Tag Archives: HELEN MIRREN

FOD keeps us laughing with The Hungover Games, and Meg Tilly returns to the stage in little ol’ T.O.

FUNNY OR DIE:  On Monday I told you about the new Rob Reiner-Billy Crystal sequel to When Harry Met Sally with Helen Mirren in a key romantic role. The whole thing was a gag dreamed up by Rob and Billy for Will

MIRREN: make-believe with Billy

Ferrell’s startlingly successful comedy website Funny or Die, as you could tell almost immediately after you clicked on the sneak preview. Award-laden actress Mirren, who rarely get the chance to play comedy, was clearly up for her assignment, and watching Rob and Billy’s meetings with young, trend-happy “studio executives” is priceless. If you missed Monday’s column, or by any chance took it seriously, click here for that special sneak preview of When Harry Met 

HUNGOVER GAMES: it all seems so familiar ...

Sally 2, a movie that hopefully will never get made. Nonetheless, most of today’s major movers and shakers love sending up their own careers on FOD, and FOD loves sending up the industry that spawned it. As soon as The Hunger Games was released, and even before it achieved its mammoth box office numbers, FOD was on the case. “Each year, drunk people are selected to participate in torturous games the morning after a big night out. There’s no sunglasses, no water, and no headache medicine.” Yeah, right. To see the trailer for The Hungover Games, click here. And enjoy!

RITTER: taking a flyer

CASTING ABOUT: Ex-time traveller Scott Bakula (he did it before Erin Karpluk) is headlining a new plot, Table For ThreeJimmy Fallon is exec producing a new comedy pilot about three 30-something guys who become parents despite the fact that they haven’t grown up themselves … Frances Conroy and Tovah Feldshuh are among the stars in Beautiful People, a pilot for a series in which families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population  — until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken”… Jason Ritter, Michael Imperioli and award-laden Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz spark County, a pilot about 
young doctors, nurses and administrators in an underfunded and morally compromising L.A. County hospital … Phylicia Rashad returns to the small

RASHAD: pilot season

screen in Do No Harm, a pilot about a brilliant neurosurgeon (Steven Pasquale) whose dangerous alter-ego threatens to wreak havoc on his personal and processional life (calling Dr. Hulk?) … and Julia Stiles plays a female FBI cult specialist who investigates the mysterious disappearance of a group commune in Alaska in Midnight Sun, a pilot based on the hit Israeli format.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOWBIZ:  NHL All-Star Theo Fleury and actress Carmen Moore (Arctic Air) host the 19th Annual National Aboriginal Achievement Awards tonight on Global and APTN …  Jimmy Smits has signed on for a season of FX’s celebrated Sons

TILLY: on stage in T.O.

of Anarchy, and not as a cop. He’ll be playing a gang member … Bruce McDonald is set to personally introduce Hard Core Logo II, his long-awaited follow-up to his cult classic mock-doc Hard Care Logo, tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox … Theatre Sheridan’s rave-garnering production of Rent has been held over even before it opens! The TS production, now set to open May 16 at the Panasonic Theatre, was originally booked to close on May 27 but will now run through June 3. To order tickets, click here … and Meg Tilly, so terrific in Global’s Bomb Girls series, returns to the stage this month at the Tarragon in a revival of the Michel Tremblay classic The Real World?  — which originally premiered at Tarragon almost 25 years ago. The stellar cast assembled by director Richard Rose also features Matthew Edison, Cara Gee, Sophie Goulet, Tony Nappo, Cliff Saunders and Jane Spidell, and previews start April 24. Click here for tickets. And have a great weekend.

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Ms Mirren gets to put the bogus bite on Mr. Crystal, but will Mr. Doyle get to play another Endgame?

WHEN BILLY MET HELEN: Great news – Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal have teamed up again to make the long-awaited much-anticipated sequel to When Harry Met Sally, and in addition to casting great supporting players like Maya Rudolph they’ve snagged Helen Mirren for a key romantic role. In keeping with the times, director Reiner promises that When Harry Met Sally 2 will be a comedy with a substantial bite to it.  To see the already-controversial sneak preview, click here – and enjoy!

