Monthly Archives: May 2012
Published May 31, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
Live-tweets turned out to be the best thing about last weekend’s Leo Awards celebrating the best of B.C.-made film and television. Tweets from @LeoAwards gave an award-by-award account plus details of all the hijinks in between at both the Celebration and Gala Awards: hijinks that ranged from Property Brothers Drew and Jonathan Scott mock-fighting over their award to Gala co-hosts Amanda Tapping and Robin Dunne calling each other evil twin and English MILF to Nancy Robertson and Ryan Robbins pitching a new comedy series to Emilie Ullerup re-enacting Angelina Jolie’s notorious one-leg Oscars pose to acting legend Gabrille Rose swearing on stage while presenting the final award to Sisters & Brothers for Best Feature Film.
It was a great way to let the public share in this celebration of artistic talent after a tough week, which had started with the official cancellation of homegrown sci-fi series Sanctuary, the most-recognized B.C. production by far with 18 Leo nominations going in. Sanctuary ended up winning four Leos for its fourth and final season, but only one on the night of the gala for a guest performance by Arctic Air’s Pascale Hutton, who sang beautifully and turned her head right around in the Glee-meets-The-Exorcist episode Fuge.
I’d hoped for a repeat of last year’s wild times on the red carpet outside the Hotel Vancouver on West Georgia Street, but organizers moved the red carpet inside the hotel this year to the conference floor and restricted access. Most of the nominees kept the party going after the red carpet to take a turn at the new Media Wall by the bar where I had a spot, but it was so dimly-lit I had to jack some light from the pro-photographers’ flashes. Here’s The Express’s Johanna Ward interviewing nominee and eventual winner Johannah Newmarch on the red carpet about her supporting performance in mockumentary Sunflower Hour. Ward later dropped by the Media Wall to wrangle nominees Ali Liebert from Bomb Girls and Emilie Ullerup from Arctic Air as a backdrop to her standup.
You can see the start of Emilie Ullerup’s one-leg Angelina homage and how the popular Cassini brothers photo-bombed the arrangement. That’s Frank on the left and John on the right. Frank Cassini later won a roar from the crowd and a Leo for his supporting performance on
Is the cast of Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters always running? It seems that way but that’s based only on a handful of scenes I’ve seen filmed for the sequel. After Logan Lerman’s Percy and Douglas Smith’s Tyson spent the morning running up the 500 block of Granville Street yesterday, Alexandra Daddario’s Annabeth joined the half-brothers in the 400 block to run into a smoke-filled alley to rescue Brandon T. Jackson’s Grover from a trio of bad guys. This time, Lerman’s Percy Jackson carried a sword.
That’s the top of Grey Damon (The Secret Circle)’s head, the only one of the three young thugs I recognized in the alley, filled with smoke from smoke machines and a green screen. Earlier I saw them rehearsing grabbing Brandon T. Jackson from behind. And later I saw one of these young thugs on the ground. Stabbed by a sword?
Grover’s seeming abduction could be a big spoiler, judging from the prop Washington D.C. taxis and a hundred or so background performers walking back and forth on Granville Street in front of the alley during each take, making it almost impossible for passersby and fans to see the scene.
Crew also attempted to shield the cast with umbrellas between takes but it didn’t work too well with tall Douglas Smith and almost-as-tall Alexandra Daddario. And eventually Logan Lerman couldn’t be bothered, allowing a small group of lucky fans on his side of the street to take closeup photos of him, Smith and Daddario relaxing and chatting on a bench near their marks to start the run into the alley
I would like to see Grover’s satyr legs and horns before Percy Jackson 2 wraps here, but that hasn’t happened yet.
Percy and his friends head into the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece to save Camp Half-Blood from attack by monsters in the second in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians franchise, a series of adventures based on Greek mythology. Filming is scheduled to wrap in Vancouver in mid-June and then production moves south to Lousiana.
Continuum’s debut last night on Showcase was big. How big? 1.7 million Canadians tuned into the two airings. That makes it the #1 drama on cable this year (see press release)
Originally called Out of Time, Continuum is part sci fi, part police procedural about a future police officer Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), who travels back in time from Vancouver in the year 2077 to Vancouver in the year 2012, swept up in an escape by a group of terrorists — Liber8 – who plan to change the future from the past by targeting the corporations that will come to rule the world. Cameron impersonates a present-day police officer and ends up being partnered with detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster), who refuses to give her a weapon in this shootout with the terrorists, filmed in Victory Square this past January. Give her a weapon Fonnegra. She needs one.
When I caught up with nominee Patrick Gilmore’s tweets on Saturday ahead of the Leo Awards gala , I knew I wanted to do a short post about him primping and prepping for his big night. Like his wickedly-funny lead role in puppets and porn mockumentary Sunflower Hour, this read like a debauched twist on the traditional celeb diary:
9:46am – First task today is to lay out my lucky underwear. Granted I get more lucky when I don’t wear underwear, I’m hedging my bets. #Leos [He attached a photo of rows of swim wear/briefs? hanging on racks]
PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS: Half-Brothers Percy & Tyson Running Up Granville Street in Vancouver
Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters crew turned SFU’s Segal Graduate Business School into First National Savings Bank of D.C. with some American flags and plaques for a scene of Logan Lerman’s Percy Jackson and Douglas Smith’s Tyson turning and running up Granville Street this morning.
