Tag Archives: DON HARRON

Coco & Heath at Cannes, Mel Brooks in Berlin, plus 101 things you didn’t know about Ms Green Gables

CUCKOO FOR COCO: It’s definitely the year of Chanel.  First Shirley MacLaine stars as the legendary French designer in the hit Lifetime mini-series

MACLAINE: as Coco

MACLAINE: as Coco

Coco Chanel …  then Audrey Tatou (Amelie, The DaVinci Code) stars as the young Gabrielle in Anne Fontaine’s new feature, Coco Before Chanel. (A poster for the film showing Tatou, as Chanel, smoking a cigarette, was actually banned by the ever-politically correct Parisian authorities. Never mind – Tatou has been named as the new face of the Chanel No.5 perfume, taking over from Nicole Kidman.) And closing night at Cannes is reserved for Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky, with Anna Mougalis as the designer, trying to cope with her passionate affair with the Russian composer, pianist and conductor in 1920.

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FLICKERS: Dreamworks’ laugh-making megahit Kung Fu Panda is set to make its second debut as an animated weekly TV series next year … HBO’s $200M

LEDGER: last film

LEDGER: last film

World War II miniseries The Pacific, set to air next season, has already been sold into most major markets, including the UK, Germany, Canada and France … inspired by the box office returns from the unexpected hit He’s Just Not That Into You, Warner Bros. is preparing a new romantic comedy for next Valentine’s Day called, you guessed it, Valentine’s Day.  Director Garry Marshall is currently wooing the aforementioned Ms. Maclaine plus Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway,

ROBERTS: Valentine?

ROBERTS: Valentine?

 

Jennifer Garner, Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Bradley Cooper and Ashton Kutcher, among others, but admits the film is still more a negotiation than a movie. Still, sounds like fun … and Heath Ledger’s last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, premieres out of competition tonight at Cannes. Ledger’s character is also played by Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell, who helped director Terry Gilliam complete his film.

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FOOTLIGHTS:  Think you know everything about Anne Of Green Gables? Don Harron is betting you’re wrong. Harron’s new book, 101 Things You Didn’t Know About  Anne Of Green Gables: The Musical is a bright new addition to

BROOKS: Berlin (and not Irving)

BROOKS: Berlin (and not Irving)

Green Gables lore. Adds Harron, who co-wrote the legendary Canuck musical with Norman Campbell: “This is my first book in English!” Well, the Queen’s English, maybe. Up to now his most celebrated literary ventures have been penned by his inimitably eloquent alter-ego, hapless Hee Haw hero Charlie Farquharson …  plans for a Broadway transfer of the Kennedy Center production of Ragtime are moving ahead. The new $4M production, considerably less lavish than the Garth Drabinsky original, won rave reviews when it opened in Washington D.C. last month … and just when you thought you’d seen it all, the blockbuster  musical version of Mel Brooks’ The Producers, which premiered in Moscow earlier this month, has finally opened in Berlin, eight years after it conquered Broadway. It’s booked for a two-month run at the Admiralspalast, where Adolf Hitler liked enjoyed light operettas from the Führer’s box. And yes, it appears to be a hit, despite some media reservations. “Should one be allowed to laugh about Hitler?” asked the Berliner Morgenpost.  Answered The Berliner Zeitung:  “People in Tel Aviv laughed.”  ‘nuff said. 

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HAVING A TIFF:  Toronto Star film critic Peter Howell always find some quirky stuff to relate in his engaging daily video reports from Cannes. Yesterday he showed us a full-page ad for TIFF – the Toronto International Film Festival. Then he showed us another a full-page ad for TIFF – the Tokyo International Film Festival. And then he showed us another a full-page ad for TIFF – the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. But hey, wot’s in a name, right? Meanwhile, you can check out Howell’s entertaining filmfest vlogs right here.

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DOORS-OPEN CBC: Our perpetually beleaguered public broadcaster – the one owned by us, not the government – joins in this weekend’s Doors Open

McLEAN: on view

McLEAN: On view

Toronto festivities by inviting us to visit The Broadcast Centre (at Front & John, opposite the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the Rogers Centre) for studio tours, demonstrations and celebrity-spotting tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is your chance to meet cast members from The Border, Dragons’ Den, Little Mosque on the Prairie and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, many of the hosts from CBC news, current affairs, and sports programs, and such CBC Radio icons as Stuart McLean.

