Tag Archives: Toronto Screenwriting Conference

Shirley goes Downton, Patricia goes down that Gardens path & Kate goes from Horror to Netflix

GOIN’ TO THE ABBEY: Unsinkable movie queen Shirley MacLaine, still star-bright at 77, is packing  to leave for the U.K. and filming for the next season of Downton Abbey.  She ‘s looking forward to playing the American mother of

MACLAINE: off to the U.K.

Lady Cora Grantham (Elizabeth McGovern,) she says, because “there is sure to be a variance of opinions when you mix the staidBritish upper crust with brash American views of the 1920s.” She’s also taking her one-woman show, An Evening With Shirley MacLaine, on the road in March, with test runs in Arizona, Connecticut and New York state. But she’ll be back in Hollywood on June 7  to pick up an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award — the 40th in American Film Institute history. “2012 is off to an amazing beginning for me!” Shirley

McGOVERN: make room for momma

exclaims … Larry King will get his Lifetime Achievement Award the same month, from the 2012 Banff World Media  Festival … comedy writer Bruce Vilanch, whose light touch brightened  23 of the last 25 Oscar shows, won’t be typing backstage this year because he’s busy writing for Broadway. Also MIA this year: A  performance of Oscar-nominated songs. Producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have voted to scrap ’em (there are only two.)  But in the nostalgic spirit of Best Picture nominees The Artist, Hugo and Midnight In Paris,  the Kodak Theater on Hollywood

MESSING: she's a Smash

Boulevard will be decorated to resemble a timeless movie theatre like the University and the Imperial and other picture palaces of old  … Liz Smith says the producers of Smash are wooing Broadway baby Lesley Ann Warren to join the cast as a Broadway diva on the comeback trail. Liz says Smash star Debra Messing would love having Warren on board, because they worked so well together on Will & Grace when Warren played Will’s father’s  dizzy mistress … and friendly fire-breathers Jim Treliving and Arlene Dickinson are teaming up to do a Dragons’ Den spin-offIn each episode of Big Decision, Treliving and Dickinson assess two struggling businesses and decide to save one company. Or both. Or neither.

OUR TOWN:  Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage launches this weekend with the world premiere of Everything Under the Moon, a collaboration by innovative performance artist Shary Boyle and songwriter Christine

WILLIAMS: NAACP nominee

Fellows. A year and a half in the making, Everything Under the Moon is reportedly their most ambitious creation to date, pairing hand-animated projected image with narrative song. An extra show has already been added next week due to bubbling ticket demand … Dave Bidini and the BidiniBand are giving a free concert as part of the SK8 festival at Harbourfront this Sunday from 2-4 pm. “Bring skates,” says the renaissance musician & writer. “The gig is just off the Natrel skating rink, and there’ll be lotsa stuff for kids and non-kids alike!” … and Second Harvest’s grassroots fundraising campaign Lunch Money Day wraps up today. Volunteers will be shaking their cans at subway stations across the city during the

RAINN: Office spin-off?

morning and evening rush hours, so  “peas give” the equivalent of what you usually spend on lunch to Second Harvest. Remember, with only $10 they can provide 20 meals! So show them that you “give a shiitake” and reward those valiant volunteers with more than just a smile.

THE WRITE STUFF: Award-winning director Patricia Rozema will take participants through her transformation of the classic Maysles Brothers documentary Grey Gardens into the hit HBO feature with Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore at the 3rd annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference on March 30-April 1. It was Rozema’s shooting script that got the green light for the movie and the Emmyv and Golden Globe

ROZEMA: Grey Gardening

awards that followed … screenwriter and novelist Ron Base, author of those wildly entertaining Sanibel Detective yarns, shares trade secrets in his equally amusing tell-almost-all blog Writing Sanibel: Or How An Old Dog Used A Unique Island and Technology to Learn New Tricks … and Hollywood-based writer-producer Kathy Slevin has launched  a new blog focused on disseminating successful actions – her own and those of other writers and producers from whom she has learned.  “Its purpose,” she explains, “is to help writers bring their work closer to the kind of product a producer needs and wants and will hopefully be the kind of resource that both find useful.” Her current posts include Secrets Of Series Creations  and How To Hook An Audience, and would-be series writers can check ‘em out right here.

STARS IN OUR EYES:  Indefatigable ReelWorld filmfest founder and director Tonya Lee Williams, who most recently received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award in Montreal, has been nominated for a

BASE: Sanibel sleuthing

2012 NAACP Image Award for her role in the long-running CBS daytime drama The Young and the Restless. The awards will be telecast live from Hollywood tomorrow night on NBC …  American Horror Story heroine Kate Mara has joined Kevin Spacey in producer David Fincher’s original Netflix series House of Cards … Paul Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman) is set to join Kate Winslet, Nicolas Cage, Steve Carrell, Catherine Keener and Kevin Kline in Charlie Kaufman’s new flight of fantasyFrank or Francis … and Rainn Wilson is in talks to continue with his character Dwight Schrute in a spinoff of The Office.

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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.