Tag Archives: Saving Hope

CBC and Sundance TV confirm casting for Unspeakable, including Shawn Doyle, Michael Shanks and Camille Sullivan

From a media release:

CBC and SundanceTV today announced casting for the dramatic eight-part miniseries UNSPEAKABLE, which chronicles the tainted blood scandal beginning in the 1980’s. Acclaimed actors Sarah Wayne Callies (Colony, The Walking Dead), Shawn Doyle (Bellevue, Big Love), Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1, Saving Hope) and Camille Sullivan (The Disappearance, The Man in the High Castle) will lead the series. Production on UNSPEAKABLE begins spring 2018 in Vancouver, BC, for broadcast on CBC in Canada and SundanceTV in the U.S.

Created by Robert C. Cooper (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis) and based on first-person experience and non-fiction books, Bad Blood by Vic Parsons and The Gift of Death by Andre Picard, UNSPEAKABLE chronicles the emergence of HIV and Hepatitis C in Canada in the early 1980s and the tragedy that resulted after thousands of people were infected by tainted blood. One of the largest medical disasters in Canadian history, the blood scandal triggered a federal inquiry and precedent-setting lawsuit resulting in billions of dollars in compensation to victims.

A CBC and SundanceTV original series, UNSPEAKABLE is produced by Mezo Entertainment, with Cooper and Meridian Artists’ Glenn Cockburn serving as executive producers. The series is a passion project for Cooper, who himself was a victim, having contracted Hepatitis C from tainted blood. The series is written by Cooper, Carl Binder, Adriana Capozzi and Lynn Coady, with Cooper and Callies set to direct episodes.

AMC Studios will manage worldwide distribution outside of Canada.

CAST BIOGRAPHIES:

Sarah Wayne Callies has made an indelible impression on audiences worldwide by bringing complex and unique female characters to life on screen. She was recently seen in National Geographic’s miniseries The Long Road Home, opposite Michael Kelly, Kate Bosworth, Jason Ritter, and Noel Fisher. She also currently stars on USA’s drama series Colony, opposite Josh Holloway. In addition to her projects with NatGeo and USA, Callies recently starred in the season five reboot of FOX’s critically acclaimed series Prison Break. Another notable role held from 2010-13 was starring as Lori Grimes, on the internationally renowned, record breaking series The Walking Dead. On the film front, Callies most recently starred in This Is Your Death, alongside Josh Duhamel and Giancarlo Esposito, which premiered at the SXSW film festival in March 2017. She also recently appeared in Warner Brothers’ action-packed Into the Storm, directed by Steven Quale. Other feature credits include: The Other Side of the Door, Pay the Ghost, Black November, Whisper and Benoit Phillipon’s Lullaby for Pi; where she composed and performed an original song in addition to acting opposite Rupert Friend.

Shawn Doyle can currently be seen on WGN America starring opposite Anna Paquin in CBC’s Bellevue. He recently wrapped filming a role starring opposite Keon Alexander and Genevieve Kang in UCP’s Impulse for YouTube Red as well as season three of the SyFy series The Expanse, starring opposite Thomas Jane and Steven Strait. He can also be seen on TV starring opposite Jason Momoa in Netflix’s Frontier. He was last seen in theaters starring opposite Joanne Kelley and Jason Priestley in the independent film Away From Here, directed by Justin Simms. Shawn also starred in season three of the Emmy® nominated Netflix seriesHouse of Cards, as well as season one of Fargo and USA’s Covert Affairs. Shawn starred opposite Tatiana Maslany in the Sundance hit Grown Up Movie Star, and played “Joey” (Bill Paxton’s unlucky brother) in the critically acclaimed HBO show Big Love.

Michael Shanks, after a decade-long stint as fan-favourite Dr. Daniel Jackson in sci-fi series Stargate SG-1, has gone on to star on several other hit series, TV movies, and films, including, most recently, the drama series Saving Hope which earned him a Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series in 2013. Shanks has also directed three episodes of the series, after making his directing debut in 2001, directing Stargate SG-1. Shanks appeared in a three-episode arc on the Emmy Award®-winning drama 24, and recurred on the hit series Smallville, as Carter Hall (a.k.a. Hawkman). Shanks played opposite Anne Archer in the made-for-TV movie Judicial Indiscretion, and portrayed the hockey legend Gordie Howe in Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story, a role which earned him a 2014 Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Television Movie, as well as a Canadian Screen Award nomination. His other television credits include a recurring role on Burn Notice and guest-starring roles on CSI: Miami, Stargate: Atlantis, Mr. Young, Endgame, Supernatural and more. He also co-starred in the Emmy Award®-winning William H. Macy telefilm Door to Door and the film adaptation of Jack London’s Call of the Wild.