After each take, Logan Lerman and Douglas Smith sauntered back to their marks to start all over again. At one point, Lerman playfully punched the wrapped-in-plastic camera lense. I didn’t get any good photographs of them running, this being Granville Street where buses get backed up with two or three waiting to turn right on Pender St., blocking all views of the action on the other side of the street. Plus dread-locked Smith seemed uncomfortable being so exposed to passersby and others with cameras. There will be more filming this afternoon but I’m not sure if it’ll be visible.
Percy and his friends head into the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece to save Camp Half-Blood from attack by monsters in the second in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians franchise, a series of adventures based on Greek mythology.
How much does the CBC love its new hit drama series Arctic Air? Heaps. At the CBC upfronts earlier this month in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary to unveil next season’s schedule to advertisers and media, host George Stroumboulopoulos introduced the Arctic Air actors first in the opening Prime Time segment, ahead of the Dragon’s Den Dragons.
And for good reason — Arctic Air was the most-watched debut season for a CBC drama series in fifteen years, averaging just under a million viewers (965,000) for its first ten episodes. I watched all ten and even live-tweeted the finale in mid-March, along with so many other Canadians. Arctic Air is a classic adventure series — filmed mainly on permanent sets in Aldergrove with most exterior scenes filmed in Yellowknife — where the main trio are often in peril. It started with Bobby Martin (Adam Beach)’s return to Yellowknife to help keep alive the maverick airline co-founded by his dead father and the notorious curmudgeon Mel Ivarson (Kevin McNulty). There he reunites with Mel’s daughter Krista (Pascale Hutton), a former flame and hot-shot pilot. In the season finale cliffhanger, much of it filmed near Clinton in B.C.’s Cariboo country, Mel has internal bleeding after helping the other survivors of a plane crash. What? “Mr. Crankypants better be with us next season,” I tweeted.
Two months later, I got a chance to ask three of the Arctic Air cast, in an interview ahead of the Vancouver season preview. if Kevin McNulty’s absence meant Mel didn’t survive the season finale. “This is the Adam Beach Show” quipped Beach, intimating McNulty had gotten too big for his boots. But Beach is joking. Only the writers know what will happen in season two’s thirteen episodes next year. I did volunteer how much I’d enjoyed Beach punching Brian Markinson’s sleezy mogul Ronnie Deardon in the bar after one-too-many a-hole remarks by Deardon. And later when Aleks Paunovic’s prospector Jim McAlister single-handedly took on a group of thugs. Beach says Paunovic’s nickname on set is the “Griz”. A question about who’s left for Leah Gibson’s hotel receptionist Candi to sleep with in season two got some laughs, too. Pascale Hutton opined that Candi might have run out of options in Yellowknife.
When asked what they enjoyed most about the first season, though, the answer was quick — CBC’s support. It really was an unprecedented rollout for a Canadian drama series, like nothing we’ve ever seen before in this country, and the backing continues. Unfortunately Adam Beach and setmance girlfriend Leah Gibson had a previous engagement so they couldn’t stick around for the presentation, to George Stroumboulopoulos’s surprise. He’d expected both Beach and Hutton to be on stage against that beautiful backdrop of the far north, as they were in Toronto.
It’s unlikely Adam Beach or Kevin McNulty will show at the Leo Awards this Saturday night at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver either. Arctic Air has nine nominations, including one for Best Dramatic Series, but none for the performances of the main trio (Pascale Hutton got a separate performance nomination for The-Exorcist-meets-Glee musical episode of Sanctuary). I am happy that screenwriter Susin Nielsen is nominated for the only episode actually set in our city, the wonderfully-titled “Vancouver is Such a Screwed-Up City”, about Bobby going south with Mel and Krista to buy a new plane in Vancouver and finding his old life here coming back to haunt him. Among supporting cast, Stephen Lobo and Emilie Ullerup are both nominated for their back-in-Yellowknife roommate hookup in this episode, as they should be. Lobo’s giddy face as Dev-after-sex is a wonder. Carmen Moore and Timothy Webber are nominated for a different episode, CTVAC, about Bobby putting lives at risk to find out how his father died. And two guest actors, Bradley Stryker and Luke Camilleri, are nominated for their work hijacking an Arctic Air flight. Add a well-deserved picture editing nomination for Lara Mazur for the season finale and that makes nine.
UPDATE: Susin Nielsen won the Leo Award for best screenwriting for the set-in-our-city episode, Vancouver is Such a Screwed-up City. And that was it for Arctic Air at this year’s Leos (Pascale Hutton did win a Leo for her guest appearance on Sanctuary).
Published May 24, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome
How did Continuum creator Simon Barry conceive of a Vancouver in 2077 which has become North America’s financial centre in a world where corporations have taken over failed governments? By reading and watching the news, of course. He calls it more science fact than science fiction. In this dystopian future, rising seas from global climate change have wiped out the east coast but Vancouver is protected by a dam across English Bay.
