Gordon Pinsent

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TIFF Party: Toronto’s powerbrokers turn out en masse for the final George Christy Luncheon

Norman Jewison and his wife Lynne St. David (Image: George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty)

Every year since 1983, former Hollywood Reporter society columnist George Christy has hosted a chicken pot pie luncheon that’s one of TIFF’s most coveted invites. This year—the last that the 76-year-old will host the bash—Toronto’s elite gathered at the Four Seasons on Saturday to honour three decades of great parties and festival support. Guests included cultural heavyweights like writer-director Paul Haggis, actor Gordon Pinsent, director Norman Jewison and theatre impresario-turned-jailbird Garth Drabinsky, and society fixtures like Conrad Black and Barbara Amiel, and Galen and Hilary Weston. Four Seasons founder Isadore Sharp chatted with Christy, while producer Frank Marshall and Sony Pictures Classic’s co-president Michael Barker sipped wine and joked around. Director Atom Egoyan and power couple Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman also showed for cocktails, but—too bad for them—left before everybody tucked into their pot pies.

TIFF

TIFF Films

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The 50 Buzziest Films of TIFF: We Cut Through the Hype So You Don’t Have To

The 50 buzziest films of TIFF 2013

Single tickets for the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival go on sale this Sunday, September 1. The schedule, packed with hundreds of films, can make choosing what to see a rather daunting task. The solution: our guide to the 50 most talked-about movies at the festival this year, in which we scrutinize the advance hype (and the buzz from Sundance, Berlin, Cannes and Venice) to separate the must-sees from the flicks that only a mother could love.

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The Interview: Factory Theatre’s artistic directors Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams

Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams, Factory Theatre’s new artistic directors, struggle to save the season amid boycotts, petitions and social media snark

The Interview

(Image: Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

Nina Lee Aquino and Nigel Shawn Williams, recently named as the interim artistic directors for the indie stage company Factory Theatre, could not have taken over at a worse time. Last June, Ken Gass, the company’s founder and long-time artistic director, was dumped by the board of directors in a dispute over plans to renovate their century-old theatre near Bathurst and Queen. In the ensuing hue and cry, three playwrights closely associated with Gass pulled their work from the upcoming season, a petition was circulated, and a group of artistic notables—including Atom Egoyan, Gordon Pinsent, Fiona Reid and R. H. Thomson—declared they would boycott the theatre until Gass was reinstated.

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Events

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The Weekender: Soupstock, Cat Power and six other events on our to-do list

The Normal Heart returns to Buddies in Bad Times this week (Image: John Karastamatis)

1. SOUPSTOCK
In the wake of last year’s wildly successful Foodstock, over 200 chefs from across Canada—among them, Susur Lee, Anthony Walsh, J.P. Challet and Jamie Kennedy, Aaron Joseph Bear Robe and just about every other famous Toronto chef you’ve ever heard of—are gathering, spoon held high, at Woodbine Park to protest the Melancthon Mega-Quarry. The event is BYOBAS (bring your own bowl and spoon) and will take place rain or shine, so come prepared—though a poncho might be a good idea anyway if you’re prone to spills. All funds go to the Canadian Chefs’ Congress and the David Suzuki Foundation. October 21. $10 for 3 servings. Woodbine Park, Lake Shore Blvd. E. and Coxwell Ave., soupstock.ca

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Culture

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Toronto theatre heavyweights boycott the Factory Theatre following Ken Gass’s dismissal

Atom Egoyan, Judith Thompson, Seana McKenna and George F. Walker are only some of the prominent members of the Toronto theatre community who have banded together to boycott the Factory Theatre—both as performing artists and patrons—after the abrupt firing of long-time artistic director Ken Gass last month. According to a petition to reinstate Gass (which has amassed an impressive 3,600-plus signatures and plenty of impassioned comments), the 25-year theatre vet was let go over a dispute with the board regarding how public funds would be used to develop the theatre. (The board cited the Factory’s need to move in a different direction as the reasoning behind his dismissal, while Gass’s own version of the story can be read on the boycott site). This could get interesting.

