Tag Archives: Hot Docs

Ms Vanasse gets Scruples, Ms Koslo gets Sheba, Ms Janney gets a Dinner and Ms Lucci gets a maid

VANASSE: new pilot

TUBE TALK: Award-winning Quebec actress Karine Vanasse, who charmed American audiences with her work in the too-short-lived Pan Am, is shooting a pilot for a new series for a new first-time producer. The pilot? Scruples, based on the Judith Krantz novel about a socialite who attempts to open a fashion-forward boutique in the heart of Beverly Hills. The new producer? Natalie Portman, who is exec producing with Tony Krantz and Annette Savitch  … three TV favourite are tossing their hats in the ring again. Anthony LaPaglia (Without A Trace) is shooting Americana,a

JANNEY: dinner date

pilot for a new drama about a legendary fashion designer and his family business; Tony Shaloub (Monk) and Allison Janney (West Wing) are starring in Friday Night Dinner, a pilot spin-off of the British series that revolves around a traditional Jewish family as they observe Shabbat dinners; and Susan Lucci is the top-billed marquee bait in Devious Maids, a pilot based on the Mexican telenova about four maids who work for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills. And the beat goes on.

MAZZARA: bound for Banff

PEOPLE: Add Glen Mazzara, Executive Producer of the Emmy Award-winning series The Walking Dead, to the Master Class series at the upcoming Banff World Media Festival … Women Fully Clothed will follow up their April dates in California with four May stops in beautiful B.C., performing their new show in Nanaimo, Victoria, Courtenay and North Van … Corrine Koslo inherits the juicy role originated on stage and screen by Shirley Booth when Come Back, Little Sheba opens this summer at the Shaw Festival. More on Shaw tomorrow …  Gerald Finley, Oliver Jones, Quartetto Gelato and the Nathaniel Dett Chorale are among the mighty music-makers set to spark this summer’s Westben Arts Festival Theatre offerings in

BUCKNER: Den mother

Campbellford, Ontario. July showcase presentations culminate in an August 5 fund-raiser finale, featuring pianist Brian Finley and the Brian Barlow Big Band and aptly named The Big Band Theory. Sounds like a winner … and the indefatigable Pat Ferns, in Cannes to moderate the “By Invitation Only” Drama CoProXchange at MIP TV, is heading back to his old stomping ground, li’l ol’ T.O., at the end of the month to host International Co-Production Day at Hot Docs on April 30.

IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO THEM NOW: On tonight’s Dragons’ Den finale, all five Dragons reminisce about the very best – and worst – moments over the past six seasons. Den host Diane Buckner reportedly gets Dragons Jim

HAWCO: cliffhanger?

Treliving, Kevin O’Leary, Arlene Dickinson, Bruce Croxon and exiting fire-breather Robert Herjavec to tell what they really think about each other,  and highlights from the last six seasons of the show include the stand-out pitches AND the in-fighting, counting down to the three most memorable moments in the series’ history. After you leave the Den,  Allan Hawco rallies his troops on Republic Of Doyle’s season closer  to prove his father’s innocence when he’s accused of murder. Will Season 3 end with another cliffhanger?  I’d put money on it, b’y … … and speaking of cliff-hangers, Martin Gero’s steamy L.A. Complex series, about young hopefuls sharing the same space in Hollywood, will premiere on The CW in the U.S. this month. New episodes are set to start unspooling here in July on MuchMusic.

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Almodovar gets Banderas, Carrell gets a slice of Bacon, Hot Docs gets Ghomeshi and Louise gets un-stuck

OUR TOWN: Host-with-the-most Jian Ghomeshi returns to helm tomorrow night’s Hot Docs Festival awards at the Isabel Bader … after flying across the pond to premiere the new

PITRE: back to T.O.

Benny Andersson-Bjorn Ulvaeus musical Kristina at Royal Albert Hall, show-stopping stage diva Louise Pitre got ‘stuck’ in London for an extra three days due to that pesky cloud of volcanic ash. “London’s not a bad place to be stuck in!” she adds, especially since her hubby Joe Matheson had taken a week’s holiday from his on-stage gig with still-thriving Jersey Boys to join her. Mamma Mia alumnus Pitre’s now home again, safe and sound and  shooting Season 2 of Star Portraits for Bravo!popular public relations pro Shelagh O’Donnell is the ROM’s new Head Of Communications … George F. Walker’s hit comedy Featuring Loretta makes its second debut  to the Factory Theatre tonight, officially kicking off the Factory’s 40th (!!!) Anniversary celebrations. Longtime Walker cheerleader Ken Gass directs Monica Dottor, Lesley Faulker, Kevin Hanchard and Brandon McGibbon in this brand new production … and the bad news is, Yorkville haunt Michelle’s Brasserie, the café  in

