NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Oscar owners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Mira Sorvino and small-screen scene-stealers Bradley Whitford and Lucy Liu are among the stars currently shooting new TV pilots in L.A. … filmmaker
ATWOOD: Payback at TIFF
Jennifer Baichwal and Margaret Atwood get the red carpet treatment at TIFF Bell Lightbox tonight for the Canadian premiere of Payback, the new Baichwal doc based on Atwood’s Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth. The Q&A following the By Invitation Only screening will be hosted by Walrus senior editor Sasha Chapman … Parks And Recreation laugh-getter Nick Offerman has been cast in Diablo Cody’s directorial debut … and don’t say we didn’t warn ya: Both of Daniel Lanois’s March 23-24 concerts with Brian Blade at the Great Hall in Toronto are completely sold out. The concerts coincide with Lanois’ induction into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame during Canadian Music Week.
STAGE STRUCK: Three stage giants are set to share their remarkable talents with Toronto theatergoers in the next three weeks. First up is Linda Griffiths, who will reprise her bravura performance as Margaret Trudeau in a reading of
MACIVOR: world premiere
Maggie and Pierre this Saturday at Theatre Passe Muraille, staged by Paul Thompson. Thompson will also play P.E.T to her Maggie. (Wow, what a way to spend St. Patrick’s Day!) Then, two nights later at TPM, on Monday March 19, Michael Healey will appear in his latest play, Proud, a script Tarragon Theatre reportedly declined to produce for fear of incurring the wrath of the PMO. And two weeks later Tarragon playwright-in-residence Daniel MacIvor, who recently dazzled us with a stunning revival of His Greatness, will premiere his new play Was Spring on April 4 at Tarragon with Clare Coulter, Caroline Gillis and Jessica Moss. Talk about yer embarrassments of riches! If I were you I’d start dialing for ducats right now.
INTERVIEWUS INTERRUPTUS: He was a solid Celebrity Apprentice, and an appealing if impatient judge on America’s Got Talent, but I suspect the romance is over between the public and Piers Morgan. As the current
occupant of Larry King‘s coveted nightly spot on CNN, he’s constantly attracting some of the biggest names in show business, sports and politics — and then constantly interrupting them, clearly bored by their responses. At one point I thought he was getting over himself; turns out I was wrong. In my opinion Morgan is absolutely capable of delivering the goods — but only when he pauses long enough to listen, which he does all too rarely. Says Manhattan gossip girl Liz Smith: “Piers Morgan will never warm the cockles of my heart, but I suppose some people enjoy his smirky style.“ Ouch!
IT’S A MAD, MAD WORLD: New Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award winner Matt Weiner, creator of US cable hit Mad Men, is getting ready to launch season five later this month. He told C21 that he wrote the pilot for the series before he even started working on HBO’s The Sopranos — but no one would touch it. “HBO rejected the show about 80 times,” he says. “Going to AMC
MAD MEN: taking the fifth (season)
wasn’t a choice; it was the only company that was interested. People were telling me how they felt so bad for me because no one was going to see my show. When Christina Hendricks agreed to be a series regular, her manager fired her.
WEINER: getting Mad
People would say to me: ‘You were executive producer on the most exciting show on TV [The Sopranos] and this is what you turned it into.'” Mad Men was the first original show that AMC picked up, and the network tried to coax Lionsgate into partnering with them. But Lionsgate thought the period-piece pilot was too expensive so AMC shouldered the cost of shooting it. When they saw it Lionsgate execs thought the pilot was extraordinary — which it was — and signed on for the series. Which is how we got to see Mad Men. And how Mad Men got to become the first cable series the win the Emmy for Best Drama, which it has won every year for its first four seasons. And you thought making television was easy!
