Tag Archives: Anne with an E

Poll: Which three returning Canadian shows will you be watching this fall?

The fall television season is here, and we couldn’t be happier. With the crisper weather comes the traditional time of year when networks’ new and returning favourites hit the airwaves.

In particular, the CBC jumps into the next few weeks with longtime faves in Murdoch Mysteries and Heartland alongside soon to be classics in Anne with an E and Frankie Drake Mysteries. Not to be outdone, Corus series like Carnival Eats and Property Brothers are back and Citytv’s newbie, Hudson & Rex returns with new episodes. In short, there is a lot of television coming our way.

To celebrate, we’re asking you to check off the three returning television series you’re most looking to watching in the coming months. Have fun, and please feel free to leave a comment below regarding why you chose which shows you did. (After you make your selections, make sure you hit the blue “Vote” button just below and to the right of The Nature of Things.)

Also: wondering when your favourites return? Check out our handy calendars.

Which three returning Canadian shows will you be watching this fall?

  • Heartland, CBC (39%, 1,133 Votes)
  • Murdoch Mysteries, CBC (13%, 392 Votes)
  • Anne with an E, CBC (8%, 228 Votes)
  • Property Brothers, HGTV Canada (6%, 169 Votes)
  • Frankie Drake Mysteries, CBC (6%, 165 Votes)
  • Still Standing, CBC (6%, 162 Votes)
  • The Great Canadian Baking Show, CBC (4%, 126 Votes)
  • Hudson & Rex, Citytv (4%, 111 Votes)
  • The Nature of Things, CBC (3%, 87 Votes)
  • Highway Thru Hell, History (3%, 84 Votes)
  • Battle of the Blades, CBC (2%, 57 Votes)
  • Marketplace, CBC (2%, 53 Votes)
  • Dragons' Den, CBC (2%, 47 Votes)
  • Letterkenny, Crave (1%, 43 Votes)
  • Carnival Eats, Food Network Canada (1%, 29 Votes)
  • Baroness von Sketch Show (1%, 21 Votes)
  • First Contact, APTN (0%, 8 Votes)
  • CBC Arts: Exhibitionists, CBC (0%, 8 Votes)
  • Eyes for the Job, AMI-tv (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Bajillionaires, Family (0%, 6 Votes)
  • In the Making, CBC (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,464

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Jann: Deborah Grover on Nora’s journey and the “universal story” of Alzheimer’s disease

“Just breathe.”

That was the advice Deborah Grover gave Jann Arden when they began filming CTV’s Jann in Calgary last fall.

Singer-songwriter Arden is an experienced stage performer with enviable comedic ability, but toplining a TV series—and all the line memorization and mark-hitting that goes with it—is new to her. Grover, who plays Arden’s mother Nora in the series, is a veteran actress with a long list of credits, including films Agnes of God and Where the Truth Lies and TV shows Night Heat and Anne with an E, so she knows exactly what to do when someone has acting jitters.

“When you start to panic and go, ‘I don’t remember a single thing, I don’t even remember my first line,’ it’s like, breathe,” Grover says during an on-set interview last October. “Because it’s all sitting inside of you. You’ve done all your work, so just breathe. So [Jann and I] would start a scene, and just breathe, and boom, it’s there. And if it isn’t there, then we start again. Not a big deal.”

Of course, that approach only saves actors who have done their work, and according to Grover, no one arrived on set more prepared or more committed each day than Arden did.

“She came prepared to work, and every day she’s working on her lines and her scenes and her nuance of the scene,” Grover says. “She’s come at it with everything she’s got, and it’s been fascinating to watch. You know, she’s a Canadian icon, so you want this to succeed for her, because man, what we have to give in this journey is personal, but it’s a universal story. It’s so human.”

In the series, Arden plays a mostly fictional version of herself, a version who is on the declining side of fame and struggling to get back on top—which leads to lots of hilariously unflattering scenarios. However, the show also deftly mixes in Nora’s struggles with dementia, which are based on Arden’s real-life experiences caring for mother Joan Richards, who suffered from Alzheimer’s before passing away in December.  

Grover read Arden’s 2017 memoir, Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as a Daughter Lives with her Mom’s Memory Loss, before auditioning for the part.

“I read the book, and during my screen test with Jann, I think she felt I had the right feeling, a certain sensibility, and that seemed to work for her vision of her mom,” says Grover.

The connection between them is evident onscreen, counterbalancing the show’s spot-on bits of entertainment industry satire with moments of emotional depth and familial tenderness.

“It is a fictionalized version, there’s no question,” says Grover. “And I think the more we explore the scenes, the more I discover about her mother.”

Grover’s family was also touched by Alzheimer’s when her mother-in-law was diagnosed with the disease. 

