Tag Archives: CLORIS LEACHMAN

Buffy & Cloris share their Unique lives, and Robin, Jayne, Kathy & Teresa get ready to put on their clothes again

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Get out your calendars. Toronto’s mini-Just For Laughs festival will run July 6 – 11, opening one day before the annual bilingual comedyfest launches

LEACHMAN: Toronto-bound

in Montreal … Smokey Robinson plays Fallsview Casino June 11 & 12 … Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Ste. Marie, a digital pioneer in her own right, gives a Unique Lives & Experiences session next week at Roy Thomson Hall, with confessed shopaholic Cloris Leachman set to follow in her footsteps on April 19 … and four of the funniest femmes in the business, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, return with a brand new show when their smash comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed plays Massey Hall on May 7. But they’re there for one night only, so don’t dawdle. To order tickets, click here.

BRAVE NEW CYBER WORLD: The April 12 Genie Awards will be broadcast live on the Independent Film Channel,  livestreamed on CBC.ca. and rebroadcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central at a later

KUTCHER: tweeting for Haiti

date. The live webcast on CBC.ca is a first for the Genies and could give the awards show its largest audience reach ever … after concluding a 40-city theatrical tour, PBS’s American Experience will premiere its new Earth Days documentary on April 11 on Facebook. eight days ahead of the film’s television broadcast on April 19. This will reportedly be the first time a major broadcaster has introduced a full-length documentary on the site … Twitter-pated Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Will Ferrell are among the stars of 140 Tweets For Haiti. You can check out the trailer here … and Margaret Atwood tweets greetings from the Cologne Literary Festival where she reports that “twittern” is now a German verb.

SMALL SCREEN, BIG STAGE: Never underestimate the power of television. The Broadway run of David Mamet’s new play Race has now been extended to June 13, thanks

HAYES: Broadway-bound

to the marquee allure of Boston Legal charmer James Spader … stage veteran Doris Roberts, who finally became a household name playing Ray Romano‘s mother on television, is set to return to off-Broadway next month in Love, Loss And What I Wore, which is quietly becoming a notable successor to Love Letters and The Vagina Monologues … and Emmy award-winning Will & Grace scene-stealer Sean Hayes is deep in song and dance rehearsals for his Broadway bow in the upcoming revival of Promises, Promises, the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical based on the Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Hayes is playing the role originated by Jerry Orbach, another legit leading man who later became far more famous for his TV work on Law & Order. And Hayes’ leading lady is Wicked star Kristin Chenowith — best known to American audiences for, you guessed it, her Emmy-winning TV role on Pushing Daisies and her guest stint last season on Glee.

ENRIGHT: Giller juror

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Enigmatic music legend Don Francks is set to make one of his rare appearances at Lula’s Lounge on April 15 … renowned Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin makes his Canadian debut here April 24 in the popular Canadian Opera Company production of The Flying Dutchman. Johannes Debus, the COC’s newly-appointed Music Director, will lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus … it’s official: CBC Radio stalwart Michael Enright and novelists Claire Messud and Ali Smith have been elected by Jack Rabinovitch to choose the next Giller Prize winner … Ken Lindsay fans, take note: Your favourite piano man returns to the village  April 1 (no foolin’) to the Fuzion Resto-Lounge on Church Street.  Mark Cassius, formerly of The Nylons, will be on hand to help out with the high notes. Reservations are advised. For more info, click here … and screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) will pen the script for the screen biography of Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi. ESPN Films, an offshoot of the sports cable network, hopes to premiere the film before the 2012 Super Bowl. Robert DeNiro will play Lombardi — but will his Raging Bull guru Martin Scorsese direct? Stay tuned.

Have a great weekend!

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Summer movie sneak previews, The Perez strikes back, and going ga-ga over Lady You-Know-Who

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: Okay, now I get it. Last week I still couldn’t figure out why America has gone ga-ga for Lady GaGa. Then I saw her on the Much Music Video Awards.  Not only does she have all of Madonna’s moves and more, she

GaGa: She's a Lady

GaGa: She's a Lady

also has a big, bold, beautiful voice, slyly obscured by her sexy special FX. Even surrounded by thousands of Sunday night street screamers, this Lady’s megaTalent still came shining through …  my spies tell me that Pam Hyatt, who sparked many a musical revue here, regularly slips into Statler’s on Thursdays to sing a few standards with popular piano man Ken Lindsay. Count me in … good news for Babs Believers: She’s back, with all new tunes. Love Is The Answer, Barbara Streisand’s much-anticipated collaboration with producer Diana Krall (yes, you read that right) is her first new studio album in four years and should be in stores here by the end of September.