Insider Tip: Best time for star-gazing is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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Can you spell O-r-d-e-r Tickets N-o-w?

One of the year’s most star-laden events is exactly one month away – and you’re invited to bring your camera.

BEKER: H-o-s-t-i-n-g

BEKER: H-o-s-t-i-n-g

Everyone’s fave fashionista Jeanne Beker and her steady fella Barry Flatman will host the fifth annual Scrabble® With The Stars, the annual showbiz fund-raiser for Toronto’s Performing Arts Lodge (a.k.a. PAL) is set for April 6, 2009 at The Suites at 1 King West, with more than 40 stage, screen and literary celebs participating.

Public relations pro Vivienne Muhling, a primary PAL booster, devised the all-star evening five years ago, luring star-gazers and Scrabble fans alike by promising AND delivering a star at every table. So while patrons rub shoulders and match wits with some of Canada’s premiere sparklies, this year’s proceeds will fund the first steps towards providing assisted living for those PAL residents who are no longer well enough to fully care for themselves.

SHAIKH: Scrabbler

SHAIKH: Scrabbler

This year’s all-star cast of Scrabble players include – are you ready? — Jaymz Bee, Mark Breslin, Dave Broadfoot, Michael Burgess, Dinah Christie, Jayne Eastwood, Don Harron, Peter Kent, Colin Mochrie, Marilyn Lightstone, Gordon Pinsent, Leah Pinsent, Paul Quarrington, Jackie Richardson, Dione Taylor, R.H. Thomson, Teresa Tova and Little Mosque On The Prairie stars Sheila McCarthy, Zaib Shaikh and Deb McGrath, with more marquee names to be announced momentarily.

And no, you don’t have to mortgage your condo to pay for it. Single Gala tickets, which include the cocktail reception, buffet dinner AND Scrabbling with a Star, are only $125 each, and come with a tax receipt (!!) for the maximum amount allowable. Which is why this event tends to sell out fast. So don’t take too long to think it over. Call 416-777-9674 or go to www.scrabblewiththestars.ca, but don’t let this one get away.

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NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ:  Crowd-pleaser Ron James returns to Toronto to bring his Mental As Anything tour to the Winter Garden – but he’s here for six nights only, March 26-28 and April 2-4. So don’t say I didn’t warn you …

KAIN: Casting calls

KAIN: Casting calls

best showbiz name I’ve heard this week: Underoath,  the Tampa-based heavy metal band who kick off their Canadian tour tomorrow night in Vancouver. Opening for the group: Norma Jean and Innerpartysystem, (I guess Sam Butera & The Witnesses weren’t available) … and although she’s clearly brilliant at nurturing show-stopping dancers, National Ballet chief Karen Kain is no slouch when it comes to off-stage casting either. Hosts for her series of Ballet Talks at the Four Seasons Centre For The Arts — those popular informal chats that begin 45 minutes before every show—for her current Innovation evenings are renowned dance critics Clement Crisp from the Financial Times in London and Michael Crabb from the National Post. And the host for the upcoming Romeo & Juliet ballet talks will be ex-Romeo Rex Harrington.

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MEANWHILE, BACK AT THE RANCH: Former CBC broadcaster Avril Benoît is now working for Médecins Sans Frontières Canada as the director of communications.  

BARRIE: Returning

BARRIE: Returning

Recently interviewed on Dispatches from Dungu, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, she said the United Nations is failing the people there. “The UN peacekeeping force with amandate to protect is not protecting,” Benoit said flatly. “There’s no one protecting them!”… CBC ear candy Andrew Craig joins Mike Downes, Anthony Michelli and David Mott in a jazz quartet for Canada’s first jazz oratorio, Creation, written and composed by acclaimed saxophonist David Mott. World premiere is set for May 3 at Mississauga’s Living Arts Centre. Also sharing the stage, which features photographs taken in space by astronaut and longtime Mott fan Steve MacLean: The 60+ voice Mississauga Choral Society and guest soloists Kathryn Domoney, Adi Braun, Martin Houtman, and Giles Tomkins … and much to the delight of his legions of fans, Andy Barrie is set to return to CBC Radio on Monday morning.