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She's all tied up

By LOUIS B. HOBSON -- Calgary Sun

In the hostage thriller Air Force One, last weekend's top box-office draw, Harrison Ford plays a U.S. president whose jet is hijacked by international terrorists.

Crewson plays The First Lady, who is being terrorized by Gary Oldman, the madman behind the hijacking.

"It wasn't difficult for any of us on set working up the requisite terror with Gary Oldman threatening us. We called him Scary Gary," recalls Crewson, who adds that Oldman is "an astonishing actor. He's so convincing.

"To keep in character, Gary spent a great deal of time on his own. He certainly wasn't Mr. Happy-Go-Lucky at the water cooler."

Ford was a different case.

"Harrison is actually a great jokester and extremely approachable. He's completely different on a movie set than he is in interviews. You'd never know it from seeing him on talk shows, but he's a pretty outgoing person. He has a real impish sense of humor. Harrison's theory is making movies is the fun and doing the interviews is the work."

Fate intervened to prevent Crewson from attending the world premiere of Air Force One in Washington D.C. this month.

"We got caught in a storm and couldn't land. We circled the airport for hours, so I missed the screening and the after-party. I had such a damn great dress to wear too."

Crewson will have to save the dress for the premieres of the two films she has slated for release in October.

The drama Gang Related is the last film slain rapper Tupac Shakur made before he was gunned down in Las Vegas.

"Tupac was killed less than a month after we completed shooting the movie. It was such a tragedy. He was so very young and I don't simply mean that in age. Despite his fame, money and anger, he was just a little boy," says Crewson.

Crewson's second movie is the horror flick The Eighteenth Angel, starring Chris MacDonald and Stanley Tucci.

"I die on page 14, but I couldn't pass up the movie because it was filmed in Rome. I packed up the kids and we spent six weeks vacationing in Italy."

Crewson lives with her husband, actor Michael Murphy, seven-year-old daughter Maggie and four-year-old son Jack in San Francisco.

"We did not want to live in Los Angeles and Michael has a sister in San Francisco, so that's where we located.

"Still, every time I visit Canada, I wonder why I'm not living back here."

Crewson was born in Hamilton, Ont.

She is spending the next month with her children at the family cottage on Lake Huron. "My grandfather built the cottage in 1947. We'll be spending a lot of time canoeing, fishing, catching frogs and picking blueberries."

First lady of charm and grace

Tuesday, July 29, 1997
By BRUCE KIRKLAND -- Toronto Sun

She was the estranged wife to Tim Allen in the megahit The Santa Clause and now she's the First Lady to Harrison Ford's ass-kicking U.S. president in Air Force One.

But charmer Wendy Crewson does the modesty shuffle as we saunter across Bay St. to lunch at Bistro 990: "Jeez," she teases, "maybe we'll see some famous people there."

Trim and radiant in a tight white summer dress, flashing a megawatt smile, the 37-year-old Hamilton-born, Ontario-raised Crewson is all star power. Most people just don't know it yet.

"Let's be frank, I don't think I ever will reach that level," Crewson muses about the kind of Hollywood success attained by superstars such as Julia Roberts.

"And the fame I see down there (in the U.S.A.) is nothing I would wish on my worst enemy. I have seen such appalling behavior of people, especially when you are around famous figures like Harrison, Richard Gere (with whom she shot Primal Fear, although her role was excised in editing) or Tim Allen."

At the Air Force One premiere in Hollywood last week, Crewson was swept up in a crowd surging towards Ford, who had flown in from Hawaii for the occasion. People were nice enough to her until Ford was near. Then hysteria set in. "There's that horrible sense that you are going to be crushed and suffocated by this crowd."

That experience puts things in proper perspective for this career actress, who shares a home in San Francisco with her husband, actor Michael Murphy, and their two children, seven-year-old Maggie and four-year-old Jack. Their mutual reaction to surviving Hollywood: "You leave town!"

Crewson is serious. "Fame means you have to give up the ability to go to the grocery store in sweatpants with your hair a mess and the kids screaming -- I wouldn't give that up for the world!" That is real life.

Yet it leaves her in that limbo of quality performers who are valued as support players but never asked to headline major Hollywood films. "I would love to work a little more and work my way up a little bit," Crewson admits, "and I wish the parts were a little better and that I would get an offer now and again. But I do not want 'them' knowing who I am. I do not want 'them' knowing who my children are."

Crewson looks at Ford with admiration. "He does a good job of protecting his family. He does a good job of keeping that drawbridge up and the moat full. It's like the character in Air Force One. There he is protecting his family, to an extreme. And what is more attractive in a man than the ability to protect his family?"

In Air Force One, a Wolfgang Petersen thriller, Ford plays a president forced to save his wife and child on board his presidential plane, which has been taken over by hard-line terrorists from the former Soviet Union. Crewson is generating good notices, even from critics who don't buy into the film.

But she's giggling about spending much of the past few hours telling female interviewers about Ford's pucker power. Seems that it's the first question they ask. I don't but Crewson offers the answer anyway: "Good, real good!"

More important, and more interesting to this interrogator, is Ford's awesome power as a sex symbol at the age of 55.

"There something in him, an old-fashioned Hollywood quality like Cary Grant or Gary Cooper," ventures Crewson. "He's devastatingly sexy. He's very smart. He's pretty sensitive. He can be very funny. And yet he's not vain about it all.

"And he's vulnerable, in a way. You don't worry that he's going to be mean. He likes women and that's a really helpful thing."

Crewson on a role

Saturday, October 17, 1998

During a radio interview here this week, the host asked actress Wendy Crewson to 'do' a little Sue Rodriguez.

It was an unusual choice, requesting someone portray a severely physically and verbally disabled person in such a setting. Most shows would probably have felt more comfortable airing a clip from tomorrow night's CBC movie At The End Of The Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, in which Crewson gives a remarkable performance as the terminally ill Vancouver woman who became famous for her legal battle for assisted suicide.

But she complied and it's unlikely she was offended. Generally, because after 20 years in the business, she has a thick skin, a thriving self-deprecating sense of humour and utter pragmatism. Specifically, because she still feels so close to the role.

"I felt such loss when it was over," she told me earlier. "I missed her. I missed being her."


Tax incentives wooed production to New Brunswick, moving much of the story indoors because it was too snowy to depict a West Coast winter. That change heightens the movie's feeling of watching Rodriguez's world close in on her.

Crewson's isolation was self-imposed. While cast and crew housed and caroused at a luxury hotel, she kept to herself in an apartment. "No food, no company" were her watchwords.

"And then here's another problem: She goes from a healthy, pretty normal person to, by the end, a skeletal pile of bones. You can't fake that. Four days before the movie starts, they tell you that you've got the part. So you better stop eating right then. Because the shoot's only 17 days. So if you stop eating right at the moment that the phone call comes, maybe by the time the 17th day comes, you've lost enough weight."

No family, either. Crewson's husband, actor Michael Murphy, and kids, Maggie, 9, and Jack, 6, stayed home in San Francisco lest she be distracted.

"I used to scoff at this kind of stuff because I'm such a hack actress. 'Daniel Day-Lewis stays in the part between scenes.' 'Oh really, does he? Isn't that cute.' Because I can't imagine that. Then you get a part like this and you realize you have no choice. You're sitting in the wheelchair like that and then, what? You're going to get up and have a coffee and chat with some people and sit back down?"

Fifteen years after Crewson left Canada for the U.S., she frequently finds herself back working on home soil.

Two weeks ago, she won a Gemini Award for guesting on Due South. She spent Sunday necking with Nikita star Peta Wilson at a Bloor St. boutique for the movie Mercy, which co-stars Julian Sands.

"I'm just having sex with everyone in the movie. And I have no children in it. I'm not a mother. That's the best part," she says, of a break from what she calls her "worried wife" roles, such as playing U.S. First Lady opposite Harrison Ford in Air Force One.

Crewson co-stars with her own husband in Sleeping Dogs Lie, the January CBC movie about disappeared businessman Ambrose Small. Awaiting feature release are the Vancouver-filmed romantic comedy Better Than Chocolate and the Edmonton-made legal drama A Question of Privilege. Summer's End, a movie for U.S. cable, took her to lake country north of Orillia.

Her first kick-ass action role, in the upcoming Escape Velocity, was filmed in the Czech Republic.

"I save a spaceship. Those big guns really empower a girl!"

Speaking of girls, it's Maggie who still mourns one role that got away.


Her mom said no to Titanic.

"The part of, you know, the woman James Cameron had the big affair with? She takes care of the grandmother? It had two lines in it and it's in the bad part of the movie. It's not in the good part where you get to wear the great clothes and walk around drinking champagne out of crystal. So I said no and my daughter has never forgiven me. 'Mom, didn't you know Leonardo was going to be in it, and I could have met Leonardo and I could have met Kate?' Oh dear."

Crewson settles in Black Harbour

Wednesday, October 22, 1997
By PAT LEE -- Halifax Herald

Last season, American actor Michael Murphy appeared on CBC's Black Harbour.

This year, it's his wife's turn.

Canadian-born Wendy Crewson, who makes her home in San Francisco with Murphy, just finished working on the drama, produced on Nova Scotia's South Shore.

"Mike had a wonderful time up here, really enjoyed it, so when they asked me to come up this year I thought, 'Great,'" Crewson said from the set of Black Harbour in Mill Cove, near Hubbards. "So Mike's home taking care of the kids and I'm up here."

Black Harbour, which has its season debut tonight on CBC at 9 p.m., stars Rebecca Jenkins and Geraint Wyn Davies as a married couple from Los Angeles adapting to life in a Nova Scotia fishing village.

In the episode featuring Crewson, to air later in the season, she portrays a producer working on a film with Wyn Davies, whose character is a director.

"I play a producer who comes up from L.A. who's working with Nick (Wyn Davies) on a story ... and we end up having a little fling," Crewson said.

Born in Hamilton and raised in Winnipeg, the actress has had an interesting career, which has included a mix of television and big-screen appearances, such as a starring role in CBC's Lives of Girls and Women in 1994 and last year's feature film To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday, with Michelle Pfeiffer.

But this summer, she got probably her widest exposure yet by playing First Lady to Harrison Ford's American president in the blockbuster action film Air Force One.

It's an experience Crewson admits was thrilling.

"I have to say it was pretty exciting.

"It is kind of overwhelming. It's big and huge and suddenly you're on Regis and Kathie Lee and people are taking your picture.

"And you go to the premiere and the sidewalks are lined with the paparazzi. And Harrison's there and a scream goes up over the crowd and it is exhilarating. Once a year I'd like to do that."

And just what was Harrison Ford like to work with?

"He was a very inclusive, warm, funny, mischievous man. He was every bit as appealing off camera as he is on camera." Thank goodness.

Crewson can also be seen in Gang Related, a feature film currently in theatres that features murdered rapper Tupac Shakur.

"It was stunning because you looked at this kid and you think well, there's a kid that got out - he's talented, he's smart - but no. I thought it was very tragic," she said of Shakur's death, which occurred shortly after the movie was completed.

Mother of a soon to be eight-year-old girl and five-year-old boy, Crewson said she and husband Michael are "a little bit out of the loop" because they live outside of Los Angeles. But San Francisco is a better place to raise a family.

"I'm really a suburban housewife," she said, "but I have this secret life as an actress and I get to run off and kiss Harrison Ford and then come back home and make peanut butter sandwiches."

Dealing with death

The Sue Rodriguez story a challenging role for Hamilton-born actress
By STEWART BROWN -- Hamilton Spectator

The sad, serious saga of Sue Rodriguez airs this Sunday on CBC television and Wendy Crewson, the Hamilton-born actress who plays Rodriguez, says she's never had a role as intense.

"Unless you're Meryl Streep, I think you get these kinds of things only once in a lifetime," Crewson, 42, says on the phone from her home near San Francisco.

Rodriguez is the Victoria woman, stricken with amylotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS (known as Lou Gehrig's Disease), whose legal battles for the right to die earlier in this decade drew international attention.

The emotional two-hour CBC film covers Rodriguez's struggle to change the law prohibiting doctor-assisted suicide in Canada. Her case was turned down, both in the British Columbia and Canadian supreme courts, on the basis that the existing law protects vulnerable people.

But Rodriguez's challenge renewed widespread debate on the issue of mercy-killing.

Ironically, Rodriguez's death on Feb. 12, 1993, was assisted by an anonymous physician, with MP Svend Robinson in attendance.

It was the emotion of Rodriguez's final years that touched Crewson most vividly, particularly the relationship between Rodriguez and her son, Jesse.

The actress sensed this before she was even assigned the role.

"They were taking a long time to decide after auditions," she recalls.

"I know what happens in those situations. They cast it two days before shooting and it doesn't give you time to do any homework.

"So I threw caution to the wind and went to an ALS clinic in San Francisco, following doctors on their rounds and meeting the patients. The ones who became the focus of my interest were the mothers, a lot of them my age.

"I watched the (CBC) tape The Journal did on Sue's life. I read books about her life and the books she was reading at the end of her life -- The Seat Of The Soul -- and a number of books on death and dying."

When filming began last November in New Brunswick, Crewson purposely left her family -- actor/husband Michael Murphy and children Maggie and Jack, now nine and six -- at home.

"I'd always believed you shouldn't take a role home. But on this one, I really had to keep in character lots of time.

"Jesse is about seven when Sue gets the disease and nine when she dies.

"How do you say goodbye to your children?

"That was very hard, facing that every day, and within all that, still keeping her sense of humour and sexuality and point of view.

"She still wanted to live and yet she was making this horrendous preparation for this ultimate farewell.

"It was a very emotional time. It makes me emotional just thinking about it."

Story apart, the weatherman threw producers a curve.

"They assured us New Brunswick never has snow until well after Christmas. So we had about eight feet the day we arrived! It didn't look anything like Victoria. We had heaters on the lawn."

Crewson's co-stars are all Canadian, except for young Miko Hughes, playing the son, Jesse Rodriguez, painfully trying to cope with his mother's terminal illness.

Al Waxman impresses in a laid-back portrayal of John Hofsess, the former Hamiltonian who headed the Victoria-based Right To Die Society of Canada.

Hofsess's diligence in the Rodriguez cause eventually leads her to sever ties with him.

Carl Marotte plays Rodriguez's second husband, while Patrick Galligan portrays Svend Robinson.

The real Robinson, incidentally, has a walk-on part in the movie, as a reporter who asks Rodriguez a question in a media scrum.

Crewson remains diplomatic on the movie's subject of doctor-assisted suicides.

"I don't feel morally equipped to judge," she says. "If a person has decided to have an abortion or a physician-assisted suicide, that's been tough enough for them. Those are enormous issues and all you can do is support whatever decision they make, I think.

"I do think that Sue Rodriguez made the right choices for the right reasons.

"She's such a piece of me now that I feel very protective. I feel like we've had a whole shared life and I never met her. All you can hope for in that situation is that she would look down and think that we were doing it the right way."


East Bay actress Wendy Crewson called to say how fabulous it was to be married to Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The 6th Day" -- that is, after she got over her shyness about jumping into bed with him immediately after being introduced. "I brushed my teeth like 700 times. I noticed that he was a little nervous too, and that was so endearing. I said, 'Arnold, put on your lederhosen and get in here, you love machine.' After that, we never stopped laughing."

In the movie, their blissful suburban existence is shattered when Schwarzenegger is accidentally cloned. "Suddenly there are two Arnolds running around. There's a kidnapping, and I'm in peril and have to be saved."

Life is far less eventful for Crewson and real-life hubby, actor Michael Murphy ("An Unmarried Woman," "Manhattan"), who have lived in the Bay Area for 10 years. "It's a much nicer place to raise children than L.A., and I can just swing down there for jobs," says Crewson, who appeared in "What Lies Beneath" and "Bicentennial Man."

Crewson has mixed emotions about the TV pilot she's in the midst of shooting. The script (about the newsroom of a television station owned by a Rupert Murdoch-like character) is strong, and she has a lead role as a TV producer. "But what happens if the series gets picked up? I'm so scared we'll have to move."

Crewson's haunting role

Shades of O.J. in new thriller
By TYLER McLEOD -- Calgary Sun

Of the many stage actors who claim to have seen the ghost of Ambrose Small, Wendy Crewson is not one.

"I'd always heard the Grand Theatre in London was haunted," says Crewson, "but I was unfamiliar with the story until I read the Michael Ondaatje book, In the Skin of the Lion."

However, it is another book, Fred McClement's The Strange Case of Ambrose Small, which forms the basis of Sleeping Dogs Lie.

The new TV movie airs Sunday.

"It was a big mystery at the time in Toronto," Hamilton native Crewson says.

"It was the O.J. case of its day."

In 1919, Small sold his chain of playhouses (O.J. meets Livent?) for a more than a million dollars.

He handed the cheque over to his wife and soon vanished without a trace.

Sleeping Dogs Lie turns the historical tale into a pulp crime potboiler, complete with a femme fatale -- Mrs. Theresa Small.

"Certainly in the way we're doing it (she's a femme fatale). I don't think she was in real life," Crewson says of her character.

"It was a real witch-hunt. Toronto wanted this woman hanged.

"There was no proof she had done anything, but she was Catholic and they were looking for something."

With an entire city turning on the (maybe) widow and still no clues to explain the vanishing, Theresa turns to a green detective, Cole Wilson, played by Joel Keller.

"The nice thing about Theresa was she always had 10 secrets," says Crewson, the star of such movies as Air Force One and The Santa Clause.

