Tag Archives: JUDI DENCH

Mamma Mia! There they go again! My, my, how can we resist them?

FLICKERS: Ridiculously rich Mamma Mia film producer Judy Craymer is hoping to persuade Benny Andersson and his musical sidekick Bjorn

SEYFRIED & STREEP: bella Donnas?

Ulvaeus to lend their irresistible ABBA tunes to a prequel, with a brand new young cast. Will Amanda Seyfried get to play the young Meryl Streep, who played her mother Donna in MM? Stay tuned … Deidre Kelly’s new book, Paris Times Eight, already sounds like a movie. Kelly first arrived in Paris, the city of her dreams, “as a starry-eyed ingénue.” In some of her subsequent visits she returns as a budding writer who interviews Rudolf Nureyev and crashes an

KELLY: Paris, je t'aime (photo: Bryan L. Davies)

exclusive fashion show, and as an emotional daughter who takes her mother to Paris to meet her “other mother;” until finally she returns to Paris as a mother herself. Sounds like a least three great roles for women, n’est-ce pas? … and yes, it’s true, shooting is already underway in Shanghai for the Chinese version of Disney‘s megahit High School Musical. How did Disney get the green light from China? Well, for one thing, the Chinese version is set at a university, “since Chinese high school students are so focused on academics that they would not have time to devote to singing and dancing.” Okay, got it.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I’ve no interest in playing oldies anymore. No, no, no. Far more fitting for the next stage in my career to play a slut.”

DENCH: Nothing like a Dame.

The speaker? Dame Judi Dench, now 74 but never at a loss for words. Currently starring in the about-to-be blockbuster movie musical Nine, Dame Judi’s next gig will bring her back to the boards, as Titania, the queen of the fairies in a new Midsummer Night’s Dream in Kingston, England. She first performed the role of Titania as a schoolgirl some 56 years ago, and is thrilled to be able to take another crack at it. “Of course,” she adds, “one is lucky to be acting at all. I’m happy when I have a job – any job. One is always afraid of having no work.”

Richard Rodgers & Oscar Hammerstein said it best. There really is nothing like a Dame.

21 AGAIN: It came and went 10 days ago, November 21 2009 was not just another Saturday night for Veronica Tennant. The prima ballerina who reinvented herself as a prima television producer was in three different cities that

TENNANT: November is the Coolest month

night. She was in Toronto attending the National Ballet of Canada’s performance of The Sleeping Beauty — the ballet she premiered more than 35 (!!!) years ago with Rudolf Nureyev as her prince — in tribute to Canada’s National Ballet School’s 50th Anniversary Assemble Internationale. But she was also in Edmonton, on film, as Honourary Chair of the Shumka Ballet, welcoming guests to Shumka’s Red Boots, Ballet and Bubbly Gala. And she was also in Cuba, where her much-lauded dance film, Vida y Danza, Cuba, was being screened at the 18th Anniversary celebration of Lizt Alfonso’s Dance Cuba.

JACKSON: new role

“November 21 has always been a significant day for me,” admits Tennant with a shy smile. I’ll say! Her Gala farewell performance with the National Ballet of Canada, A Passion for Dance: Celebrating the Tennant Magic, took place on November 21, 1989. And ten years later, to the day, she won her first International Emmy award as a television producer, for Karen Kain; Dancing in the Moment, on November 21, 1999.

Safety in numbers, you say? Sounds more like magic to me.

NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Slaight Communications chief Gary Slaight will be lauded for his longstanding commitment to charitable initiatives

GABEREAU: hosting for Mercer

as the recipient of the Humanitarian Spirit Award. at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on March 11 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, during Canadian Music Week … rising marquee bait Joshua Jackson has won the lead in a feature adaptation of British TV series UFO … Robin Mirsky, executive director of Rogers Group of Funds, has succeeded CFTPA prez Norm Bolen as co-chair of Hot Docs board of directors with Michael McMahon. New board members include marketing maven Robert Pattillo, Cobalt Pharmaceuticals chairman Neil Tabatznik and filmmakers Lalita Krishna, Julia Ivanova and Danijel Margetic … and Vicki Gabereau will host when Rick Mercer entertains the multitudes in Vancouver at a gala fund-raising evening June 10 for the Kay Meek Centre.