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Camera: Leonard Cohen at the Glenn Gould Award Gala (and Fran’s Restaurant)

Camera: Leonard Cohen, Party Animal

May 14, Fran’s Restaurant. By the time the VIP after-party rolled around, few attendees expected the man of the hour to show. Leonard Cohen is 77, after all, and it had been a long evening: first a lavish dinner at the Arcadian Court, then a tribute concert at Massey Hall, where Cohen was awarded the Glenn Gould award (the so-called Nobel Prize for the Arts). The late-night doubters spoke too soon: as the clock struck 11:47 p.m., Cohen swept into the diner to a buzz of excitement and a striking-up of the band (CanCon rockers Lighthouse) and began to boogie, an inexpert little shuffle that the legendary troubadour made look effortlessly cool.

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The Backstory: Scott Speedman stars in a new biopic about Edwin Boyd, Toronto’s most notorious stick-up artist

The Backstory

On September 9, 1949, Edwin Boyd—a war veteran and the son of a respected Toronto cop—got drunk and robbed a Bank of Montreal branch on Avenue Road near Wilson. It was the first bank he’d ever robbed. Over the next three years, he held up 10 more, becoming a national folk hero in the process.

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Who needs Ryan Gosling when we’ve got Gordon Pinsent?

(Image: John Sciull/ WireImage/ Getty Images)

That’s right, Goz. We’ve spent more time pining for you than we’d like to admit—but there’s a new man in our lives (at least for the moment). Allow us to gush over Gordon Pinsent—actor, musician, legend. The 81-year-old Canadian stage and screen icon recently charmed us with an interview in the weekend edition of the Globe and Mail. In it, the Newfoundland-born actor who has called Toronto home for more than two decades spoke of his upcoming album with Travis Good of The Sadies and Blue Rodeo’s Jim CuddyGreg Keelor (triple old-guy swoon!), 72-hour hangovers and the food at The Drake (his words: “The Drake is a damn fine place”). He also waxed nostalgic about the precious moments he and his late wife, universally beloved actress Charmion King, spent simply taking in the ever-changing city. Bless. Read the entire story [Globe and Mail] »

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Christopher Plummer receives the inaugural Stratford Shakespeare Festival lifetime achievement award—for a lifetime of being awesome

Christopher Plummer (Image: Courtney)

Earlier this year we learned that Christopher Plummer was to be the recipient of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s inaugural lifetime achievement award, and last night Plummer received the accolade at a gala with Cynthia Dale, Brian Dennehy, Gordon Pinsent and TIFF Rising Star Katie Boland in attendance. Plummer told guests that he was honoured, since he considers Stratford a second home; as well as winning Emmy and Tony awards and playing the iconic Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music, Plummer has more than 10 seasons of Stratford performances under his belt (he started at the festival in a 1956 production of Henry V). We weren’t surprised to hear that Pinsent, who presented Plummer with the award on stage, was as charming as ever, calling Plummer a “masterful actor who creates magic onstage.” The lifetime award was not a push for Plummer’s retirement, as he’s set to star in next season’s one-man show, A Word or Two—a play by Plummer himself that explores his personal work, his love for literature and how books have shaped his life. We expect references to Stephen Leacock, George Bernard Shaw and, of course, the original bard, William Shakespeare.

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Gemini nominations announced: Flashpoint leads, once again, and controversial Kennedys miniseries gets some nods

The 26th annual Gemini Award nominations were released today and, like last year, Flashpoint features prominently across all categories—the show got 17 nods this year, including Best Dramatic Series. Close on its heels is Call My Fitz, the new HBO Canada series, with 16 nominations and TMN/Movie Central’s Living in Your Car, with 10 nominations. Also nominated for Best Dramatic Series alongside Flashpoint is the now-defunct MTV show Skins, as well as The Borgias, Endgame and The Tudors.

Perhaps the most surprising nominations of the day go to the Kennedys miniseries—shot in Toronto and starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes, the series had trouble getting picked up in the United States (and not just because of Katie Holmes’ atrocious New England accent). The Kennedys finally screened on ReelzChannels across the U.S. and History Television in Canada and has picked up 10 Gemini nominations, including Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Barry Pepper, Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series and Best Dramatic Miniseries or TV Movie.

Alongside The Kennedys is The Pillars of the Earth, based on the novels by Ken Follett and featuring Gordon Pinsent, Donald Sutherland and Alison Pill, with another 10 nominations, including Best Performance by an Actor and Actress in a Leading Role for Ian McChane and Hayley Atwell, Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries and Best Dramatic Miniseries or TV Movie.