"It certainly was fun to play. Especially with the young Joel Keller at your side!"

While filming, Crewson says the handsome young star of The Hanging Garden became a part of her family -- a family that was on set a great deal due to her husband Michael Murphy having a prominent role in Sleeping Dogs Lie.

"He's become our teenage son," Crewson laughs.

"I look forward to watching his career grow. I give him all this sagely advice but he doesn't need it because he's got all that confidence."

Crewson also has a few kind words for a co-star in an upcoming feature with Julian Sands and Ellen Barkin.

"I did a movie called Mercy with Peta Wilson," Crewson says. "Peta was so much fun -- we're sort of lovers in the film. All of my male friends are insanely jealous I got to make out with Peta."

Crewson shot her scenes with the Nikita star this summer in Toronto.

Recently, she has made three more movies in Canada -- Better Than Chocolate in Vancouver, A Question of Privilege in Edmonton and Summer's End in Ontario cottage country.

Odd for the actress who now lives in San Francisco, isn't it?

"Talk to any Canadian actress down there and they'll tell you they leave so they can get asked to come home again," Crewson replies. "You get work up here because you have a profile in the United States."

Or in the Czech Republic where she did Escape Velocity. The sci-fi action flick is her most Hollywood-style blockbuster since Air Force One, in which Harrison Ford played a U.S. president in hot water with terrorists -- not the First Lady.

"Harrison never would have done that," Crewson laughs. "Especially with the way my First Lady ran her marriage."

Crewson and Murphy take marriage to air

Thursday, January 21, 1999
By DOUG FOLEY -- Hamilton Spectator

Wendy Crewson and Michael Murphy made a good husband and wife acting team, but throw in their two kids and you really have a family affair.

That was the situation last summer on the Toronto set of the new TV movie, Sleeping Dogs Lie, as children Maggie and Jack joined the cast for walk-on parts as orphans.

But do the youngsters have futures in the business? Not if mom can help it.

"I'm trying to tell them that there are so many wonderful things to do with their lives other than show business," says Crewson, laughing over the phone from Toronto.

"Jack would be just as happy right now to be a fisherman but it will be harder to convince Maggie."

Judging by the careers of their parents, one might wonder why they would want to be discouraged.

After all, Crewson and Murphy have both enjoyed great success.

The Hamilton-born Crewson, who moved to Shelburne when very young, had her biggest part to date as Harrison Ford's first lady in Air Force One and has been working steadily in films and TV since the early '80s.

Murphy started out in the early '60s and appeared in films ranging from M*A*S*H and McCabe & Mrs. Miller to Nashville, Manhattan, The Year Of Living Dangerously, Salvador, Batman Returns and Private Parts.

The couple live in Berkeley, outside San Francisco, and in separate phone interviews -- she in Toronto and he in California -- both are warm, friendly, quick to laugh and make jokes.

"I dragged him up here to make the movie but he was not kicking and screaming," says Crewson.

In fact, Murphy says, "I wouldn't mind living in Canada. I could go up there and just be a yuppie. I could live in Toronto and do the Toronto-New York axis."

In Sleeping Dogs Lie, Crewson plays Theresa Small, the wife of Toronto entrepreneur Ambrose Small, who disappeared in 1919 after she deposited $1 million into a bank account.

Murphy plays Edgar Tratt, head of a detective agency involved in the case.

Both were high on the movie for its story and style.

"There was a lot of discussion as to whether people would get it but I say just put it out there and leave them alone," said Murphy.

Crewson said he loved the idea of a sensational story set in 1919 and dealing with an unsolved mystery, repressed sexuality, the Catholic church and wealth.

"It's like the O. J. story of its time," she said.

"I don't get these parts in the States. It's always a thrill to come home and get these fabulous female roles.

"I make movies in the States that help me get better parts here to exercise my acting muscles. Then I go back and play the quiet wife in American movies."

Crewson said she did quite a bit of reading on the Ambrose Small case but had to discard the facts because the script took liberties with history.

A good example of that is in her portrayal of the dour-looking, unattractive Mrs. Small.

"When we first made up Theresa the hair and makeup was very plain and matronly," said Crewson.

"But then we thought, 'Let's take artistic licence' and we amped it up a bit."

Crewson and Murphy are old friends of Sleeping Dogs director Stefan Scaini, who offered the role to Murphy after Crewson had been cast.

"I read it and said, 'Sure.' I thought it was an interesting kind of story," Murphy said. "It wasn't so much my being in town although I suppose I would have been there with Wendy anyway."

And while both are happily ensconced in California, it's obvious they have soft spots for this area.

Crewson's mother lives in Guelph and her brother is still in Hamilton working at McMaster University.

"Everyone is nicer up there," added Murphy when asked about comparing work in the U.S. and Canada.

"Everyone likes to do these Canadian movies. Canadian films have always been held in high regard."

Crewson and Murphy met when she appeared on his short-lived TV series Hard Copy.

They have been married 10 years and enjoy working together.

"Wendy is real easy to work with," said Murphy.

"One of the reasons our marriage has survived is that we don't feel competitive.

"In some relationships, if one is working, it drives the other crazy. Air Force One has made Wendy bankable."

Murphy says he gets a lot of scripts but is very picky as to what he will accept.

One film he did take was an independent tentatively called The Island in which he plays President John F. Kennedy to Sally Kirkland's Marilyn Monroe.

The story has them stranded on an island since the early '60s and into their senior years.

"It's very funny. Kennedy and Monroe have become the battling Bickersons. They haven't slept together in 20 years. A young kid arrives and she makes a play for him sparking jealously and revitalizing Kennedy.

"We are trying to get it distributed but in this day and age everything has to be child-oriented."

Murphy says he goes back to the old-style Hollywood where the director was king. Now, the business has changed.

"When Spielberg made $300 million with Jaws someone walked on the set and said, 'The fun is over. Wall Street wants in,' and that's the way it's been ever since." Chat Transcript: Leslie Hope & Lee Rose discuss Lifetime's 'An Unexpected Love'

Scott Seomin, GLAAD entertainment media director, moderator: Thank you for coming to's first online chat featuring Leslie Hope and Lee Rose of 'An Unexpected Love.' Lee, please tell us what this movie is about.
Lee Rose, writer/director, 'An Unexpected Love' : It's about a woman trying to reasses her life, re-enter the workforce - she's a heterosexual woman and finds a job working for a lesbian and eventually finds herself falling in love with her.
Scott Seomin: Why this movie?
Lee Rose: I did 'The Truth About Jane,' which was a huge success in Lifetime. They asked me to do an adult companion piece . That's how this movie came to be.
Scott Seomin: Leslie, why did you do this movie?
Leslie Hope, co-star, 'An Unexpected Love': Lee sent me the script with a note letting me know she'd gone out with Kiefer Sutherland to get a tattoo - that was reason enough to sign on. Then I read the script and got started
Scott Seomin: Leslie, this was a very estrogen heavy set. How did that affect your performance?
Leslie Hope: This movie was directed by Lee Rose, it wasn't an estrogen-heavy set! (lol) Lee corrected me on my naivety - it's not simply a love story. It's more important than i could imagin - voiceless women were given a voice in this movie.
Scott Seomin: This is a rarity: a romantic movie without a male lead. It's high girl line action. How did that differ for you? Was it simply about acting?
Leslie Hope: The best part about working with a female actress is when you do a love scene, you can ask them to grab your fat spots so the camera won't see it - and not be embarrassed.
Scott Seomin: Lee, is any of this film autobiographical?
Lee Rose: Yes ... There's not any realtor in me - but have I been with straight women? Yah. Have I seen them go through the discovery and shock of being attracted to the same sex? Yes.
Scott Seomin: What do you say to TV viewers who will watch it and say this will never happen in your life?
Leslie Hope: Pull your head out of your a**!
Lee Rose: According to statistics reported by the 'New York Times.' two million people are going through this in this country alone.
Scott Seomin: Leslie, I understand you knew your co-star Wendy Crewson before production began. How did you know her and did that make the process easier?
Leslie Hope: I've known Wendy for ten years. We share many friends and a manager ... and ex-boyfriends actually. She is set to star in a movie I am directing. Yes, of course it was easier to work with a friend. And IF you're going to have sex with a women, please God, let it be Wendy Crewson!
Lee Rose: With Lee Rose telling you how.
Scott Seomin: Leslie, although you have a ten year history with Wendy, I am going to guess you never made out with her before. So what was that like?
Leslie Hope: Lovely.
Scott Seomin: Both to Lee and Leslie, Leslie you go first, what other future projects are you working on?
Lee Rose: I just finished doing a movie called 'Jack,' based on A.M. Homes novel, for Showtime with Stockard Channing, Ron Silver and -- shock of shocks -- Wendy Crewson. 'Jack' takes place in 1952 and is a coming of age story about a fifteen-year-old boy, the divorce of his parents, his puberty, then the discovery that his father is now with a man. It's really funny and beautiful and different than anythign I've read in my life - which is why I did it.
Scott Seomin: Leslie, what do you have coming out?
Leslie Hope: I will star in an independent movie with Gena Rowlands and James Caan called 'The Incredible Mrs Ritchie,' a mini-series for CBC called 'Third World,' and a new Fall series for ABC called 'Lines of Duty'
Scott Seomin: Is there any plan to show support systems available for those people going through this situation during the showing of the movie?
Lee Rose: Yes. At the end of the movie we shot a public service announcement with Leslie and Wendy telling people if they were in trouble, needed help, or needed to understand this situation - to log on to -- on that site are links to GLAAD, PFLAG and the Straight Spouses Network.
Scott Seomin: Lee, how tough was this movie to make?
Lee Rose: Really, really tough. 'The Truth About Jane' and this movie - along with a movie I did years ago called 'A Mother's Prayer' - were the three most difficult things i've ever done -- which should not be true. Valuable stories should not be as hard to make.
Scott Seomin: Why was this so tough to make?
Lee Rose: Based on fear. People are frightened of doing projects about people that are different than they are - who may not understand. They pretend in bigger circles to be liberal, but when it comes down to it, they're full of fear. That fear impedes every step you take as an artist.
Scott Seomin: Then why not just make easy movies?
Lee Rose: Because I am stupid .. and I want to leave some legacy of shedding light on something that means something to someone. And I am not interested in throwing s*** against a wall to see if it sticks.
Scott Seomin: A pre-submitted question: Leslie, what did you learn about yourself or about the lives of lesbians when making this film?
Leslie Hope: I never understood this project to be a movie about lesbians. I understood it to be about two people who fall in love. What I learned has nothing to do with playing a lesbian. What i learned was I enjoyed working with Lee Rose and Wendy Crewson - and I learned again that if it's good on the page, it's probably good on the screen.
Scott Seomin: Another pre-submitted question: What was the greatest challenge in filming this as an actor?
Leslie Hope: TIME. Not having enough time to explore the scenes as fully as I like was a challenge, but I felt ably guided.
Scott Seomin: Pre-submitted question for Wendy, who e-mailed us her responses: Since Lee is an out and proud director, did you approach her for advice, guidance on the lesbian aspects of the film?
Wendy Crewson: Gosh, Lee is out? Not only did i look for advice, I actually mimicked Lee in Mac. I borrowed her swagger (which she thought was a little over the top, by the way). I used her humor, her dry wit, her defensiveness (she might try to deny this), but it's true) I even dressed like Lee and wore her jewelry. She had originally wanted me in dresses- until i asked her when the last time she wore a dress was. That put an end to that.
Scott Seomin: How accurate do you think the roles were?
Leslie Hope: These roles were not created by someone who has not lived them. Like any good writer, Lee writes what she knows. The characters are fully realized, flawed, and very real. Oh...and I've seen the movie already.
Scott Seomin: For both guests: Who do you want to watch this film?
Lee Rose: Everyone. I do this so that everyone is a little more tolerant and sees an image on a person and then says, 'Oh, it's not as bad as I thought'
Leslie Hope: Particularly those viewers who might be prejudiced or intolerant - to make the situation a little less scary for them.
ASHOPE: Leslie, in your opinion where would Lori Bayles be today, and what would she think of this movie?
Leslie Hope: Lori Bayles has dumped Andrew McCarthy and is living happily with a girl and her horse.
MELODY: Will [An Unexpected Love] eventually come out on DVD/VHS?
Leslie Hope: Yes, but please set your TiVos and VCR's Monday night -- that's when the ratings count -- but tape it to show to friends.
AMITY (Amity Pierce Buxton, executive director of the Straight Spouses Network): When a wife or husband comes out, what are the consequences on her/his spouse and children and how do these differ from consequences of a single person's disclosure?
Lee Rose: Whenever a family is involved, either a spouse or a child or a parent, it makes it five million times more complex than someone who doesn't have a responsibility or a prior relationship that has changed by a decision of the heart.
Scott Seomin: Pre-submitted question for Lee: Straight husbands of wives whose spouses come out often wonder what their spouses' revealed sexual orientation says about them and what it implies about the marriage. What are some of these concerns and why do they have them?
Lee Rose: Anytime a relationship breaks up outside of a mutual decision, the person left questions everything. It makes no difference if they leave for someone of the opposite sex or the same sex - one's ego is shattered and you look for your own blame. So there really is no difference.
CANADIAN: Leslie, Does being Canadian inform your sense of the character in the sense of being in but not of the mainstream?
Leslie Hope: Although I hugely identify being Canadian, it's something Wendy and I have spoken about a lot - it strikes me that a love story has nothing to do with being Canadian or lesbian or American - or anything else -- but simply being human.
Scott Seomin: Lee, I 'm always being told by actors that they want to play gay or lesbian, can't wait to get the script to play a gay person. Are they just telling me this?
Lee Rose: It's a lie -- they're saying it to be politically correct. I've had the same cocktail party with huge stars saying 'I'd love to play a lesbian,' but when the script is sent to them, they pass. In my experience, there are very few courageous people who are willing to do it -- they have been, in my career: Kate Capshaw, Elle Macpherson, Ellen Muth, Leslie Hope and Wendy Crewson.
Scott Seomin: So lets cut to the chase, Lee. Why don't big name, huge movie stars play gay or lesbian?
Lee Rose: Well, all I can say is that fear is fear and I don't know why they don't.
Scott Seomin: Leslie, if an actor asked you the question 'Should I play gay?' and it's a good script, what advice would you give?
Leslie Hope: The only advice is ... if it's a good script, do it. Follow the writing.
KARCMT: I don't agree that there is no difference when your spouse comes out than if they simply fell in love with someone else. I think it creates a huge amount of questions about a life based on an untruth. Granted, one that is often forced on us by society, but I do think it's different
Lee Rose: When your spouse has an affair, does that not bring the entire relationship into question as well? That's what I meant by my answer. I addressed the soul and ego and heart of a person - as opposed to the bigotry of the world.
Scott Seomin: Lee, can you tell me about viewer and fan reaction and the mail you recieved after you made The Truth About Jane.
Lee Rose: Unbelievable. The letters and e-mails and people across this country who had seen it - and who had actually been helped by it - are heartbreaking and wonderous. Kids who felt they could come out because they had seen someone do it on television. Parents who had stopped talking to their children knew they could go to PFLAG or other groups for help. All my actors and Stockard Channing, we all went to DC and did various PFLAG conventions and a White House screening. Actors tend to not believe the value and weight of a project, but when people shared with them the stories of losing their children to suicide because they were gay - or being beaten because they were gay - the actors realized at that moment, many for the first time, just how powerful this medium is.
AMITY: I guess my question was more about consequences than the 'unexpected love.' The film perfectly captures the falling in love with a person, not a sexual orientation. But when a spouse comes out, the consequences are more complicated when one is married. Mac says so herself.
Lee Rose: We do deal with the consequences of the straight spouse played by D.W. Moffett, who at first is punitive and furious, and eventually - by the urging of his daughter - remembers what he loved about his wife and the mother of his children. That is what I alawys try to get to and hope that the real world tries to get there too.
SAUR: Leslie, what was it like to move from a thriller, action heavy show like 24 to a quieter film like An Unexpected Love?
Leslie Hope: It's nice to have more than one outfit to wear. I was nervous at first to leave the comfort of the set I thoroughly enjoyed for a year - but after the first day back home in Canada, I was glad to be there.
Leslie Hope: Shout out to DaPhunk!
DAPHUNK: Hey! Hi Leslie and Lee, glad to be here. Leslie can you tell me if you developed a better understanding of this during the time you spent filming?
Leslie Hope: The unfortunate understanding I developed filming this movie is how difficult this can be - how prejudiced and intolerant people can be, and how much better our world would be if that were not the case.
SPOCKY: Does the movie talk about the spouse´s parents reaction to coming out of a marriage? I know from family experience that the partental rejection can be as bad as or worse than the husbands/wifes.
Lee Rose: Yes. Leslie's character's mother has a really bad reaction, just like many of our mothers did.
Scott Seomin: Leslie and Lee thank you for joining the GLAAD neighbor hood. Watch on Lifetime ''An Unexpected Love'' on Monday night.
Leslie Hope: Lee, Leslie and Wendy say: Thank everyone - and tell a friend, MONDAY NIGHT, 9 PM (est / pst) on LIFETIME.

'Unexpected Love' Is Twist on Old Story
By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES - We've seen this kind of love story before: A disaffected wife leaves her marriage and eventually finds happiness in a fulfilling new relationship.

But there's a twist in the Lifetime movie "An Unexpected Love." The wife's new love is a woman, not a man. Unexpected, indeed, but not unprecedented.