Special P.S. to Rick Mercer Report aficionados: Mercer’s final 2009 outing airs tonight at 8 pm on CBC-TV.

TOMORROW:

Roger gets ready for Toronto, and

Liz gives some advice to some dazzling Glamour girls.

Glee girl Lea Michele goes on record, Fergie makes a movie, and Camilla Scott plays a Scarlett woman

DEFYING GRAVITY: Currently thrilling all “Gleeks” (as fans of the hit FOX-TV show are called: The new Sony CD, Glee: The Music, Volume 1. Series star

MICHELE: powerhouse

Matthew Morrison (aka Mr Schu) and Wicked alumnus Kristin Chenoweth deliver a powerhouse performance of Heart’s Alone. Spring Awakening star Lea Michele duets with Chenoweth on a dynamic version of Kander & Ebb’s Maybe This Time, pairs with series co-star Chris Colfer on a soaring version of Stephen Schwartz’s Defying Gravity, and joins co-star Cory Monteith on lead vocals for Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. Music lovers and Broadway show tune aficionados characterize this first Glee CD as “delectably youthful” and “electrifyingly fresh” — and who are we to argue? And here’s another one to add to your Christmas list. The all-star soundtrack for Rob

FERGIE: one of Nine

Marshall’s screen version of the Broadway hit Nine will be released digitally December 15 and available for purchase in stores on December 22, three days before the film opens here. Bonus material on the disc includes a new version of Quando Quando Quando, performed by Fergie, who also sings one of the show’s big hits, Be Italian. Other so-far unlikely warblers include a clutch of Oscar winners who star in the movie — Daniel Day-Lewis, Penelope Cruz, Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Marion Cotillard and Judi Dench, who gets to deliver the Follies Bergere showstopper. Can’t wait.

THE SHADOW OF HER STYLE: Supertalent Camilla  Scott always delivers the goods, in big stage musicals like Crazy For You, Mamma Mia and We Will Rock You, on U.S. soaps like Days Of Our Lives and The Guiding Light and

SCOTT: Larry's lady?

in intense TV dramas like Law And Order and This Is Wonderland. Now she’s playing another sublimely talented dame – the late, great Vivien Leigh – in Austin Pendleton’s wry behind-the-scenes comedy Orson’s Shadow. Set in 1960, it’s Pendleton’s version of what really happened when legendary London critic Kenneth Tynan brings Orson Welles and Laurence Olivier together to collaborate on the English language premiere of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros. Olivier, deep in the throes of his affair with his young co-star Joan Plowright, is not yet separated from the mercurial, iconic and fatally unstable Ms Leigh, which makes backstage rehearsals very, very interesting. After previews start tomorrow, Orson’s Shadow opens next week at Theatre Passe Muraille, with Christopher Stanton as Kenneth Tynan, Paul Eves as Olivier, Janet Porter as Joan Plowright, and Steve Ross as Orson Welles. To order tickets, click here.

DICKINSON: dog show?

DRAGONS’ DEN GOES TO THE DOGS: Woofstock creator Marlene Cook, the brainy entrepreneur whose annual summer salute to Man’s Best Friend drew 300,000 participants to downtown T.O. this year, pitches the Dragons tonight with five look-alike dogs — one for each dragon. Would you be surprised to learn that Ms Cook matched Kevin O’Leary to an English bull terrier?  Probably not. But apparently finding an apricot poodle with a coat that was just the right shade of red to represent Arlene Dickinson was a far greater challenge. To catch all the Dragons and their canine cut-ups, tune in CBC-TV tonight at 8 pm.

TOMORROW:

Julia Roberts, The Frantics, and more Dragons!

