Production is well under way for HBO‘s FAHRENHEIT 451, based on the Ray Bradbury Novel set in a dystopian world where media is an opiate, history is outlawed and where Firemen burn books.
In addition to serving as Executive Producer, the Film stars Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Black Panther) in its lead role. The Film stars also Michael Shannon as his mentor, whom he is at odds with trying to find greater humanity. Toronto’s Lilly Singh was just added to the Cast and Atomic Blonde star Sofia Boutella also stars.
While Shannon was in character, opting not to stop for photos, we spotted Jordan on a break filming on a campus in the east end into the late hours of the night. Very cautious not to be seen in wardrobe, Jordan stopped for a couple Selfies. He’s just as nice as we remember! Jordan, who next can be seen in Marvel‘s Black Panther as Erik Killmonger, last visited Toronto in 2015 for Creed.
We admit a month ago having known v. little about HBO‘s new series BIG LITTLE LIES, based on the novel by Liane Moriarty. Since discovering it though, we’re helplessly hooked. We have previewed the first six of seven episodes and cruelly were left hanging at the end of it. It consumed us fully this weekend and it’s been on our mind all day.
The seven-part series follows the lives of three mothers in Monterey, California as they cope with family-life balance, each facing their own unique demons. We have Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), a well-to-do stay at home mom of two, invested in a local theatre production of Avenue Q much to the disapproval of the local mayor and conservative locals. Celeste (Nicole Kidman), a lawyer-on-hiatus, has a seemingly-perfect life too with twin boys, a gorgeous house and a handsome husband in Perry (Alex Skarsgård). Enter to the picture, mysterious single mother Jane (Shailene Woodley) and her son who are new to the area, drawn to its affordable private school education at a public school cost. Things begin to unravel one day at school when Jane’s son Ziggy (Iain Armitage) is accused of hurting Renata’s (Laura Dern) daughter Anabella (Ivy George). This ignites what becomes a rampant fire as we see these mothers go to all costs to protect their children. Passions flare as Celeste and Madeline rally to support their new friend Jane and the consequences are well, fatal. As the story unfolds we get eyewitness accounts, some less reliable than others, and we learn the deep, dark secrets each of our three leading women are harbouring, leading them together to where they are today. Who dies? Why? Who did it? How? We have so many questions.
Canada’s very own Jean-Marc Vallée does a phenomenal job at the reins here and while BIG LITTLE LIES at times is a bit of a meditative slow-burn, we nonetheless are invested every step of the way. Our characters are richly-developed, complex, aware, intelligent and multi-dimensional. Nothing is ever just black or white with them, there is a rather large, beautifully-messy gray area. Domestic violence, consent, sexuality, infidelity are just some of the meaty matters the series examines with great depth and it leaves us with plenty to think about.
Although Witherspoon’s brand has become synonymous with being Elle Woods and Rom-Coms like Sweet Home Alabama, we really love her pairing with Vallée which as we saw in Oscar-nominated WILD, has given her a real opportunity to shine as a dramatic force. Kidman seldom disappoints and she has shown that when she is in full-control of her output (remember the outstanding Rabbit Hole?), as she is here serving with Witherspoon as Executive Producers, she is devastatingly good. We also really enjoy Woodley’s work as Jane, careful never to give too much away about her character as one of the story’s most fascinating aspects. And we love LauraDern in a performance that is worthy of top-billing, as a woman on fire in the deeply-angry Renata.
See a Tease:
HBO Canada airs BIG LITTLE LIESSunday, February 19, 2017 at 9 PM EST.
The Red Carpet was rolled out for one of HBO‘s most-anticipated new Series tonight at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Although there were rumours circulating that creators of new Series VINYL, Martin Scorcese and Mick Jagger would be coming out, alas Toronto Fans at the bustling Red Carpet received the news that the former while confirmed, had fallen ill. The latter currently is in South America touring. Stars Bobby Cannavale and Max Casella had walked the Carpet at the Event, along with Writer Terence Winter.