Camille Sullivan is an award-winning Canadian actress. Most recently, she was nominated for a 2018 Canadian Screen Award for her work on the miniseries The Disappearance. Sullivan has twice been nominated for Gemini Awards: once for her portrayal in the series lead role of Amy Lynch on Shattered, and then again for her portrayal of Francine Reardon in Chris Haddock’sIntelligence for CBC. She played a lead role in the drama pilot Mistresses, and other recent television credits include recurring roles on Man in the High Castle, Rookie Blue, Red Widow and Hellcats. She has guest starred on shows including Proof, Motive, Falling Skies, Combat Hospital, Alcatraz, Flashpoint and The Killing. Past film projects include the much lauded Ally Was Screaming for which she won the UBCP/ACTRA Best Actress Award for her stunning performance. Sullivan was also luminous opposite Gabrielle Rose in the heartbreaking film Birdwatcher for which she garnered another UBCP/ACTRA Best Actress Award. Another lead credit includes Carl Bessai’s multiple award-winning dramatic feature film, Normal. Her performance in Normal won her a Leo Award for Best Actress in a Feature Length Film. Other starring roles include Mount Pleasant, written and directed by Ross Weber, Mothers and Daughters, an improvised film directed by Carl Bessai for which she earned another LEO nomination. Sullivan also appeared in Bessai’s Fathers and Sons and now completes the set with Sisters and Brothers.

 

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CraveTV celebrates Canada with the Canadian Screen Award nominees collection

From a media release:

Oh Canada! On the heels of last week’s 2018 Canadian Screen Award nominations, CraveTV has launched a newly curated collection that puts CSA-nominated series and specials front-and-centre in one easy-to-navigate spot. The Canadian Screen Awards take place during Canadian Screen Week, which celebrates the best of Canadian film, television, and digital media from March 5-11, 2018.

The Canadian Screen Award Nominees Collection features more than 20 titles, such as CTV’s acclaimed drama series CARDINAL, which is nominated for 12 CSAs, including Best Limited Series or Program. The drama is currently in the middle of its second season, airing Thursday nights at 9 p.m. ET on CTV, with episodes streaming in advance of their broadcast premiere in a CraveTV First Look.

Also featured in the collection is: the CraveTV original series LETTERKENNY, which is honoured with nine nominations; Space’s ORPHAN BLACK and CTV’s 19-2 with six nominations each; and with four nominations, CTV’s original mystery series THE DISAPPEARANCE, which was last fall’s #1 new Canadian series.

The full list of titles streaming as part of the Canadian Screen Award Nominees Collection includes:

  • 19-2 (Seasons 1-4, The Complete Series)
  • 2017 iHeartRadio MuchMusic Video Awards
  • THE AMAZING RACE CANADA (Seasons 1-5)
  • THE BEAVERTON (Season 1 and current Season 2 episodes)
  • BUILDING STAR TREK
  • CANADA IN A DAY
  • CARDINAL (Season 1 and current Season 2 episodes)
  • THE DISAPPEARANCE (Season 1)
  • FORT MAC WILDFIRE: ROGUE EARTH
  • FRONTIER (Seasons 1-2)
  • HOWIE MANDEL: A BELL LET’S TALK SPECIAL
  • THE KENNEDYS: AFTER CAMELOT
  • KILLJOYS (Season 1-2)
  • LETTERKENNY (Seasons 1-3B)
  • LONG TIME RUNNING
  • MASTERCHEF CANADA (Seasons 3-4)
  • MAYDAY (Seasons 5-10)
  • ORPHAN BLACK (Seasons 1-5, The Complete Series)
  • REIGN (Seasons 1-4)
  • RUSH: TIME STAND STILL
  • SAVING HOPE (Seasons 2-5)
  • W5 (New episodes weekly)

 

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Murdoch Mysteries: Writer Noelle Girard discusses “Mary Wept”

Spoiler alert! Do not read this until you have watched the “Mary Wept” episode of Murdoch Mysteries.

Murdoch Mysteries fans can thank Noelle Girard for that super-creepy visual of the Virgin Mary weeping tears of blood in the beginning moments of “Mary Wept.” The new member of the Season 11 writing room not only pitched the bloody tears but also planting a body inside the statue. That part of the story didn’t stick but the instalment was memorable nonetheless thanks to a dead infant, George Crabtree’s return and the engagement of Constable Higgins to socialite Ruth Newsome.

We spoke to Noelle Girard about “Mary Wept” and how she came to be on Murdoch Mysteries.

Before we get into this week’s episode, let’s start at the beginning: how did you get into writing for TV in the first place?
Noelle Girard: I never studied screenwriting. I have a degree in art history from the University of Toronto. But even then, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. I was writing on my own and having various jobs. It was only when I started to write TV scripts, on my own, that it really felt right. And then I got an agent. Two years ago I was on Saving Hope and last year I was on Murdoch.

