Tag Archives: Gordon Korman

TV Eh B Cs podcast 50 — Mike McPhaden what the Wizzle

Take a good, close look at that picture. Count the hands.

Mike McPhaden is a TV writer based in Toronto best known for writing half-hour comedy for adults and kids alike.

Originally from Winnipeg, he got his start doing sketch and improv with the troupe Higher Than the Ground before heading off to train as an actor at York University.  After finding success as a playwright, he graduated from the CFC’s Prime Time TV Program and went on to write for YTV’s How to Be Indie, helmed by Vera Santamaria, John May and Suzanne Bolch. Other shows soon followed: Men With Brooms, Connor Undercover, Seed, Spun Out, Insecurity, Degrassi, as well as animated fare such as Rusty Rivets and Inspector Gadget.

Most recently he adapted two Gordon Korman novels into TV movies for YTV, This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall (co-written with Adam Barken) and The Wizzle War.

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Potter and Gray cook up laughs in YTV’s Bruno & Boots TV-movie

Like many Canadians, Callan Potter grew up reading Gordon Korman’s adventures about two buddies, Bruno and Boots, their friends and the prep school they attended. Little did he know he’d end up portraying one of them.

“When I heard about the audition, I was excited because it was going to be a Bruno & Boots TV-movie,” Potter says. “That was before I even auditioned for the role.” But audition he did, landing the two-season Stratford Festival performer his first-ever television gig as Melvin “Boots” O’Neal in YTV’s Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool project airing Friday, April 1, on YTV. Based on Korman’s novel of the same name, Max & Shred‘s Jonny Gray plays Boots’ best bud, Bruno Walton; the pair hatch a plan to score money to build a swimming pool for their prestigious Macdonald Hall after some parents consider moving their sons to rival institution York Academy where there is a pool. The challenge? Coming up with creative fundraising projects to get the cash under the watchful eye of Headmaster William “The Fish” Sturgeon (Peter Keleghan).

What makes Bruno and Boots so appealing in the books is their chemistry. Yes, they constantly tease each other, their friends and prank everyone in sight, but they’re fiercely loyal to each other and their school. That bond is also evident on-screen between Potter and Gray, and began during their first screen test.


“We hit it off right away,” Gray says. “We have so many similar interests.” Admittedly, it is a bit jarring to see fictional characters brought to life in a television series or movie. After creating an image of them in my head while reading the books, it took a few minutes to adjust, especially The Fish, who I pictured as a thin, bald man. Peter Keleghan couldn’t be further from that, but brings an energy—and physical comedy—to Go Jump in the Pool that not only will cause viewers to laugh, but his co-stars during filming as well.

“I was in a scene with Peter and Scott [Thompson, who plays York Academy’s Headmaster Hartley], and I was just watching them, thinking, ‘This guy is a genius,’ and I missed my cue,” Gray admits. The physical laughs don’t just come from Keleghan, however. Gray and Potter, along with co-stars Hannah Vandenbygaart, Kiana Madeira, Joshua Kilimnik, Drew Haytaoglu and Isiah Lea, all participated in a cooking competition fundraiser that turned into a massive food fight.

“It was a free-for-all, it was ridiculous,” recalls Gray. “You’d have cupcakes and frosting mashed into a ball and smashed into someone’s face. We had flour and chocolate chips dumped on us.”

“We had to shower and shoot two scenes after that,” Potter says. “I had cake in my ears.”

Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool airs Friday, April 1, at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT on YTV.


Video: Bruno & Boots: Go Jump in the Pool premieres April 1 on YTV

Determined to prevent his best friend Boots O’Neal from being transferred to a boarding school with better athletic facilities, mischief-maker Bruno Walton rallies the boys of Macdonald Hall and the girls of Scrimmage Academy in an epic quest to raise enough money to build Macdonald Hall its own swimming pool. The original movie based on the much-loved Macdonald Hall book series by best-selling young adult author Gordon Korman. Premiers Friday, April 1 at 7:30p.m. ET/PT on YTV