Tag Archives: DOLLY PARTON

Lifetime grows black Magnolias, Israel sparks MIPtv sales, Nancy’s just Foolin’ and the Junos get Feist-y

LATIFAH: steel lady

FLICKERS: Dynamic leading ladies Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard and Phylicia Rashad have signed on for Lifetime‘s all-black remake of Steel Magnolias, taking over the roles originally played by Dolly Parton, Shirley MacLaine and Sally Field.No word yet as to who will  be cast in the Olympia Dukakis and Julia Roberts roles …  looking for some laughs this weekend? Servitude is the first film to be developed and workshopped through the Telefilm Canada Features Comedy Lab, the CFC Film Program in collaboration with Just For Laughs, and it opens today with a stellar cast — Joe DinicolJohn BregarLinda Kash, Lauren CollinsAaron AshmoreEnrico Colantoni, Margot

DINICOL: in service

Kidder, and Dave Foley.  Directed by Warren P. Sonada and written by co-producer Michael Sparaga, it looks like a lot of fun … left-wing heroine Jane Fonda will remind us what a good actress she is when she plays right-wing Republican former first lady Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  An Oscar nominee for directing Precious, Daniels describes The Butler as a sprawling historical drama that centers on Eugene Allen, a black man who worked as butler in the White House under eight presidents. Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker is slated to play Allen, and insiders say ardent Daniels supporter Oprah Winfrey may play one of the many supporting roles …and Marcelle Lean‘s 15th Cinefranco filmfest wraps up this weekend at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Hot titles include Ma Part Du Gateau/My Piece Of The Pie, one of

SUTHERLAND: worldwide

the films celebrated on last month’s 12th Floating Film Festival, and L’Art D’Aimer/The Art Of Love. For Cinefranco program notes click here.

BRAVE NEW WORLDS: Did you see the premiere of Kiefer Sutherland’s new series Touch last week on Global? If you did, you had plenty of company. Touch premiered almost simultaneously in 100 countries and territories. In the U.S. it screened on Fox; in Germany, on ProSieben; in Russia, on Channel One. New-world executive thinking indicates that the worldwide premiere signifies a new way of doing business that attracts multinational advertisers (Unilever is a sponsor of the series around the world) and attacks online piracy … also making history: the Adam Beach series Arctic

BEACH: hit series

Air, which averaged almost a million viewers a week in its debut season, the largest audience to follow the first season of a CBC Television drama series in 15 years.  Other CBC shows more than one million viewers weekly include Dragons’ Den, Republic Of Doyle and The Rick Mercer Report. So somebody must be doing something right … Israeli TV formats may prove to be the big buzz at this year’s MIPtv. The annual international television convention opens Sunday in Cannes with a red carpet gala screening of Julian FellowesTitanic, already sold in 86 countries, but it’s the shows from Israel sparking the most interest. HBO‘s In Treatment and Showtime‘s Homeland are both based on hit Israeli TV series. Another Israeli series, The Naked Truth,  a suspense thriller set entirely in an interrogation room, has already been picked up by HBO

WHITE: April Foolin'

for an American remake, and NBC has ordered a pilot called Midnight Sun, based on the Israeli show Pillars of Smoke, about a female FBI agent who uncovers a conspiracy. Other hot prospects at next-week’s four-day marathon in the south of France: Mr. Selfridge, a period drama about the life of the flamboyant founder of the London department story; Tom Fontana‘s Copper, about a police officer in 1860s New York City; the psychological thriller Hemlock Grove, already snapped up by Netflix; the period mini-series Madame Tussauds; dramatic series Hannibal, already sold to NBC; World Without End, a follow-up mini-series to Pillars Of The Earth; and Sinbad, BBC’s update on the tale of the

FEIST: Junos telecast

8th century swashbuckler who battles monsters and visits magical places.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Music man Jack de Keyser strums his stuff tomorrow night at Simcoe Jazz & Blues in Oshawa … perennial crowd-pleaser Nancy White headlines the April Fool’s Matinee this weekend at the trendy Green Door cabaret with pianist Bob Johnston, percussionist Marsha Coffey and singers Ghislain Aucoin, Suzy Wilde, Barb Johnston, Maddy Wilde, Eddy Be, Stella Walker, Bridget Carter-Whitney, Mavis Lyons and Mike O’Hara. “Do not be frightened by the number of singers and the fact that the show is on a Sunday,”