Synopsis: Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale, BOARDWALK EMPIRE), the founder and president of American Century Records, is trying to save his company and soul without destroying everyone in his path. With his passion for music and discovering talent gone by the wayside, and American Century on the precipice of being sold, he has a life-altering event that reignites his love of music, but severely damages his personal life.
While swinging by, we crossed paths with Casella, whom many known on legacied HBO series, The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire. Casella plays an A&R executive in VINYL named Julian Silver.
We had the pleasure of ringing-in the fourth Season of HBO international sensation GAME OF THRONES‘ Home Video launch at the thematically-correct CHILL Lounge earlier tonight. Temperatures were below-zero inside the Lounge containing Ice Sculptures and fixtures, the Centerpiece tonight being an Ice Replica of the famous Throne from the Series. And yes, I sat in it. YES, I DID.
The ever-popular Series’ Fifth Season might not be premiering till Spring, but Season Four’s Video release is timed perfectly giving Fans a chance to re-live and catch-up. We learned Season One in sales pulled-in an already impressive $8 million. Season Two earned $9.5 million. And if Season Three’s astonishing $10 million in sales is any indication, Game of Thrones right now is more popular than ever, trailing only Blockbusters like The Hunger Games, The Hobbit and Frozen, Brian Blazik, VP of HBO Canada and South America tells us.
Season Four’s release packs several interesting surprises including a Roundtable with all those Cast members who were killed off in that Season. And in celebration of its Video release, HMV Canada also is hosting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win a replica of the Throne, valued at $30k!
Season Five of GAME OF THRONES airs in Canada Tuesday on Sunday, April 12, 2015. Season Four is available on Home Video Tuesday, February 17, 2015.
Fans of HBO‘s GIRLS have a lot to look forward to as Season Four of the beloved Lena Dunham-created Series premieres this Sunday, January 11, 2015! I’ve had a chance to preview a few episodes of the new Season thus far and can say that this by far is my fave. The Series which has taken a turn to the darker in the previous two Seasons focuses back on the Stories and the individual journeys each of our four Heroines face. They certainly don’t hold back, going to some uncomfortable places emotionally, starting with Hannah‘s (Dunham) scholastic journey to Iowa where she struggles desperately to fit in. Is it already too late for her to patch things up with Adam (Adam Driver)? It also is interesting to see the charismatic Shoshaanna (Zosia Mamet) have to face humility as she begins her job search. And of course, we love Marnie (Allison Williams) deeply and love that we get more of her and her longing for love and her carving her own musical niche.
As the Poster indicates, there’s nowhere to grow but up:
Sunday not only marks the return of GIRLS, but also another personal Fave in LOOKING, the Dramedy which follows right after. As you know, we wholeheartedly loved the first Season of the Series set in San Francisco, centering on the complex love lives of three gay Men. You cannot help but fall in love with these Characters. Their mistakes, their wisdoms. Read me gushing about the Series here.
Fans of HBO‘s BOARDWALK EMPIRE might be sad that the acclaimed Series has concluded, but you can re-live its greatness with its fifth and final Season being released on Digital HD, Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
Concluding a powerful and groundbreaking run, Season 5 jumps forward six full years to 1931. In stark contrast with the Roaring ‘20s, the country is in the throes of the Great Depression, and with the end of Prohibition in sight, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) is looking to legitimize himself by forging alliances with liquor producers. Featuring four audio commentaries and eight “Scouting the Boardwalk” location pieces that take fans behind-the-scenes of the final Season.
Toronto rolled out the Pink Carpet for a v. special Guest tonight as the talented and equally beautiful Matt Bomer made his way in to promote HBO‘s next sure-fire Awards Season Vehicle, a Film Adaptation of TONY-winning Play, The Normal Heart.
If the thought-provoking Storyline set in the early ’80s amidst the onset of the AIDS Epidemic doesn’t move you, then maybe its Cast will. A brilliant Ensemble of Mark Ruffalo, Taylor Kitsch, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff and Julia Roberts light-up the screen, telling a heartbreaking Tale about a Disease which some thirty-plus years a later is still at the forefront of debate despite several educational and medical advancements.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the piercingly blue-eyed Bomer – known best for his starring role in White Collar as Neal Caffrey and for a glimpse in Magic Mike – who plays Felix, opposite Ruffalo’s Ned Weeks. The latter isseen at the center of the Story as an Activist struggling to bring HIV/AIDS to the political forefront, while also facing crippling internal struggle within his group of Activists at once. Seen arriving tonight quietly also was Simon Halls, Bomer‘s Husband of three years.
