Based on My Chemical Romance Frontman Gerard Way‘s popular graphic novels, Netflix Series THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is set to stream across the world. Filmed right here in Toronto, from Canadian Showrunner Steve Blackman and Executive Producer Jeff King, it centers on a group of six survivors of fourty three children born one day in 1989 to mothers who prior had shown no signs of pregnancy. Now adults, they must come together to solve the mystery of their father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves, who has passed. This family of superheroes must iron-out their differences in the wake of a possible apocalypse.
Stars of genre-bending The Umbrella Academy reunited on the festive Red Carpet tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox in support the the Series’ launch tomorrow on the world’s leading internet television service, Netflix. In attendance were Mary J. Blige, Cameron Britton, Colm Feore, Sheila McCarthy, Tom Hopper, Emma Raver-Lampan, Robert Sheehan, David Castañeda, several of the Show’s young stars and Ellen Page, who has made headlines much of late speaking-out for the LGBTQ Community.
We had the pleasure of seeing and snapping the talent tonight on the Carpet including Sheila McCarthy, Colm Feore, Executive Producer Jeff King, Cameron Britton, Tom Hopper and Emmy Raver-Lampman.
Sheila McCarthy – “Agnes”
We ask the Toronto-born Actress about her character Agnes, a donut shop owner. She says, “Her glass is full to brimming, even in very violent situations, she sees the sunny side. She’s having the greatest love of her life with someone half her age, which doesn’t matter.”. She also tells us about her favourite part of working on the Series, revealing her she won’t forget meeting two-time Oscar nominee and R&B superstar Mary J. Blige. “Two years ago if you told me that I’d be working with her, I’d go ‘What?’! She’s the sweetest, kindest person”, she states. “It’s very carefully-handpicked show and it’s not always like that. It’s a labour of love I tell ya.”.
Colm Feore – “Sir Reginald Hargreeves”
The screen and stage legend tells us what drew him most to the project and Way‘s vision. “It’s a fabulous part and vision of the part by Gerard (Way) and Steven Blackman, a brilliant Writer. He’s got a serious job creating superheroes who could save the world. He knows what end game is and the stakes are very, very high.”.
The role while being a departure from some of the more charismatic roles Feore is known for in his celebrated career, but he clarifies, “For all the absence of warmth and charm, there’s a real eye-on-the-prize focus on what needs to be achieved.”. “It was awfully-fun cracking the whip on the little ones. I got to be mean to Ellen Page by proxy! I know she’s a little mad at me that I didn’t even read her book about the family, EXTRA ORDINARY, but I knew it would pay dividends in the end.”.
Jeff King, Executive Producer
Known for his work on Stargate SG-1, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and White Collar, Canadian-born King feels incredible about bringing the production to and premiering it in Toronto. “This is incredible. This is hometown for me and I haven’t been here in long time to shoot. But I have to credit the Ontario government and the Government of Canada for having an incentive program that would bring studios like Universal and Netflix and encourage them to be in Toronto because it’s such a great multicultural city. I’ve filmed in Paris, London, New York, New York and Vancouver, but Toronto is a unique mélange of all these things because of its people, architecture and proximity.”. He jokes, “Now if would just snow a little less it would be good.”.
Cameron Britton – “Hazel”
Britton who also starred in Netflix’s Mindhunter, tells us what drew him most to his role as an assassin. The Actor who is paired alongside Blige‘s Cha-Cha says, “He’s someone who doesn’t know who he is and I’ve wanted always to play someone in transition, finding out who they are. I found it really interesting that who they are in this case is a villain. It’s uncommon for villain not to know their identity.”.
On his preparation process, he admits being a bit nervous. “Preparation was scary because there was too much freedom to find out who these folks were. I didn’t meet Mary till a few days before starting to shoot. That’s when the characters opened-up a lot more. The chemistry was there and sometimes you get lucky in that regard.”.
Tom Hopper and Emmy Raver-Lampman – “Luther” and “Allison”
Hopper has starred on HBO‘s Game of Thrones and more recently was seen in Amy Schumer Comedy I Feel Pretty, while Raver-Lampman got a breakthrough after a turn on Broadway in Hamilton. They tell us about their love for Toronto.
Raver-Lampman recalls, “We started filming in January and wrapped in July, so we saw all the seasons. So many TV shows and movies come through town and everyone on show was a veteran of their craft.”. “We went to music festivals, did tons of Karaoke and we loved trying different restaurants. We tried to take Toronto in as much as we could.”.
