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)