Bomer tells me that he got much of his education about AIDS as a 14-year-old reading the original Play on which this Film is based. “It infuriated me growing-up in suburban Texas that nobody was doing anything about it”, he remembers. “I would’ve been honoured to tell this Story on on any medium. The fact that we’re doing it for HBO just compounds the experience.”.
On building a passionate chemistry with Co-Star Mark Ruffalo, he has some high praise for his on-screen Lover. “Mark is just a consummate Professional and an incredible Man. We knew we had an unlimited amount of time to spend together so we kinda tried to just stay in character”, he states. “Thanks to him – I couldn’t have done it without him. He brought so much into it every day that he inspired me to do better.”.
The 24th edition of one of the World’s top LGBT Film Festivals reached a high point this year with much attention shined on the Festival in its securing an exclusive Premiere billing for the Marquee Title, The Normal Heart. On its steady ascension from a grassroots Film Festival to its lucrative partnership with TIFF,Andrew Murphy and Scott Ferguson of Inside Out explain, “It was an evolution. It evolved as Queer Film evolved. We’re lucky to have passionate people involved who are willing to fight for Queer Film.”. Expect the partnership to flourish this Summer as Toronto celebrates World Pride with several Installations, Artist Talks and Screenings planned.
Olympic Gold Medalist Swimmer, Author and Philanthropist Mark Tewksbury we learned has actively been involved as the Spokesperson CANFAR, which in its 27 active years has raised more than $15 million for AIDS/HIV research. This of course isn’t the first time the Organization has attached its name to a cinematic partnership. Last fall, they had organized a Charity Screening of Dallas Buyers Club, which would go on to win multiple Academy Awards. CANFAR‘s Chris Bunting stresses the importance of partnering with a high-profile Event such as this. “They think because people are living longer, the issue has gone away. This is an opportunity for a mass audience to see a very important Film and to re-engage in discussions”, states Bunting.
Matt Bomer & Mr. Will:
(Special thanks to Wongster Maria for helping Snap the above Pic!)
See Mr. Will‘s Chat with Bomer & Friends tonight:
The Normal Heart premieres on HBO this Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 9 PM EST.
Inside Out runs at TIFF Bell Lightbox from Thursday, May 22 – Sunday, June 1, 2014.
In celebration of the release of Game of Thrones‘ Season Three on DVD, Stars Kristian Nairn and Isaac Hempstead-Wright, have arrived in Toronto to ring-in the occasion! The Thespians, who play Hodor and Bran Stark respectively, braved the slushy weather conditions to do a bit of promotion this morning, their day starting early in the east-end at CTV‘s CANADA AM.
Right in the nick-of-time, their super-skilled Driver got them to their Breakfast Television appearance at CITY afterwards, all full of smiles and extremely gracious to pose for some Fan Photos. Irishman Nairn in particular, seemed to enjoy the snow. Shortly after, the Duo head over to Global Television‘s The Morning Show to pre-tape an Interview to air soon.14-year-old Hempstead-Wright meanwhile, is a bit of Sultan of Style in-the-making, wearing some awesome boots and his Sweater which looked like Halloween – the coolest!
In case you missed them, both Nairn and Wright will be meeting Fans who purchase Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season at HMV with a qualifying Wristband. The Meet-and-Greet takes place tomorrow at 333 Yonge Street, 12:00 PM tomorow – Wednesday, February 19, 2014. Details here.
Also a Touring Exhibit featuring Pieces from Game of Thrones will take place in Toronto at TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX from Wednesday, May 14 – Sunday, May 18, 2014. More details to come.
Check-out the spellbinding Series’ Season Four (premiering Sunday, April 6, 2014) Trailer:
See our Snap:
Game of Thrones: The Complete Third Season is now in stores via Warner Home Entertainment/HBO.