FARMIGA: going outlaw

Renaissance Square just off Cumberland, has closed. Good news is, Crème, a new French bistro devised by Ricardo Sousa (Cibo, Lolo) and chef Ricardo Roque (Magna Golf Club, Bistro 990,) is now underway and is tentatively set to open June 1.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Young Lily Collins, so good as Sandra Bullock‘s daughter in The Blind Side, is set to co-star with Taylor Lautner in Abduction, a new thriller … Kevin Bacon has signed on to guest star in Steve Carrell’s next project … Pedro Almodovar alumnus Antonio Banderas is set to star in the director’s next opus, La piel que habito … Up In The Air seductress Vera Farmiga

AGRON: new sci-fi role?

is set to portray a wild west outlaw in A Thousand Guns … watch for an announcement linking about-to-depart Global TV anchor Kevin Newman with a major new digital platform initiativeand don’t bother inviting Phil Collins to your Canada Day BBQ this year. He’s already booked to open the 44th annual Monteux Jazz Festival with a special July 1 concert.

NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Glee star Dianna Agron has signed on for  a leading role in the sci-fi film I Am Number Four … living room favourites Peter Mansbridge, Brian Stewart and Adrienne Arsenault are in London today, continuing to deliver CBC’s in-depth play-by-play of today’s General Elections in the U.K. …  Shia Labeouf is set to play Charlie in the dark comedy The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman Mireille

JEAN-BAPTISTE: in Central Park

Enos (Big Love) is reportedly signed to star in AMC’s new series The Killing …  bright young things Emma Roberts and Freddie Highmore are set to co-star in a new indie feature, Homework … Nurse Jackie scene-stealer Anna Deavere Smith is taking her New York solo show Let Me Down Easy on the road. Hope she brings it here …  what becomes a legend most? Hard work. Which is howcum Ann Rhomer is still a household favourite after more than three decades on local TV. We’ll miss her after she exits CP24‘s morning show next month … and although you know her best from her role as an FBI agent in Without A Trace, did you know that Anthony LaPaglia sidekick  Marianne Jean-Baptiste was the first British black actress nominated for an Oscar, for Mike Leigh‘s 1996 drama Secrets & Lies?  Ah yes, how quickly we forget. The gifted Mme Jean-Baptiste is spending her summer vacation in rep with Al Pacino, performing Merchant Of Venice and The Winter’s Tale in Central Park..

TOMORROW:

All about Liona Boyd, Zero Mostel,

Piper Laurie (yes, Piper Laurie!) and more.


Russell gets Cannes, Leah gets yoga, Jeff gets on stage, Brenda gets new Shoes, and Rick gets Rideau Hall??

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: First it was all those enthusiastic fans who launched that Rick Mercer For Prime Minister campaign. Recently it was Toronto Star sportswriter

ALLEN: next month in Niagara

Randy Starkman who proposed that, due to Mercer’s unflagging support of our amateur athletes, Canada should make him an honorary Olympian.  Last weekend legendary Montréal Gazette editorial cartoonist Aislin proposed yet another new role for Mercer, as our next Governor General. Where was Mercer when Aislin’s creative comment was published? Hiding out at one of 007’s favorite haunts in the Bahamas, enjoying some well-earned post-season R&R and trading sunburn remedies with fellow resort-dweller Paul McCartney.  Meanwhile, to see Aislin’s clever cartoon, just click here …. funnyman Tim Allen and SNL alumnus Joe Piscopo are both set for two-night stints at Fallsview Casino next month …  Al Pacino’s reportedly eyebrow-raising portrayal of Dr. Jack Kervorkian premieres this coming Saturday night on HBO Canada … crowd-pleaser Christian Potenza has just launched his own YouTube Channel … Brenda Hoffert’s new photography exhibit, Shoes, opens April 30 at Gallery 888 on Queen Street in Leslieville

TRAVIS: looking for heroes

Thursday night headliners Ken Lindsay and Mark Cassius surprised fans at Fuzion last week by switching roles for The Nearness Of You. While ex-Nylon Cassius caressed the ivories (the ivories loved it,) piano man Lindsay delivered the vocal … terminally gorgeous screen siren Leah Pinsent has signed up for a double fitness marathon of yoga and high-energy Zumba Fitness sessions on April 25 at the 2nd annual Yoga in Motion at the Liberty Grand Entertainment Complex. The award-winning actress is fund-raising in support of breast cancer research at Mount Sinai Hospital. For more info, click hereModern Family scene-stealer Ty Burrell is reportedly set to star opposite Jennifer Garner in her new romantic comedy Butter … and the biggest buzz-du-jour in TV circles is Debbie Travis’ new prime-time show – her first for CBC.