McLACHLAN: singing Sunday

adds the irreepressible Ms. Walker. “No gospel music will be presented. That is our pledge to you.” Showtime is 3 pm  this Sunday April 1, For ticket info click hereMaggie Cassella hosts her own April 1 send-up, Liar Liar Pants On Fire, Sunday night at The Flying Beaver Pubaret. “It’s an April Fools Day event where YOU get up on stage and tell a whopper of a story. The audience votes on weather they think it’s true or false. If you fool them you win a prize!” … and now that deadmau5 and Madonna have called a truce, his fans can see him on Sunday night’s Juno Awards telecast on CTV. Also set to rock the premises: Blue Rodeo, City and Colour, Feist, Hedley, Hey Rosetta!, K’NAAN, Lights, MC Flipside, Nickelback, Sarah McLachlan, and Simple Plan.

Happy weekend!

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Jian gets Matt, Rama gets Tony, Much gets David, TIFF gets Sarah (AND Julie!) & Anne walks the Walk

OUR TOWN: Still the biggest draw in the history of CBC Radio, Jian Ghomeshi and Q return for a new season this morning with special guest

DAMON: on 'Q' this morning

DAMON: on 'Q' this morning

Matt Damon. Damon, in town for the TIFF screening of his new flick The Informant, has now been named the recipient of the American Cinemateque Award next March, following in the footsteps of previous honourees Julia Roberts and Samuel A. Jackson … French DJ David Guetta, who rocked the Guvernment on Sunday night, is scheduled to greet fans at MuchMusic today. His new CD One Love debuted here at #2 … don’t look for Tony Bennett at the opening of TIFF on Thursday. He’ll be serenading fans at Casino Rama …  sidewalk star owner Anne Murray returns to King Street this weekend to host Blue Rodeo, Kim Cattrall, Tom Cochrane, Howie Mandel and Robert Munsch, among

BENNETT: Barrie-bound

BENNETT: Barrie-bound

others, at the 12th annual Canada’s Walk of Fame Tribute … speaking of veteran music-makers, Loggins & Messina are set to play Fallsview Casino this coming Friday and Saturday nights. Slightly closer to home, The Smothers Brothers play Casino Rama on Friday followed by Black Crowes on Saturday … terminally gorgeous Cheryl Tiegs brightened Breakfast Television this morning in City TV’s new digs at Yonge-Dundas Square … keep wishing you could go on one of those sensational tours of Ontario wine country? Me too. Especially when I learned that more than 90 (!!) Ontario wines will be available for sampling next week at Taste Ontario, a one-night-only event at the Art Gallery Of Ontario: “Tour the best of wine country for only $45!” Hey, I’d love to! … but alas, it’s all sold out.

MS. SOMEBODY: We loved her work as a writer and director on Away From Her, but we must admit we’re really looking forward to seeing her on

POLLEY: on screen again in Mr Nobody

POLLEY: on screen again in Mr Nobody

screen again. Sarah Polley, who seems to get better and better each time we see her, co-stars with Jared Leto, Diane Kruger and Linh-Dan Pham in Mr. Nobody, a new TIFF entry by much-admired Belgian director Jaco Van Dormael. Insiders whisper you should add it to your Must List right now … meanwhile Polley’s Oscar-nominated Away From Her leading lady, iconic British beauty Julie Christie, also co-stars in a new Special Presentation film: Glorious 39, from director Stephen Poliakoff … and TIFF-bound filmmaker Joe Dante, currently on jury duty at the Venice Film Festival, will wing his way

CHRISTIE: Polley protegee (AP)

CHRISTIE: Polley protegee (AP)

here in time to introduce his new film The Hole as well as a special TIFF screening of the W.C. Fields classic It’s A Gift.