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Posted in Actors, Authors, BOOKS, Comedy, Gossip, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged AMC, America's Got Talent, Bradley Whitford, Brandon Tartikoff, Brian Blade, Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame, Canadian Music Week, Caroline Gillis, Celebrity Apprentice, Christina Hendricks, Clare Coulter, CNN, Cuba Gooding Jr., Daniel Lanois, DANIEL MACIVOR, DIABLO CODY, Emmy Awards, HBO, His Greatness, JENNIFER BAICHWAL, Jessica Moss, LARRY KING, Linda Griffiths, Lionsgate, LIZ SMITH, LUCY LIU, Mad Men, Maggie And Pierre, MARGARET ATWOOD, Margaret Trudeau, Matt Weiner, MICHAEL HEALEY, Mira Sorvino, Nick Offerman, Parks And Recreation, Paul Thompson, Payback, Payback: Debt And The Shadow Side Of Wealth, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Piers Morgan, Proud, Sasha Chapman, Tarragon, The Great Hall, The Search For Signs Of Intelligent Life In The Universe, The Sopranos, The Walrus, THEATRE PASSE MURAILLE, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Was Spring
BUT FIRST, TAKE A LOOK AT THIS: Canada’s most-watched man, Newfoundland export Rick Mercer, is slated to receive the 2012 ACTRA Award Of Excellence this weekend — yet another trophy to add to his countless Geminis,
HMMMM ... who's the guy with Bonhomme?
honorary doctorates and other accolades. His weekly Rick Mercer Report, appointment viewing for thousands of Canadian families, is now in its 9th season, and neither he nor the show are showing any signs of slowing down. How famous is he? So famous, apparently, that he and his show will soon be parodied by Kids’CBC. Yes, the home of cooking yam Mamma Yamma and singing dinosaur Drumheller is about to introduce its own Rick Merci Report, with another Maritimer, Saumon de Champlain, playing Rick. (Aside from his French accent and his vintage
DE CHAMPLAIN: casting coup
wardrobe and the fact that m’sieu de Champlain is, how you say it, a fish — hey, they could be twins.) Never mind — this we gotta see. Let’s hope the Merci Report attracts as many viewers as the original. More than one million Canadians tune in to Mercer’s Tuesday night telecasts, and an additional half million watch the same-week encore broadcast on Friday night. Mercer’s on the move again tonight, ice canoeing (brrrrrr!) at the Quebec the Winter Carnival and checking out Warming Hut installations (including one by Frank Gehry!!) at the Forks (brrrrrr!) in Winnipeg. And yes, there’s a Zamboni involved. And yes, it’s very funny stuff.
QUOTABLE QUOTES: “I think Margaret Atwood once said, ‘Wanting to meet an author because you like his books is like wanting to meet a duck because you like paté.’ ”
ATWOOD: It's Payback time
The speaker? Filmmaker Ethan Coen, at a film seminar in China last year. And speaking of film and Ms. Atwood, look for her new collaboration with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal, Payback, to premiere at TIFF Bell Lightbox next month. Baichwal and Atwood christened their new celluloid baby, based on Atwood’s 2008 bestseller, to much ooohing and aaahing at Sundance last month. Insiders say Atwood on-screen is almost as fascinating as Atwood off-screen, and if that’s true Payback should really be something to see.
OUR TOWN: The National Film Board launches its salute to the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary season tonight with a week-long series of dance on film at the NFB Mediatheque on John Street. First up: Celia Franca: Tour de
PINA: Oscar contender
Force by Veronica Tennant, who will speak following the screening. An archival display highlighting the past 60 years of the National Ballet and an interactive station where visitors can watch a dance and film playlist will also be offered onsite … Amy Nostbakken opens her controversial one-woman show, The Big Smoke, at Factory Studio Theatre tonight. Already a hit in the U.K., the play is reportedly inspired by the lives of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath and is described as a “poetic waltz with death which walks a fine line between sanity and psychosis.” Sounds like tons o’ fun … getting the
THOMPSON: one night only
urge to go Oscar-ing before Sunday’s Academy Awatds telecast? You can catch two major nominees at TIFF Bell Lightbox this week – Philippe Falardeau’s rave-winning drama Monsieur Lazhar, up for Best Foreign Film, and Wim Wenders’ eye-popping salute to dance great Pina Bausch, Pina, currently a strong contender for Best Documentary … and Scott Thompson brings back coy barfly Buddy Cole for a one-show-only appearance this Friday at Maggie Cassella’s Flying Beaver Pubaret on Parliament Street.