What were some of the scripts you wrote before you got a TV job?
I wrote a couple of original ones, all hour-long dramas. The one I think [showrunner] Pete [Mitchell] read was a pilot for a projected six-part murder mystery, so that was a good one for him to read. I also have written one about espionage in Antarctica.

How did Murdoch Mysteries come about?
I knew Mary Pedersen—we’ve been friends for a couple of years—but I think my agent just sent my work to Pete and we had an interview. I think he’s really good at making the writer’s room full of great people. We’re all friends and it’s a really fun atmosphere. He was so great letting me and Natalia come up with our own ideas and really run with our own scripts and guiding us very well.

What do you learn in a writer’s room peopled with folks like Peter and Paul Aitken?
Paul is great because he’s Mr. Murdoch. He’s been on the show since Day 1 and knows everything. Also, it’s such a skill to write a self-contained mystery. That was a very steep learning curve for me; just how to write a murder mystery where you don’t have a lot of dead ends, or cul-de-sacs as they call them, or false leads. You keep the mystery unfolding. That’s what I tried to do with my episode.

Has your art history degree come into play on Murdoch Mysteries?
[Laughs.] I love arcane, esoteric phenomenon. That’s why I came to the room and said, ‘What about a statue that cries blood? And there is a body inside!’ Pete and Paul both said, ‘I think we can do better than that.’ [Laughs.]

So that was your idea?
Yes, the initial kernel was my idea and then everyone else just ran with it and it became this big, complex mystery. It was really fun. I’ve been really lucky, first at Saving Hope and now on Murdoch, because both rooms have been so open and inclusive and with really smart people.

What type of writer are you? Are you able to write in a room full of people, do you prefer music playing when you write?
No, I don’t like music. I do have to go away sometimes because I do love a good chat and in the Murdoch room we can just chat the day away. [Laughs.] Sometimes I have to sequester myself. But I don’t like going away for a long time from the room because you still have to stay connected to the room. Things can always change. It was a lot of writing at night and bringing it in the next day.

Let’s get in your episode. Did you get a chance to meet the director, Megan Follows, and speak to her?
Yes, we had a script meeting before she started directing and we spent a couple of hours going through the scripts. She was amazing. I mean, she’s Megan Follows!

How did the idea for having a statue cry blood come about? Were you inspired by something in particular?
When we convened before Season 11 we all came to the room with ideas. One of the original pilots I had written was about nuns, so I guess that was still fresh in my mind. I pitched a church and a statue crying blood. I think Pete really likes ideas that give him a world and when I said that, he realized we hadn’t had an episode in awhile where we had Murdoch going to church. We all seized on these ideas of Murdoch’s faith coming up against science and how he would grapple with that.

Not only did you address William’s faith, but the faith of others.
Also, things come out during the writing and we decided to have some fun with Watts, who is kind of the philosopher of the bunch. It comes out that he’s quite interested in this phenomena.

Everyone was happy to see George back. It was fun to have him be a braggart, comparing everything to the way things were in Paris.
[Laughs.] That was mostly Pete. He was like, ‘Let’s have a little bit of fun with Crabtree being obnoxious.’

I was a little surprised that Higgins and Ruth really got engaged. I kept waiting for something to stop them … like Josephine being thrown out the window. How long has it been in the works that these two would be engaged?
Early on we were wondering about their relationship and where that would go. We thought it would be fun for one of our gang to either be engaged or be married. When I was pitching it, I said, ‘And he throws her from the bell tower!’ And somebody else said, ‘Where Higgins is proposing to Ruth!’ [Laughs.] That was a great collaborative moment where we all just died laughing.

It was pretty dark to have the infant’s skeleton buried in the garden.
Because I’m new to Murdoch, when we were working on the story I said a couple of times, ‘Can we do this?’ And everyone said, ‘Let’s go for it.’ It’s really a testament to Pete and how fresh he keeps it. He loves the show and wants to push the storylines while still keeping it in the Murdoch world. He always wants the best story.

Is there a particular character you like writing for?
I do love Brackenreid because my whole family is from Yorkshire, so I love sneaking in some Yorkshire sayings. And everything you give Siobhan Murphy, who plays Ruth, will knock it out of the park. I always love when Murdoch and Julia have a nice moment together, so I love writing those moments. I love seeing them having a giggle together or play around together.

Murdoch Mysteries airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

 

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Dan Levy and Julia Chan bake up fun on CBC’s The Great Canadian Baking Show

Never underestimate the power of social media. That’s what Schitt’s Creek co-creator, executive producer, writer and star Daniel Levy learned when he tweeted his love for The Great British Bake Off and announced he’d be honoured to host a Canadian version of the culinary competition if that was ever in the cards.