Hopper states, “The amount of fun stuff we did outside of shooting was great. I had a wicked time. At the time my wife was home pregnant with my second baby. What made it a lot easier was these guys and Toronto. I needed these guys to get through this.”.
Despite being siblings, the two show a great chemistry which is prevalent even in few words. We ask how they achieve this on-screen.
Raver-Lampman tells us, “Right from jump, we really got along. There was no ego. We had a willingness to talk through scenes and make the best of the situation. It is because we had a friendship that existed offstage that we became close pals. I think at some point we stopped talking about scenes we had together. I think the Pilot was most we ever talked about scenes and then we would fall right into it and I started figuring out what he needs from me and vice-versa.”.
Hopper adds, “I was learning who Allison was as I was learning who Luther was. I got to know her as Allison as Emmy, it’s weird. And that’s all to do with the trust Emmy that talks about.”.
See our Chats:
See some Snaps from the night:
THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY streams on Netflix CanadaFriday, February 15, 2019.
All photos taken on Nikon D3400.
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Amanda Gilmore)
Based on My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way’s Comic Book series of the same name, THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is set to stream on Netflix this February. Way also serves on the series as Executive Producer. The first season, comprised of ten hour-long episodes brings together a quirky ensemble of talent. It centers on seven children born on the same day despite their mothers not having been pregnant, who are adopted by Sir Reginald Hargreeves (Colm Feore) an alien disguised as a billionaire.
–Vanya (Ellen Page) who is a skilled Violinist
–Luther (Tom Hopper) who possesses super-strength and the body of an alien ape
–Allison (Emmy Raver-Lampman) who is a star of the Red Carpet, who can alter reality through her lies
–Klaus (Robert Sheehan) who is an odd-ball underachiever, able to communicate with the dead
–Diego (David Castañeda) who has superior knifing skills and ability to control his breath
–Number Five (Aidan Gallagher) who has the appearance of a teen boy and is able to travel in time
Mary J. Blige also stars as Cha-Cha, a time-travelling assassin, along with her partner Hazel, played by Cameron Britton.
Shot right here in Toronto, The Umbrella Academy is a genre-bending mix of Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Drama and Comedy, set against a late ’80s-inspired Soundtrack, the period in which the central characters were born and grew-up. While a bit of a slow-burn, as much time is spent explaining these characters’ back stories, we learn along the way what led to their dysfunction present day as siblings as they look to solve their father’s death. With Number Five travelling into the future to learn that the world will be ending in a matter of days, the siblings must come together to save the world before others threaten to off them and assassins are in hot pursuit of Number Five.
The series’ aesthetic is dark and apocalyptic, set in the poorly-maintained mansion in which the siblings were raised. Fans of the Comic Book Series however surely will find plenty to connect with and rewarded as the plots thicken and the siblings are brought together in a common goal.
The Umbrella Academy is a star vehicle for young Aidan Gallagher who gets a chance to shine with plentiful action sequences, possessing a maturity well beyond his years and he handles the dramatic scenes, especially with Ellen Page with prowess, being her emotional and intellectual equal. Page is fragile and vulnerable, cast well in the role of Vanya who really needs to find herself in a family of siblings whom all possess a useful skill… except her. Tom Hopper as leader Luther and glamorous Emma Raver-Lampman, possess an almost-inappropriate interest in one another which translates from the source material. Robert Sheehan‘s Klaus and David Castañeda‘s Diego are the rebels in the family, keeping things uncomfortably dangerous.
Season One of THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY streams Friday, February 15, 2019. More here.
Filmed right at home here in Toronto, the new Teaser for Netflix‘s THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY finally has surfaced! The Series based on My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way‘s graphic novels, comes with muh fanfare and looks every bit as exciting as it has been made out to be!
See the Teaser:
Netflix Canada stream THE UMBRELLAACADEMYFriday, February 15, 2019.
Many of us lived the original, but this Toronto-made reboot has us curious! Check out the new Trailer from Flatliners!
In Flatliners, five medical students, obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife. But as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, they are each haunted by the sins of their pasts, brought on by the paranormal consequences of trespassing to the other side.
See the Artwork:
See the Trailer:
Sony Pictures Canada release FLATLINERSFriday, September 29, 2017.
Elevation Pictures + Mr. Will want to take you to see gripping TIFF ’15 selection INTO THE FOREST starring Ellen Page + Evan Rachel Wood!
Screenings take place as follows:
Toronto: May 31st, 7pm
Varsity Cinema (55 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M4W 1A5)
Vancouver: June 2nd, 7pm
International Village (3, 88 W Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6B 6N9)
Victoria: June 2nd, 7pm
Odeon Victoria (780 Yates St, Victoria, BC V8W 1L4)
Edmonton: June 1st, 8pm (Notice time!)