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Posted in Actors, Ballet, Gossip, Movies, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged Academy Awards, Amy Nostbakken, Bonhomme, Buddy Cole, Celia Franca: Tour de Force, Drumheller, Ethan Coen, Factory Studio Theatre, Flying Beaver Pubaret, Frank Gehry, JENNIFER BAICHWAL, Kids'CBC, MAGGIE CASSELLA, Mamma Yamma, MARGARET ATWOOD, Monsieur Lazhar, National Film Board Of Canada, NFB Mediatheque, Oscars, Payback, Philippe Falardeau, Pina, Pina Bausch, Quebec Winter Carnival, RICK MERCER, Rick Mercer Report, Rick Merci, Saumon de Champlain, Scott Thompson, Sylvia Plath, The Big Smoke, The Forks, TIFF Bell Lightbox, VERONICA TENNANT, Virginia Woolf, Wim Wenders, Winnipeg
NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Howcum funnyman Shaun Majumder keeps shining in dramas? First it was 24, then his recent stint on Republic Of Doyle, and now the ABC series 187 Detroit. (187 is police code for homicide.) Can Shaun do a spot-on impression
MAJUMDER: raising the roof
of series star Michael Imperioli (a.k.a. Christopher on The Sopranos)? Ask him yourself when he jets in from L.A. to headline his favourite comedy fund-raiser Raising the Roof, April 16 & 17 at The Rivoli … it’s not her fault, okay? Margaret Atwood sez her Twitter pals egged her on. Which is why she’s finally telling all – okay, almost all – about her adventures in TwitterLand in the New York Review of Books, right here … …. Jake Doyle’s prodigal brother Christian returns to the Rock, much to his younger brother’s dismay, on Allan Hawco’s hit series Republic Of Doyle tonight at 9 pm on CBC-TV … and Joan Rivers and her producer daughter Melissa are reportedly set to do a new reality show about Joan moving in with Melissa, grandson Cooper and Melissa’s current squeeze Jason in L.A.. Says blogger Paula Froelich: “This will rock harder than Poison at Spring Break.” Froelich joined Rivers & Co. for their Passover seder at Melissa’s house in Pacific Palisades. To read her Daily Beast report, click here.
ALICE: Disney classic
BALLET HIGH: Highlight of the National Ballet’s summer season next year should be British Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s new full-length, two-act interpretation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a co-production between the National Ballet and The Royal Ballet (UK). with a commissioned score by British composer Joby Talbot. Neither Tim Burton nor Johnny Depp have anything to do with this one as far as we know — but isn’t it odd how Lewis Carroll’s peculiar heroine has returned to the collective consciousness? Now Disney, whose magicians created the original Un-Birthday song, is celebrating the Un-Anniversary of its 1951 animated classic by
KAIN: a once-and-future Alice
reissuing it on DVD before Burton’s wacky new 3-D Alice hits the stores. The new ballet version, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will debut first in London in February 2011 and then here in Toronto, June 4 – 12, 2011 … meanwhile, NBOC chief Karen Kain sent the company’s notable outreach mini-show Dance About to Ontario’s Near North District School Board yesterday for two performances, at Maple Ridge Public School in Powassan and Sundridge Centennial Public School in Sundridge … and happy anniversary to the American Ballet Theatre, set to celebrate its 70th (!!) season May 17-July 10 at the Met. And speaking of Twitter, and aren’t we always, at both the ABT and the New Yotk City Ballet there are no policies on dancers’ increasing participation on Twitter. Says New York Times writer Gia Kourlas: “At the moment the relationship between tech-savvy dancers and company administrators seems to be akin to a child showing a parent how to use e-mail.” To read her amusing account of young ballet stars who “now tweeter as well as flutter,” click here.