I got to experience that on a first-hand basis,” she says. “But it’s totally different with every individual, and people have been very open about sharing their stories with me, going, ‘Well, my mom was this,’ or ‘My grandmom was that,’ so you receive it all, and it all adds to the mix.”

It isn’t a spoiler to say that Nora moves from simply being forgetful—as in a scene from Wednesday’s new episode, “Weeknd at Charley’s,” when Jann loses her patience with her mom for misplacing her phone—to suspecting something more serious is going on as the season progresses.

“As the journey gets more pronounced, you’re seeing a little bit of forgetfulness, the dementia is there, and then there will be the diagnosis at the end of the six-part series,” Grover says. “Hopefully, if there is a second season, there will be an exploration of the journey with mom and what that means and how the family deals with it through humour, through the heartbreak of it all. But you’ll hopefully get all those colours because Jann wrote about it all in her book.”

While a second season of Jann seems like a good bet, thanks to strong early ratings, Grover is also thankful for her recurring role as Aunt Josephine on the CBC/Netflix series Anne with an E, which started filming its third season in March.

“What a lucky actor I am,” Grover says. “I’ve got two amazingly different things on the go, and hopefully, other things that will fill in the cracks. I feel extremely blessed in these character years when you go, ‘Well, isn’t it over?’ No, it’s just beginning. Man, it’s just beginning. I’m having more fun than I’ve had.”  

Jann airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.

Images courtesy of Bell Media.

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Cameras roll on Northwood Entertainment’s third season of the award-winning Anne with an E

From a media release:

Principal photography has commenced on the much anticipated third season (10×60) of CBC and Netflix’s Anne with an E. From Miranda de Pencier’s Northwood Entertainment and Emmy®-winning showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett, Season Three continues the coming-of-age story of Anne Shirley-Cuthbert, an outsider who against all odds, fights for acceptance, for her place in the world, and for love. After an extensive cross-Canada search, Walley-Beckett and de Pencier cast 12-year-old Kiawenti:io Tarbell, a Mohawk from Akwesasne, who portrays Ka’kwet, an independent, resilient Mi’kmaq girl who befriends Anne. The third season airs on CBC and Netflix in 2019.

Returning cast include Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R. H. Thomson, Dalila Bela, Corrine Koslo, Lucas Jade Zumann, Aymeric Jett Montaz, Dalmar Abuzeid, Cara Ricketts, Joanna Douglas, Kyla Matthews, Cory Grüter-Andrew, and Miranda McKeon. Directors Norma Bailey, Paul Fox, Amanda Tapping, and Anne Wheeler return for Season Three as does the entire all-female writing team led by Walley-Beckett (Kathryn Borel, Jr., Shernold Edwards, Amanda Fahey, Naledi Jackson, and Jane Maggs, with the addition of Tracey Deer). New directors this season include Kim Nguyen and Michelle Latimer.

In addition to Kiawenti:io Tarbell and Brandon Oakes (Through Black Spruce; Arctic Air; Saving Hope) new Indigenous cast members include Dana Jeffrey (Heartland; Teenagers). To find the perfect ‘Ka’kwet’, Anne with an E producers and casting team conducted an open-call search across Canada. Two hundred and thirty candidates auditioned in person or via tape, from coast to coast. Shortlisted actors were invited to take part in an acting workshop in Toronto, where the producers and casting team landed on Kiawenti:io Tarbell.

As the world of Avonlea continues to expand, Anne turns 16 – a momentous occasion which cements her desire to discover more about her birth parents and family history. But this new quest isn’t comfortable for everyone, as Matthew and Marilla grapple with the fact that Anne may have a life outside of Green Gables. Meanwhile, the residents of Avonlea interact with a camp of members of the Mi’kmaq nation, causing tensions to rise – and deep bonds to be forged. The future looms large as the kids enter their senior year of school – some prepare for their college entrance exams, while others set their sights on more exotic shores. But first, everyone must survive the perils of romance, friendship, first love, first kisses, and much more. Sebastian and Mary settle into domestic life, while Gilbert dreams big about his future as a doctor. As Anne matures, she’s increasingly forced to grapple with difficult topics — from gender equality to Indigenous rights — and learns that the fight to make the world a better place never ends. As the characters prepare to enter the twentieth century, some continue to look forward while others cling to more traditional ways, but one thing is clear – nothing will ever be the same again.

While Anne with an E continues to honour the foundation of L. M. Montgomery’s novel, this reimagined series explores identity, racism, feminism, friendship, bullying, gender parity, and empowerment through the lens of its fierce, starry-eyed, irrepressible 16-year-old protagonist.