The film, debuting 9 p.m. EST Monday and starring Leslie Hope ("24," "Dragonfly") and Wendy Crewson ("The Santa Clause 2," "Air Force One"), reflects an experience that's not as rare as it might seem, said writer-director Lee Rose.

"I know people, friends, who have done that," said Rose.

She cites a support group, the Straight Spouse Network, which estimates there are 2 million marriages in which a partner has disclosed they are gay or lesbian.

"An Unexpected Love" takes a measured approach to one such romance, concentrating on what Rose calls its key theme: That love deserves to flourish and be honored, whatever path it takes.

Hope (who played Kiefer Sutherland's ill-fated wife in the first season of Fox's "24") stars as Kate Mayer, a suburban wife and mother of two (Alison Pill, Curtis Butchart) who realizes her marriage has withered.

Husband Jack (D.W. Moffett) reluctantly agrees to split and the pair explains the painful decision to their children. Initially at a loss, Kate's awakening begins when she takes a job at a real estate agency owned by McNally "Mac" Hayes (Crewson).

The somewhat naive Kate is disconcerted to learn Mac is lesbian but is drawn to her. Mac rebuffs her, still suffering from her lover's death and fearing that Kate isn't prepared to deal with the fallout of a lesbian relationship.

When the two do fall in love, the angry and confused reaction of Kate's family is nearly overwhelming.

"You can't be attracted to a woman," Kate's husband tells her.

"She's a person, Jack," Kate replies.

The film's tone is quietly reserved; even the one sex scene between Kate and Mac is brief and tame. It would have been longer, if not more revealing, but Lifetime ordered it cut.

The channel's wariness is interesting since Lifetime essentially pitched the project to Rose. "The Truth About Jane," her Lifetime film about a teenager and her family confronting her homosexuality, was a ratings success and the channel wanted a companion film about adults.

Rose's script about a heterosexual discovering she could love another woman initially was met with confusion by Lifetime executives, the writer said.

"Jane" and the new film were alike, Rose told them. "The movies are about one thing and one thing only - that you should have the right to love whoever you want."

"It's about tolerance," she said. "You fall in love with a person, you don't fall in love with a sex."

Hollywood's liberal image aside, creating a serious film about homosexuality is difficult, Rose said. Besides network sensitivities, there's a reluctance among actors to get involved.

"More than you would think," Rose said. "At cocktail parties and meetings they'll say they'll play lesbians, but when they're actually getting scripts, they won't do it. ... It makes a lot of people uncomfortable."

She called Hope and Crewson courageous for agreeing to star.

"Wendy has two children, so I think it might have been a difficult decision for her because it's hard to explain to your kids that mom just played a lesbian and kisses a girl," Rose said.

Both actresses say they had no reservations. Hope was initially intrigued by a playful note from Rose, which mentioned their mutual friend, Sutherland, and a recent visit he and Rose paid to a tattoo parlor.

"I said 'Yes' when I heard about the tattoo," Hope said. "I said 'Double yes' when I read the script. ... It struck me as a really honest look at someone trying to find their way through life, the way we all do."

Working together was a bonus for the actresses. Both natives of Canada, they have been friends for more than a decade and share the same agent (Hope now lives in Los Angeles, while Crewson is in Toronto with her husband, actor Michael Murphy).

The only problem, the pals discovered, was filming their romantic encounter.

"I think it's much easier if you don't know the person," Crewson said. "Of course, the entire time we were trying not to laugh."

The scene turned out to be "beautiful and quite moving," especially in its uncut version, Crewson said. But she prefers not to dwell on the network's decision.

"In the bigger picture, it's more important that the movie get done. We got in a lot," she said, noting, for instance, that Lifetime had tried to suggest an unhappy ending for the lesbian couple.

"When there are those kind of battles to be fought, the fact it's a truncated love scene doesn't bother me as much," Crewson said.

Wendy Crewson comes home for Jane Doe telepic

Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Winnipeg Sun

Former Winnipegger Wendy Crewson (CTV's Joanne Kilbourn mysteries) stars in CBC movie The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, which has begun shooting in Winnipeg.

Crewson plays a Toronto woman who discovered after she was raped that police knew a serial rapist was at work in her neighbourhood, but chose not to warn residents. Crewson is in fine company on the movie from producer Bernard Zuckerman (Conspiracy of Silence). British actor Steven Mackintosh (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) co-stars as a lawyer who helps Jane Doe, while Scottish actor Gary Lewis (Billy Elliott) defends the force.

Crewson earned a Gemini Award for her work in the 1998 CBC biopic At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story. The Many Trials of One Jane Doe is produced by Bernard Zuckerman and co-executive produced by Winnipeg's Kim Todd.

Putting a face to Jane Doe


Say what you will about the CBC, but Wendy Crewson conjures a convincing portrait of what The Many Trials of One Jane Doe would have looked like on a U.S. network.

"If it was American, she'd be this angel with sweeping hair, blowing back in the wind. She'd have wings and a halo," Crewson says.

"What I love about this is that they didn't do that. They didn't care if you liked her or not."

Airing Monday, the two-hour movie recounts the true story of Jane Doe (as she legally must be referred to), a woman who learns she was the fifth victim of a serial rapist committing his crimes in a two-block area surrounding her home.

When she discovers the police knew about the man yet decided not to warn the public, she feels that she and all the women in the neighbourhood were being used as bait. Eventually she launches a legal battle against the Toronto Police Department, who she charged was negligent.

"It's a difficult social issue worthy of discussion and maybe if there's enough discussion, that creates movement and maybe change," Crewson reasons, citing the startling statistics surrounding rape.

"Only six per cent of rapes are reported. That means 94 percent go unreported."

Still, it was Jane Doe herself, not the facts about the crime, that fascinated Crewson early on.

"I read something by a journalist who didn't like her and seemed irritated by her manner. And you think, what's to be against here? But the real Jane Doe, there is something about her that gets under your skin. But it is that very strength that gave her the armour to withstand the opposition she faced. That is an element of her personality that distinguished her from that 94%. She wasn't some poor, broken thing."

The role comes as particularly satisfying for Crewson, who finds compelling parts increasingly rare.

"It's a problem because all the roles for women my age are strong but vulnerable homogenous women.

"They're perfect and supportive. If there are better roles, they don't filter up to me. Maybe Julia Roberts has better luck," she says, laughing when asked if she's choosy about what jobs she takes. "No, I don't look for anything special, I'll take what comes!"

Opportunities in Canada are "consistently" better, she says, which makes it all the more frustrating when movies she's proud of, such as the romantic comedy Suddenly Naked, are slammed by Canadian critics.

"We don't have the budgets. We can't compare to American movies. But when we do something like Suddenly Naked with Anne Wheeler, which was this quirky, sexy comedy, we get trashed. In Germany, Anne Wheeler is a huge star ... The Toronto papers are notoriously-tough. Being from the hometown doesn't make it easier -- it's twice as hard. I don't know why. Maybe it's tall poppy syndrome -- lop off the head of the ones who get the highest."

Which isn't to suggest Crewson hasn't enjoyed success south of the border.

Her role as Harrison Ford's wife in Air Force One particularly gave her career currency that still benefits her today.

Other roles include acting opposite Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Sixth Day.

But it's in Canada that she's enjoyed the most acclaim. She's won two Geminis -- the first for a guest part on Due South in 1998 and then, a year later, for At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, in which she played a victim of Lou Gehrig's disease, who battled for the right to die.

Crewson has since become involved with fund-raising and is patron of the Calgary-based Betty's Run for ALS.

"It's been an interesting trip," she says of her involvement with the ALS community. "You don't go into a role thinking it will mean something lifelong, but that was the lucky part of it."

Wendy Crewson

Canadian Wendy Crewson has an impressive list of film and television roles to her credit. Recently, she reprised her role as Tim Allen's wife in The Santa Clause 2. She has also appeared with Sophia Loren in Between Strangers, Arnold Schwarzenegger in On The Sixth Day, Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man, Harrison Ford in What Lies Beneath and Air Force One, the late Tupac Shakur and James Belushi in Gang Related, Tim Allen in The Santa Clause and Michelle Pfeiffer and Peter Gallagher in To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday. Wendy also starred in and was one of the executive producers of Suddenly Naked. The film, which was directed by Anne Wheeler, screened at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival and at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival.

Crewson has also produced a series of television movies entitled Criminal Instinct: The Joanna Kilbourne Mysteries where she plays the lead role opposite Victor Garber. Her other recent television appearances include The Beast, From Earth to the Moon, directed by Sally Field, Hard Copy, Robert Altman's Tanner'88, The Piano Man's Daughter and The Last Brickmaker in America opposite Sidney Poitier.

One of Crewson's most extraordinary performances was her Gemini Award-winning portrayal in At The End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story. Her television career has earned her an ACTRA Best Actress Award for Home Fires and nominations for I'll Never Get to Heaven, Getting Married in Buffalo Jump and The War Brides.

After reading the script for The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, Crewson spent a lot of time with the real Jane Doe and was surprised to learn she was completely different than what she'd imagined.

"I was struck by her intelligence. In the script, we see her as a character with this incredibly driven personality, but in real life she's so much more complex. My job in this film was to marry these two personalities and make a character people could understand."

Crewson had never worked with The Many Trials of One Jane Doe Director Jerry Ciccoritti before but had only praise for his work. "This has been one of the best working experiences of my career! Jerry is such a brilliant storyteller. He's never willing to let a scene ride by. To him, nothing lacks significance and he's always willing to try something different."

Crewson and her husband Michael Murphy recently moved from San Francisco to Toronto with their two children, Maggie and Jack.

How one woman prevailed over the Toronto police


ON AUG. 24, 1986, an arts administrator was sleeping in her second-floor Toronto apartment when a man broke in through the locked balcony door and raped her at knifepoint. "Jane Doe," then in her early 30s, became the fifth victim of the so-called Balcony Rapist. Six weeks later, police arrested Paul Douglas Callow, who was later sentenced to 20 years. But Doe's story continues from there. Convinced that police were reckless in failing to warn women about the rapist in their part of town, and that an underlying sexism led them to essentially use her and others as bait, she launched a $1.2-million negligence and discrimination lawsuit. Twelve years after the rape, city police were found to have been "grossly negligent" and ordered to pay her $220,000 in damages.

It's an amazing tale, one that was intensely covered by the media. But the taut, riveting TV movie The Many Trials of One Jane Doe brings it to life in a way the headlines and sound bites never could. The drama, airing on CBC on Jan. 20 at 8 p.m., is devastating, largely because of actress Wendy Crewson. She brings ferocious spirit and intelligence to the role of Jane, who's deeply traumatized by the crime but channels her anguish and anger into a crusade for justice -- not just for her, but for all females who are sexually assaulted. So, yes, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe is a quintessential women's movie. But it has a broader resonance: it shows how one incredibly tenacious human being can begin to change the seemingly unchangeable -- in this case, Toronto police protocols for dealing with sexual assault.

The drama opens with Jane calling police once her attacker has fled. A frantically paced segment depicts the violation that follows the crime: Jane's interrogation by aggressive, utterly insensitive cops. Days later she learns that she's the victim of a serial rapist striking only in the neighbourhood; when she threatens to warn local women about the criminal, a detective warns her she'll be arrested. She gets the word out anyway.

What follows is a legal drama which writer Karen Walton (Ginger Snaps), director Jerry Ciccoritti (Trudeau) and producer Bernard Zukerman (Savage Messiah) deftly punctuate with vignettes of Jane's personal and emotional life. As she becomes increasingly adamant that the police failure to "serve and protect" her represents a "systemic" problem, she becomes obsessive in her struggle to change the system, alienating people who want to help, including close friends.

Jane's crusade demonstrates that women who are raped don't have to be frozen in victimhood. "All the systems that come into play when you are raped encourage you to be passive, to let the good men fix what the bad man has done to you," Doe said in a telephone interview. "The stereotype of the raped woman is that she's so broken and traumatized she can't make intelligent decisions, she's not an agent. The battle is to have a voice, to be involved." Doe continues to assert her voice. In April, Random House will publish The Story of Jane Doe, which details her experience of rape and the legal system. And she continues to advocate for improvements in the way the Toronto police handle rape investigations. "One of the big tragedies I've experienced is that change hasn't taken place," she says. "But I've grown a lot in my work as Jane Doe -- even though it came to be through a horrific experience."

Playin' Jane

Friday, April 26, 2002
Winnipeg Sun

A couple of decades in sunny California gave actor Wendy Crewson a case of temporary weather amnesia. A few days in Winnipeg provided the cure during shooting on the CBC-TV movie The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.

Ah yes, springtime. Snow flurries, wind chill -- it all comes back.

"Oh wait, it's Winnipeg. I forgot," Crewson laughs during a break in her trailer at the St. Mary's Road movie set, a civic office decked out as a courtroom.

"My birthday's May 9 and I remember my dad out shoveling the driveway so the little girls could walk up the driveway and come to my birthday party."

Not that the Hamilton-born actor doesn't harbour warm memories of the city where she spent her teens. She brought high school year books for her first return visit since she moved to Montreal in the '70s, and she intended to cruise old haunts on her day off yesterday.

"I'm going to go back to Westwood Collegiate -- I have to go and look at the old school. Because really it was in Winnipeg that I started doing plays. We did The Wizard of Oz in ninth grade and in 10th grade when I went to high school we did The Boy Friend and I had a big part in that," she says.

"And it was like really the beginning of the end of my life, I was so taken with it. And Westwood did great musicals -- I hear they still do."

Jane Doe, a biopic based on Toronto's Balcony Rapist case, has kept her intensely busy, but before shooting wraps Monday, Crewson, 45, also wants to visit her former home on Frost Avenue and take a few pictures for her mother, who now lives in Guelph, Ont.

Crewson's the star of the CTV's Toronto-made Joanne Kilbourn mystery movie series, and her list of movie credits spans more than 20 years. It includes playing spouse to both Harrison Ford (Air Force One) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Sixth Day) and earning a Gemini Award for the title role in CBC biopic At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story.

She and real-life husband Michael Murphy co-starred in 1998 CBC movie Sleeping Dogs Lie, in which their kids Jack and Maggie played orphans. After splitting their time between San Francisco and Canada for several years, the family moved to Toronto last summer, when Crewson shot upcoming drama Between Strangers, with Sophia Loren.

As for Jane Doe, she's jazzed about working with director Jerry Ciccoritti, who helmed the highly stylized CBC mini-series Trudeau.

The Many Trials of One Jane Doe traces a long legal battle with Toronto police. After she was raped in her home in 1986, Jane Doe sued the force, contending cops used women as bait to try to catch a serial rapist in the act.

Crewson says the real Jane Doe, who fit the rapist's victim profile, met with her several times and generously shared details of the ordeal and her motivations for pursuing the case.

"She was a very involved adult. She did a lot of volunteerism, there was a lot of social work in her life. She did it because it was the right thing to do as a responsible citizen."

Winnipegger Sarah Constible (Inertia) plays a lawyer in the movie, as do British actors Steven Mackintosh -- a familiar face from Insp. Morse and Poirot mysteries, the Guy Ritchie feature Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and recent period drama Lady Audley's Secret -- and Gary Lewis, who played the father in Billy Elliott.

"And how lucky for us because they're both fabulous actors," Crewson says.

Producer Bernard Zukerman (Conspiracy of Silence, Million Dollar Babies) says the movie co-produced by Winnipeg's Kim Todd (Original Pictures) also has a British co-producer. Under a funding agreement, 20% of the budget must be spent in England and in this case, much of that portion went to luring top-notch actors to the project.

Zukerman, whose upcoming CTV drama The Investigation is about the Clifford Olsen child-killer case, hasn't shot a movie in Winnipeg until now. But he does have a history with the city.

He got his first full-time broadcast job here in 1975, making documentaries for CBC-TV news before returning to Toronto to work on The Fifth Estate the same year.

And if April showers only bring May flurries, Zukerman doesn't mind. He needed only one warm, sunny day during the Jane Doe shoot and by chance, he got it.

Ah, yes, we remember it well.

Canadian Performers Call For Urgent National Action - ACTRA: Canadian Dramatic TV continues collapse

OTTAWA, Oct. 7 /CNW/ - The fate of next year's drama season on Canadian television hangs in the balance over the next few months. Funding and regulations need to be urgently addressed or a final collapse may be in the offing.

"It's hard to believe Canada could make an even bigger mess of its broadcasting system, but that's what we're about to do if things don't change," said Rick Mercer. "We are surrendering the most powerful medium we have. If we don't change course right now, Canadians will be listening to and watching Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on every channel they can click to."

Today, Canadian actor Paul Gross is leading a star ensemble from ACTRA - including Mercer, Sonja Smits and Wendy Crewson - in meetings with Ministers and Finance and Culture Critics to press these points. Performers will make a formal pre-budget presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance and meet with CRTC commissioners and staff. Performers are asking for action on two fronts:
- The federal government should restore and reinvest in the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) in its next budget.
- The CRTC should update and renew its regulations - in time to save next spring's production season.

"In 1999, with 12 primetime dramas for TV, we were building audience success like every other Western country was doing," said Sonja Smits. "Then, the CRTC changed the rules. Dramatic TV production collapsed, and we have only four drama series left on air. The result is that American productions basically now own Canadian primetime TV."