City Centre Screen Cinema (10200 102nd Ave, Edmonton, AB T5J 0V1)
Calgary: June 2nd, 7pm
Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire (200 Barclay Parade SW #200, Calgary, AB T2P 4R5)
Halifax: June 2nd, 7pm
Scotiabank Halifax (Bayer’s Lake Business Park, 190 Chain Lake Drive, Halifax, NS B3S 1C5)
Winnipeg: June 1st, 7pm
Grant Park, Landmark Cinema (1120 Grant Ave Unit 127, Winnipeg, MB R3M 2A6)
In the near future, a massive power outage darkens North America. Sisters Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) live in a house in a forest far from the nearest town with their father Robert (Callum Keith Rennie). They’re more alone now than they’ve ever felt before.
As the blackout drags on and their supplies dwindle, the sisters battle starvation, sickness and trespassers. With a possible apocalypse looming, they’ll have to rely on their wits to see them through.
Based on a true story, FREEHELD tells the story of New Jersey police officer Laurel Hester’s legal battles to ensure that her pension is left to her registered domestic partner, Stacie Andree, when she is diagnosed with stage four terminal cancer. Before meeting Stacie (Ellen Page in her best screen performance since Juno), Laurel (the always astonishing Julianne Moore) is a tough-as-nails cop busting drug dealers, all the while hiding the fact that she is a lesbian from everyone, including her work partner Dane Wells (Michael Shannon, powerfully impassioned). We watch the two women meet, fall passionately in love, buy a home together and legally register as a domestic partnership. When the request to have Laurel’s pension benefits transferred to Stacie is denied by conservative elected government officials, in comes Steven Goldstein, a self-proclaimed “big loud gay Jew” to fight for their cause. As played by Steve Carell, gay activism has never been more refreshingly and humorously portrayed in the movies. There should be another Academy Award nomination for him for this role.
Gay activism is only one of many topics screenwriter Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia) eloquently touches, yet never in a preachy, heavy handed way. Homophobia in the police force and government offices. The advent of gay marriage. Living life in a closet. Religious beliefs. Not only does Director Peter Sollett (Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist) draw exceptional work from the four leads (I will go on record saying Julianne Moore surpasses her brilliant job in last year’s Still Alice and could be the first woman since Katharine Hepburn to win back-to-back Oscars), he elicits memorable moments from actors that are in the movie for a handful of scenes. Luke Grimes (50 Shades of Grey) shines as a cop-in-the-closet and Josh Charles (TV’s The Good Wife) subtly portrays the anguish he feels as the government official uncomfortable with the pension denying decision.
FREEHELD is moviemaking at its finest. It had me laughing uproariously, angry about political injustices and hypocrisies and teary-eyed at the adversities decent people have to face due to ignorance.
eOne Films release FREEHELD, which screens at TIFF ’15:
Of the many irrational fears I live with on a daily basis, INTO THE FOREST touches on two of them: an extended continent-wide power failure (a major plot point) and chainsaws (a smaller, yet significant plot point). Based on the beloved novel by the same name, Writer/Director Patricia Rozema takes us deep into a British Columbian forest where sisters Nell (Ellen Page) and Eva (Evan Rachel Wood) live with their father, Robert (Callum Keith Rennie) in a beautifully-furnished, technologically advanced home miles away from civilization when the apocalyptic moment occurs. As they quickly go into survival mode, we see the family dynamics. Whereas the father has a calming effect on his daughters, Nell, an academic with a history of partying hard, is somewhat selfish and Eva, a dancer, is obsessive and more of a loner. When tragedy befalls the father, the sisters are left alone to battle the environment, dwindling supplies and not knowing who or what will come next.
INTO THE FOREST succeeds on so many levels. It is the most sensuously filmed I have seen this year. Cinematographer Daniel Grant’s work is accomplished, menacing and breath-taking. Director Patricia Rozema has a history of bringing out the best in actresses. Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood sky-rocket. They bring out the best in each other in two very demanding roles with intensity, fervour and love. I was completely mesmerized watching these very talented performers.
It’s been over 15 years when Patricia Rozema feature length movie, Mansfield Park, graced the Festival. As much as I enjoyed that one, I loved INTO THE FOREST and hope it won’t be another 15 years when she returns.
Elevation Pictures release INTO THE FOREST, whichscreens at TIFF ’15: Sat Sep 12 8:30 PM WINTER GARDEN THEATRE