So why hasn’t the Lions Gate Bridge been dealt with in 2077?, joked one of the Continuum panel at Vancouver Fan Expo in April. Is the city all bike lanes in the future?, joked a fan during the Q&A, prompting Barry to respond that there are no cars at all in his future Vancouver. And apparently no horses either.
Continuum, originally called Out of Time in his pilot script, is part sci fi, part police procedural about a future police officer Kiera Cameron, played by Rachel Nichols, who travels back in time from Vancouver in the year 2077 to Vancouver in the year 2012, chasing a group of terrorists who plan to change the future from the past by targeting the corporations that will come to rule the world. But are they really terrorists? Perhaps they are freedom fighters?
One such corporation is fictional Exotrol, where Continuum staged an Occupy Vancouver-style protest at CBC Vancouver in mid-March for an upcoming episode. Rachel Nichols and Victor Webster, as her 2012 Vancouver police detectuve partner Carlos Fonnegra, arrived on the scene in an unmarked blue police car.
Tuesday in Vancouver started out sunny but by the time I reached the Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters set in Robert Burnaby Park, a huge black cloud had covered the suburb of Burnaby and unleashed a torrential downpour. And I mean torrential — as in rain-bouncing-a-foot-high-off-the-pavement-of-Edmonds-Street torrential.
That didn’t deter a dozen fans sheltering under a tree next to the Camp Half-Blood set. Nor did the smoke machines which filled the air with their acrid smell and obscured the actors they came to see. When I stripped out most of the smoke from my photographs taken from about a soccer field away, I spotted Brandon T. Jackson and the dreadlocks of Douglas Smith at the back of the communal table in the mess hall. Alexandra Daddario must have been on set too and Logan Lerman could be the blue-shirted guy at the front of the communal table, judging from the stamina of the fans. They sure do love their Percy Jackson, as I’ve discovered from so many asking me for sightings of the actor Logan Lerman on set and downtown.
Percy Jackson and his friends head into the Sea of Monsters to find the mythical Golden Fleece and save Camp Half-Blood from attack by monsters in the second in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians franchise, a series of adventures based on Greek mythology.
Syfy’s official cancellation today of our own little sci-fi success story Sanctuary marks the end of an era in Vancouver. For the first time in a decade, American cable network Syfy (formerly Sci-Fi) doesn’t have a single TV series filming here. They began with the sixth season of Stargate SG-1, then Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, mini-series Tin Man and Alice, Caprica, Stargate Universe, pilot Blood and Chrome, Eureka and Sanctuary, which both wrapped filming here last summer.
Until today there was a sliver of hope for a Sanctuary renewal even though the series, co-created by Stargate star Amanda Tapping, Stargate director Martin Wood and Stargate writer Damian Kindler, had to give up its Burnaby studio and even sell sets while it waited for a decision. Finally it came this afternoon: Sanctuary would not be returning for a fifth season, making last year’s fourth season its final one.
“Bloody hell,” tweeted star Amanda Tapping, exactly as her immortal Brit character Helen Magnus would say. She and co-star Robin Dunne will be co-hosting the Leo Awards Gala celebrating the best of BC-produced film and television at the Hotel Vancouver this Saturday night, where Sanctuary has a whopping 18 nominations. Here’s hoping that this is the year Sanctuary takes home the award for Best Dramatic Series. Even if it doesn’t, a good time will be had by Team Sanctuary. Dunne and Damian Kindler even co-hosted last year’s after party.
Sanctuary ended its series with a deadly assault on the abnormal Homeland, filmed mainly at the Terminal City Ironworks complex in east Vancouver, and then the revelation that Helen Magnus had spent the last 140+ years creating a brand-new utopian underground sanctuary with beautifiul natural light, foliage and waterfalls for abnormals. It could have led to the next chapter in the saga but also served as a great place to leave it. I do regret not having the opportunity to see Sanctuary filming except once a year ago when they took their green screens outside to turn an office just behind their studio into an Indian Ocean airport.
“We’re honored to have been part of this incredible series. In addition to garnering unmatched devotion by fans worldwide, Sanctuary was a bona fide trailblazer, setting new standards with its highly innovative production techniques–including pioneering green screen and RED camera technology–and Emmy-nominated visual effects,” Syfy Original Content President Mark Stern said in a statement.
In the upcoming Vancouver-as-Vancouver series Primeval: New World, primeval creatures enter our city through temporal anomolies, aka time portals, and terrorize our neighbourhoods. One such dinosaur suddenly appeared in the Olympic Village last Thursday, chasing a jogger east from the Olympic Village pedestrian bridge to the Creekside Community Centre in take after take. It was a treat to watch the guy-in-the-grey-skin-suit-carrying-a-sphere (Chuck Campbell) who will become the computer-generated-dinosaur (an Albertosauras) following this actor-jogger until the jogger suddenly stops, looks behind him, yells “Holy Shit” and leaps over a bench to try to get away. Now that’s acting. I have a feeling he doesn’t make it since the last scene of the day was a crime scene behind the green Dragon Boat portable trailers.