THE LAST TIME I SAW PEREZ: Now wouldn’cha know that Perez Hilton would get clocked in Toronto? Maybe the real mystery is howcum nobody took

FERGIE: slagged

FERGIE: slagged

a shot at him before now. He certainly sparkled on the MMVAs in his bit with the Jonas Brothers. Meanwhile, in his 10-minute invective-laced apologia on his own website, he vehemently denies that it just a publicity stunt (“I have 10 million-plus people who visit my website every day! I don’t need press! I don’t need publicity!”) takes time to repeatedly slag Fergie and Will.I.Am, and tearfully decries violence (especially violence enacted upon him) as a solution to anything. “I like writing about other people’s drama,” he admits, but adds, “I don’t want drama in my own life.”

Yup. This from a guy who proudly promotes his feet-of-clay cyber-column as Hollywood’s Most-Hated Web Site.

Still curious? To see/hear his full rant – which truthfully gets pretty ugly at times – click here.

AND YOU THINK YOU HAD A BUSY WEEK? Since Celebrity Apprentice ended last month Joan Rivers says she’s been “busier than Angelina Jolie’s adoption agency.” In the last few weeks Z Rock started its second season on IFC

RIVERS: on the run

RIVERS: on the run

featuring Joan in her recurring role as Aunt Joan (“a name I’m not used to hearing unless ‘can you loan me…’ follows”), she’s been to San Francisco and Reno doing standup, she’s been traveling the country taping her new series How’d You Get So Rich for TV Land (it premieres in the U.S. on August 6th), she’s performed five sold out shows in London at the Southbank Center’s Underbelly Festival— “inside an upside-down inflated purple cow”  —  she finished her big June shows on QVC, she flew off to London for a week (including dinner with HRH Prince Charles & Camilla at Buckingham Palace,) then flew to Toronto (“Air Canada from London was soooo good!” she purrs) to spend last weekend on The Shopping Channel.

She’s also keeping a few other airlines in business. This Thursday she starts a four-night run of stand-up gigs in New York, Mississippi, Colorado and Arizona. And today she’s on The View.

And yes, she’s 75.

So what’s your excuse?

COMING SOON TO A THEATRE NEAR YOU: Summer movies are coming fast and furious, but some of the best bets aren’t always the most obvious ones. Dream cast of the summer has gotta be Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina

FEY: Disney darling

FEY: Disney darling

Fey, Cloris Leachman, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin and Betty White — among others — on deck for Oscar-winner Hayao Miyazaki’s new Disney animation, Ponyo. And speaking of star power,  Leonardo Di Caprio’s fourth outing with director Martin Scorsese appears to be like any of their earlier efforts. Shutter Island is a thriller that evokes the spectre of The Snake Pit, with Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow as the possible (we can’t be sure) bad guys. Entourage Emmy-sweeper Jeremy Piven, a mercurial hit on Broadway last season, is taking another crack at big-screen fame with The Goods, a go-for-it over-the-top comedy with Ving Rhames and James Brolin. And remember the quirky Spike Jonze offering Being John Malkovich, in which John Cusack found a portal into the actor’s head? Sideways star Paul Giamatti goes him one better. In Cold Souls he plays an actor named Paul Giamatti (uh-huh) who has trouble getting his soul back after he agrees to deep freeze it for storage. And no, I’m not making this up.

To sneak preview Ponyo, click here. To sneak preview Shutter Island, click here. To sneak preview The Goods, click here. And to check out soul man Giamatti, click here. And enjoy!

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Bruce goes back to the future, Rachel struts her stuff, and Liz tells us why Bad is so good

KNIGHTLEY: Boulevardier

KNIGHTLEY: Boulevardier

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Big-screen charmers Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell are set to co-star in London Boulevard, for which writer William Monahan (The Departed) will make his debut as a director. Farrell will play the ex-con, just released from prison, who tries to become a handyman; Knightley will play the reclusive actress who hires him … The Marcus Trio — a.k.a. drummer Richard Brown, bass impresario Ian De Souza and guitar maestro Marc Ganetakos — reunite tonight at The Smiling Buddha on College street, for one 11 pm 45-min. set only … also opening tonight, just in time for Gay Pride Week: Fagart, a new exhibiton at the Pentimento Fine Art Gallery on Queen Street East, showcasing artists David Hawe, Patrick Lightheart, Izik Levy, Oscar Wolfman, Bill Pustai, John Rankine, Paul Specht & Geoff Simpson … and it looks like comeback kid Bruce Willis may have another summer hit on his hands with his Matrix-y new thriller Surrogates, now set to open in August. To sneak preview the futuristic thriller, just click here.

