening.

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BEV ON THE BEACH: Who was the alabaster blonde walking on the sand with Norman Jewison yesterday? None other than CTV  charmer Beverly Thomson, who got up Friday at 3 a.m., co-hosted the morning edition of Canada A.M., and then hit the airport. An understandably bleary-eyed Thompson made it to Los Angeles in time to attend the tribute at LACMA and yesterday hit the beach to tape an exclusive interview with Jewison in Malibu. And you can see it too, tomorrow morning on CTV.