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Canuck comedy sensation Russell Peters hosts his own Just For Laughs special tomorrow night on CBC with his

COHEN: Gould Prize winner

own handpicked supporting cast of merry men, namely Jeremy Hotz, Jimmy Carr, Sebastian Maniscalco and Nick Thune … jury members who voted the selection of Leonard Cohen as the winner of the ninth Glenn Gould Prize included Atom Egoyan, Stephen Fry, Elaine Overholt and jury chair Paul Hoffert. And I know I said this last week, but details of the gala evening to honour Cohen’s win should be revealed tomorrow … Jaymz Bee is celebrating his birthday this Wednesday by rocking The Old Mill.  For more details click here … and Jian Ghomeshi chats up Slash tomorrow on Q before leaving for Moncton and CBC Radio coverage of the 2012 East Coast Music Awards.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: This year’s Winnipeg Comedy Festival will include live tapings of Steve Patterson’s hit CBC Radio show The Debaters 

DOY:LE as John A.

this weekend. Sean Cullen and Scott Thompson will go head-to-head about pure bred vs. mongrel dogs. And just to make it even more interesting, Thompson will debate as The Queen, while Cullen portrays Adele. And yes, you read that right … why do I think the late Brian Linehan‘s name should be on our Walk Of Fame? Because of his dedication to celebrating, promoting and building Canadian stars on television (Linehan, City Lights) and radio (CFRB) throughout his career. If you agree, please vote for him here, under ‘Other’
… and Global Television has picked up a hard-won Rockie nomination for its homegrown cop series Rookie Blue. Ironically,

DOYLE as Arkady Balagan

the financially beleaguered CBC  won Rockie nods for no less than seven (7) shows, including Heartland, Michael Tuesday & Thursdays, The Debaters, John A.: Birth Of A Country, and The 2012 Gemini Awards. Is that a new network record? Just askin’ … and good news for Shawn Doyle fans. His excellent Endgame series, in which he played crime-solving world chess champion Arkady Balagan,  played for only one season on Showcase, but yesterday the New York Times reported that the series has been picked up by Hulu, the online streaming service, which is considering the production of a second season.   Let’s keep all fingers  crossed.

BALLET HIGH: Love Lies Bleeding tonight on CBC

LORDS OF THE DANCE: The hit National Ballet of Canada production of The Seagull opens Thursday night in Ottawa. Headliners at the National Arts Centre premiere are Greta Hodgkinson as Arkadina, Guillaume Côté in the role of Kostya, Aleksandar Antonijevic as Trigorin and Sonia Rodriguez as Nina. Which means the entire company can get to see Antonijevec’s exhibit of his ballet photography, Feet and Mirrors, on view at the NAC until April 28 … DanceWorks presents Ottawa urban dance sensation Bboyizm in its Toronto debut with two shows: IZM this Friday April 13 and Saturday April 14 at 8pm, and a matinee performance of the family-friendly show, Evolution Of B-Boying, on Saturday at 1pm, at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre. Word is that choreographer/dancer and Bboyizm founder Yvon Soglo (aka b-boy Crazy Smooth) takes a daring, imaginative approach to street dance tradition without losing its authenticity. Sounds intriguing … and tonight’s Don’t-Miss TV eye-candy is Love Lies Bleeding, the Alberta Ballet’s wildly popular, rave-winning exploration of Elton John’s music, directed by the masterful Moze Mossanen of Nureyev fame. For an intriguing behind-the-scenes look, click here.

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Mr. Sheen takes a bite out of New Moon, Mr. Brooks turns 2000 again & Mr. Mercer goes to the rodeo

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Good news for Mel Brooks fans — his Grammy-winning comedy collaborations with Carl Reiner, The 2000 Year Old

MIRREN: seeing Red

Man, have been remastered and repackaged for a 50th anniversary four-disc reissue (three CDs and one DVD), The 2000 Year Old Man: The Complete History, due in stores this week. Not only that, Toronto audiences well finally get to see Mel’s Broadway musical version of Young Frankenstein, now slated to play March 16 – April 18 at the Princess Of Wales … Helen Mirren is set to co-star with Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman in a new thriller, Red, after she brings the National Theatre production of Phedre to Broadway with Dominic Cooper, the Mamma Mia boy toy currently on view with new scene-stealer Carey Mulligan in the hit TIFF star-maker An

MERCER: Rodeo daze

Education … 40-year CHUM radio veteran Roger Ashby will be inducted into the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame at a Canadian Music Week dinner March 11 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel … and talk about yer urbane cowboy! Rick Mercer goes a-ridin’ and a-ropin’ at the Edmonton Rodeo tonight, and actually lives to tell the tale, on CBC’s Rick Mercer Report at 8 pm.