ASNER: MTM alumnus

ASNER: MTM alumnus

THEY’RE SO ANIMATED: Three Mary Tyler Moore Show alumni are lending their voices to their other alma mater these days. Disney veterans Cloris Leachman and Betty White both voice roles in the English language version of the new Miyazaki animated feature, Ponyo, due Aug.14. And of course Ed Asner is the lead voice (a.k.a. grumpy old homeowner) in the Disney/Pixar monster hit UP. (Isn’t Asner also set for an on-camera stint with perennial showstopper Cynthia Dale in her upcoming CBC Christmas special? Just askin’ …) Meanwhile Betty is riding high on the rave reviews for her work with Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal, which opens tomorrow, and will be prominently featured in a USA Today profile next week.

McADAMS: hot, hotter, hottest

McADAMS: hot, hotter, hottest

RACHEL, RACHEL:  Is anyone hotter than gorgeously gifted Rachel McAdams? She rocked us in Slings & Arrows, made us go through boxes of Kleenex with The Notebook, followed up with Wedding Crashers, Family Stone and last fall’s TIFF gala The Lucky Ones, and now has two, count ’em , two new blockbusters coming our way. In Sherlock Holmes, the lively new opus from Madonna ex Guy Ritchie, she gets to play games with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. And in the new screen version of the international best-seller The Time Traveler’s Wife, she gets to play wife to Eric Bana‘s enigmatic, ethereal, other-worldly husband. To sample Sherlock Holmes, click here; to preview Rachel’s work as the Time Traveler‘s missus, click here — and enjoy!

GIMME A BREAKING BAD: Legendary New York gossip girl Liz Smith is Annoyed As Hell and isn’t going to take it anymore.

SMITH: 'Bad' girl

SMITH: 'Bad' girl

What’s bugging her? The fact that every time she talks about her favourite show on television, nobody she mentions it to seems to know what she’s talking about.

Liz’s favourite show – which may be the best show we’re not watching – is Breaking Bad, which she rates even higher than her other two favourites, Mad Men and Big Love. “Because I have seldom seen such an engaging, shocking, surprising, violent and adult drama on television,” she says, “I keep touting Breaking Bad as if I am an evangelical TV watcher!”

She says the end of the second season featured happenings “so dramatic, unbelievable and yet unhappily believable that they defy TV expectations.”

Not that the show has gone completely unnoticed.

CRANSTON: 'Bad' guy

CRANSTON: 'Bad' guy

Breaking Bad,” she reports, “won an Emmy for Bryan Cranston as best actor in a drama back in 2007/2008. It won a Peabody during season one. It won an AFI award as one of the top ten shows in 2008. It won a Writer’s Guild Award for Vince Gilligan in 2008. It was a best-edited one-hour series for Lynne Willingham for 2008. And Bryan Cranston won best actor again from the Satellite Awards. And yet none of my high-brow – or even my low-brow – friends seemed to know about this great show!”

She also predicts that the show’s catalyst, young actor Aaron Paul, “will be whatever kind of big-deal acting star that real life and this series intends him to be. He is fabulous.” Paul is apparently stellar in Big Love as well. And were he in

PAUL: 'Breaking' talent

PAUL: 'Breaking' talent

a feature film, she says, “he’d already have been nominated for an Academy Award.”

Wow.

What should we do, Liz?

“I am hoping you’ll now go to your local store and buy the DVDs of the first season episodes. Or go to the trouble to download seasons one and two from iTunes. Maybe you don’t have to find seasons one and two and can just join the fray with season three, but, ye gods, you’ll be missing two seasons of the best TV I’ve ever seen. If it were a movie,” she adds, “I’d compare it to Chinatown. Only it is even better than that!”

Are you getting the feeling that Liz is very keen on this series?

Me too.  Can’t wait to sample it.

P.S. FYI: Episodes of Breaking Bad are now available on Rogers On Demand.

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Gimme a break!

Oh wait, I just had one.

I know, I know, I promised you (and me) a daily column, uhhh, blog, Monday thru Friday and then some.

Never did figure out when spring break was supposed to end.

Okay. My bad.

I sorta promise to never do it again.