WILL ‘CATCH ME’ CATCH ON?: In the Good Ol’ Bad Ol’ Days, gentle reader, Hollywood took big Broadway musicals and turned them into lavish movie musicals. Now Broadway takes movies like Hairspray and Billy Elliott and turns them into lavish stage musicals. Latest casualty is Dolly Parton’s tuneful 9 to 5, which closed Saturday night. Newest pretender about to open on the Great White Way? The musical version of Catch Me If You Can, the hit Steven Spielberg drama with Leonardo DiCaprio as a compulsive but irresistible

DICAPRIO: with foxy flight attendants in Catch Me If You Can

DICAPRIO: with foxy flight attendants in Catch Me If You Can

impostor. Leo is not, I repeat, not repeating his role on Broadway. But with a book by Terrence McNally (The Full Monty) and music and lyrics by Hairspray duo Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman, the show is already creating some boxoffice sizzle.

Still to come in the new year: Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in The Addams Family, and the $40 million musical extravaganza Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, directed by Julie Taymor.

TOMORROW:

new films for Leo,  Zach and Charlize — and 13 Essential directors

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Has Farrell one-upped Clooney? Will Atwood play the Cathedral? Hello again, and here we go again!

Is there a quiet competition going on between big-screen stars about who has the most movies in next week’s 34th Toronto International Film Festival? Just

CLOONEY: two for the show

CLOONEY: two for the show

wondering. By my count TIFF veteran Colin Farrell (Triage, Ondine, The Imaginarium Of Dr Parnassus) has a one-flick lead over fellow filmfest vet George Clooney (The Men Who Stare At Goats, Up In The Air)Jude Law brings his Hamlet to Broadway on October Oct 6, after almost five weeks of previews starting Sept. 12. But you can catch Jude at TIFF even sooner as one of Heath Ledger’s ‘seconds’ in the aforementioned Terry Gilliam epic The Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus … and look for some sparks when West Wing alumnus Allison Janney, currently singing and dancing up a storm on Broadway in Dolly Parton’s musical version of 9 to 5, plays the estranged wife of a pedophile (Ciaran Hinds) in Life During Wartime. And no, this one is definitely not a musical.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR: She’s more force of nature than novelist, which is why Margaret Atwood is in England today opening this year’s Manchester

ATWOOD: "unprecedented"

ATWOOD: "unprecedented"

Literature Festival with a unique performance event inspired by her new novel The Year of the Flood. Atwood, script in hand, will be front and centre tonight  at Manchester Cathedral with two celebrated Samanthas – Samantha Giles (Bernice Thomas in Emmerdale) and Samantha Siddall (Mandy Maguire in Shameless) – and singers from a number of prestigious Manchester community choirs. Atwood’s lucky 13th novel, Year Of The Flood tells the story of God’s Gardeners, a religion devoted to the preservation of all species. 

The Gardeners have long predicted a waterless flood which arrives in the form of a global pandemic obliterating most of human life. Will the human race make it? And, more to the point, should it?

REYNOLDS: going Green

REYNOLDS: going Green

Atwood has also created a new interactive website for the book where you can do everything from buying Flood tee-shirts to ordering tickets to Flood performance events in cities across the world (she’s in London tomorrow and Thursday.) And McClelland & Stewart fiction guru Ellen Seligman says Atwood’s 70-minute dramatic reading with music, directed by stellar stage master Alisa Palmer, is “unprecedented” in the annals of publishing.

I’ll say! Her international tour includes six Canadian stops, including St. James’ Cathedral on Church St. on Sept. 24, two days after the novel officially goes on sale. Tickets are only $10 and proceeds go to Nature Canada. And you can get ‘em right now at the Harbourfront Box Office or order ‘em online just by clicking here.