"Under the current plan, federal investment in television through the CTF will be cut by more than a third next year - a cut of almost $40 million," said Wendy Crewson. "If we want Canadian stories on air, cutting the CTF is the wrong choice. At a minimum, the CTF should be maintained at $100 million. To help turn things around, we should go further and invest an additional $20 million in the CTF."

The actors also called for prompt action by Canada's broadcast regulator. "Stabilizing and renewing the CTF staves off a final collapse," said Paul Gross. "But if we want to take back our primetime, and build a successful, increasingly market-funded and audience-driven Canadian dramatic television system - we need to do more. We need a new set of broadcast regulations - in time for next season's production - that clearly spells out that there is more - MUCH more - to a Canadian broadcast licence than a free pass to rebroadcast American shows."

ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is Canada's largest film and television creative union, representing over 21,000 professional performers across the country. Organizations representing almost every person working in the film and television industry are speaking up with increasingly urgent calls for the Canadian government to act on the crisis in Canadian TV drama.

Canadian actors want more funding for TV dramas

Canadian actors brought their lobbying campaign for financial and regulatory support back to Parliament Hill on Tuesday, but this time they had their eyes on the incoming government of Paul Martin as much as on the outgoing one of Jean Chretien.

"In a very short time there are going to be some new people running this country - new people with new ideas," said Wendy Crewson.

"It's a chance for a fresh look at the issues."

ACTRA, the union representing Canadian actors, has been lobbying for more cash for the Canadian Television Fund, which supports home-grown dramatic productions.

They also want the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to institute regulatory changes that would boost Canadian drama.

The last round of lobbying in May included an hour-long meeting with Martin and some of his advisers, at which the former finance minister noted that when he held the portfolio he resisted bureaucratic effort to cut the television fund.

"I think we certainly have his sympathies, and I think that bodes well for the future," said Paul Gross. "But there are an awful lot of things that have to happen."

An ACTRA official who attended the May meeting said that although Martin was receptive he made no concrete commitments and the participants didn't discuss details of future programs.

The actors were to meet Tuesday with CRTC officials and with members of the House of Commons finance committee, currently gathering ideas for potential use in the next federal budget.

The federal television fund became an issue last spring when John Manley, the current finance minister, slashed $25-million from its budget for this year.

Heritage Minister Sheila Copps later claimed the money would be restored, but the best Manley would do was advance the fund $12.5 million that had originally been earmarked for next year.

ACTRA wants the fund maintained at $100 million a year and, if possible, boosted by an additional $20 million.

It wants the CRTC to consider incentives and regulatory rules that would tie support for Canadian drama to licence renewals for the country's broadcasters.

Without those kinds of changes, said Rick Mercer, Canadian dramatic productions - which have dropped from 12 prime-time shows to four over the last four years - will continue to wane.

"We are about to complete a distinctly Canadian surrender of our prime-time television schedule," said Mercer.

"If we do not change course right now we believe that Canadians will be watching Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on virtually every single television channel they can click to."

ACTRA Lobbies Ottawa for Immediate Action

October 7, 2003 - ACTRA members returned to Ottawa to demand immediate action to save Canadian programming. The fate of next year's drama season on Canadian television hangs in the balance over the next few months, unless funding and regulations are addressed, a final collapse may be in the offing.

"It's hard to believe Canada could make an even bigger mess of its broadcasting system, but that's what we're about to do if things don't change," said Rick Mercer. "We are surrendering the most powerful medium we have. If we don't change course right now, Canadians will be listening to and watching Americans 24 hours a day, seven days a week, on every channel they can click to."

Paul Gross, Rick Mercer, Sonja Smits and Wendy Crewson lead the star ensemble, which included ACTRA National President Thor Bishopric, ACTRA Toronto Performers President Richard Hardacre, Toronto and National Councillor Christie MacFadyen and Montreal Councillor Tyrone Benskin.

After a morning press conference, the team fanned out to tackle a series of meetings with Ministers, Finance and Culture Critics, as well as CRTC commissioners and staff. The day was capped by a formal pre-budget presentation to the Standing Committee on Finance.

Throughout the day, performers demanded action on two fronts:

* The federal government should restore and reinvest in the Canadian Television Fund (CTF) in its next budget.
* The CRTC should update and renew its regulations - in time to save next spring's production season.

" In 1999, with 12 primetime dramas for TV, we were building audience success like every other Western country was doing," said Sonja Smits. "Then, the CRTC changed the rules. Dramatic TV production collapsed, and we have only four drama series left on air. The result is that American productions basically now own Canadian primetime TV."

" Under the current plan, federal investment in television through the CTF will be cut by more than a third next year - a cut of almost $40 million," said Wendy Crewson. "If we want Canadian stories on air, cutting the CTF is the wrong choice. At a minimum, the CTF should be maintained at $100 million. To help turn things around, we should go further and invest an additional $20 million in the CTF."

The actors also called for prompt action by Canada's broadcast regulator. " Stabilizing and renewing the CTF staves off a final collapse," said Paul Gross. "But if we want to take back our primetime, and build a successful, increasingly market-funded and audience-driven Canadian dramatic television system - we need to do more. We need a new set of broadcast regulations - in time for next season's production - that clearly spells out that there is more - MUCH more - to a Canadian broadcast licence than a free pass to rebroadcast American shows."

Crewson cracks typecasting

By Peter T. Chattaway

Wendy Crewson may not be a household name, but you've probably seen one of her movies. Over the past two decades, the Hamilton-born actress-who grew up in Winnipeg, Montreal, and points in-between-has played the supportive wife opposite Sam Neill (Bicentennial Man), Judge Reinhold (The Santa Clause), Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Sixth Day) and Harrison Ford (Air Force One). She also had a hilarious turn as a sexually frustrated woman who finds unexpected ecstasy through her lesbian daughter's sex toys in Anne Wheeler's hit comedy Better Than Chocolate.

But you can only play someone else's wife or mother so many times before you begin to crave bigger roles, so Crewson jumped at the chance to play Jackie York, a sharp-tongued, self-destructive author who has an affair with a man barely half her age, in Wheeler's newest film, Suddenly Naked (at Fifth Avenue and Granville Seven).

"You don't often read a lot of comedies with 40-year-old women protagonists," says Crewson, who is currently in town shooting This Much I Know with Leslie Hope, during an interview at the Sutton Place Hotel. "And I loved that her behaviour-and this gets me in a lot of trouble-was so male. Not all guys live like that, but it's not generally seen as female behaviour-the kitchen's a mess and she eats junk food all the time, and she smokes and drinks too much, and she lives like a cocky 30-year-old guy. And that really appealed to me."

Jackie York is also quite promiscuous-she secretly sleeps with fans who show up at her door, then rates them in a database-but even she's unprepared for the turn her love life takes when she meets the author of a novel that she's been reading online. It turns out the author, Patrick McKeating (Joe Cobden), is only 20 years old-but Jackie has been suffering from writer's block, and there's something about Patrick's writing, and his ability to counter her quips, that inspires her, so they embark on an affair. But Jackie is desperate to keep the affair a secret, lest it ruin her public image.

Crewson, who is 46, can identify with the age gap, sort of-she's 18 years younger than her husband, actor Michael Murphy (An Unmarried Woman). But she says women like Jackie, who are at the older end of such gaps, still suffer from a social double standard. "Do you think anybody looks twice at Michael and me and thinks, 'Oh man, he's 18 years older than she is?' Not a blink. It's completely accepted that a man would have a younger wife, and quite frankly, we don't often think about the age difference. But you put a woman who's 18 or 19 years older than a man in this situation, then of course the conversation comes up. Guys have always gotten away with tons more. It's always more acceptable for the guy to be out doing whatever, having casual sex, sowing his wild oats-what a guy! And if a girl does it, immediately she's like some fallen woman."

Crewson says she hopes the arrival of movies like Tadpole and Lovely & Amazing indicates our society may be more open to relationships where the woman is the older partner. But she cautions against the idea that middle-aged women are on the prowl for younger companions; the reason Jackie and Patrick click so well is that they had a meeting of the minds before they had a meeting of the bodies. "The popular belief that all older women are cougars that are letching after young men is, I think, complete crap," she says. "The truth of the matter is that the young guy would be lucky if it happened at all, and quite frankly, most women I know aren't really interested in a 20-year-old, because what the hell are you going to say to them? What's the conversation ever going to be, in terms of a relationship? Who wants to be somebody's babysitter? You get some guy who doesn't know how to order a bottle of wine, doesn't have any money and doesn't know anything of anything, and it's supposed to be cute?"

If Crewson is concerned about the impact this film might have on young men, it may be because the film has been marketed with just such an audience in mind. The script was originally called Show and Tell, but the producers-including Crewson, who took a co-executive producer credit on this film-agreed the title had to change. "The props girl came up with 'Literary Affairs,' which I thought was a brilliant title. But 'Suddenly Naked' apparently looked better on a video jacket when 14-to-24-year-olds are looking at it. I don't know why they'd want to see the movie anyway," she laughs. "I mean, I made it for 40-year-old women. I didn't really make it for 14-year-old boys."

Crewson, who won a best-actress Gemini for the CBC TV movie At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, has plenty of other projects in the works. She recently starred in several CTV movies based on Gail Bowen's Joanne Kilbourn mysteries, and she'll also return to the big screen this fall in Between Strangers, opposite Sophia Loren, and in The Santa Clause 2. All of these shows were made in Canada, and the sheer amount of work here prompted Crewson and her family-she has two children, aged 12 and 9-to move to Toronto after living in San Francisco for 10 years. The family made the switch so she could do more work without going on the road. "So I could actually go home at night and see the kids." Being a wife and mother on the big screen may get tiring, but Crewson still likes to play the part at home.

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Naked for the camera

By LISA WILTON -- Calgary Sun

Wendy Crewson's career has spanned more than 20 years.

One of Canada's most talented actresses, she has played everything from Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife in The 6th Day to a terminally ill euthanasia advocate in At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, for which she won a Gemini Award.

So when she was offered the role of a brilliant, but self-destructive novelist in director Anne Wheeler's sexy new comedy, Suddenly Naked, Crewson immediately set out to find some real authors in order to research her role.

Right? Well, not exactly.

"I just wanted to lose weight," says Crewson with a laugh.

"Losing weight was more important to me at the time than doing any character research."

Crewson, 46, was understandably nervous about her appearance as the script called for several love scenes, which involved some nudity.

"I just kept thinking, 'Oh my God, I have to take my clothes off at this late stage of my life? What am I thinking? Why didn't somebody ask me to do this when I was 25?' " she says.

"Then there were those actors, nice enough guys. It was like, 'Hi Bob, I'm Wendy,' as I standing there in a robe with nothing on underneath.

"Of course the guys get all taped up. God forbid you should see any of that little woo-woo. But I can't even put a thong on because they could see it (on camera).

"I'm in my 40s, I've had two kids and I'm taking my robe off ... I hope these actors look back when they're in their 40s and think, 'Damn, she looked good.' "

In Suddenly Naked, the Hamilton-born, Winnipeg-raised actress plays Jackie York, a chain-smoking author who begins an affair with a much younger man. Joe Cobden is the 20-year-old punk kid for whom she falls head over heels.

Crewson and Cobden share some steamy scenes together, and although she was somewhat nervous filming these scenes, she says it's all part of her job.

"It's all fake," she explains. "You choreograph it and look like you're having a good time. Just like real sex."


Crewson says she has nothing against older woman-younger man relationships personally and is actually offended by the fact it is often frowned up by society.

"It's a double-standard," she says. "My husband (actor Michael Murphy whose credits include Manhattan and Nashville) is 18 years older than me and nobody blinks an eye. But if that was turned around ... I don't know why we get so uptight about that."

Now based in Toronto, Crewson and her family spent 10 years in San Francisco. During that time she appeared in big budget American films such as What Lies Beneath, Bicentennial Man and Air Force One.

One of Crewson's next films is Between Strangers, in which she plays Sophia Loren's daughter.

"It's like, 'What happened? Did (Loren) marry some skinny Welsh guy and this is what came out?' " she asks playfully.

"If I was the daughter of Sophia Loren and looked like me, I would be a little upset. It would be genetic unfairness."

Still, Crewson was thrilled to share the screen with the Italian movie goddess.

"All the boys on the crew were looking at her like she was one hot tomato," Crewson recalls. "She's gracious, elegant, soft spoken and warm. I felt like a loud beached whale beside her."

by Jim Holt / The Canadian Press / The Halifax Herald Limited

Los Angeles - Suddenly Naked, the Canadian comedy with half a dozen Genie nominations, is suddenly finding acclaim south of the border. Americans were treated to the film's U.S. premiere in Los Angeles on Thursday amid banter it would be the next big fat Canadian sleeper hit.

"This is a little Canadian film. It's good to see so many Americans here," producer Gavin Wilding told an invited audience.

"There was another little Canadian film - My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Hopefully, we have as much charm as that." While it seems unlikely to mimic the runaway success and universal appeal of the earlier indie film, Suddenly Naked is certainly off to a good start. The LA Weekly, an alternative newspaper in Los Angeles, published a rave review as the film began a 10-day run at the Laemmle Theatre.

Suddenly Naked stars Wendy Crewson as an uninspired middle-aged writer who rediscovers her writing passion with the help of a young lover.

Crewson attended the screening Thursday but had to leave before the film was over. "It's hard to sit and watch myself," she explained afterwards. "I'm always examining each little part." Americans seem to love the film, she added. "They're hip enough to get it. It's funny and appealing and cute," Crewson said. "We, as Canadians, become hypercritical of ourselves. I think we're very funny and Americans love that. "For myself, I like it when I go to movies and see women my age playing women my age."

Suddenly Naked is nominated for six Genie Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. The movie follows the floundering career of writer Jackie York who struggles to live up to her reputation. She obsesses over the architect of a bad business deal - Danny Blair (Michael Shanks) - until revenge consumes all her creativity.

Director Anne Wheeler skillfully shows us an unsatisfied woman who overeats, drinks too much and is empowered by her friend Lionel Heathcote (Peter Coyote) who poses as her lover. Then, York meets talented young writer Patrick McKeating (Joe Cobden) who forces her to confront the lies that prop up her life.

Absent from the premiere were the director who is in Vancouver recovering from a leg injury, and Crewson's co-stars Coyote and Cobden. On hand, however, was Canadian actor William Shatner. "It took me most of the film to realize it was (filmed in) Vancouver - I thought it was Toronto," he said at a wine-and-cheese reception at the St. Regis Hotel.

Shatner said he loved the film. "It was beautifully directed, beautifully acted and should do extraordinarily well." Guests at the reception were asked to donate to Shatner's charity, the 13th annual Hollywood Charity Horse Show, set for April 26.

By Robert W. Welkos

To American moviegoers, actress Wendy Crewson always seems to be playing a wife, whether it's opposite Harrison Ford in "Air Force One," Arnold Schwarzenegger in "The 6th Day" or Tim Allen in "The Santa Clause" and its sequel. She also played Sam Neill's wife in the sci-fi film "Bicentennial Man," which starred Robin Williams. But in the Canadian-produced sex comedy "Suddenly Naked," which opens Friday at the Laemmle Sunset 5 in West Hollywood, Crewson plays a "Jackie Collins"-type novelist who falls for a 20-year-old guy.

"It's absolutely liberating," Crewson said of her role as Jackie York, the 39-year-old novelist at the center of the film's story. "She's like a guy, an adolescent boy. She's never really grown up or matured gracefully into her years. She smokes and drinks and sleeps with several fans who come calling. Her apartment is a mess. She eats junk food all the time. That part I loved. You never see women my age get to do that."

"Suddenly Naked," which has been nominated for a Genie, Canada's version of the Oscar, re-teams Crewson with Anne Wheeler, who directed her in the 1999 lesbian-themed comedy "Better Than Chocolate."

Hamilton, Ontario, native Crewson, who lives in Toronto with her husband, actor Michael Murphy, and their two children, said the comedy infusing "Suddenly Naked" is a refreshing departure from most Canadian films."Despite the fact that great comedians come from this country and, as a people, I think we are very funny, [in our films] you are always dying in some blizzard somewhere. We don't do comedy on film. We are always battling the elements. It's bleak. There is no hope in our films. We make kitchen-sink dramas where terrible things happen during the winter in these houses."

Urban Legends

An Orwellian look at an all-news network, The Beast is the latest ABC series to be unceremoniously dumped; Witchblade conjures modern and ancient tales.

By John Leonard

Wendy Crewson must wonder what she ever did that ABC should hate her so. Only a little more than a decade ago, the talented Crewson -- a Canadian version of Anne Archer, especially suited to playing adult women who prove to be as smart as they are handsome -- was cast as the honest producer in Studio 5-B, an ABC dramatic series about a morning-TV-news program, with George Grizzard and Jeffrey Tambor. I will admit that I was kinder than I might have been to this show, which lathered up more soap than journalism, because I had liked Crewson as a reporter on the CBS newspaper series Hard Copy, and liked her even more when I met her in October 1988 at the Cannes Television Festival, where she was hanging out with Robert Altman's entourage. Still, Studio 5-B deserved better than the three weeks ABC gave it before the ax.

And now Crewson is ever so briefly back in The Beast, another ABC dramatic series, this time about a whole 24-hour-broadcast news organization instead of just a single show. But if you tune in the next six Wednesdays, try not to get excited: Even though it's better than anything else on ABC, the network pulled the plug not only on Wendy Crewson, but on Frank Langella, Elizabeth Mitchell, Peter Riegert, Jason Gedrick, Naveen Andrews, and Harriet Harris, all of whom also work for World News Service (WNS), where the people who are watching us find themselves watched as well.