And meanwhile, back on the ranch:

 

OUR TOWN: What a way to start the New Year! Theatre Passe Muraille will host the world premiere of Judith Thompson’s new play, Such Creatures, in

POLLEY: presenting

POLLEY: presenting

January 2010 … presenters set to assist 22 Minutes scene-stealer Geri Hall when she hosts the 2009 WGC Screenwriting Awards next week include Yannick Bisson (Murdoch Mysteries), Sarah Polley (Away from Her,) Tara Spencer-Nairn (Corner Gas), and Jennifer Podemski (Moccasin Flats.) Host Hall and 22 Minutes scribe Kyle Tingley will script the annual Writers Guild of Canada awards giveaway … and don’t say I didn’t warn you. Tickets are already selling briskly for the Toronto filmfest’s phenomenally popular annual children’s filmfest, Sprockets, which opens this Saturday April 18.

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PEOPLE: Veteran camera-huggers Kathleen Turner and Peter Gallagher are set to join the cast of David Duchovnys hit Showtime series, CalifornicationWill Arnett has signed on to star  in a comic book -inspired Wild West saga, Jonah Hex, with Hollywood heartthrob-du-jour Josh Brolin 

JACK & MARGARET: odd couple

JACK & MARGARET: odd couple

… director Kari Scogland was reportedly delighted by the reception for her film Fifty Dead Men Walking in Belfast last week. The controversial drama, which premiered here last September at the Toronto film festival, has just opened across the UK … ’70s gay porn icon and cabaret producer Jack Wrangler died last week of emphysema. Wrangler, 62, is survived by his 84-year-old wife, esteemed pop music legend Margaret Whiting, in what was one of Hollywood’s most fascinating romances … and Giancarlo Esposito will jet in this week for the Wednesday night premiere of his directorial debut, Gospel Hill, at Tonya Lee Williams’ 9th Annual ReelWorld Film Festival at the Scotiabank Theatre. Esposito’s film, the fest’s opening night Gala, stars Danny Glover, Angela Bassett, Julia Stiles, Samuel L. Jackson and Taylor Kitsch.

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BILLY BOB BLUES: By now most of the free world has viewed Jian Ghomeshis quixotic interview with reluctant movie star Billy Bob Thornton on CBC Radio’s Q.  Can’t say I feel sorry for Jian, because he stick-handled Billy Bob brilliantly. Can’t say I feel sorry for Billy Bob, because his arrogance clearly

THORNTON: Transplanted Texan?

THORNTON: Transplanted Texan?

exceeds his talent. But I do feel sorry for his Boxmaster band-mates. Talk about being hung out to dry! … and although Thornton is in no imminent danger of receiving honourary Canadian citizenship, Texas-born Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith used to joke that if you even visited Texas, that was good enough for the Texas Film Hall of Fame to adopt you. Which is how Arkansas native Billy Bob became an official Texan recently, receiving the Tom Mix Honorary Texan Award from the Film Society. When Dennis Quaid introduced him a native “of Northeast Texas – that is, Hot Springs, Arkansas,” Billy Bob quickly reminded him that he once lived in Austin, Texas.  Which apparently was good enough for the Film Society. (Other ‘Texans’ honoured this year along with Billy Bob were Larry Hagman, born in Fort Worth, Texas, and Powers Boothe, a Texas State University graduate and native of Snyder, Texas.)

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LITERATI:  Giller Prize winner Wayson Choy is out promoting his new heart-stopping (literally!) bestseller, Not Yet … ditto Mark Breslin and his

LEACHMAN: telling tales

LEACHMAN: telling tales

Confessions of a Porn Addict, not to mention his new audio book on Canadian stand-up comedy….  gee, she’s going to Parliament after all! Green Party leader Elizabeth May launches her new book, perhaps too aptly titled Losing Confidence, on April 26 in Ottawa at, wait for it, the Parliament Pub … also out there telling tales: Fabled Oscar, Emmy & Golden Globe legend Cloris Leachman, who collaborated with her favourite ex-husband, producer George Englund (she married and divorced him twice) on Cloris: My Autobiography … and Deepak Chopra is set to wing into our town this month to promote his new tome Why Is God Laughing? on April 27 at Roy Thomson Hall. (Gee, I dunno, Deepak – maybe He’s a fan of Billy Bob Thornton??)

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SEE/HEAR:  His episode with mayor Hazel McCallion was a big hit with Canadians this season, but Rick Mercer’s Mississauga mischief is now a bonafide viral sensation in the U.S., with almost a million hits (at last count) on YouTube alone. To see what all the fuss is about, or just to finish reading this column with a smile, just click here.

See you tomorrow.