Tag Archives: Aubrey Nealon

CBC and BET+ original series The Porter now in production

From a media release:

The highly anticipated start of production for Inferno Pictures and Sienna Films’ THE PORTER (8×60), a CBC and BET+ original series, is now underway in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Shooting across various locations as well as in studio, THE PORTER continues until mid-September.

Exciting new additions to THE PORTER cast include Oluniké Adeliyi (Titans, American Gods) and Loren Lott (American Idol, Tag). They join Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy) who were announced earlier this year. Plus, series originators Arnold Pinnock and Bruce Ramsay take on series regular roles of ‘Glenford’ and ‘Dinger,’ respectively.

Adeliyi portrays ‘Queenie’, the savvy, seductive and sinister crime boss in Chicago whose lavish lifestyle and power appeals to Junior, but at what cost?; while Lott plays headstrong ‘Lucy,’ a talented performer who yearns for the spotlight as she battles shadeism and an instinct for music that’s out of step with the times.

Set in the roaring 20s, THE PORTER offers a dramatic and compelling look at the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal — known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North”. The story is told through the eyes of two Black train porters taking very different paths to liberation. One pushes to create the first Black union in existence, the other chases power on the wrong side of the law, but both have the same goal: to free themselves and their families from oppression. They’re young, gifted and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean, and the U.S., and they find themselves thrown together north and south of the color line. In an era that boasts anything is possible, if change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it.

From Montreal to Chicago and at every stop in between, in a time of extraordinary social and political change, THE PORTER tells the story of the people who fought to ignite the civil rights movement in North America.

A CBC and BET+ original series, THE PORTER is originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), with Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul), Marsha Greene (Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People) and Aubrey Nealon (Snowpiercer, Cardinal), and produced by Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures Inc. and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films. Morais and Greene are showrunners and executive producers. Charles Officer (Akilla’s Escape, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls) will direct the series, and are executive producers. Pinnock also serves as an executive producer, and Ramsay a co-executive producer. The series is written by Morais, Greene, Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Priscilla White, Pinnock and Ramsay, with Thorne participating in the writers’ room. The series is funded with the support of the Canada Media Fund and Manitoba Film & Music and is distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights (AMR) and Sphere Distribution.

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Aml Ameen, Mouna Traoré and Ronnie Rowe Jr. set to star in CBC’s The Porter

From a media release:

The first round of casting for CBC and BET+ original series THE PORTER (working title, 8×60) has been confirmed, with Aml Ameen (I May Destroy You, Yardie), Ronnie Rowe Jr. (Star Trek: Discovery, Pretty Hard Cases) and Mouna Traoré (Self Made, The Umbrella Academy) to co-star in the 1920s drama. With the series set to start production in Winnipeg, Manitoba later this spring, more additions to the cast will be announced in the coming weeks.

Inspired by real events and set in the roar of the 1920s, THE PORTER follows the journeys of an ensemble of characters who hustle, dream, cross borders and pursue their ambitions in the fight for liberation – on and off the railways that crossed North America. It is a gripping story of empowerment and idealism that highlights the moment when railway workers from both Canada and the United States joined together to give birth to the world’s first Black union.

Ameen will portray ‘Junior Massey,’ an intelligent, smooth, ambitious and fearless risk taker and war veteran employed as a porter with the Transcontinental Railroad; alongside Rowe Jr. as fellow porter ‘Zeke Garrett,’ Junior’s friend and war buddy, who is calm, thoughtful and persistent to a fault in his fight for integration. Traoré will play ‘Marlene Massey,’ Junior’s wife who works with the Black Cross Nurses, an offshoot of Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association, risking resources and reputation to help her community and reach her full potential.

Set primarily in Montreal, Chicago and Detroit as the world rebuilds after the First World War, THE PORTER depicts the Black community in St. Antoine, Montreal – known, at the time, as the “Harlem of the North.” They’re young, gifted and Black, from Canada, the Caribbean, and the U.S. via the Underground Railroad and through the Great Migration, and they find themselves thrown together north and south of the color line, in an era that boasts anything is possible – but if change isn’t coming for them, they will come for it. By any means necessary.