FANGS FOR THE MEMORIES: He became David Frost in Frost/Nixon, shone as Tony Blair in The Queen, and plays legendary maverick U.K. rugby coach Brian Clough in The Damned United. So what does Michael Sheen have to do with that mess of a man pictured beside him? Yup – that’s

SHEEN: he sucks, but only in THIS movie

him. Sheen plays the vampire leader Aro in last weekend’s top boxoffice sizzler, The Twilight Saga: New Moon. And he makes no bones about why he took the role. “I knew it would make my 10-year-old daughter, Lily, very happy,” he confesses. And it has. “She’s got pictures from Twilight and New Moon everywhere in her bedroom,” he notes. “And now, she’s put her dad up there as well.” Just wait ‘til she sees him as The White Rabbit in Tim Burton’s bound-to-be-peculiar re-telling of Alice In Wonderland.

MAY IN NOVEMBER: Toronto Western Hospital’s Fracture Clinic and Medical Imaging Waiting Room is a happier place this morning after renowned

KARP: a gift to last

Toronto photo artist May Karp gifted 22 pieces to TWH. Karp’s uplifting photography is already on view in a number of Canada’s larger hospitals. In 2004 she donated 27 framed images for Toronto General’s new Surgical Centre waiting room, adding warmth and a new visual focus for the families of surgery patients. After seeing the impact of her photography in the Surgical Centre, Tennys Hanson, President and CEO of Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, asked her to consider a similar project for Toronto Western Hospital. “Hospital waiting rooms are for patients, sometimes for their relatives or friends,” Karp notes. “Most visitors are frightened and anxious. Time passes very slowly as they wait for results or treatment. One can almost ‘taste’ the emotions. Over 20 years ago I spent a lot of time in rooms like this. I experienced all the emotions many times since then.” Which is why her colourful, eye-catching and blissfully distracting works are brightening TWH this morning.

TOMORROW:

Glee & Nine go on the record.

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A drama for Amanda, a film feast for Chris, a new musical for Catherine and a Toronto visit for Meryl!

ANOTHER OPENING, ANOTHER SHOW: Sadly, most of the publicity surrounding the making of Chloe, the new Atom Egoyan drama set to premiere

SEYFRIED: at TIFF as Chloe

SEYFRIED: at TIFF as Chloe

Sunday night at TIFF, focused on leading man Liam Neeson when his actress wife Natasha Richardson died tragically during the shooting of the film. What no one seems to have noticed is that the title character in Egoyan’s film is played by Amanda Seyfried, so outstanding as Meryl Streep’s daughter in Mamma Mia.  In Chloe she plays a sultry young seductress hired by Julianne Moore to test her husband’s faithfulness. (Expect to hear a lot of tongue-wagging after this one!) … and tonight’s TIFF Galas should offer some genuine surprises. Already winning rave reviews, The Men Who Stare At Goats showcases a stellar 1ddcd8b24bd2e054_colin_firthcast led by George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges in a stranger-than-fiction true story. (Want a sample? Just click here.) And the new version of Dorian Gray, with Colin Firth and terminally handsome Ben Barnes directed by Oscar Wilde aficionado Oliver Parker, reportedly takes that famous portrait mythology to new heights (and depths.) This one sure doesn’t look like any of the Dorian Grays we’ve seen before. For a sneak preview, click here.

OUR TOWN: Hollywood columnist George Christy, Norman Jewison and Gina & Paul Godfrey were among the boldface who turned up for the Best Buddies tribute to Ann-Margaret this week at the Four Seasons. Glamourous

STREEP: Toronto-bound

STREEP: Toronto-bound

in a glittering cocktail dress, the award-winning actress beamed when someone asked her if she minds being called Ann-Margrock, her character name on The Flintstones. “No, I love it!” she exclaimed. “That’s why I voiced the part in the first place!”… delighted by its successful run at Niagara-On-The-Lake, Theatre Museum Canada has finally brought its much-lauded retrospective of stage designer Cameron Porteous to T.O. After a week of previews, Risking The Void: The Scenography of Cameron Porteous, opens tonight at the Design Exchange and runs through October 20 … and talk about a hot ticket: current box office queen Meryl Streep is set for a public sit-down session with Johanna Schneller at the ROM on Oct. 7. Bon appetit, ladies!