Emails, we get emails, we get lots & lots of emails

Dear B.G.:

Has Glenda Jackson returned to the screen? The last I heard she had retired to work full time as the Labour Member of Parliament  for the constituency of  Hampstead and Highgate in the London. But I recently caught a glimpse of her, or at least I think it was her, in a movie trailer with Daniel Day Lewis. What is the movie? And why haven’t I read about her comeback? – Curious in Kelowna

Dear C.I.K.:

Ms Jackson is still lobbying for her British constituents and as far as I know has no immediate plans to return to the screen. The actress with the striking Touch

judi crop

NINE: It's Judi, not Glenda

 

Of Class bob in that movie trailer is the inimitable Dame Judi Dench, who may be channeling Glenda, for all we know. And you’re right, it is Daniel Day Lewis. The movie is directort Rob (Chicago) Marshall’s screen version of the Broadway musical Nine, which of course was the stage version of Federico Fellini’s . So Day Lewis is playing a role originated on screen by Marcello Mastroianni and on stage by Raul Julia (and most recently Antonio Banderas.) And in the movie the key women in his life are played by Sophia Loren, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Kate Hudson and Ms. Dench. Anticipated as a spectacular gift to fans of movie musicals, Nine is scheduled to open here on Christmas Day.

Dear B.G.:

Is it true that Michael Ondaatje’s latest novel Divisadero is being made into a movie? And if so when will it open? — Ondaatje disciple Benjamin K.

Dear B.K.:

I won’t be surprised if Divisadero eventually reaches the big screen.  In the meantime, the Necessary Angel theatre company, director Daniel Brooks and

LIANE crop

BALABAN: next weekend

the author himself are rethinking his novel as a play, with a view to a 2010/2011 opening with subsequent touring. Title of the stage production is When My Name Was Anna, and you don’t have to wait to 2010 to sample it. Next weekend Liane Balaban, Maggie Huculak, Tom McCamus and Amy Rutherford are set to appear in three work-in-progress presentations of When My Name Was Anna, directed by Brooks, at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace. For more information, click here.

Dear B.G.:

I saw a Broadway musical a few years ago called 10 Million Miles. It didn’t last very long, and we didn’t keep the Playbill, but I’m sure

Morrison miles

10 MILLION MILES: guess who?

 

the male lead was Justin Timberlake. My wife saw your blog about Glee and says the male lead was the guy who plays the teacher, Matthew Morrison. Can you settle this domestic dispute? –– Hoping I’m Right

Dear H.I.R.,

Sorry, you lose. 10 Million Miles is one of several Broadway shows, including Hairspray and South Pacific, in which Matthew Morrison appeared. But he did have a Timberlake look about him in that show, so don’t beat yourself up too badly. Morrison, who is also a rapper and a beat box hoofer, loves performing on stage for a live audience. But he’s equally passionate about Glee, and with good reason. “More people saw the pilot of Glee,” he notes, “than saw me in the entire ten years I was on Broadway.”

Dear B.G.:

Did I miss the Gemini Awards? I read somewhere that Geminis were handed out in Toronto this month, but I was sure that this year’s show was supposed to be in Calgary. What happened? — proud Canadian TV addict

Dear P.C.T.A.:

Yeah, it does get confusing at times. Fear not, you haven’t missed the boat – or the show, for that matter.  The 24th Annual Gemini Awards Broadcast Gala is just two weeks away, and will be broadcast live on Global and Showcase at 9pm

CORY crop

MONTEITH: Calgary-bound

ET/PT Saturday November 14 from the BMO Centre in Calgary. Presenters flying in to Alberta for the show include Hugh Dillon (Flashpoint,) Erin Karpluk (Being Erica,) Jessica Lucas (Melrose Place,) Amber Marshall & Graham Wardle (Heartland,) Mark McKinney (Less Than Kind,) Cory Monteith (Glee,) George Stroumboulopoulos and Rick Mercer. Host for the evening is Ron James, who BTW has two Gemini alumnus on his show tonight: Eric Peterson (Corner Gas) and Deb McGrath (Little House On The Prairie.) So don’t forget to set your PVR.

Have a great weekend!

-/-

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!

-/-

Wonder Woman sings, Citytv goes cross-border shopping (sigh), and Dame Judi does it again!