A CBC and BET+ original series, THE PORTER is originated and created by Arnold Pinnock (Altered Carbon, Travelers) and Bruce Ramsay (19-2, Cardinal), with Annmarie Morais (Killjoys, Ransom, American Soul), Marsha Greene (Private Eyes, Ten Days In The Valley, Mary Kills People and Aubrey Nealon (Snowpiercer, Cardinal), and produced by Winnipeg-based Inferno Pictures Inc. and Sphere Media’s Sienna Films. Morais and Greene are showrunners and executive producers. Charles Officer (21 Thunder, Ransom, Coroner) and R.T. Thorne (Blindspot, Utopia Falls) will direct the series, and are executive producers. Pinnock and Ramsay are co-executive producers. The series is written by Morais, Greene, Andrew Burrows-Trotman, Priscilla White, Pinnock and Ramsay, with R.T. Thorne participating in the writers’ room. The series is funded with the support of the Canada Media Fund and Manitoba Film & Music and is distributed internationally by Abacus Media Rights (AMR) and Sphere Distribution.

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John Cardinal leaps from the page to TV in CTV’s excellent, atmospheric Cardinal

On paper, Detective John Cardinal is a man of few words. The central figure in Giles Blunt’s Cardinal book series prefers to keep his thoughts on investigations in his head, much to the dismay of his co-workers and partner, Lise Delorme. The fact Cardinal isn’t one to share his intuitions was a challenge actor Billy Campbell embraced.

“I love that kind of stuff, particularly because I have fewer lines to learn,” Campbell says with a laugh. “No, it’s this kind of brooding thing. [Director] Podz and I were talking [before production began] and he said, ‘If you could give one adjective to describe Cardinal, what would it be?’ I said, ‘tortured.’ And he said, ‘Exactly!’ And a lot of that is internal. I like all that stuff that’s between the lines and you don’t see or get a lot of that on television.”

Impressive in scope, beautifully filmed and impeccably cast, CTV’s six-part serialized drama Cardinal—debuting Wednesday on CTV and Thursday on Super Écran—breathes life to Blunt’s first Cardinal novel, Forty Words for Sorrow. Filmed in and around Sudbury, North Bay, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek in Northern Ontario and Toronto, the project stars Campbell as Blunt’s tortured hero, who is called upon to track down the killer of 13-year-old Katie Pine. His partner is Lise Delorme (Karine Vanasse), a recent transfer and someone Cardinal doesn’t trust. Additional cast includes Brendan Fletcher as Eric Fraser and Allie MacDonald as Edie Soames, a young couple in town; Deborah Hay as Cardinal’s wife Catherine; Glen Gould as officer Jerry Commanda; Kristen Thomson as Sergeant Noelle Dyson, Cardinal’s commanding officer; David Richmond Peck as Corporal Musgrave, an officer in charge of a tightly guarded investigation; Alanna Bale as Cardinal’s daughter Kelly; and Robert Naylor as Keith.

What executive producer and showrunner Aubrey Nealon (Orphan Black) and Podz (19-2) have done is successfully translate an atmospheric novel to the screen. You can feel the fear gripping the snowy community of Algonquin Bay after Katie’s body is found. Did a drifter commit the crime or someone in town? A washed-out colour palette, cold temperatures and chilling examination of the body all contribute to a feeling of dread, something that came off the page in waves.

“Giles was a big part of the project early on, and then he handed it off,” Nealon says during a break in filming. “As a fan of the novel, I respect his writing so much and wanted to be true to the novel while trying to find my own voice in it.” Some parts of Forty Words for Sorrow didn’t make it to the television series and other content was added. Nealon explains Cardinal’s internal monologue was vocalized through adding new characters and activating past cases referenced in the book and making them part of the current storyline.

“This is so different from writing Orphan Black because these characters were fleshed out and living and breathing [in the novels],” Nealon says. “I wanted to explore Delorme’s personal life a little bit more than happened in the books.” When it came to casting the lead role, Nealon was looking for someone with warmth and humanity that draws viewers in while also presenting a troubled side to him. They got it with Campbell. Pair that with Vanasse’s Delorme, a young, eager cop full of good intention, and the duo simply crackles on-screen.

“Lise made some choices in the past that were safer for her,” Vanasse says. “She is finding in this new role that this is something that she’s always wanted to do. The closer that she gets to Cardinal, working on the case, he moves her. She recognizes how invested he is in the case and follows her instincts more and more.”

Cardinal airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV and Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET beginning Jan. 26 on Super Écran.

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