McKELLAR: Tiff Talent booster

McKELLAR: Tiff Talent booster

TIFF TALK: The aspiring filmmakers who made the final cut to attend TIFF’s annual Talent Lab are in good and remarkably famous hands this year. Governors overseeing the program are Danny Boyle, John Collee, Miranda July and Cooking With Stella star Don McKellar. Film folk who have agreed to be drop-in mentors include Tilda Swinton, Atom Egoyan, Gaspar Noe, Jane Campion, Bruce Beresford and Suzana Amaral … is anyone having a better year on film that Christopher Plummer? He’s a major voice in Up, one of the summer biggest box office hits, and one of the top-billed stars of the new animated film 9, which opened here this week; he’s nominated for a Gemini Award for his performance in the screen version of his Stratford hit

PLUMMER: as Dr. Parnassus

PLUMMER: as Dr. Parnassus

Caesar & Cleopatra; he plays the title role in Terry Gilliam’s much-anticipated Imaginarium Of Dr. Parnassus, premiering here at TIFF next week; and he and Helen Mirren play Leo Tolstoy and his missus in the new German-Russian-U.K. co-production The Last Station. Can’t wait to see that one … and the best and most significant comment I’ve seen on the current tiff over TIFF’s choice of Tel Aviv for its City To City program comes from Toronto film critic Peter Howell. Says Howell: “Film festivals are supposed to be about opening minds, not closing them.” To which we say, bravo. To read his thoughtful column in yesterday’s Toronto Star, click here.

DOUGLAS: playing Solitary

DOUGLAS: playing Solitary

STARS IN OUR EYES: New Manhattan-dwellers Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones won’t have a lot of time to unpack their California bags. He’s already started shooting Oliver Stone’s sequel to Wall Street, reprising his role as imprisoned corporate crook Gordon Gekko opposite TIFF scene-stealer Carey Mulligan (An Education.) Meanwhile Solitary Man, Douglas’ meaty new drama with Susan Sarandon, Mary-Louise Parker and his longtime pal Danny DeVito premieres at TIFF next week. Meanwhile the ravishing Zeta-Jones, who won her

ZETA-JONES: back on the boards

ZETA-JONES: back on the boards

Oscar for her song-and-dance tour de force in Chicago, is starting rehearsals for her return to the musical stage in A Little Night Music, tackling the role played by Glynis Johns on Broadway, Judi Dench in London, Jean Simmons in Toronto and Elizabeth Taylor on screen. And speaking of Dame Elizabeth, who not so coincidentally happens to be the Founding International Chairman of AMFAR – will she jet here to attend our first-ever Cinema Against AIDS Toronto Gala on Tuesday at the Carlu? And will Global Fundraising champion Sharon Stone come with her? Kevin Sullivan & Trudy Grant are presenting sponsors of the lavish evening, which features a special dinner designed by Jamie Kennedy with Sarah McLachlan and Deborah Cox served up for dessert. For ticket information, click here.

Have a great TIFF weekend.

See you at the movies!

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Ms Taylor comes out to play, Ms Mirren comes to town (almost!) and Mr Mochrie goes to the dogs

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Wheelchair-bound but mobile again, Elizabeth Taylor made her first public appearance in months at Andrea Bocelli’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl. “My mind, my soul were transported

LAW: pajama Dane

LAW: pajama Dane

by his beauty, his voice, his inner being,” she reports. “God has kissed this man and I thank God for it.” Yeah, she likes him … funnyman John Wing says he was the sixth most famous person on the plane to Los Angeles Monday. Howcum? “The Tragically Hip were on the same flight!” … add director Guy Maddin to the growing list of fans hopelessly smitten by Roger Ebert’s Journals. (And yes, Ebert really does elicit the warmest, brightest, smartest, most literate responses from his devoted readers, including Winnipeg wunderkind Guy … Jude Law is breathing easier these days now that his Hamlet was well received by U.K. critics. Law himself acknowledged that playing the melancholy Dane is “a bit like a great song that’s been covered by a load of different singers.” But at least he’s comfortable on stage. In the London production he’s clad in pajama-like costumes for most of the play … and shhhh, it’s a secret, but Patricia Clarkson wants to play now-92 year-old Phyllis Diller in the still-being-scripted biopic of the legendary comedienne.

DILLER: before ...

DILLER: before ...