PETERSON: in memory
THE LEGACY LIVES ON: One aspiring musician entering a music program at York University this fall will be the lucky recipient of the first $40,000 Oscar Peterson scholarship, allowing them to pursue their dreams. The new Peterson program will also offer up to four $10,000 annual scholarships for current undergraduate music students. Meanwhile, Peterson acolytes Peter Herrndorf, Brian Robertson, Bob Rae, Bill Davis and Tommy Banks are among the boosters soliciting donations for a life-size bronze sculpture of the jazz great to sit outside the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. The statue of Peterson at a grand piano — created by Canadian sculptor Ruth Abernethy, the artist responsible for the stunning bronze of Glenn Gould outside the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto — will be unveiled on June 30 as part of Canada Day celebrations.
Is Justin Bieber just too hot?
And, celebrating ‘Tony’s’ first lady.
Posted in SHOW BUSINESS, Gossip, Movies, Television, BOOKS, Authors, Actors, Ballet, Theatre, Stars, Showbuzz, Music
Tagged JOAN RIVERS, MELISSA RIVERS, TWITTER, KAREN KAIN, MARGARET ATWOOD, National Ballet Of Canada, Walt Disney, CBC Television, GLENN GOULD, New York Times, Tony Awards, JOHNNY DEPP, ABC, The Sopranos, Disney, Canada Day, Oscar Peterson, 24, Shaun Majumder, Allan Hawco, National Arts Centre, Tim Burton, Alice In Wonderland, Republic Of Doyle, Justin Bieber, 187 Detroit, Michael Imperioli, Raising The Roof, New York Review of Books, Paula Froelich, Passover, seder, Pacific Palisades, The Daily Beast, NBOC, Christopher Wheeldon, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, Jody Talbot, Dance About, American Ballet Theatre, Gia Kourlas, Peter Herrndorf, Brian Robertson, Bob Rae, Bill Davis, Tommy Banks, NAC, Ruth Abernethy, CBC Broadcast Centre, York University
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 Gavras‘ Late 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!
More hats ‘n’ horns for birthday boy Stephen Sondheim.
Posted in Actors, Authors, BOOKS, Gossip, Jokes, Movies, Music, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television
Tagged American Gigolo, Bill Gates, Dan Rush, Dawn French, Disney World, Douglas & McIntyre, Everything Must Go, Here It Is Again, Hot Docs, In The Wake Of The Flood, ISABELLA ROSSELLINI, JANN ARDEN, JENNIFER SAUNDERS, JOAN RIVERS, Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work, JOANNA LUMLEY, Julie Gavras, KEN FINKLEMAN, Late Bloomers, LIZ SMITH, MARGARET ATWOOD, McClelland & Stewart, Noah's Turn, OK GO, Richard Gere, Roger Ebert, Roger Ebert's Journal, Ron Mann, Shia LaBeouf, Simon Callow, Sundance, The Ebert Club, The Year Of The Flood, This Too Shall Pass, TRENA WHITE, WILL FERRELL, WILLIAM HURT, Zoomers
NO BIZ LIKE SHOW BIZ: Get out your calendars. Toronto’s mini-Just For Laughs festival will run July 6 – 11, opening one day before the annual bilingual comedyfest launches
in Montreal … Smokey Robinson plays Fallsview Casino June 11 & 12 … Oscar-winning singer-songwriter Buffy Ste. Marie, a digital pioneer in her own right, gives a Unique Lives & Experiences session next week at Roy Thomson Hall, with confessed shopaholic Cloris Leachman set to follow in her footsteps on April 19 … and four of the funniest femmes in the business, Robin Duke, Jayne Eastwood, Kathryn Greenwood and Teresa Pavlinek, return with a brand new show when their smash comedy troupe Women Fully Clothed plays Massey Hall on May 7. But they’re there for one night only, so don’t dawdle. To order tickets, click here.
BRAVE NEW CYBER WORLD: The April 12 Genie Awards will be broadcast live on the Independent Film Channel, livestreamed on CBC.ca. and rebroadcast on The Movie Network and Movie Central at a later
KUTCHER: tweeting for Haiti
date. The live webcast on CBC.ca is a first for the Genies and could give the awards show its largest audience reach ever … after concluding a 40-city theatrical tour, PBS’s American Experience will premiere its new Earth Days documentary on April 11 on Facebook. eight days ahead of the film’s television broadcast on April 19. This will reportedly be the first time a major broadcaster has introduced a full-length documentary on the site … Twitter-pated Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore and Will Ferrell are among the stars of 140 Tweets For Haiti. You can check out the trailer here … and Margaret Atwood tweets greetings from the Cologne Literary Festival where she reports that “twittern” is now a German verb.
