Tag Archives: Lee Daniels

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!

*     *    *

Advertisements

Who wouldn’t talk about Hef, who got shortchanged in my TIFF tally, and who took home the hardware

GOOD MORNING, TORONTO: Welcome to another razzle-dazzle week of entertainment in Our Town.  Among the notable treats in store: The Boys In The Photograph, the new Andrew Lloyd Weber–Ben Elton musical about

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

SLEAN: on Abbey Road

young men and women involved with a neighbourhood soccer team in Belfast in 1969, opens tomorrow night at the Royal Alex … DanceWorks opens its new show, Namesake: three, on Wednesday at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre … also opening Wednesday: The new Allen Cole-Melody Johnson-Rick Roberts collaboration, Mimi (or A Poisoner’s Comedy) at the Tarragon  … Darren Anthony’s new concert show, Secrets Of A Black Boy, produced by his sister Trey (Da Kink In My Hair) Anthony, opens at the Music Hall on Friday, the same night conductor Jean-Philippe Tremblay, Anton Kuerti, Richard Margison and more launch a reportedly spectacular new

RIVERS: Saturday night

RIVERS: Saturday night

Royal Conservatory music venue, Koerner Hall, in the Telus Centre for Performance and Learning on Bloor Street West … Chick Corea and Sophie Milman christen the hall with jazz the following night … Celebrity Apprentice champ and TSC favourite Joan Rivers plays Casino Rama that same Saturday night … and Kevin Hearn, Raine Maida, Steven Page and Sarah Slean are among the celebrated warblers who will lend their voices when Andrew Burashko’s Art Of Time Ensemble salutes the 40th anniversary of The Beatles’ Abbey Road with a re-imagined, re-invented concert version running two nights only, this Saturday and Sunday, also at the Enwave.

And that’s just for starters, folks.

MY BAD: It’s easy to get cross-eyed when so many stars come to town at the same time. At least, that’s my lame excuse for telling you that Colin Farrell and

BETTANY: double-header

BETTANY: double-header

Julianne Moore ruled the TIFF roost this year with three, count them, three films each, while celebrated runners-up George Clooney, Colin Firth and Amands Seyfried each appeared in two TIFF entries. All of which is true, except for two guys I forgot to mention. Don’t know how I missed him, but Willem Dafoe also deserved to be in that top spot with Colin and Julianne, as he appeared in no less than three TIFF titles this year: Antichrist, Daybreakers and Farewell. Sorry about that, Willem. And yes, Paul Bettany, who played Charles Darwin in the opening night film Creation and Lord Melbourne in the closing night film Young Victoria, should have been listed with Clooney, Firth and the young Ms Seyfried in second place. And yes, I’m just hoping I didn’t miss anyone else.

PLAYBOY OF THE EASTERN FILM FESTIVAL: After three capacity crowds jammed the TIFF cinemas where her much-discussed documentary on Hugh Hefner premiered last week, director Brigitte Berman admitted that

BENNETT: talking about Hef

BENNETT: talking about Hef

by the time she finished shooting she had an embarrassment of riches, and had to delete scenes she loved from the original version to bring the film to a more manageable size. Deletions included interviews with the magazine magnate’s two sons, and the stories they tell about how they were treated in high school as Hugh Hefner’s offspring are apparently so fascinating that Berman intends to include that footage as a separate feature when the film is released on DVD. At a Q&A after the film she informed us that Playboy is the second best-known brand in the world — “Coca-Cola is number one,” she added — and that the toughest interview subject to secure, surprisingly, was Tony Bennett. “His agent is very protective of him, as he should be. But as soon as Tony was told of the request, he was all for it, and just a pleasure to work with.”

Did any key players from Hef’s past actually turn her down? “Yes,” replied the ever-candid Oscar-winning director — “Gloria Steinem, Jules Pfeiffer and Bill Cosby.”

WHO WON WHAT: As T.O. filmfest chief Piers Handling noted on Saturday night, TIFF delivered not only 335 films but also 10 days of consecutive sunshine – “the summer we did not have.” But thanks to superb programming, meticulous planning and the more than 2,000 volunteers (!!) who help make it happen, it was truly a festival to remember.

CLARKSON: winning film

CLARKSON: winning film

Finally, just in case you missed it, here’s who took home the hardware from the 34th annual Toronto International Film Festival.

– Best Canadian Short Film: Pedro Pires, Danse Macabre. Honourable mention: Jamie Travis,The Armoire.

– Best Canadian First Feature Film: Alexandre Franchi, The Wild Hunt.

– Best Canadian Feature Film: Ruba Nadda, Cairo Time, with Patricia Clarkson, Tom McCamus and Alexander Siddig. Special Jury Citation: Bernard Émond, La Donation (The Legacy).

– FIPRESCI Prize (Prize of the International Federation of Film Critics for Discovery:) Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, The Man Beyond the Bridge (India).

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

SIDDIG: Cairo Time

– FIPRESCI Prize for Special Presentations: Bruno Dumont, Hadewijch (France).

– People’s Choice Award: Lee Daniels, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. First runner-up:  Bruce Beresford, Mao’s Last Dancer. Second runner-up: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Micmacs (Micmacs à tirelarigot).

– People’s Choice Award – Documentary: Leanne Pooley, The Topp Twins. Runner-up: Michael Moore, Capitalism: A Love Story.

– People’s Choice Award – Midnight Madness: Sean Byrne, The Loved Ones. Runner-up: Michael Spierig & Peter Spierig, Daybreakers.

TOMORROW:

Margaret Atwood, Twyla Tharp, Rick Mercer, and more.