A CBC and Netflix original series, Anne with an E is produced by Northwood Entertainment and created by Moira Walley-Beckett. The executive producers are Miranda de Pencier, Moira Walley-Beckett, Tina Grewal, Debra Hayward, and Alison Owen. Anne with an E is inspired by the timeless Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

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Anne with an E: Lucas Jade Zumann describes Gilbert’s Season 2 journey

While Anne Shirley has been experiencing life in Avonlea and all that entails—school, friendship, chores and two sneaky grifters—Gilbert Blythe has been on an adventure of his own in Season 2 of Anne with an E.

Leaving Prince Edward Island following the death of his father, Gilbert has been shovelling coal into a ship’s boiler alongside Bash in the Caribbean. The two have established a strong friendship, and there has been great personal growth for Gilbert already. It’s not clear exactly when Gilbert will return to Avonlea—it depends on how fast Anne’s letter reaches him—and Lucas Jade Zumann won’t tell me.

I spoke to Zumann earlier this year about how he was cast in the role, what’s in store for Gilbert this year and his plan to study … astrophysics and quantum theory.

Gilbert’s got a lot going on from what I’ve seen so far in Season 2.
Lucas Jade Zumann: Yeah. Absolutely, I think he’s getting a much more worldly perspective during Season 2. Even more so than I think the character had in the book. [Showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett] is really writing in between the pages on this one and really adding a lot to his character’s backstory. I think it’s really important and it lends a lot to his natural worldly character that he has in the book. And I think that this journey of his kind of, it lends an explanation to Gilbert’s perspective.

How did you end up with the role in the first place? 
LJZ: It wasn’t actually very traditional. When I got the offer for the audition, I was on tour for the publicity for 20th Century Women, a film that I did. And the director of 20th Century Women worked with the producer of Anne with an E. She liked the film. She saw the film early and she liked my work and she requested that I read for the role. So I came in, the first thing I did was actually a chemistry read with Amybeth McNulty. And then after that point, it was maybe a couple of weeks before my agent called me and let me know that I had gotten the role of Gilbert Blythe.

To be skipping that step because executive producer Miranda de Pencier had seen you and thought that you’d be a good fit … were you a little bit extra nervous going into this?
LJZ: Oh, absolutely, especially considering the rank of these people that were sitting at the table in front of me. I mean, Moira Walley-Beckett is a phenomenal writer and director and I have been inspired by her work for many years beforehand. Just sitting in a room with these people is intimidating. Even the waiting room. I was, yeah, I was very nervous to say the least. I’m just really lucky that we kind of clicked in a certain way.

Gilbert lost his father in Season 1. That was a very dark and serious storyline that you had to take on.
LJZ: Yeah. Absolutely. I think losing his father was a huge deal for Gilbert’s growth and it pushed him to grow up really fast and have to start supporting himself and discovering his own place in the world. I think being in school just … and then having to support yourself, just in a little life change like that, I can only imagine how hard that must be for a person. And the kind of toll that that has on their personality. I think that lends a lot to his mentality and his maturity.

Where’s Gilbert’s head at in Season 2?
LJZ: I think he’s just so excited to be exploring parts of the world. I think he’s so accustomed to the way of life in Avonlea, where it’s snow almost all year and just farm work every single day. And I think that just being on a boat and even just shovelling coal, like, that was, that’s part of the exploration for him. I definitely can see that in my own life, too. I mean, I personally like working in a restaurant in my free time, just simply because it’s a more mindful type of workspace, in a restaurant. And I appreciate that there so many different roles that people can play in this world. I think Gilbert is taking the time in to explore that.

What can you say about his relationship with Sebastian?
LJZ: Sebastian really is kind of his leader to the world outside of Avonlea. I think when Gilbert leaves Avonlea, all he knows is, well, I mean, he’s been surrounded by white people and this culture, this European Canadian culture that he’s had his whole life. Seeing Trinidad and seeing what it’s like on a steamship, all the other trials that he goes through, I think that being with Sebastian and seeing that these are trials that people like him would go through on a daily basis just to survive.

That grants him perspective. Coming from a classroom full of people worried about what they’re going to wear the next day, to people worried about how they’re going to eat the next day. That was something that’s really important for him to understand. There’s a whole other world outside of Avonlea.

Is there something that you’re working on now that you can talk about? Are you back working in a restaurant? 
LJZ: Well, I just took a break from the restaurant because I am starting my senior year in high school. Which I did not necessarily think I was going to go back and do because I did take my GED. I tested out of high school, but I don’t have enough credits to apply for a college and make it look cool. I don’t have all the college credits that I would need.

I do eventually want to go back and I really am interested in studying astrophysics and quantum theory. That would definitely require some mathematics or history, you know. Coming back to school with that kind of new drive for learning, specifically with the astrophysics, understanding that calculus and math is like the language of how we humans quantify and understand things about our universe, it could be beyond our perception, I’m so fascinated by that. I really want to explore everything that we can about the universe that we live in.

Anne with an E airs Sundays at 7 p.m. on CBC.

Image courtesy of CBC.

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