FLICKERS: The 67th Venice Film Festival kicks off tomorrow with 23 films – yeah, it’s a few hundred films smaller than Toronto’s annual movie marathon  —

EFRON: new role

EFRON: new role

including such TIFF-bound titles as Michael Moore’s newest opus, Capitalism: A Love Story, Todd Solondz’ Life During Wartime, 
and Werner Herzog’s remake of The Bad Lieutenant with Nicolas Cage. Ex-Rocky Balboa Sylvester Stallone will be the Guest Of Honour when jury chair Ang Lee announces the winner of this year’s Golden Lion on Saturday Sept. 12, by which time TIFF will be well underway … Amanda Crew will romance Zac Efron in his new project Charlie St. Cloud … Canadian heartthrob Ryan Reynolds will be a new screen superhero to reckon with when he stars in Green Lantern … and in the same comic book vein, Natalie Portman will play the love interest of Norse hero Thor (Chris Hemsworth) for director Kenneth Branagh (yeah, that could be the reason she’s doing it.)

TOMORROW:

Reunions to watch for at TIFF —

and Ms Streisand meets Ms Krall.

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Ms Vardalos gets her Greek god, Ms Murray teaches us a lesson, and Ms Fonda twitters at the Tonys

MEET MR. GORGEOUS: We don’t know him over here, but Nia Vardalos’ leading man in My Life In Ruins, Alexis Georgoulis, is apparently the George Clooney of Greece. After audience reaction to him at the first sneak previews,

VARDALOS & GEORGOULIS: Mr. Gorgeous?

VARDALOS & GEORGOULIS: Mr. Gorgeous?

 the U.S. press has started calling him Alex Gorgeous. “Which I think is apropos,” Vardalos told wowOwow web writer Kristin Fritz. “One reviewer said, because apparently I have an every-woman look, and I have this gorgeous, Greek god as my male lead, the reviewer basically said, ‘Who do you think you are?’ And I’m like, umm, hi. No one. I’m just an every-woman. And in the same way that Seth Rogen gets Katherine Heigl in Knocked Up, and Paul Giamatti gets Virginia Madsen in Sideways, yes, my character gets the Greek god in this one.”

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “At a very young age I learned from my parents to have respect for all people no matter what race, religion or station in life. Respect takes on many forms. Respect is being on time: your time is no more important than others. Respect is being prepared: people are relying on you. Respect is treating everyone with dignity. The janitor, the gardener, the CEO should all be acknowledged and appreciated for the jobs they do. My father taught me to always stand up when being introduced to someone. When you shake his hand, look him in the eye. Take time; remember his name; make him feel special.”

MURRAY: wise wotds

MURRAY: wise words

The speaker? Supersongstress Anne Murray, to graduating students at the  University of Prince Edward Island. Murray, whose hit Music Of My Life special encored last weekend on CBC Television, is currently putting the final touches on her memoirs for October publication. But she’ll still be spending most of the summer in Nova Scotia and looks forward to greeting her legions of fans on July 25 for 20th anniversary celebrations of the Anne Murray Centre in Springhill.

EVERY LITTLE MOVEMENT:  New showbiz sport is trying to spot Twitterbugs at major theatrical openings. Did you notice that Jane Fonda was all a-Twitter at the Tony Awards two nights ago? Fonda has just returned from a trip

FONDA: Tony Twitterer

FONDA: Tony Twitterer

to the Galapagos with a group that included Angela Lansbury’s nephew David Lansbury. When David’s aunt won her fifth Tony, as Best Featured Actress for Blithe Spirit, Fonda noted, “as usual, she was graciousness incarnate.”  But she admitted she was as surprised as we were when Next To Normal “won best new score, beating Elton and Dolly. I haven’t seen it — yet.” Fonda and her fellow nominees were also enlisted as impromptu extras: “We’ve just all been handed throw-away lighters, I guess to light up during an upcoming Rock of Ages number,” she reported.  When the cast of Hair danced into the orchestra seats, she said, one of them landed in the lap of her pal and fellow nominee Janet McTeer. “This number from Hair really makes me wanna see it,” she added. After she lost the best actress prize to Marcia Gay Harden, Fonda was still sanguine. “For me it felt like a prize just getting to this. Janet McTeer and I will now go have some vodkas with impunity.” And after Hair won Best Musical Revival, Fonda footnoted, “I swear, half the audience is up there to accept the Tony!”