If the media are the "Beast," WNS is Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, an all-seeing model prison. Langella, the maverick mogul who has created this monster of surveillance, believes that journalists have lost their objectivity. To encourage them to find it again -- a kind of obligatory introspection reminiscent of the self-criticism sessions of the Chinese Communists during the Cultural Revolution -- he has cameras trained on their workplace, in the halls, from the ceiling, so that the very process of news gathering is itself recorded and can be broadcast live on the Internet. There is a supereditor somewhere in the pixeled sky, more God than ombudsman, a divine executive producer determining which failures of craft or character are made public. It's as though, in some second-guessing chat room made entirely out of two-way Microsoft Windows, Cops met The Blair Witch Project during halftime at an XFL game.

Thus the new girl on the block, former freelancer Mitchell, has been lured by Langella to WNS specifically for her righteous standards. Will she lower them to get that interview with a death-row convict, and even allow herself to be fondled to secure exclusive broadcast rights to his "live" execution? Thus news anchor Gedrick is so furious about the lunacy of most of what he reports that he sounds hourly more and more like the prophet Jeremiah with a substance-abuse problem. Thus news director Riegert, unemployable anywhere else because of his terrible temper and even greater contempt, stays on in the belly of the "Beast" because Langella's process would seem to require his potential for creative violence.

While Crewson wants a baby of her own, with test-tube help if necessary, she will have to settle for being the managerial mother of the rest of these misfits. The divine executive producer has to decide whether to inform his fellow WNS employees that the McVeigh-like media bomber being so assiduously tracked by Naveen Andrews has actually signed on as an intern in the Panopticon, and looks poised to strike at the very nerve center of the military-industrial-entertainment complex while the rest of them are all too busy worrying about their professional ethics to notice or, except for Harriet Harris, to care.

The Beast was created by Kario Salem, who wrote the remarkable Don King: Only in America. Executive producers include Mimi Leder, who directed the first episode; Ian Sander and Kim Moses, who co-conspired at Profiler; and Ron Howard. The cast is as snap-crackle-and-pop as the dialogue put in their mouths. It is as satisfying as it is provocative, much like Max Headroom, the dramatic series it most resembles and the best one ever on any network about TV news, which also embarrassed ABC by being more subversive than it could stand. And that was in 1987, before Disney. As with Wonderland, so with The Beast. So long, we never knew you. It's getting worse, folks.



It's precisely what you'd expect from a day of celebrity shopping. Actress Wendy Crewson breezes into a private room lined with racks of designer clothes and a table of artfully arranged accessories. They are hers for the plucking.

Crewson, who is appearing as we speak in The Santa Clause 2 and is filming her next role with Robert Redford, is smaller than you'd think. Her glossy dark hair is perfect, her makeup flawless. She's in a black leather jacket and snug, sexy L.A.-style jeans.

In the corner of the room sits a spread of catered shrimp kebobs and chicken skewers, somewhat diminished, since our star is late.

Yes, it's all that. Only a little more, well, Canadian. Crewson apologizes for her tardiness and means it. The racks of clothes are by up-and-coming Canadian designers. We're not in the back room of some swanky boutique; we're at Toronto's Fashion Incubator, a resource centre and association that nurtures its in-house and outreach designers.

Crewson has agreed to be a part of a juried competition of young designers. She's here to pick outfits to wear to various events related to the contest. "I'm not an expert, but I do support the industry by spending thousands of dollars!" says the actor, who knows that a single photo of her wearing one of these designers give them a big boost.

On the very formal clipboard of possible events to dress for are the Geminis and a dinner with the Prime Minister.

"Gorgeous!" she says as she inspects the racks of daywear with public-relations diva Christine Faulhaber and TFI director Susan Langdon watches. Over at the long, slinky eveningwear, one daring number catches her eye. "This is what I wear all the time, darling. Taking out the trash." Crewson stops at a turquoise jersey wrap dress by new label Istyle. "This colour always looks good on camera. It's quite lovely."

She should know. Crewson has done everything from Canadian features like the recent Perfect Pie, to her big Hollywood breakthrough as Harrison Ford's wife in Air Force One.

She jokes about her role in The Clearing as Robert Redford's mistress as a dubious casting choice: "Robert, now wake up, wake up!"

Crewson's no snore, though.

Though she says she rarely chooses black for formal events, she is game to try on a stunning deep V-neck David Dixon halter gown. Langdon takes one look at the J.Lo-style plunging neckline, "Do you think this might be a little too much for the Prime Minister?"

"It might be a little too much for the Prime Minister," Crewson says, twisting to exaggerate the potential for full breast exposure.

Her eyelids drop, her body goes loose and sexy. "I'm here, Mr. Prime Minister," she whispers, a la Marilyn Monroe.

He should be so lucky. The dress is also nixed for the Geminis, where Crewson was to receive a humanitarian award for her work for the ALS Society. "I'm giving favours to the boys in the service," she croons in the same voice.

More sober is a David Dixon soft grey suit, with an extra long skirt and fitted jacket.She and Langdon are debating sleeve length. Crewson wants it long. Split the difference? Langdon agrees.

On to a slinky jersey pants and top ensemble by Joeffer Caoc of Misura, for Jury Meeting One, this week. The pants are reborn into January's Jury Outfit Number Three by adding a plum sweater by Olena Zylak. The turquoise wrap dress is added to the lineup, with a slight hemming job. "My leg is better there than there -- just at, not below, the knee."

Actresses don't just have a good or bad side. They know where their leg looks its best, if one shoulder is a fraction of an inch higher than the other. This actress also knows Toronto is her best locale. She's just moved back here from Los Angeles.

"In Los Angeles, you have to be 22. I'm busted. They're all Botoxed and pulled. They all look like they're from Atlantis. Like they've come up out of the ocean," she says. "This is my tribe. I've always spent a lot of time here. There's something very comforting about being in Toronto."

Another bonus? Her new house has her dream walk-in-closet. "I filled it up. I left my husband six inches."

A good portion of the clothes hanging there come from movie wardrobes. I ask if there are any favourite film outfits. "You can't say Air Force One because I was only in one outfit. I never want to see it again as long as I live."

Crewson says she had great outfits in The Santa Clause 1, but when it wrapped, she heard Disney was stingy on sharing. "Usually, actors can buy the clothes at half price. I thought, I'll just ask for one fabulous outfit. Not only would they not let me buy it, but they wrote me a letter saying it was policy. They gave Tim Allen a Lamborghini."

Crewson pauses her storytelling only when her head is actually inside a sweater or dress. Once it emerges, we forge on, leaving Faulhaber and Langdon to pin, pull, add and subtract.

"This is like a wardrobe fitting for a film. I never pay attention," she says. But Crewson is paying attention. She knows she'll be in the judge's seat soon.

"When I'm judging, are the clothes on models or just hanging?" she asks, looking in the mirror. Clearly she understands that fashion is more than just hanger appeal. This is the kind of insight she's hoping to bring as a judge. As if her celebrity endorsement wasn't enough. "I'm not that famous," she says.

"It's so hard to get noticed and to get the ball rolling." Crewson remembers one classy leg-up, from none other than Mary Tyler Moore. "For my U.S. papers, I needed 10 letters of recommendation from well-known people saying that I was exceptional in my field of endeavour.

"I was doing a movie with Mary Tyler Moore in Canada -- a little tiny part. I said, 'Would you mind?' She said, 'No, of course not.' So I wrote a little recommendation for her to put on her letterhead. Mary took that and wrote this big gorgeous long letter, way more than what I asked. That's a nice favour."

Crewson makes a killing

Calgary Sun

Flying in the lifted-and-tucked face of Hollywood, Wendy Crewson is perfectly fine with aging gracefully.

Just not too gracefully.

Compare her role as mystery sleuth Joanne Killbourn to Angela Lansbury's crime-solving granny in Murder, She Wrote, for example, and Crewson sounds downright homicidal.

"Don't say that! It's my Prime Suspect, thank you," says Crewson, referring to Helen Mirren's British police series during a phone interview from her Toronto home.
A Killing Spring, the fifth Kilbourn CTV movie based on the best-selling books by Gail Bowen and starring Crewson, airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on DE.

Even Crewson admits at this point, her character's been solving so many killings, it's a wonder anyone wants to spend time with her. "No one wants to be her friend.
"She's the only one ever left standing. The secret is she's the murderer!"

After more than a decade living in San Francisco, Crewson moved her family -- she and her husband have a daughter Maggie, 12, and son, Jack, 9 -- to Toronto this past year.

"We're sort of straddling both coasts. We've rented a place here and are trying it out.

"I love Toronto and being back home, but I hate the weather. I've become soft -- too many years on the east bay on San Francisco where it's always 65 degrees ... You forget after awhile how blissful it is."

Crewson has enjoyed success on both sides of the border. She's appeared in numerous Hollywood blockbusters in recent years, including as Harrison Ford's wife in Air Force One (she had a small role -- again with Ford -- in What Lies Beneath).

She also starred opposite Robin Williams in Bicentennial Man and Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Sixth Day.

In Canada, she's won two Geminis -- the first for a guest role on Due South in 1998 and then, a year later, for At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, in which she played a victim of Lou Gehrig's disease, who battled for the right to die. Crewson has since become involved with fundraising and is patron of the Calgary-based Betty's Run for ALS.

Next up for Crewson is reprising her role opposite Tim Allen in The Santa Clause 2 and she'll attend the Berlin Film Festival to promote Suddenly Naked, an Anne Wheeler-directed movie in which Crewson plays the "older woman" romancing a younger man.

She decided to move her family to Toronto "because I figured if I didn't do it now, I'd wait until I was 65, I'd be too tired.

"But I've ruined my daughter's life. She's a California girl, so she's going to school in these pleated skirts and I just see her bony little cold legs ... I keep telling them, 'You're half-Canadian!' I took everything for granted. I knew the national anthem, but they had no idea. I figured I could sign my son up for hockey.

"Get them on skates, give them a stick and they shoot the puck. You know, I'll take him to Canadian Tire -- that gives them knowledge to play hockey. But then I put all this equipment on him, thousands of these big pads and he said this is the third time he's ever been skating. I've been a neglectful Canadian mother.

"There are no rinks in San Francisco -- nobody goes skating.

"But he loves it. It's in the genetic code."

CTV Mysteries

Gemini Award winners Wendy Crewson (Airforce One, The Sue Rodruigez Story) and Victor Garber (Sleepless in Seattle, Titanic) are back in their roles as ex-cop Joanne Kilbourn and Police Inspector Philip Millard.

Kilbourn may have resigned from the police force, but when a case affects her and the people she loves, she gets involved. To get the job done, she must find the balance between working a case her own way and relying on the resources of the police -- a combination which sometimes puts her at odds with Millard and sometimes makes them strange allies.

In The Wandering Soul Murders, Kilbourn is pulled into a case when one of her daughter's employees is found murdered. She quickly learns that the death is only the latest in a series of homicides involving teenage prostitutes. When she publicly criticizes the police force for mishandling the investigation, she is asked to produce an investigative story for a local television newsmagazine. Will Millard help her find the killer?

Kilbourn has no patience for sloppy police work. She quit the police force when they failed to find her husband's murderer. In A Colder Kind of Death, Kilbourn comes face to face with the case that changed her life. Six years after her husband's death, the police have found enough evidence to arrest a prime suspect, who is himself murdered by an unknown killer. When the suspect's wife is strangled to death, Kilbourn is shocked to learn the instrument of death was her own scarf. To make matters worse, other evidence and the ensuing investigation all point to Kilbourn as the murderer. She must push aside all the resurfacing pain and memories to learn the truth and exonerate herself. The Wandering Soul Murders and A Colder Kind of Death are produced by Toronto's Shaftesbury Films.

Deadly Appearances

Starring: Wendy Crewson, Victor Garber, Robert Hays
Politics, make strange bedfellows and no one knows this better than Joanne Kilbourn. As a former policewoman, she thinks she has seen it all but when her old friend, and rising political star, Andy Boychuk is implicated in the murder of young Lori Evanson, a student at a local Bible College, she is once again shocked as she uncovers the truth about the murder. Rated PG.

Love & Murder

Starring: Wendy Crewson, Victor Garber
This is a CTV Literature Initiative. Upon returning to the small town where her roots were, Sally, a renown artist, renews her friendship with her childhood friend Joanne - a widowed professor with 3 children - Before long Clea, Sally's partner is found dead and then Sally is murdered - Joanne is left to find out the truth and dark history of her childhood friend! Rated PG.

A Killing Spring

Starring: Wendy Crewson, Victor Garber
Fear, deceit and violence run rampant at the School of Journalism where Joanne Kilbourn was once a professor. When the dean of the journalism faculty is found dead under suspicious circumstances, Joanne is unofficially enlisted to solve the crime.

The promise of a prestigious internship, the revelation of journalistic corruption and a threat against Joanne's professional life all play a part in unmasking one man's determination to advance himself at any cost. "A Killing Spring" is part of the on-going "CTV Mystery" strand and is the fifth in the series from Canadian author Gail Bowen's popular murder mystery series (Deadly Appearances; Love and Murder; The Wandering Soul Murders; A Colder Kind of Death). The two-hour special features Gemini-Award-winning Wendy Crewson (The Sixth Day) as ex-cop Joanne Kilbourn. Written by Joe Wiesenfeld and Jeremy Hole, and directed by Stephen Williams (Hard Times: The David Milgaard Story), this made-for-television film is produced by Toronto-based Shaftesbury Films in association with CTV.

Verdict In Blood

The sixth and final installment of its popular "CTV Mystery" movie strand, "VERDICT IN BLOOD", will make its television premiere MONDAY, MAY 27 at 9 p.m. ET (check local listings). Gemini Award winner WENDY CREWSON reprises her role as ex-cop turned mystery sleuth, Joanne Kilbourn, in the feature-length, made for television special.

"Verdict In Blood" is part of the CTV Mystery strand and is the final adaptation from a series of six "Joanne Kilbourn" murder mysteries from Canadian author Gail Bowen (Deadly Appearances; Love and Murder; The Wandering Soul Murders; A Colder Kind of Death; A Killing Spring).

The MOW also stars Sally Kellerman (The Boston Strangler, That's Life!) as Judge Marcia Blackwell, a forgiving judge who ends up dead, Robert Davi (Contact on Cherry Street, Profiler) as Wade Waters, a criminal rehabilitator, who is romantically involved with the judge and becomes the prime murder suspect and Shawn Doyle (The City, Blue Murder) as detective Alex Emanuel.

The murder of a prominent and wealthy judge on the eve of her retirement casts suspicion on a group of ex-cons. Formerly tough on crime, Judge Marcia Blackwell had revised her feelings about punishment. But when a new will surfaces, those close to her fear that her newfound belief in rehabilitation was really a product of the opportunism of the former convicts she was helping. In the midst of a documentary on Blackwell, Joanne Kilbourn determines to help find the murderer. The distance the perpetrator will go to get Blackwell's fortune puts everyone, including Joanne, at risk until she is able to uncover the shocking truth behind the crime.

Written by Andrew Wreggitt, Jeremy Hole, and Janet MacLean. Directed by Stephen Williams (Milgaard). The made-for-television film is produced by Toronto-based Shaftesbury Films in association with CTV. Christina Jennings is Executive Producer of Shaftesbury Films. Bill Mustos is Senior VP, CTV Dramatic Programming.

"Verdict In Blood" is part of CTV's Canadian Literature Initiative, a series which has enjoyed critical and ratings success. Established in 1997, the CTV Canadian Literature Initiative seeks to bring Canadian literature to the small screen.

Her passion to fight ALS is no act
Copyright 2002 Sun Media Corporation The Edmonton Sun October 19, 2002 Saturday, Final Edition

Canadian actress Wendy Crewson's portrayal of ALS sufferer Sue Rodriguez did more than earn her a Gemini Award (the Canadian equivlent of an Emmy award), it led her to raise awareness about the disease.

From her role as patron of the ALS Society of Alberta to faithfully participating in Calgary's annual fund-raiser, Betty's Run, Crewson's efforts have earned her another Gemini.

Crewson (The Santa Clause, Air Force One) was ecstatic to learn she's receiving the Gemini Humanitarian Award for her volunteer work to aid those with devastating amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It includes a $10,000 charitable donation.

"I was completely shocked," said Crewson, who moved to Toronto last year with her family after a decade in San Francisco. "I'm thrilled for the ALS Society because it means a lot of great exposure for them. And of course the $10,000 cash donation, it's a big boost for ALS Alberta."

Crewson wanted to help those with the disease after her role as Rodriguez, a B.C. mother who fought for physician-assisted suicide as she lost her battle with the debilitating illness.

"It was a huge emotional impact. It's surprising in the business how few roles there are in your life that are as life-changing as Sue Rodriguez was," said Crewson, who receives her honour at the awards ceremony celebrating the best in Canadian television Nov. 4.

"I felt a tremendous need afterward to stay involved with the society and people going through what she went through."

After the TV movie, The Sue Rodriguez Story, aired in 1998, Crewson agreed to help Alberta's ALS society. She opened Edmonton's society doors three years ago and also does public relations work for the national body.

"I'm a fixture now. Absolutely, I'll stay involved," said Crewson, who is heading to Los Angeles next week to film The Clearing with Robert Redford and Helen Mirren.