CROWE: heading for Cannes

Especially fascinating is her current search for local heroes. If you know someone you believe deserves to be recognized for his/her service to your community, don’t keep it a secret – just click here!

FLICKERS: Okay, don’t get me wrong, I realize that director Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe are one of filmdom’s most dynamic duos. First there was Gladiator, then A Good Year (hey, nobody’s perfect,) then American Gangster with Denzel Washington and then Body Of Lies withLeonardo DiCaprio.  All in all, pretty good stuff.  But did I expect their new collaboration, Robin Hood – yes, that Robin Hood – to be invited to open this year’s Cannes Film Festival? Nope. Which strongly suggests

EHRENREICH: Grow-ing concern

that this Robin Hood must really be something to see … and Toronto’s fast-approaching Hot Docs filmfest will celebrate springtime by presenting three special open-air screenings in its new Rooftop Docs series. The annual marathon of documentary films will take over the top tier of the Citipark Cumberland Garage in Yorkville on Thursday May 6, Friday May 7 and Saturday May 8, presenting film screenings and live music, with locally brew courtesy of Steamwhistle Breweries and free popcorn courtesy of Whole Foods Market. For more info, click here.

FOOTLIGHTS: First Ken Gass directs the much-anticipated return of George F. Walker’s hit comedy Featuring Loretta, opening May 1 at the Factory Theatre. Then the

SEYMOUR: on stage in June

theatre world gathers to celebrate Factory’s big birthday with a 40th Anniversary Gala on May 10. And yes, tickets are still available. For more info, click here … David Mirvish is set to premiere Jake Ehrenreich‘s now-fabled  stage production A Jew Grows In Brooklyn at the Panasonic Theatre on April 28  … after winning glowing reviews in L.A. for both his direction and his performance, Jeff Seymour is set to co-star with Len Lesser (a.k.a. Uncle Leo on Seinfeld) in Ronald Ribman’s Cold Storage, on stage for 10 performances only, June 1-11 at the George Ignatieff Theatre … how do you attract attention for a new play without a big ad/pub budget? Bobby Del Rio is garnering eyeballs with an intriguing movie-style trailer for his new theatrical venture, The Market, now set to open in T.O. next month. To sample his stage wares on video, click here .

And have a great week!

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Jann goes Disney, Shia beefs up, Roger starts his own club, and Ron and Ms. Atwood make a documentary

SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY: SuperWarbler Jann Arden has been amusing her 12,000 Twitter followers this week with daily dispatches from Disney World, where she seems to have developed a major crush on daffy comedy duo Dawn French & Jennifer Saunders. (Go

LEBEOUF: working out?

figure!) … my hero Liz Smith suspects that Wall Street II star Shia LeBeouf is currently boeufing-up for a remake of American Gigolo, with original Gigolo Richard Gere cast as the male madam who books LeBoeuf’s sexual assignations. (Now that’s comedy!!) editor Trena White wraps up a six-year stint at McClelland & Stewart tomorrow. White is moving back to Vancouver, where she grew up, to join Douglas & McIntyre as an acquiring editor … meanwhile, it’s official: Ken Finkleman’s new novel, Noah’s Turn, is now set to launch in August … and Roger Ebert has launched his own cyber club, with membership benefits, to help offset the cost of his ambitious and prolific web production. He also explains why in one of his tirelessly engaging Journal entries, I Wonder If This Will Work. To learn more about The Ebert Club, click here. To enjoy his Journal entry, click here — and enjoy!

THE YEAR OF THE ATWOOD: Entrepreneurial novelist Margaret Atwood is working with documentary master Ron Mann (“the guy with the hair that matches mine!”) on a

MANN & ATWOOD: it's their Year

screen version of her tour promoting her current bestseller Year Of The Flood. “It’s called In the Wake of the Flood. The film is due to launch on August 5 in Toronto to coincide with the paperback publication of the book. Then it will go around the world to film festivals, literary festivals, environmental festivals, and fundraising events. We did the Year of the Flood tour as an awareness-raiser and fundraiser, primarily for birds, and In the Wake of the Flood both documents the experience and continues the effort.”