 

SPACEY: Tony talk

SPACEY: Tony talk

Yeah, there did seem to be a lot of that going on. Meanwhile, unless you were in a musical, you could hardly get arrested on this year’s unfortunate televised event. Mind you, Poison rocker Bret Michael came pretty close when he got bonked by the descending backdrop and ended up with a broken nose. Quipped Juno screenwriter Diablo Cody: “I’m concerned about Bret Michaels’ fractured nose. An acute sense of smell is essential to his dating process.” Meanwhile, stage & screen lion Kevin Spacey told New York Post scribe Michael Riedel he thinks the Tonys should be taken over by PBS, directed by Broadway veteran Mike Nichols and given the formality and inclusiveness that the theater deserves.

Dunno who would pick up the tab, but it sounds like a darn good idea to me.  

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Sandra & Ryan switch bait (and nationalities,) Kirstie gets a crush, Maggie hosts a Buddies bash, and Joan hits off-Broadway with a drag band

I’VE GOT A CRUSH ON YOU: Twitterbug Kirstie Alley admittedly gets crushes like crazy. Two weeks ago it was Jamie Foxx. Her new swoon? Violinist David Garrett. “Mr. Foxx is on the back burner today,” she confided last week

GARRETT: Kirstie crush

GARRETT: Kirstie crush

to her more than 40,000 Twitter followers. “Hottie violin player on front burner … boiling …” But she’s also an ardent admirer one of television’s true Golden Girls, Mary Tyler Moore alumnus Betty White. “I want to be Betty White when I grow up,” Kirstie insists. “I love her!” … which reminds me, Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds clearly had a lot of fun shooting their new romantic comedy The Proposal, and it shows. The plot involves a transplanted Canadian boss who forces an American underling into a marriage to avoid being deported from the U.S. The inside joke is, Hollywood screen queen Bullock plays the Canadian boss and Canadian heartthrob Reynolds plays her harassed American assistant. Funnier still is the ‘secret’ out-take they manufactured to promote the movie on Will Ferrell’s 

WHITE: friction causer?

WHITE: friction causer?

Funny Or Die website, in which they both royally send themselves up as spoiled movie stars. Why did Kirstie’s crush on Betty White remind me of Sandra & Ryan? Because Betty is the cause of the fictitious friction between the two stars on the set in their sly rehearsed romp for Ferrell fanatics. To see for yourself, just click here.

GUESS YOU HAD TO BE THERE:  Okay, last night was not the Tony’s finest hour. Granted all the stars gathered at Radio City Music Hall seemed to love that overblown  musical opener, but despite Elton, Dolly and Liza it was mostly a train wreck on television. Camera direction was disastrous most of the night, as were persistent audio problems. New musicals were well represented but new dramas were given alarmningly short shrift

What was good about it? The Tony win for David Alvarez, Trent Kowalik and Kiril Kulish, who continue to make Billy Elliot, The Musical the ongoing talk of the town. And, as predicted here Friday, Tony host Neil Patrick Harris’ clever closing number was almost worth wading through the three (!!!) hours preceding it, which he so masterfully sent up.  And despite this flawed smorgasbord showcase,   I can’t wait to get back to Broadway to see some of these great shows. George & Ira Gershwin wrote, I like New York in June / how about you?  Over the years I’ve been there every month of the calendar year, and still can’t find a time or a season when I don’t love New York. So take a few days to lick your wounds, Tony TV producers, and then go back to the drawing board and fix it. And in just case you’ve forgotten: Yes You Can.

CASSELLA: Vent-ing

CASSELLA: Vent-ing

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Gorgeous Natalie Portman makes her directorial and writing debut behind the camera directing Lauren Bacall, Olivia Thirlby and Ben Gazzara in Eve, one of the ‘hot tickets’ for the Canadian Film Centre’s upcoming Worldwide Short Film Festival June 16-21. For more info on the WSSS line-up, click here …  Tragically Hip icon Gord Downie narrates Mongrel Media’s dazzling new doc, Waterlife, about the future of the Great Lakes, a gift enjoyed by 35 million North Americans that may not be able to continue giving if we don’t change our corporate ways. Want a sneak preview? Click hereMaggie Cassella’s much-anticipated new series The Vent premieres June 28 on Out TV and on the web at http://www.getoutthevent.com. La Cassella will host a Vent launch party – an