The rapidly progressive neuromuscular disease, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease after it killed the famed baseball player in 1941, wields a punishing assault on the body. Deterioration of nerve cells that control muscles leads to total paralysis.

The relentless erosion of the body is especially cruel since the mind is completely unaffected and thus the person is very much aware of the deterioration.

"Two to three Canadians die every day from ALS. It's a terrible disease," said Crewson, who will appear on the big screen next month alongside Tim Allen in The Santa Clause 2.

According to the ALS Society of Canada, the disease can strike anyone, most commonly surfacing between 55 and 65 years of age.

Statistics Canada figures show that between 1994 and 1996, twice as many people died of ALS than cystic fibrosis and multiple sclerosis combined.

Crewson has formed friendships over the years with ALS sufferers and their families. With all too rare exception Crewson knows that her friendships will be too brief with those fighting the devastating disease.

Within five years of diagnosis, 90% of those with ALS are dead. In a few cases the disease seems to plateau, such as famed physicist Stephen Hawking, who was diagnosed with the illness about 38 years ago.

"It's very emotional. You get involved with them and their families," said Crewson, who is in her 40s. "It is an inevitable thing (death). This is always in your mind when you're meeting these people and getting to know them, that this is the almost inevitable end of it."

Posted by rideforlife at October 21, 2002 10:42 AM

Crewson puts heart, star power into ALS society
Commits herself to charity work in between movie roles
January 16, 2003 Bob Blakey Calgary Herald

Hollywood actors often do research when tackling a complex role, but Wendy Crewson has taken her interest in a fatal disease far beyond a movie job.

This is Crewson's fifth year as a volunteer ambassador for the ALS Society of Alberta. The Calgary-based charity helps sufferers and families hit by fatal amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Between co-starring in such hit movies as The Santa Clause and its recent sequel with Tim Allen, and Air Force One with Harrison Ford, Crewson has attended the Betty's Run fundraiser each June in this city.

She was in town this week, mainly to promote her upcoming CBC Television movie-The Many Trials of One Jane Doe (Jan. 20, 8 p.m. on Ch. 6/9, Ch. 50) -- but she also met with ALS Society executive director Mary Hatcher to discuss videotaping a series of TV public service announcements for the run.

Last October, Crewson won a Gemini Humanitarian Award for her national work to increase public awareness of the disease. It came with a $10,000 prize, which the actor gave to the ALS Society.

She said she's drawn to the cause because families of ALS sufferers can use the help.

"When this disease strikes, families are overwhelmed with the progression of the disease," Crewson, 46, said.

"It happens so hard and fast and it's so devastating to all these families. They don't have the time to get out, lobby and look for research funds and raise public awareness.

"So, any sort of outside help they can get, they're enormously grateful."

Crewson, born in Hamilton, Ont., recently moved from San Francisco to Toronto with husband Michael Murphy and their two children.

Hatcher praises Crewson's commitment and sensitivity in her volunteer work.

"Wendy connects on a really personal level with people with ALS in their families," the society director said. "She goes to their homes, and if it's a child involved in the family, she'll go to that child's school and talk to the class.

"She makes herself available in a very personal way."

Crewson also knows how to turn "star power" into a positive force for the cause when doing media interviews, Hatcher said.

"She'll smile for the cameras, then turn around and say, 'But let me introduce you to so-and-so,' or 'Let me tell you so-and-so's story.'

"It's never about Wendy."

Crewson-known also for such Canadian movies as Getting Married in Buffalo Jump, Better Than Chocolate and the recent Suddenly Naked-was cast in the starring role of At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story, in 1998.

She won a Gemini Award for her moving portrayal of the B.C. woman who waged a highly public battle for the legal right to have an assisted suicide.

That prompted local ALS Society officials to call the actor and invite her to get involved, which was just what Crewson had been hoping for.

"I thought at the time the movie came out, if I was working with ALS victims, I'd call me and ask me to help."

Crewson said of her humanitarian award, "It was lovely. It was stunning and amazing. It was completely unexpected."

During the nomination process, Hatcher phoned Crewson to say she was submitting the actor's name.

"I said, 'You can't, Mary. It's not for people like me. It's for people on boards of directors, people with bigger names who do more things. It isn't going to happen.

"Now she says, 'Ha Ha. I told you so.'"

From Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith in Hollywood

`Hours' author guiding next film adaptation

Will "The Hours" author Michael Cunningham have another Oscar-worthy vehicle in Warner Bros.' adaptation of his 1998 "A Home At the End of the World", starring Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn and Sissy Spacek?

Cunningham, who also wrote the "Home" screenplay -- about two best friends, one straight, one gay, who end up in a romantic triangle in the early '80s -- was on the set during filming, reports Wendy Crewson, who plays Farrell's mother in the upcoming feature.

"It was really remarkable to be there with Michael Cunningham and see the story come to life the way he envisioned it. It's just amazing," Crewson said.

Crewson's Calgary adventure
by Kevin Williamson Calgary Sun

Wendy Crewson spent the summer horsing around in Calgary with Tom Selleck.

The Canadian actress, who starred as Harrison Ford's wife in Air Force One and is currently acting opposite Kiefer Sutherland on the upcoming third season of the hit drama 24, stars in Twelve Mile Road, which was filmed in southern Alberta this past June. It airs Sept. 28 at 10 p.m. on channel 12.

"I was there for Stampede - I rode in the parade! It was a great time. We went and saw the chuckwagon races and did the whole thing, sat in the stands and drank beer. We had a riot, it was great," Crewson says, during a phone interview from her Toronto home.

"It's a really lovely story. I had worked with Tom on a movie called Folks years ago and we've kept in touch. He called me to say they were doing this and he thought I'd like it. I got the script and loved it. It was a really nice job. That ended one week and 24 began the next."

Based on the novel Mystery Ride: My Life by Robert Boswell, the TV movie was written and directed by Richard Friedenberg (A River Runs Through It). It was co-produced by Calgary-based Voice Pictures. Selleck plays a divorced rancher trying to reconnect with his troubled teenage daughter who spends the summer with him for the first time in 10 years. Crewson co-stars as the girl's mother.

"She's an attorney, but she's not a shoulder-padded type. She does a lot of pro bono work, like helping battered women. She can do all this, yet helping her own daughter seems to be impossible. And then over the course of this summer the family sort of reunites. It's a nice, really emotional piece. We shot the whole thing out on this farm northwest of Calgary. It was a beautiful, spectacular farm. We were out there the whole time. It was like a vacation in the foothills."

Selleck, who last year filmed the TNT western Monte Walsh here, had an equally enjoyable stay, she adds. "He loves the outdoors. He was in actor heaven around all these horses and cows and dogs - you know, all that guy stuff."


A big bet on Hollywood North
Egos get dumped in the new Movie Co-op. How Canadian is that?
By GAYLE MacDONALD Saturday, October 11, 2003 - Page R5

TORONTO -- More than 80 years ago, a handful of famous friends -- fed up with Hollywood avarice and apathy -- decided to start their own little company, United Artists.

The merry band comprised Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and his wife Mary Pickford, and D. W. Griffith, all of whom had a mission: to create a safe haven for actors and filmmakers with quality stories to tell, and in an environment where they would retain creative control and a share of the profits. In 1919, it was a brazen concept. United Artists, which became known as "the company built by the stars," set a new direction for the entertainment industry.

Today -- about 4,000 kilometres northeast of the concrete studio lots that are now Arnold Schwarzenegger's stronghold -- a different group of famous folk are setting up something similar in Canada.

The Movie Co-op is a fledgling business partnership that combines high hopes and big-name clout. So far, its 16-member roster includes Eugene Levy, Gordon Pinsent, Wendy Crewson, Maury Chaykin, Saul Rubinek, Paul Gross, Martha Burns, Mark McKinney and Colin Mochrie. Like United Artists, the Movie Co-op's goal is simple: use the biggest talent in the land to shake things up.

So in lieu of their (on average) $250,000-to-$1-million-per-picture salaries, these Canadian actors are going to work free of charge on the upcoming comedy, Mozart Loves Me, written and directed by George Bloomfield. And in exchange, they and the other stakeholders in the Movie Co-op will own a share of the production and any potential payout.

Why, you may ask, would these successful people stick their necks out in a decidedly high-risk venture? Because they say they believe feature filmmaking -- at least in English Canada -- is broken and urgently in need of fixing. Financing for indigenous films is increasingly scarce, not to mention mired in a maddening bundle of red tape. Scores of their friends are out of work. Every year, fewer homegrown films are being made.

So the Movie Co-op -- the brainchild of veteran TV director Bloomfield, his wife, painter Louisa Varalta, television producer Alyson Feltes and Crewson -- has taken matters into its own hands.

Bloomfield, renowned in Canada's production community as an actor's director who was, among other things, creative producer of Due South, CBS's E-Z Streets and Road to Avonlea, says the focus of the Movie Co-op is to make "character-driven stories about people we can all relate to.

"Normally, what happens is you take your project to a distributor, or to various places like Telefilm Canada," says the septuagenarian. "But here I saw an opportunity to get people like Wendy, Maury, Saul . . . all people I know, all the people I have worked with over the years. To say to them, if you truly like this project, would you invest your normal fee?" Bloomfield explains.

The way Bloomfield and his partners see it, Mozart Loves Me is a $3.5-million to $4.5-million film that because of the largesse of the actors, directors, writers and composers, can be made for $1-million -- in time for the Toronto International Film Festival next fall.

The hitch, and it's a big one, is the $1-million that will still have to be raised for incidentals, such as film stock, crew (union) salaries, even the groceries to feed the production team over the 30-day shoot. To save some dough, Bloomfield and Varalta are shooting the film in their century-old Toronto home. Crewson, who has been a Co-op advocate from its inception, says the $1-million will be a challenge. "Because people don't invest in movies. They're a bad investment, generally," says Crewson, who has worked the past 20 years here and in the U.S., including roles in such big-budget films such as Air Force One and What Lies Beneath. "But given our combined track records, and years of experience, we think we're a good bet.

"Sometimes you can hit it lucky. We think it's worth the risk. What we're looking for is control over our project instead of somebody saying we think the lead actress needs bigger breasts or a car exploding in this scene."

Bloomfield and Varalta, married 32 years, hatched the idea of Mozart Loves Me three years ago. It's about a director named Stoner (Chaykin) and a painter called Big Lou (Crewson). Big Lou falls in love with a fantasy character, Mozart (Peter Outerbridge).

The cast includes Levy, Rubinek, Gross, Pinsent, Burns, McKinney, Mochrie and Sheila McCarthy, and Bloomfield says recruitment was a breeze. Levy, for example, rushed to do it. "It's not unlike how we do the films with Chris Guest," said Levy, referring to Guest's cult classics such as Best in Show and A Mighty Wind. "The budgets are pretty much the same, we always use the same people and nobody interferes. Nobody is telling Chris what to do creatively at all."

But Bloomfield's and Varalta's pitch didn't stop with on-camera talent. They also went after equipment suppliers and sound mixers, composers and cinematographers. Again, they insist, the response was overwhelming. For free, they got equipment from Bill White (the owner of William F. White International) and postproduction services from Jane Tattersall. They got another pal, Nikos Evdemon, to be director of photography and a University of Toronto professor, Christos Hatzis, to compose the music.

A few weeks ago, they shot 20 minutes worth of footage in their home in Toronto. The Bloomfields, Feltes and the film's other executive producer, Perry Zimel, are now getting ready to take this teaser tape door-to-door to raise the $1-million. Mochrie's agent heard about the tape, and the actor offered his services free of charge, as did McKinney.

Chaykin, reached in Aspotogan, N.S., where he has a oceanfront home, said jokingly that he signed onto Mozart Loves Me first because, well, he loves his uncle, George Bloomfield.

Family relations aside, though, Chaykin adds that the Movie Co-op comes at a time of huge turmoil in his business. "I worked very hard for many years to get my fees to a point where I could make a good living, both doing work in the United States and here in Canada. And what is now happening is the very high-budget projects are just paying their stars the $20-million fees and everyone else is getting scale, which poses a serious problem for actors in my category. So Movie Co-op appeals to me because I've always thought, if you donate your time and services, it's only fair you get a chance to participate in any future profits. The potential of this is enormous and I think it could be quite commercial."

That said, the co-operative model can be a logistical nightmare. ACTRA is supplying a co-op business plan and has agreed to help work with the various unions. "We have a tier system set up," explains Bloomfield. "For instance, Wendy, Maury and Peter will be up there in the tier, because they're the main actors, working every day on this thing. Someone doing a cameo for half a day will be on a different system. The bottom line, though, is we will all own Mozart, and we will own Movie Co-op. And all of us will have a continued stake in the next thing, and the next thing, and the next."

The partners hope to make two or three films a year.

"We're not Telefilm averse either," points out Feltes. "But what we'd like to do is invite them our party, which is also a new way of doing things."

Crewson says there is an overriding feeling these days that the business is in trouble. "I was in Ottawa yesterday with the actors' delegation [ACTRA] trying to get the television fund restored. The film business in Toronto has dropped over 40 per cent in the last year. No one has any work suddenly. The American work isn't coming up like it was, and with Arnold [Schwarzenegger] in as governor of California, you can be sure it will dry up further. Meanwhile, our domestic industry is in a terrible state.

"Everyone is tired of being a service industry for the United States. We wanted to see our stories, told by us, for a distinctly Canadian audience."

Eighty-five years ago, United Artists embarked on a course that ultimately revolutionized the motion-picture business. Rather than own production facilities and sound stages, it acted exclusively as a distributor. This gave it an advantage over its far richer competitors, eventually forcing the major studios to follow suit by moving into independent production in the 1940s. According to the United Artists Web site, "having led the way for independents, United Artists has enjoyed an unparalleled reputation throughout decades of history as a forum for artists to nourish the projects other studios refused to risk."

Risk is a big part of the Movie Co-op's equation. But the players all believe it's a gamble worth taking.

"It's time we start thinking we're as good as everyone else," says Crewson. "The message we're trying to get across to our huge creative talent pool -- scores of whom are flooding south (and God knows, I've been one of them) -- is that there is something here. And you can be on the ground floor of something enormous and meaningful."

CTV's Eleventh Hour and 100 Days in the Jungle tops at 2003 Gemini Awards
Canadian Press

Monday, October 20, 2003

TORONTO (CP) - The Eleventh Hour, CTV's new series about life at a TV news magazine, and 100 Days in the Jungle, a CTV movie dramatization of the 1999 kidnapping of Alberta oil pipeline workers in South America, topped the 18th annual Gemini Awards on Monday night.

Despite debuting last season to anemic ratings, The Eleventh Hour was deemed best dramatic series, while 100 Days was best TV movie or dramatic miniseries. Jeff Seymour was a first-time Gemini winner as best series actor for The Eleventh Hour, which had earned a leading 14 nominations this year. A Gemini for the show was also collected by supporting actor Peter MacNeill on Sunday night.

"I hope that the television audience would realize that they should perhaps WATCH OUR SHOW!!" Seymour said sarcastically in reference to the big win and small ratings.

Marina Orsini was best series actress in CBC's biker-gang saga The Last Chapter II.

Best movie or miniseries actor was Michael Riley for The Interrogation of Michael Crowe and best actress was Wendy Crewson as a rape victim in The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, which won four Geminis in all, including directing - Jerry Ciccoritti, writing - Karen Walton - and best editing.

Bounding onto the stage, Crewson gave presenter Ian Hanomansing a big kiss - shades of the Oscars - and declared that there was a "sea of talent" in front of her.

"In case you don't know, Canadian drama is in a kind of a bit of a rough patch right now, and really needs the support of everyone who turns on their Canadian shows."

Backstage the actress said that Hanomansing was her Halle Berry.

"Did you see the look on his face, though? Like shocked, just shocked. He could have looked a little pleasantly surprised!"

Turning serious, Crewson said she expected that the real Jane Doe, the Toronto woman her character was based on, was going to be thrilled.

"And you know, it (the award) belongs to her as well."

Screenwriter Walton also paid tribute to Jane Doe, who she said helped her enormously.

"I know what a hero and what dignity means today because I know her."

Crewson confirmed she was going to be featured on the hit U.S. series 24 this season, a show that already has a cast filled with Canadians including Kiefer Sutherland and Elisha Cuthbert.

"Which just goes to show we do have the talent, we just don't have the jobs for them."

In fact, references to the program funding crisis that dominated industry talk this year were sprinkled throughout the two-hour-plus telecast.

The Geminis, honouring the finest in Canadian TV, were held over three successive nights, with Monday night's broadcast gala - carried live on CBC - hosted again by comic Sean Cullen, who himself won a statue for best variety host for last year's Gemini telecast.

Perennial favourite Da Vinci's Inquest came away from the weekend with three Geminis, for editing, sound and writing, while CBC's satire This Hour Has 22 Minutes - with 10 seasons now under its belt - won four, including best comedy ensemble, on Monday night.

In special categories, Mike Smith of Showcase's popular Trailer Park Boys won the Viewer's Choice Award for comedy. The CBC documentary film Return to Kandahar earned the Donald Brittain Award for best social-political documentary program.

Smith accepted his award dressed in full hockey regalia and his trademark coke-bottle eyeglasses. He elicited a roar from the audience when he used one of the more prominent trailer park profanities in his acceptance speech, while one of his buddies appeared to be lighting up a joint.

Peter Mansbridge was named best news anchor for the 10th time, in a category in which his perennial rival, CTV's Lloyd Robertson, wasn't even nominated this year.