SMALL SCREEN, BIG STAGE: Never underestimate the power of television. The Broadway run of David Mamet’s new play Race has now been extended to June 13, thanks
to the marquee allure of Boston Legal charmer James Spader … stage veteran Doris Roberts, who finally became a household name playing Ray Romano‘s mother on television, is set to return to off-Broadway next month in Love, Loss And What I Wore, which is quietly becoming a notable successor to Love Letters and The Vagina Monologues … and Emmy award-winning Will & Grace scene-stealer Sean Hayes is deep in song and dance rehearsals for his Broadway bow in the upcoming revival of Promises, Promises, the Neil Simon-Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical based on the Academy Award-winning Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment with Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine, Hayes is playing the role originated by Jerry Orbach, another legit leading man who later became far more famous for his TV work on Law & Order. And Hayes’ leading lady is Wicked star Kristin Chenowith — best known to American audiences for, you guessed it, her Emmy-winning TV role on Pushing Daisies and her guest stint last season on Glee.
ENRIGHT: Giller juror
NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE: Enigmatic music legend Don Francks is set to make one of his rare appearances at Lula’s Lounge on April 15 … renowned Russian bass-baritone Evgeny Nikitin makes his Canadian debut here April 24 in the popular Canadian Opera Company production of The Flying Dutchman. Johannes Debus, the COC’s newly-appointed Music Director, will lead the COC Orchestra and Chorus … it’s official: CBC Radio stalwart Michael Enright and novelists Claire Messud and Ali Smith have been elected by Jack Rabinovitch to choose the next Giller Prize winner … Ken Lindsay fans, take note: Your favourite piano man returns to the village April 1 (no foolin’) to the Fuzion Resto-Lounge on Church Street. Mark Cassius, formerly of The Nylons, will be on hand to help out with the high notes. Reservations are advised. For more info, click here … and screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) will pen the script for the screen biography of Green Bay Packers football coach Vince Lombardi. ESPN Films, an offshoot of the sports cable network, hopes to premiere the film before the 2012 Super Bowl. Robert DeNiro will play Lombardi — but will his Raging Bull guru Martin Scorsese direct? Stay tuned.
Have a great weekend!
Posted in Actors, Authors, BOOKS, Gossip, Movies, Music, Opera, SHOW BUSINESS, Showbuzz, Stars, Television, Theatre
Tagged 140 Tweets, Academy Award, Ali Smith, American Experience, ASHTON KUTCHER, Billy Wilder, Buffy Ste. Marie, Burt Bacharach, Canadian Opera Company, CBC Radio, cbc.ca, Claire Messud, CLORIS LEACHMAN, COC, Cologne Literary Festival, David Mamet, DEMI MOORE, Don Francks, Doris Roberts, Earth Days, Eric Roth, ESPN, Evgeny Nikitin, Facebook, Fallsview Casino, Fuzion Resto-Lounge, Genie Awards, Giller Prize, Green Bay Packers, Hal David, Independent Film Channel, Jack Lemmon, Jack Rabinovitch, James Spader, JAYNE EASTWOOD, Johannes Debus, Just For Laughs, Kathryn Greenwood, Ken Linday, KRISTIN CHENOWITH, Lula Lounge, MARGARET ATWOOD, Mark Cassius, MARTIN SCORSESE, Massey Hall, Michael Enright, Movie Central, NEIL SIMON, PBS, Promises Promises, Race, Raging Bull, Ray Romano, ROBERT DENIRO, Robin Duke, Roy Thomson Hall, Sean Hayes, SHIRLEY MACLAINE, Smokey Robinson, TERESA PAVLINEK, The Apartment, The Flyimg Dutchman, The Movie Network, The Nylons, TMN, TWITTER, Vince Lombardi, WILL FERRELL, Women Fully Clothed