SHOOTING STARS: Sometimes funny-man Will Ferrell is set to star in Everything Must Go, a new film by writer-director Dan Rush. Ferrell will reportedly play a relapsed alcoholic

RIVERS: new season

who loses his job and his wife and decides to live on his front lawn while selling all of his belongings … William Hurt and Isabella Rossellini will star in French director Julie GavrasLate Bloomers, about an aging couple who react to their senior status in different ways. (Shouldn’t that be Late Zoomers? Oh well) The stellar cast also features Simon Callow and legendary Ab Fab scene-stealer Joanna Lumley (or Dame Joanna and Sir Simon, if they care to pull rank)  … and Joan Rivers is shooting her second season of How’d You Get So Rich for a May 5 re-launch on TV Land. How rich are her new finds? “One guy is sooooo rich,” she reports, “that when his computer breaks, Bill Gates comes to fix it!”

P.S.: The doc that rocked Sundance this year, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, is set for Hot Docs screenings on May 2 & May 3. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

OK GO: ingenious

SEE/HEAR: The L.A.-based OK Go, a rock band originally from Chicago, keeps creating amazing videos – considerably more amazing, in fact, than their appealing ear-candy music. They’ve become an integral part of new millennium YouTube culture and won a 2007 Grammy for their stellar treadmill dance video, Here It Goes Again, which still evokes happy memories of the kind of ingenuity Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly espoused in their heydays at MGM. Their current monster video hit,This Too Shall Pass, has been viewed by more than 10 million internet users so far. Or maybe it’s only two million users who can’t resist watching it five times. Wondering what all the fuss is about? Just click on the song titles above and that mystery will be solved. Enjoy!

TOMORROW:

More hats ‘n’ horns for birthday boy Stephen Sondheim.

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More rain from Prince? More Hobbits from Jackson? More big screen roles for Dexter and Cristina? Stay tuned

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Hypnotic Six Feet Under alumnus Michael C. Hall, so good as Dexter, is set to move to the big screen. He’ll costar with Brie Larson [United States of Tara] in a new flick called East Fifth Bliss … is Prince planning a film  sequel to his

MARSHALL: fan fave

’80s megabit Purple Rain? My spies swear it’s so. In the sequel (or ‘the squeal,’ as his fans adoringly refer to it) his character The Kid is now 50, has lost his record deal and has to go up against much younger (and supposedly hipper) artists. Talk about spectacular comeback material … .Joe Manganiello has been cast in HBO’s True Blood as the series’ very first werewolf (who knew?) … Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Josh Brolin, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan and Charlie Sheen are reportedly committed to attending the Cannes Film Festival now that Wall Street II has been selected as the closing gala …  and fan favourite Amber Marshall, who stars in CBC’s hit Sunday night series Heartland, was thrilled by the turnout this weekend when she agreed to sign autographs at the Can-Am Equine Emporium, a popular all-breeds horse show in London, Ont. “The signing was unbelievable!” she reports. “We had originally planned for a one-hour signing at 2 pm, but by 5 pm I was still signing away!!  Girls started lining up at 11 in the morning, and some drove for seven hours to get there. All in all, simply wonderful.”

OH: teacher, teacher

FLICKERS: First release of the 2-D DVD of Avatar is reportedly due this Saturday — Earth Day. So turn off the lights and enjoy …  d’ya suppose Tim Burton is as surprised as I am that his 3-D Alice In Wonderland topped box office grosses for the third consecutive weekend? Chalk up first week grosses to Johnny Depp star power, but it’s all word-of-mouth since then. And word-of-mouth on the film continues to be spectacularly good … screen-stealer Sandra Oh took a break from Grey’s Anatomy just long enough to play with Josh Duhamel and John Corbett in the upcoming Ramona & Beezus. Ms Oh plays school teacher to rambunctious pupils Selena Gomez and newcomer Joey King … and Sir Ian McKellen will return as Gandalf when Peter Jackson starts shooting The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien’s prequel to Lord Of The Rings, this summer in New Zealand.

WILLIAMS: happy anniversary

CALENDAR JOTTINGS: The new Canadian Media Fund, which opens for business next week, kicks off this Friday with a bilingual webcast launch and virtual town halls … speakers set for April 10-12 Toronto Screenwriting Conference include Tim Long, Writer/Executive Producer of The Simpsons, Chuck Tatham, Co-Executive Producer of How I Met Your Mother, and Robert C. Cooper, writer/Executive Producer of Stargate Universe … Hot Docs is set to announce its top picks for its April 29-May 9 2010 festival tomorrow morning … it doesn’t seem possible that a decade has passed since Tonya Lee Williams first championed it, but her ReelWorld Film Festival celebrates its 10th Anniversary season April 7-11. Wow! … and yes, it’s March 22. Happy 80th (!!!) birthday, Stephen Sondheim, And many more, please!

TOMORROW:

Rick wraps, k.d. sings and Zach chats up Jerry.