Global TV's cop drama Blue Murder had nine nominations and won three, all for guest or supporting actor roles.

Gemini Award winners at Monday night's broadcast gala:

Best TV movie or dramatic miniseries: 100 Days in the Jungle (Imagination Film & Television Productions); Nicolette Saina, Sean O'Byrne, Matthew O'Connor, Tom Rowe, Mary Anne Waterhouse.
Best dramatic series: The Eleventh Hour (Alliance Atlantis in association with CTV); Semi Chellas, Brian Dennis, Ilana Frank, Anne Marie LaTraverse.
Best direction in a dramatic program or miniseries: Jerry Ciccoritti, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.
Best writing in a dramatic program or miniseries: Karen Walton, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.
Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Michael Riley, The Interrogation of Michael Crowe.
Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Wendy Crewson, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.
Best performance by an actor in a continuing leading dramatic role: Jeff Seymour, The Eleventh Hour.
Best performance by an actress in a continuing leading dramatic role: Marina Orsini, The Last Chapter II: The War Continues.
Best performance by an actor in a featured supporting role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Ted Whittall, Agent of Influence.
Best performance by an actress in a featured supporting role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Janet Wright, Betrayed.
Best ensemble performance in a comedy program or series: Cathy Jones, Colin Mochrie, Greg Thomey, Mary Walsh; This Hour Has 22 Minutes - Season X Episode 14.
Donald Brittain Award for best social/political documentary program: Return to Kandahar (Icebreaker Films, J Films Inc., in association with CBC and Radio-Canada); Paul Jay, David M. Ostriker, Nelofer Pazira.
Best news anchor: Peter Mansbridge, CBC News: The National, Ultimatum Iraq/Tariq Aziz/Town Hall Special.
Best host or interviewer in a sports program or sportscast: Scott Oake, Hockey Night in Canada Presents - Brett Hull.
Viewers' choice award for comedy: Mike Smith, Trailer Park Boys.

The Many Trials of One Jane Doe wins total of four Gemini awards
Updated at 20:18 on October 20, 2003, EST.

TORONTO (CP) - Dramas that told real-life stories were honoured Monday night as the Canadian television industry celebrated its accomplishments at the 18th annual Gemini awards. The awards were handed out over three successive nights, with the finale and prime-time broadcast gala on CBC-TV hosted again by comic Sean Cullen, who vowed that everything would go smoothly. "There's no need to fear another blackout, for example, because we've stolen several very powerful generators from the local hospital," he quipped after the show got underway.

The award for best TV movie or dramatic miniseries went to 100 Days in the Jungle, a CTV movie dramatization of the 1999 kidnapping of Alberta oil pipeline workers in South America.

The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, the story of a Toronto woman who fought the system after she was sexually assaulted, was a big winner, with Wendy Crewson taking the prize for her leading role.

She planted a big kiss on presenter Ian Hanomansing - shades of the Oscars - and thanked the real Jane Doe and everyone who watched the show.

"Because in case you don't know, Canadian drama is in kind of a rough patch right now, and you know, we really need the support of everyone who turns on their Canadian shows."

Jerry Ciccoritti won for direction of the program, and Karen Walton won for writing. Earlier, the show won an editing award.

"Thank you above all to the real Jane Doe, who inspired me by making me realize that you can give an identity to those who are identity-less," Ciccoritti said as he accepted the Gemini statue.

The best performance by an actor in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries went to Michael Riley for The Interrogation of Michael Crowe.

Supporting acting awards in the dramatic program or miniseries category were also handed out early in the evening, with Ted Whittall receiving one for his work in Agent of Influence, while Janet Wright took the award for Betrayed.

Special achievement winners, already announced last month, included Jennifer Dale (Power Play), who received the Earle Grey Award for her body of acting work in Canadian TV; documentary filmmaker Brian McKenna (The Valour and the Horror), honoured with the Gordon Sinclair Award for broadcast journalism; and fellow documentarian and historian Michael Maclear (The Ten Thousand Day War), who received the Academy Achievement Award for his outstanding ongoing contribution to the industry.

Da Vinci's Inquest star Nicholas Campbell, an awards presenter this year, says a Gemini win actually has a bigger impact outside of Canada in the international TV market.

Speaking prior to the telecast, Campbell, a triple Gemini winner from previous years, said that domestically, Geminis are not yet considered an accomplishment on par with the Junos, but that they're getting there.

"Maybe the only criticism I could offer is that there's just so many awards and Canadians are wondering, how can so few shows produce that many awards."

But since the awards are voted on by their peers, the actor said, a win "is a real big feelgood thing for all of us and it doesn't really matter how many people watch."

Campbell said it's just a great feeling rubbing shoulders with the likes of Gordon Pinsent.

"It really does make you feel good and that maybe you made the right choice with your career to focus on Canada."

'Jane Doe' among Gemini winners
Last Updated 2003-10-20 00:00:00.0
By Dan Brown, CBC News Online

TORONTO - The CBC's The Many Trials of One Jane Doe was the evening's big winner at the 18th Gemini Awards, taking home three trophies during Monday's black-tie gala.

Wendy Crewson, who played the lead in the true story of a sexually assaulted woman, won the prize for best lead actress in a drama or miniseries.

Crewson beat out miniseries veteran Marina Orsini and American actress Ally Sheedy, among others.

She used her brief time in the spotlight to stump for the Canadian television industry, referring to the rough patch it has gone through recently.

"I'll tell you, we have a sea of talent out here," Crewson said, indicating the people assembled in the audience at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Jane Doe also took the awards for writing and direction (it won a statuette for editing earlier in the weekend).

The Geminis, handed out by the Academy of Canadian Television and Cinema, take place over three days. They honour the best in English-language TV.

Most of the prizes distributed Monday night were for dramatic programs. The rest of the awards were given out over the weekend.

On Sunday, the Academy held its industry gala, at which the winners of the technical awards were announced. On Saturday, the statues in the news, sports and documentary categories were handed out.

There are 87 categories in all. The 18th edition of the Gemini Awards was hosted by comedian Seán Cullen.

The show opened with an Oscar-style montage that had Cullen running through the sets of programs like Blue Murder and Puppets Who Kill.

He then launched into a song-and-dance number in which he sang the praises of homegrown productions, singling out the qualities that set them apart. He called Mutant X "mutanty" and Da Vinci's Inquest "inquesty."

"Screw you, Cold Case, I still like Cold Squad," he sang, railing against the copy-cat American program.

The CTV series The Eleventh Hour also had a strong showing. A behind-the-scenes look at a TV news magazine, it took the prizes for best drama series and best actor (Jeff Seymour) on Monday.

Karen Walton, who won the writing trophy for The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, ignited the evening's running joke.

"I'm so surprised," she said as she reached the stage. " I crumpled my thing." What she had crumpled was the list of thank-yous she had prepared beforehand.

Cullen picked up on the remark. "My thing is completely uncrumpled now," he said the next time he came out to face the crowd.

When it came time for him to make his own acceptance speech, Jane Doe's director, Jerry Ciccoritti, added "I don't have a thing."

After Crewson accepted her award, Cullen did another song song-and-dance number inspired by the 18th anniversary of the awards, using the occasion to celebrate the coming of age of the Geminis.

"I remember when the Gemini was just a little baby award, soiling itself with liquid gold," he said before launching into a rock song called Barely Legal, a title borrowed from a pornographic magazine.

Watching from the audience were the judges from Canadian Idol. "Barely legal? That was barely listenable," quipped Sass Jordan.

The award for best anchor went to Peter Mansbridge, the host of the CBC's flagship newcast, The National. It was his 10th win. He paid tribute to the public broadcaster's head journalist, Tony Burman.

He also had kind words for his wife, actress Cynthia Dale. "I want to thank Cynthia, who puts up with so much from me," he said.

Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Oake won for best sports host.

The viewers' choice award for favourite comedian went to Mike Smith, who plays Bubbles on Showcase's faux reality series, The Trailer Park Boys. He and his two co-stars, dressed in hockey uniforms, accepted the honour in character.

"My God, I don't know what the f--- to say," Smith gasped from behind his trademark thick glasses.

Glam rules at the Geminis

The happiest man at the Gemini Awards last night at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre was not one of the winners. It wasn't Jerry Ciccoritti, Michael Riley or Peter Mansbridge. It wasn't even Ian Hanomansing, on whom Wendy Crewson pulled an Adrien Brodie and dipped back into a spit-swapping kiss when he handed her the Gemini for Best Performance in a leading role for The Many Trials Of One Jane Doe.

It was producer Peter Simpson. He saved himself a cool $10,000 when The Eleventh Hour unexpectedly picked up the Best Dramatic Series hardware. Simpson's wife, Ilana Frank, the show's co-producer/co-creator, threatened to stand up and bellow `Noooooo' if the series didn't win.

Simpson cheekily offered to pay her $10,000 to do so.

Who says we have to take a back seat to the U.S. awards shows in glamour? And the best part, no one looked as hideous as Joan Rivers.

Just when you thought it was impossible for Wendy Crewson to top herself in the knock-down, drag-out, va va va voom department, she materializes in a white Thien Le gown that screams Hollywood siren, accessorized by a fur wrap. Crewson was assiduously avoiding contact with red liquids. The lady would be drinking vodka and soda, if you please.

Mimi Kuzyk was no slouch in gorgeousness in a copper dress by Zanesha Gowrali.

Maria Topalovich, prez ceo of the academy of Canadian Cinema & Television looked chic in black pleated Linda Lundstrom.

Lots of Gemini guys and gals went the vintage route. Jerry Ciccoritti wore a 1962 tuxedo and Shauna MacDonald (Trailer Park Boys) was in a vintage floral '70s dress she picked up for $20 in Kensington. You can bet that her boa, from Holts, cost considerably more.

Krista Sutton (Train 48) was decked out in a fabbo retro red '40s dress from Wenches & Rogues.

Wenches also dressed Eleventh Hour's co-creator/producer/writer Semi Chellas in a chic maribou fringed black number. Eleventh's costar Sonja Smits looked amazing in a Missoni fringed flapper dress.

Helen Shaver, who won a directing Gemini Sunday for Just Cause, channelled Lana Turner in a Christian Dior she bought 11 years ago - and it still fits! Bitch!

We trailed Peter Mansbridge and his bride Cynthia Dale up the escalator, admiring Dale's honk your horns red gown. It's a Vera Wang," Dale said. "Every gal should have a Vera Wang."

Comic Lisa Merchant would disagree. Her ensemble was from Winners. "But from different trips," she specified.

Sure beats that Tin Man/Dame ensemble she cooked up for the last March Of Dames.

Sturla Gunnarsson was philosophical about losing the best director Gemini to Jerry Ciccoritti. Besides, Gunnarsson's 100 Days In The Jungle won the Best TV-Movie/Dramatic Mini-Series Gemini.

Yes, it was hazardous shooting in Costa Rica, he admitted. "We almost killed Nick Campbell body surfing. He was caught in a riptide."

Jeff Seymour was surprised as anyone to unseat Campbell as Best Peformance by an actor in a continuing leading dramatic role. Had Seymour lost, he could always stunt double for Ralph Benmergui.

Glam be damned, it was still Canadian after all. We gave our free drink tickets to Rick Mercer. You'd think Mercer, who was a nominee and presenter, would get freebies.

Mercer wouldn't be partying hard anyway. He had a 5:45 a.m. flight to Newfoundland.

Hey, it's a gig.

Real-life dramas top at Geminis
By JOHN McKAY -- Canadian Press

TORONTO (CP) -- The Eleventh Hour, CTV's new series about life at a TV news magazine, and 100 Days in the Jungle, a CTV movie dramatization of the 1999 kidnapping of Alberta oil pipeline workers in South America, topped the 18th annual Gemini Awards on Monday night.

Despite debuting last season to anemic ratings, The Eleventh Hour was deemed best dramatic series, while 100 Days was best TV movie or dramatic miniseries.

Jeff Seymour was a first-time Gemini winner as best series actor for The Eleventh Hour, which had earned a leading 14 nominations this year. A Gemini for the show was also collected by supporting actor Peter MacNeill on Sunday night.

"I hope that the television audience would realize that they should perhaps WATCH OUR SHOW!!" Seymour said sarcastically in reference to the big win and small ratings.

Marina Orsini was best series actress in CBC's biker-gang saga The Last Chapter II.

Best movie or miniseries actor was Michael Riley for The Interrogation of Michael Crowe and best actress was Wendy Crewson as a rape victim in The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, which won four Geminis in all, including directing -- Jerry Ciccoritti, writing -- Karen Walton -- and best editing.

Bounding onto the stage, Crewson gave presenter Ian Hanomansing a big kiss -- shades of the Oscars -- and declared that there was a "sea of talent" in front of her.

"In case you don't know, Canadian drama is in a kind of a bit of a rough patch right now, and really needs the support of everyone who turns on their Canadian shows."

Backstage the actress said that Hanomansing was her Halle Berry.

"Did you see the look on his face, though? Like shocked, just shocked. He could have looked a little pleasantly surprised!"

Turning serious, Crewson said she expected that the real Jane Doe, the Toronto woman her character was based on, was going to be thrilled.

"And you know, it (the award) belongs to her as well."

Screenwriter Walton also paid tribute to Jane Doe, who she said helped her enormously.

"I know what a hero and what dignity means today because I know her."

Crewson confirmed she was going to be featured on the hit U.S. series 24 this season, a show that already has a cast filled with Canadians including Kiefer Sutherland and Elisha Cuthbert.

"Which just goes to show we do have the talent, we just don't have the jobs for them."

In fact, references to the program funding crisis that dominated industry talk this year were sprinkled throughout the two-hour-plus telecast.

The Geminis, honouring the finest in Canadian TV, were held over three successive nights, with Monday night's broadcast gala -- carried live on CBC -- hosted again by comic Sean Cullen, who himself won a statue for best variety host for last year's Gemini telecast.

Perennial favourite Da Vinci's Inquest came away from the weekend with three Geminis, for editing, sound and writing, while CBC's satire This Hour Has 22 Minutes -- with 10 seasons now under its belt -- won four, including best comedy ensemble, on Monday night.

In special categories, Mike Smith of Showcase's popular Trailer Park Boys won the Viewer's Choice Award for comedy. The CBC documentary film Return to Kandahar earned the Donald Brittain Award for best social-political documentary program.

Smith accepted his award dressed in full hockey regalia and his trademark coke-bottle eyeglasses. He elicited a roar from the audience when he used one of the more prominent trailer park profanities in his acceptance speech, while one of his buddies appeared to be lighting up a joint.

Peter Mansbridge was named best news anchor for the 10th time, in a category in which his perennial rival, CTV's Lloyd Robertson, wasn't even nominated this year.

Global TV's cop drama Blue Murder had nine nominations and won three, all for guest or supporting actor roles.


Best TV movie or dramatic miniseries: 100 Days in the Jungle (Imagination Film & Television Productions); Nicolette Saina, Sean O'Byrne, Matthew O'Connor, Tom Rowe, Mary Anne Waterhouse.

Best dramatic series: The Eleventh Hour (Alliance Atlantis in association with CTV); Semi Chellas, Brian Dennis, Ilana Frank, Anne Marie LaTraverse.

Best direction in a dramatic program or miniseries: Jerry Ciccoritti, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.

Best writing in a dramatic program or miniseries: Karen Walton, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.

Best performance by an actor in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Michael Riley, The Interrogation of Michael Crowe.

Best performance by an actress in a leading role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Wendy Crewson, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe.

Best performance by an actor in a continuing leading dramatic role: Jeff Seymour, The Eleventh Hour.

Best performance by an actress in a continuing leading dramatic role: Marina Orsini, The Last Chapter II: The War Continues.

Best performance by an actor in a featured supporting role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Ted Whittall, Agent of Influence.

Best performance by an actress in a featured supporting role in a dramatic program or miniseries: Janet Wright, Betrayed.

Best ensemble performance in a comedy program or series: Cathy Jones, Colin Mochrie, Greg Thomey, Mary Walsh; This Hour Has 22 Minutes -- Season X Episode 14.

Donald Brittain Award for best social/political documentary program: Return to Kandahar (Icebreaker Films, J Films Inc., in association with CBC and Radio-Canada); Paul Jay, David M. Ostriker, Nelofer Pazira.

Best news anchor: Peter Mansbridge, CBC News: The National, Ultimatum Iraq/Tariq Aziz/Town Hall Special.

Best host or interviewer in a sports program or sportscast: Scott Oake, Hockey Night in Canada Presents -- Brett Hull.

Viewers' choice award for comedy: Mike Smith, Trailer Park Boys.

Kiss-of-life for Gemini Awards
The Eleventh Hour wins best drama award despite lackluster fan support
By GAYLE MacDONALD Tuesday, October 21, 2003 - Page A5

TORONTO -- At first it seemed last night like another predictable, lacklustre Gemini Awards.

But then actress Wendy Crewson pulled an Adrien Brody and french-kissed CBC anchor Ian Hanomansing.

And the mood in the place shot straight up. And stayed that way through the two-hour, black-tie gala celebrating the 18th Annual Gemini Awards.

After Ms. Crewson's name was called as best actress in a dramatic TV movie, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, she climbed on stage and gave Mr. Hanomansing a liplock reminiscent of the one Mr. Brody planted on actress Halle Berry when he won best actor at the Oscars last April.

Dumbstruck, Mr. Hanomansing (the baritone voice behind CBC's Canada Now) merely gawked at Ms. Crewson, who is a diehard supporter of Canadian dramatic television.