SHARPS ‘N’ FLATS: It’s official — Evan Rachel Wood will play Mary Jane Watson and Tony Award winner Alan Cumming will play Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) in the new musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, which will

CARTER: Billboard Belle

CARTER: Billboard Belle

make its Broadway debut next February 25. Tony Award winner Julie Taymor will direct the show, which will feature music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge of U2. The musical, based on the Marvel Comics character, follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose life is turned upside-down — literally — when he’s bitten by a genetically altered spider … heiress Cinda Firestone, family inheritor of automobile tire millions, is writing the book and lyrics for the upcoming Broadway musical Family Fortune, to be

BONO: Broadway-bound

BONO: Broadway-bound

produced by her husband, Manny Fox, the guy behind the hit 1981 Duke Ellington musical Sophisticated Ladies … ex-TV Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, who started out as a singer, finally got around to making that romantic jazz album, and was thrilled to discover that her CD, appropriately called At Last, is now on the Billboard charts. Ear-pleasers include her vocalizing on such standards as George Gershwin’s Summertime, James Taylor’s The Secret of Life, and the Etta James title tune … count Canada A.M. host Seamus O’Regan among Melody Gardot‘s fervent fans. O’Regan, who regards Gardot as an “incredible jazz singer and a mind-blowing songwriter,” says her show here this week was “a concert we’ll talk of in years to come. She entranced the room” … and did you notice that the three top music-makers on the latest Forbes’ magazine’s annual earnings were all women? Madonna, Céline and Beyoncé took first, second and third place respectively; Bruce Springsteen finished a fairly distant fourth.

MY REAL SPACE = MY FLAT SCREEN TV: The consensus that teenagers are abandoning television for the internet is not true – or so says a new report

COX: on Citytv

COX: on Citytv

from ratings counter A. E. Nielsen. According to the study television viewing rates among teens in the U.S. have actually gone up six per cent in the last five years, despite the growth of social media networks and video sites like My Space, Facebook and YouTube … veteran awards show producer Lynn Harvey will once again stage the Gemini Awards, but this time in Calgary, in November, for exec Joe Novak’s Joe Media … and Rogers Media is prepping new acquisition Citytv to compete with rivals CTV and Canwest Global. So beginning this fall Citytv, once the quintessential Toronto station, will simulcast 16 hours of U.S. programming in prime time, including new series with Jenna Elfman, Courteney Cox and Ed O’Neill, and Jay Leno’s new show, which will run nightly at 10 p.m. This summer City is running the U.K. version of Law & Order (do we really need another one???) This fall its Canadian content will include chef Marc Thuet’s new reality show Conviction Kitchen and the second season of the made-in-Winnipeg sitcom Less Than Kind. All of which sounds less than kind to me.

DENCH: quite the Dame

DENCH: quite the Dame

JUDI JUDI JUDI: Talk about yer star power! BBC Worldwide and WGBH are co-producing Cranford 2, a sequel to the award-winning mini-series Cranford for PBS’ Masterpiece Classic series, with Judi Dench, Imelda Staunton, Francesca Annis, Eileen Atkins, Jonathan Pryce, Tim Curry and Tom Hiddleston. And some devoted Dench fans are just now discovering that Dame Judi is the same dame who sang and danced up a storm in big  musicals like Cabaret and A Little Night Music when those big Broadway musicals played London‘s West End theatre district? And yes, her interpretation of Send In The Clowns is spectacular. And, thanks to YouTube, you can watch her do it again, just by clicking here. Enjoy!

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

HOWARD: campaigning, Hollywood-style

SEE/HEAR: Amazing in this digital day and age what you can still miss. When when the world was watching the U.S. race for president, I was transfixed by Tina Fey’s send-up of Sarah Palin. And I knew of many celebrities who were actively stumping for Barrack Obama. But I had no idea that director Ron Howard would go to the lengths he did – even enlisting his former TV dad Andy Griffiths and his former Happy Days sidekick Henry Winkler – to make a video message just as clever and as classy as he is. Old news to you? Probably. But just in case you were washing your hair that day and missed it, like I did, you can still see it, just by clicking right here.

Now is that historic or what???

TOMORROW:

A Saturday Special

-/-