“I had tweeted, quite naively, that if it ever came to Canada that I’ve love to throw my hat in the ring,” Levy says with a smile. “Almost immediately I started getting these responses, ‘It is for sure coming to Canada.’ ‘It’s happening.’ And then I inevitably got the call asking me if I would actually be interested. I said yes.”

Levy fulfils his dream on Wednesday when The Great Canadian Baking Show debuts at 8 p.m. on CBC. As if helming the homegrown version of your favourite program wasn’t enough, Levy does it with one of his best friends in Julia Chan; the former Saving Hope actress (who went by Julia Taylor Ross) joins him as narrator and co-host.

“We are great friends and were watching The Great British Bake Off together and Dan got involved,” Chan recalls. “Dan threw my hat in the ring, I got a call, went through the process and, apparently, we have good chemistry.”

“Watching this show and kind of colour commentating through the whole process, I was like, ‘I have a friend, she’s never hosted before but I think she would be a great, fresh voice for the show,'” Levy explains.

The Great Canadian Baking Show is fresh on a couple of levels. First, unlike other culinary competitions such as Top Chef Canada and MasterChef Canada, this is all about the baking. That, for watchers of those other shows, is often the hardest challenge put towards competitors thanks to the unforgiving science behind baking. You can fly by the seat of your pants when searing a steak. Not so when baking a multi-tiered cake. Second, The Great Canadian Baking Show is light-hearted and fun. If Wednesday’s debut is accurate, we’re in for one heck of an enjoyable ride. Levy and Chan are natural hosts, walking amongst the 10 home bakers, tasting here, asking questions there and genuinely having a good time.

Of course, the program isn’t all crumpets, tea and giggles. Each of the eight episodes contains three rounds—the Signature Bake, Technical Bake and Show Stopper—judged by baking legends Rochelle Adonis and Bruno Feldeisen. At the end of each episode, one home cook will be eliminated. This season’s 10 competitors represent a thick slice of Canada, from Regina CFO Vandana Jain to Victoria animator Jude Somers, from Toronto human rights lawyer Corey Shefman to Montreal graphic designer Sabrina Degni. All have a passion for baking and a flair for drama on a platter. Wednesday’s challenges force the 10 competitors to up the ante with regard to cakes and the results are stunning.

And while Levy is a longtime fan of The Great British Bake Off, he’s not so great in the kitchen, admitting to just one item in his culinary repertoire: frittata.

“I don’t have any culinary experience, but I do have a lot of opinions,” he says with a laugh. “That’s something that I can bring to this. I can’t bake a thing, but I can eat.”

The Great Canadian Baking Show airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBC.

Images courtesy of CBC.

 

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Comments and queries for the week of August 25

Loved [Saving Hope]. The ending was bittersweet and though it really stretched the tragedy, let face it, in real life there are few storybook endings. Very impressed with the entire cast, and Erica Durance’s work in the last episode showed a depth of emotion which was palpable. I found the shot of Charlie seeing her elderly hands as her kids were preparing for Alex’s passing, achingly painful. However, her meeting Charlie in the afterlife mirrors what I think we all hope for—we shed the years of age and earth bound sorrows to return to our best selves with those we love. The only thing that would have made it better was having not only Charlie but Alex’s mom, brother, Joel … her loved ones who arrived before she did, meeting her on the beach. —RR

Very disappointing to watch the last episode tonight. I cried not only for the way the show ended but I watched it on my wedding anniversary. I lost my husband almost four years ago and I also have a son and daughter. Hits so close to home. —Marsha

I truly loved this show and it breaks my heart that it’s over. Every single time there is a great show that becomes really popular it seems like someone or something has to either leave the show or the show is ended. I’m just going to stop watching TV altogether so I’m not disappointed all the time. —Melissa

So sad it;s over. Loved this show. —Sandy

I can’t believe this show is over. They need to keep it on. —Joanne


I think 19-2 is the finest Canadian drama ever produced. Period. Dan Petronijevic did a masterful job with an unsympathetic character—glad J.M. went out a hero, and his suffering ended. —Robert


The [Amazing Race Canada] two sign thing was a perfect trick! A task after both the Detour and Roadblock was a surprise and good Leg design. But you know it ran way later than production wanted. No self-driving this Leg. Little surprised nobody got the beer task. Kinda annoyed they made two of three international episodes non-elims but they foreshadowed it with the Mother Day’s thing. Though that means no more saves after this. Sympathy from another southpaw to Bert. Poor Korey, first his bladder then this uniform. —DanAmazing

 

Got a question or comment about Canadian TV? Email greg.david@tv-eh.com or via Twitter @tv_eh.

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