I am absolutely unafraid to admit that HBO‘s LOOKING is my newest Guilty Pleasure. As its first Season reached a half-way point this weekend, I look forward with a bit of sadness that there are only a few more weeks till it concludes. And then comes an excruciating wait for another Season. Hopefully.
The Premise is simple, but there are so many, many rich unafraid-to-go-there layers in this Series from Creator Michael Lannan. Set in San Francisco, we get an honest look at the lives of three Gay Men: Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett). If this were Sex and the City, Patrick – a Video Game Developer looking for love – certainly would be our Carrie. Agustín – a coupled Artist amidst a bit of a creative Dry Spell – and Dom – a Waiter aspiring to embark once again as a Restauranteur after a big disappointment – don’t so clearly fit the archetypes of Samantha, Miranda nor Charlotte, but as the Series gets rolling, we get the feeling big changes are about to take place for both of them. We can’t wait to see what happens next and we have a feeling there might be a bit of trouble. The knowing glances we get from our three Leading Men capture so subtly that unique dynamic among Gay Men of perhaps once being potential Lovers before deciding ultimately to be Friends.
Fans of GLEE and FROZEN will feel a sense of familiarity with Groff who has starred in both, the latter still freezing its position near the top of the Box Office, and he is just really, really good here. He owns it as a picky, fumbling Patrick, constantly reminding us the importance of using a filter when we speak, but we are with him every step of the way watching him redeem himself each time.
In one super-awkward moment in the Series’ third Episode he hits-on Kevin (Russell Tovey), whom we later learn actually is his soon-to-be Boss. Raúl Castillo plays Richie, whom Patrick meets on the Subway and we become enamoured at first glance. Did I mention, the Cast is heartbreakingly-handsome?
If that weren’t enough, the amazing Scott Bakula also stars in the Series as a Floral Shop Owner, Lynn. We meet him in a towel only in a Steam Room with Dom. Yes, I just said Scott Bakula and Steam Room in one sentence.
LOOKING looks and feels like San Francisco, taking us away for 30 minutes to another place every time. The eclectic Electronic-Pop selections also are just pitch-perfect. While most eyes are on HBO‘s Runaway Hit TRUE DETECTIVE right now, this new Comedy Series certainly isn’t to be ignored.
Anyhow, I’ll let you Wongsters discover LOOKING on your own. It airs Sunday nights on HBO Canada at 10:30 PM EST.
A brand new Teaser Trailer has just been released for the upcoming third season of HBO‘s Girls. Told through a series of Instagram Photos and Robert ToTeras’ Track Break Out The Boom Boom, we see lots of smiles and happy times on the Beach among the Cast. Is that Hannah‘s (Lena Dunham) scorned Ex-Roommate Elijah (Andrew Rannells) we see making a return? Love that.
Warner Music Canada and Elektra Records have announced today they will be releasing the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to eagerly-awaited Behind the Candelabra soon! Featured on the Soundtrack of course is Liberace himself, Michael Douglas, Peggy King, The BTC Orchestra and more.
Check Douglas out on The Liberace Boogie below:
Complete Tracklisting below
The Liberace Fanfare – The BTC Orchestra
The Liberace Boogie – The BTC Orchestra Feat. Michael Douglas
Carioca – The BTC Orchestra
Chopin Nocturne In E Flat Major – Randy Kerber
Tico Tico – Liberace
When Liberace Winks At Me – Liberace Feat. Peggy King
Why Do I Love You – Michael Douglas
Kitten On The Keys – Liberace
NOLA – The BTC Orchestra
Begin The Beguine – The BTC Orchestra
I Belong With You – The BTC Singers
Prelude in E Minor, Op. 28, No. 4 – Idil Biret
Love Is Blue – Liberace
The Impossible Dream – Michael Douglas
Warner Music Canada releases the Behind the Candelabra OST on May 21, 2013. Pre-order here.
If like me, you’re excited about this latest Steven Soderbergh Film, find out how you can see it in Toronto at the Inside Out Festivalhere!