The Gemini Awards will be broadcast live Sept. 7 on CBC Television.

See the full list of nominees in the program and performance categories, after the jump.

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Events

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Today in Toronto: David Frishberg, I Think I Can and Scrabble With The Stars

David Frishberg A 70-something pianist, singer and songwriter, David Frishberg has about zero degrees of separation from performers such as Billie Holiday, Carmen McRae and Gene Krupa. Find out more »

I Think I Can In this 2007 hit for creators Florence Gibson and Shawn Byfield, a disabled boy and his buds deal with cliques, bullying and the high-stakes world of science fairs. Find out more »

Scrabble With The Stars Sharpen your mind (and lighten your wallet) for a good cause in the company of Gordon Pinsent, Colin Mochrie and Jeanne Beker at this annual supper-and-Scrabble fundraiser. Find out more »

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People

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Hear James Earl Jones read Justin Bieber’s “Baby” (or, fangirls worldwide wonder who the heck James Earl Jones is)

Just like Gordon Pinsent before him, James Earl Jones can now say he’s added Justin Bieber to his dramatic repertoire. The actor most famous for lending his stentorian voice to Darth Vader in Star Wars recently appeared on the Gayle King Show, where he was asked to read the lyrics to the Biebs’s hit song “Baby.” Despite never having heard the tune himself, the 80-year-old actor gamely complied. Leave it to Jones to make “Baby” sound almost poetic. Almost.

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The golden year: the octogenarian awesomeness of Gordon Pinsent

(Image: Carlo Allegri/Getty)

Labelling Gordon Pinsent an it boy seems a bit ridiculous, given the length of his proverbial tooth. But it’s impossible to deny the renewed buzz surrounding the octogenarian, whose career has spanned six of those eight decades and included roles that jumped from heart-rending (a husband coping with his wife’s Alzheimer’s in Away From Her) to heroic (the president of the U.S. in the sci-fi classic Colossus: The Forbin Project) to I-can’t-believe-he-did-that (a cop tracking a bloodsucking baddie in the blaxploitation flick Blacula). He may owe some of his current lustre to Justin Bieber, believe it or not. Pinsent did a send-up on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, bringing his gravitas to a reading of Bieber’s autobiography, and the skit went viral on YouTube. Then came news that Pinsent would reprise his role as Babar in the beloved Canadian cartoon, which returned in November. And this winter, the CBC presents The Pillars of the Earth, a drama based on Ken Follett’s best-selling book about the building of a cathedral (and the behind-the-scenes smut) in 12th-century England. Pinsent plays the Archbishop of Canterbury, a juicy yet relatively small role, which meant days off on location in Vienna. While another actor might have whiled away the hours over schnitzel and strudel, Pinsent spent his time writing a play. Easy, Down, Easy premiered in his native Newfoundland last summer, on his 80th birthday. It could have been a nice bookend to a distinguished career, but Pinsent isn’t ready to step out of the limelight.

TV
The Pillars of the Earth
Premieres Jan. 4, CBC

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Pillars of the Earth premieres on CBC: dirty, sexy clergy

If you, like us, are still suffering from withdrawal after the series finale of The Tudors last spring, look no further than the CBC’s latest monarchy-versus-church epic, Pillars of the Earth. Based on last night’s premiere, it promises to be every bit as smutty and sexy as King Henry VIII et al.—and thank God for that. If we wanted to hear the straight story, we’d read a textbook. On TV, we want our history with a high dose of drama. The Ancient and the Restless.

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Canucks Ryan Gosling, Gordon Pinsent get Golden Globe nods

Blue Valentine stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling (Image: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage/Getty Images)

The Golden Globe nominees were announced yesterday, and there are a few talented Canadians among the star-studded list of contenders. Most notable is Ryan Gosling, who earned a nomination for his role in Blue Valentine opposite Michelle Williams. Paul Giamatti, though not Canadian, got a nod for best actor in a comedy for his role in the Canadian-produced Barney’s Version. An article in today’s Toronto Star asserts that the film was overlooked in the best motion picture, comedy or musical. The nominees in that category include Burlesque (WTF?) and Alice in Wonderland.

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