CLARKSON: ... and after

CLARKSON: ... and after??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A TAIL OF TWO CITIES: In Montreal they close Ste Catherine street for the jazz festival and shut down Rue St Denis for the comedy festival. In Toronto we

MOCHRIE: going to the dogs

MOCHRIE: going to the dogs

close Front Street from Jarvis to Yonge for Woofstock, the annual doggie love-in set for the St. Lawrence Market Neighborhood this weekend. New features this year include a Saturday night Yappy Hour at which Wooftinis will be served. Seriously. (Oh c’mon, even I couldn’t make that up!) Headliners participating in Main Stage contests include Mark Breslin, Geri Hall, Colin Mochrie and Nikki Payne, and don’t be surprised to find a lot of four-legged friends on the TTC on Saturday and Sunday. Last year more than 150,000 dog lovers and their canine companions showed up from all over North America.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I don’t just sit around and wait for the phone to ring because, you know, I had to write my own script in the first place because I don’t look like Nicole Kidman. And the fact is I still don’t. So I don’t get offered fun, interesting roles. So I’m not going to whine about it; I just sit in my office and I write them.”

The speaker?  Comedy confection Nia Vardalos, currently winning new fans in her romantic comedy romp My Life In Ruins.

 OUR TOWN:  Yearning to be in London’s West End to see Jude Law‘s Hamlet and Helen Mirren‘s Phaedre? Lucky moviegoers will see Mirren ‘live’ on stage at The National Theatre, when Cineplex telecasts the play at key theatres across

MIRREN: On screen from stage

MIRREN: On screen from stage

 the country on June 25 … Driftwood Theatre launches its 15th season in Toronto at Todmorden Mills on July 11 & 12. The theatre company is taking two of Shakespeare’s plays on the road — King Lear and The Comedy of Errors — and will roll through 27 locations in Ontario with its Bard’s Bus Tour through to August 23. Stops include outdoor locations in Bloomfield, Cobourg, Dundas, Durham, Kingston, Marmora, Mississauga, Peterborough and more, and all shows are pay-what-you-can … add Sonia Rodriguez to the star power already

RODRIGUEZ: White heat

RODRIGUEZ: White heat

assembled for Karen Kain’s sizzling White Hot Gala, the National Ballet of Canada’s fourth annual fundraising event next week at the Four Seasons Centre. Sultry high-stepper Rodriguez will partner with Piotr Stanczyk in a Garbo-esque pas de deux from the company premiere of Val Caniparoli’s Lady of the Camellias … … and Art On The Move will launch June 22 in the Distillery District. Mayor David Miller will personally welcome the first three art-wrapped vehicles of the project onto city streets. Art On The Move is a three-year community arts initiative that will ultimately turn 15 selected vehicles into moving canvasses of art.

NET WORTH: Two major Canadian newsmakers, Rick Mercer and former MP Belinda Stronach, received honorary degrees from Brock University

MERCER: he's Dr. Rick now

DR. MERCER: class of 2009

yesterday.  Mercer and Stronach were honoured as the co-founders of the Spread the Net fundraising campaign. “I must — from the bottom of my heart — thank the students here at Brock for contributing over 5,500 bed nets for Spread the Net,” Stronach told the crowd. “It’s a great legacy for you to leave behind.” Mercer described a life-changing visit to Africa he and Stronach took to learn about the malaria problem. “I told Belinda, ‘I’m not going to come back from Africa as one of those guys on TV who won’t shut up about Africa.’ Now every time I turn around, I’m on TV telling people to Spread the Net.”

Mercer told reporters that he’s also the proud owner of an honorary high school diploma from a Nova Scotia school for students with learning disabilities — and now he has a doctorate of laws from Brock. “I don’t know if it comes with a prescription pad or not, but I’m going to frame it, hang it on the wall and offer legal advice to my friends.” 

And just before he and his Net partner Stronach left the stage, they imparted a few words of wisdom to the assembled graduating class.

Mercer said that in the meantime, he’s acquired an honorary high school diploma from a Nova Scotia school for students with learning disabilities.
“And from there, I’ve gone to a doctorate of laws,” he said.
“I don’t know if it comes with a prescription pad or not,” he added. “But I’m going to frame it, hang it on the wall and offer legal advice to my friends.” 

Said Mercer: “As you go through life, leave the world a better place for having been here.”

Dead-panned Stronach: “Never order food in a strip club.”

These two should definitely go on the road together.

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