RIVERS: stand up

RIVERS: stand up

official Gay Pride event — on Sunday June 21 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and will preview the series’ first episode, Celebutantes, at the party. Sounds like fun … and speaking of Pride, Joan Rivers, who championed AIDS victims and fund-raised for research long before it became fashionable to do so, is set to do two shows on Thursday June 25 at off-Broadway’s Gramercy Theater, at East 23rd Street and Lexington Avenue, timed to coincide with New York City’s annual Gay Pride Week. The historic venue had been transformed into an intimate nightclub for Rivers’ show, with cabaret tables in the orchestra section, a full bar and waiter service. Her opening act? Rising indie drag band She-Dick. (And no, I’m not making that up.) Tickets are $25-$125 with net proceeds going to Rivers’ favorite charities: God’s Love We Deliver and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

TOMORROW:  Catching up with Anne Murray.

Will U.S. nets buy Intelligence? Will lightning strike twice for Jennifer? … and other burning questions

OUR TOWN: Theatre Museum Canada opened a new exhibit Monday night at Hart House. REVIVAL: Remembering Theatre in Canada, curated by University of Toronto Museum Studies Masters student Alison Littleuses artifacts from

BAICHWAL: lightning bug?

BAICHWAL: lightning bug?

the Museum’s permanent collection to highlight performances, productions and personal memories. The exhibit is on view at Hart House at the Macdonald Heaslip Walkway of Theatre History, which is now designated as a year-round display space for Theatre Museum treasures … The Alliance of Children & Television, which celebrates its 35th (!!!) anniversary this year, will hand out 13 Awards Of Excellence to different Canadian production companies at its anniversary gala in Toronto on June 2 … and award-magnet Manufactured Landscapes director Jennifer Baichwal’s new doc Act Of God, about being struck by lightning, premieres tonight as the 2009 Hot Docs festival opener tonight before opening wide tomorrow.

JANNEY: playing Lily's part

JANNEY: playing Lily's part

FOOTLIGHTS:: Two major Broadway shows open tonight:  John Goodman and Nathan Lane start in Waiting for Godot at Studio 54 Theater; and Dolly Parton‘s musical version of her  movie hit 9 to 5, opens at the Marriott Marquis with Stephanie J. Block (The Boy From Oz,) Megan Hilty (Wicked) and West Wing alumnus Allison Janney in the roles originally played on screen by Jane Fonda, Dolly and Lily Tomlin   … also coming soon to the Great White Way: In two contrasted readings for the stage, playwright David Hare visits a place where a famous wall has come down (Berlin,) then another where a wall is going up (Israel.) Direct from an extended hit run in London, Berlin/Wall, written and performed by Hare and directed by Stephen Daldry, will have its U.S. premiere May 14-17 with a five performances at the Public Theatre … and off the-barre performances by Tokyo dance artist Ko Murobushi, Seoul’s Post Ego Dance Company and Vancouver father and daughter team Mira Hunter and Raqib Brian Burke are among the treats promised by the 2009 CanAsian International Dance Festival at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre May 6-9.

INTELLIGENCE: going south?

INTELLIGENCE: going south?

PEOPLE:  Writer-producer Chris Haddock (DaVinci’s Inquest) is refashioning his acclaimed CBC series Intelligence for American audiences. His retooled version is set in San Francisco, and U.S. producer John Wells (ER, Southland), is shopping it to U.S. cable networks. “I never give up,” Haddock told the New York Times. “I believe that everything can be understood through the lens of a dope deal” … and Slow Food pioneer, Italian author and recipient of the Planet in Focus International Eco Hero Award last fall, Carlo Petrini is in Toronto for a number of events including a public talk co-presented by Planet in Focus and the Italian Cultural Institute. An Evening of Conversation with Carlo Petrini, moderated by Harriet Friedmann of the Munk Centre on International Affairs, is set for this Saturday at 7pm at the Al Green Theatre.