The actress, who recently landed a leading role on the hit Fox series, 24, then gave a rousing speech asking audiences to stay tuned to homegrown TV.

"Canadian drama's in a rough spot right now, and I want to thank everyone who watches it," said Ms. Crewson, who moved back to Toronto from Los Angeles a couple of years ago.

"I tell you we have a sea of talent out here. And I'm looking at it," she roared at the crowd.

Immediately after Ms. Crewson's stunt, awards host Sean Cullen launched into a bawdy song-and-dance routine commemorating the Geminis' 18th birthday, "You're barely legal," he sang into the microphone, all the while rubbing up against a storey-high Gemini statuette.

Mr. Cullen also confessed to hidden feelings for Mr. Hanomansing. "Everyone wants Ian," the standup comedian said. "Even I kind of want him."

It was that kind of night.

CTV's drama The Eleventh Hour, took home best drama, a prize that its makers clearly hope will turn it from a critics' favourite into a ratings-winner.

Jeff Seymour, of The Eleventh Hour, won best actor in a continuing dramatic role, while Marina Orsini won best actress in the same category for The Last Chapter II: The War Continues.

When he accepted his Gemini, Mr. Seymour said he was blown away, but added he was "more excited that The Eleventh Hour got 14 nominations so maybe now the television audience will watch our show!"

This Hour Has 22 Minutes won for best ensemble performance in a comedy program or series, beating out the crowd favourite, The Trailer Park Boys.

However, Mike Smith, who is a mainstay of Showcase's Trailer Park series, took home favourite comedian under the Viewers Choice Award. To accept that honour, Mr. Smith and his buddies loped onto the stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in full hockey gear, including pads, helmets and sticks. "Oh my God, I don't know what . . . to say," Mr. Smith said as he accepted the Gemini. Asked later if they might consider hosting the 19th Geminis next year, the lads quipped that might not happen since the CBC has an issue with their swearing.

Cheeky to the end, Mr. Cullen threw out a gazillion one-liners denigrating U.S. television, including "Screw you Cold Case [referring to a new CBS cop show], I love Cold Squad [a CTV drama]."

Janet Wright won best supporting actress in a dramatic program or miniseries for Betrayed, while Ted Whittall won the best supporting actor category for Agent of Influence.

Michael Riley won best actor in a leading role in a drama or miniseries in for The Interrogation of Michael Crowe.

Wendy Crewson whups Joe Millionaire's butt
Wednesday, October 22, 2003 - Page R2

Oh, my shattered nerves, again. Monday was a nerve-wracking night for television.

Did you watch The Gemini Awards? Yeah, I know. That dancing Gemini statue was an eye-popper. That routine was from that school of insane choreography heavily influenced by Planters Peanut commercials. But the pair of legs underneath the wobbling Gemini? Talk about the bee's knees.

As for the lighting, it was excruciatingly harsh on the presenters and winners. Even very lovely looking people appeared as though they'd had their makeup done by Bruno's Drywall & Plaster.

Maybe you watched The Next Joe Millionaire? Yeah, I know. Making fun of gullible gals from an assortment of European countries is an acquired taste in comedy. It probably occurred to you, as it did to me, that on hearing about the Euro Joe Millionaire, we should have called our relatives and friends in Europe and told them to alert all young women to the presence of predatory, mean-spirited jokers from Fox who were trawling the continent looking for victims.

Monday was too much for me. So, on Tuesday morning, I moseyed over to my local Tim's for the regular folks' take on the TV shindig of the night before. Some of the regulars, proud members of the ordinary decent people (the ODP) were there. In minutes, I learned three things: 1) Everybody loves Wendy Crewson, 2) The Trailer Park Boys had people hooting and hollering and, 3) Joe Millionaire's backside is a hit.

My old friend Skippy was, as usual, a font of information and opinion. On Monday night, she'd been channel surfing and knew she'd hit upon an awards show when she found a beaming woman in a lovely pink dress clutching a statue and thanking her family. That would be Karen Walton, who won the Gemini for writing The Many Trials of One Jane Doe. So Skippy stuck with the Geminis.

She switched channels at the commercial break and was in high dudgeon that the commercials on The Next Joe Millionaire came at exactly the same time. She couldn't wait to get a look at the rodeo cowboy who is the latest liar, telling the gals he's worth a gazillion bucks. Finally, instead of relying on commercial breaks, she switched over whenever when Sean Cullen started singing again. "The guy can sing," she said. "He's going to be in The Producers. We get it. And he changed his tie and pocket-handkerchief every few minutes. That's real slick."

Fortunately, I learned, one of Cullen's warbling interludes coincided with a key moment in Joe Millionaire. The new juicy, aw-shucks Joe moseyed up to the mansion on his "hoss," said a lot of things that ended with "y'all" and all the gals had their eyes locked on his ass when he got down from his hoss or got back up on it. Skippy was impressed and, she said, you could tell all the gals were swooning.

Benny the Biscuit (don't ask about the name or we'll be here all day) announced that he was in love with Crewson. "That woman's a demon kisser. There's a lot I'd give for a chug-a-lug with that woman!"

He also declared that he'd watch any damn thing at all that Crewson was starring in. In fact, his taste for the Eurotrash popsies on The Next Joe Millionaire was ruined entirely by Wendy Crewson. And that was the point of the Gemini Awards, wasn't it?

Then I mentioned The Trailer Park Boys. A cheer went up. I don't think anybody watching could miss the fact that those marvellous jokers won an award from the viewers, but not from the members of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and that says a lot about the state of things in the officialdom of Canadian television.

The Nature of Things: The Ghosts of Lomako (CBC, 7 p.m.) is a stunner, a true-life trip into a real heart of darkness. The documentary, made by Kenton Vaughan, follows Belgian primatologist Jef Dupain into the war-ravaged, terrifying jungle of Congo in search of the bonobo apes he was studying in 1998, when civil war forced him to flee. He's accompanied by a team, which includes Canadian bio-ethicist Kerry Bowman.

In the village near his old jungle station, Dupain finds that the local people are living in terror and squalor. The war had ravaged their crops and their domestic animals. They're been forced to rely on reptile and monkey meat. Then Dupain and his team set out to find the bonobos that he hopes are still alive and haven't become extinct. It's a trip into the most remote jungle on earth, a place teeming with soldiers who have deserted and survive by living in the most savage way. The Ghosts of Lomako is terrific television, an eye-opening look at a part of the world that the news media has abandoned.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fact that the TeleLatino starts airing European Champions League soccer today, and the game could be a doozy. It's Real Madrid (you know, Beckham, Ronaldo, Figo, Zidane, etc.) playing Partizan Belgrade. It's on at 2:30 p.m. and repeated at 11 p.m. The commentary is in Spanish and, believe me, you haven't experienced sports coverage until you've heard a Spanish commentator scream, "Goooooaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalll!"

New '24' Doc Crewson Talks (But Not Too Much)
(Thursday, October 23 05:25 PM)
By Rick Porter

LOS ANGELES ( - Extracting information from a cast member of "24" about the show's plot is a little bit like tracking down a picture of Britney Spears with her midriff covered. It can be done, but it takes a while.

For instance, here's what Wendy Crewson, who joins the show in Tuesday's (Oct. 28) season premiere, has to say in response to a question about what she can reveal about her role:

"I'm always so nervous that I'm going to say something I shouldn't. You're always stopping yourself. Um -- well, my character's name is Dr. Ann Packard, so there we go. We know I'm a doctor. And [pause] I am involved with one of the, you know, male leads. [longer pause] And I think maybe that's all I can say right now."

And she'll eventually be involved somehow with this season's bioterrorism plot, right?

"Prob-ab-ly," she says, stretching out each syllable. "Maybe." She does acknowledge that pretty much every character eventually gets wrapped up in "24's" real-time stories, "and the great thing is you never know what side you're on until something happens. And even then it doesn't necessarily mean anything."

Dr. Packard's field of expertise and the object of her affections are revealed in the season premiere, so she won't have to keep that secret much longer. Even before Crewson became part of the series, though, she was privy to the secrecy that surrounds it.

Crewson is a close friend of Leslie Hope, who played Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) wife, Teri, on the first season of "24." She was one of only a few people outside the show to know ahead of time that Teri would die in the first-season finale.

"I kinda knew, I hate to say," Crewson says. "She wasn't going to tell anybody, but it was a traumatic thing for her. Those things are hard to keep [secret] -- it's not that she was telling the world, she certainly wasn't, but there were a few of us."

A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Crewson is probably best known for her roles as President Harrison Ford's first lady in "Air Force One" and in the "Santa Clause" movies. She also has extensive credits in Canada and just won a Gemini Award -- the Canadian equivalent of the Emmy -- for the TV movie "The Many Trials of One Jane Doe."

Her schedule on "24" -- she's signed to appear in a third of the season's episodes -- allows her to work in Los Angeles for a week or two, then fly home to Toronto to spend time with her family.

"I can be up there taking care of the kids in school and all that, then come down here and have a blast doing this," she says. "It's kind of a perfect life, really."

Except for the clothes. Because each season of "24" is only a single day, the characters for the most part are stuck wearing the same thing. Several weeks into shooting, Crewson hadn't even had the chance to remove her jacket.

"I keep thinking, what would happen if in the middle of a take, I just spill a cup of coffee on me? Can we change then?" she says. "Wouldn't she have a change of clothes somewhere she could slip into? ... After a while, it's like your maternity clothes -- you just want to put them in a pile and burn them afterwards."

The many plot threads of "24" mean that certain cast members may not even see each other on set, so Crewson keeps up by reading the scripts as they come to her. "You could get by just reading your own [lines]," she says, "but it's always nice to know the shape of the story and where you fit into it."

Which is not to say she knows exactly where things are going.

"I picked up these latest two scripts and I just went 'Whoa -- what?'" she says, laughing. "I was completely knocked out by a couple of the twists [the story] took. I never saw that coming, and I had no idea they were going to do that."

Of course, she can't say what "that" was.

----The third season of "24" premieres commercial-free at 9 p.m. ET Tuesday (Oct. 28) on FOX.

Wendy joins 24 crew
Actress latest Canuck added to hit show

Wendy Crewson could tell us everything about 24, but then they'd have to kill her.

"It's sort of scary. I'm chatting with people and I'm thinking, 'Have I said too much already?' " says the Canadian actress who joins the Emmy-winning hit drama this season.

What information can be gleaned from Crewson is as follows: She plays a doctor. And? "And I can say my storyline is involved with one of the show's leading men. I think that's all I can say. Hopefully Fox doesn't fly an assassin up to take me out."

Or write her off the show. Which may have already happened. Your guess is as good as her's. "I was sitting in a make-up chair and the make-up guy said to me, 'Have you read episode eight?' And I was like, 'Oh no -- what? Am I dead?' And he goes, 'Well, you're not dead.' It's like oh my god, you just have to wait for the other shoe to drop. People ask, 'Are you good or bad,' and I have no idea. You just have to play it as it lays and hope the writers know what they're doing ... You're always waiting for the next script and the heads of the departments see them first, so you're skulking around the set."

Despite the job insecurity -- it's been said that, on the set of 24, no one except perhaps star-executive producer Kiefer Sutherland is safe -- Crewson is clearly thrilled to be on a series that, frankly, will actually have an audience.

"It's the first really successful television show I've done, that will actually be seen by people; it's a whole new thing. People really like it and they're actually going to watch it. There's a confidence you can feel on the set. They know they've got a hit on their hands. They've got that energy. It's different from slogging through some show that you're not even sure is going to end up on the air. It's very exciting."

Exciting and deceptively easy. Crewson says the show's producers simply called and offered her a role. While she's not sure why, she suspects it has something to do with the series' now-infamous "Canadian connection."

Along with Sutherland, the cast includes Calgary-born Elisha Cuthbert, Mia Kirshner and, before she was knocked off, Leslie Hope. (Yes, it's the Canadian series everyone's been waiting for -- the good one.) "(24 co-creator) Joel Surnow also produced La Femme Nikita in Toronto for all those years and I think he got a sense of Canadian actors and who they are. And we have Kiefer who's the executive producer and star of the show ... He's got a big say in the show. I think he's very involved in the story ... It's a show aware of this particular pool of talent."

Sutherland, she adds, "is great. He's fabulous. He's a movie star. He's got that movie star stuff. It's something to behold. He's got that presence. Everybody's really good, but he just shines. Plus he's a great guy. I'm friends with his mom.

"We drink the same beer brand. It's like that. We talk about Toronto, about the house he's got here -- it's just a little ways down from where I am. We talk about commuting between here and L.A. and you work that out."

While Crewson doesn't know how long she'll be around, she turned down other offers to sign a blind commitment to 24. She says it wasn't a hard choice. "I'm just enjoying it while it's happening. If it's brief, I don't mind -- that's fine, too. Honest to God, I've had a great five years. I've worked more now than I ever did in my 20s. The perception is that you're 32 -- that's it, you're over. But I didn't get going, at this sort of pace, until I was deep into my 30s."

Crewson's a presidential sweetie

She's sleeping with a president.


When the cult-hit "real-time" thriller, 24, returns tomorrow night for its third-season debut - an almost entirely commercial-free hour, starting at 9 on Fox and Global - three years will have passed since the tumultuous events of last season.

Much has changed. Spy guy Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland) has been deep undercover, trying to nail an insidious drug lord (Joachim de Almeida). His catastrophe-prone daughter, Kim (Elisha Cuthbert), has stopped wandering into crack dens and being chased by cougars long enough to sign on as a research intern with the Counter Terrorist Unit. She has also (minor spoiler here) started seriously dating her dad's hotshot young partner, Chase Edmunds (James Badge Dale).

David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), having survived last season's terrorist attack, is still the President of the United States ... except now he has a new woman on his arm, Dr. Anne Packard (Wendy Crewson).

And she isn't just there to take his pulse.

A week after winning her fourth Gemini Award, for her riveting lead performance in the Canadian TV-movie, The Many Trials Of One Jane Doe, the Hamilton-born Crewson joined the cast of 24 as the President's primary caregiver - and covert love interest.

Haysbert, as it happens, is not Crewson's first fictitious Commander In Chief. How well we remember her imperilled First Lady in the feature Air Force One, opposite a heroically presidential Harrison Ford.

"When they need a presidential consort, they come to me," Crewson shrugs, sitting down for a beer the afternoon after her Gemini win. "I don't know why that is. Because if they really knew me, it'd be, like, `No! She's trailer trash!'"

That being said, Crewson's real-life husband, fellow actor Michael Murphy, played a presidential hopeful in the Robert Altman cable mini, Tanner '88 (not to mention J.F.K. himself in the 1998 comedy The Island, and the mayor of Gotham City in Batman Returns).

"See, first I had to sleep with a candidate before I actually got to sleep with a president," Crewson laughs. "I'm working my way up the political ladder."

And then there's the strange case of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Crewson's screen husband in The 6th Day, and now, incredibly, the newly named Governor of California.

"That's right!," Crewson exclaims. "I'd forgotten about that. I was married to the governor! I guess I really am the power behind the throne.

"You know, I called Arnold and sent my congratulations. He really is a smart guy. He's playing dumb, but he's as smart as a whip. When we were shooting 6th Day, he had this chess master following him around the set all day, and they'd play chess between every take.

"He's just so charming and social, and so incredibly generous. And this `groping' thing? Ridiculous. This is a man who loves women. So sure, he's gonna hug you. But he's no sicko. It's all in good humour."

If Crewson can be perceived as having had more than her share of politically powerful pseudo-booty, then 24 itself must be well over its legal limit when it comes to imported Canadian talent.

"Kiefer, Elisha, Leslie Hope, Mia Kirshner, me ... Finally, we've done it. We've created the great Canadian series. It just happens to be an American show."

Crewson has just completed filming her first, eight-episode story arc - with no idea yet as to when or even if she may be coming back.

But then, it is very likely that neither do the show's producers. They have, over the last two seasons, become quite frighteningly adept at deliberately plotting themselves into corners, then somehow happily tap-dancing their way out again.

"They've become so good at it," Crewson marvels, "that it really doesn't matter how big and over-the-top it is. Because everybody buys it. Everybody's with them.

"The problem with that," she adds, from the actors' standpoint, "is that you don't ever know what's coming down the pike: Who you are, what you're going to be, what you're hiding, what's really going on when you hand him that bottle of pills ... And because you never really know any of this, you have to be careful not to play into it. And it has to be absolutely real. You have to keep that tension level high, even when you don't know what the tension is. Even if it's just fake tension. You have to make it all seem vitally important and really, really urgent, without turning it into melodrama."

On the plus side, her storyline - however it may ultimately pan out - is not nearly as harrowing or intense as what fellow Canadians Sutherland and Cuthbert must endure every single week.

"I'm in a powerful position, being at (the President's) side. But the nice thing about it is, my stuff is kind of contained. That story moves at a different pace. And it isn't long before everything hits the fan. It all falls apart real fast."

Whether or not that might include an on-screen confrontation between her character and Palmer's duplicitous ex-wife, Sherry (fan favourite Penny Johnson Jerald), Crewson either doesn't know or isn't allowed to say.

"But I would love that," she admits. "I mean, how much fun would that be?"

She may just get her wish. Though producers have not acknowledged the Jerald character's return, the advance episodic art for the season's third hour does include a shot of the scheming Sherry in a face-to-face with her former husband.

A cat fight in the Oval Office? My bet's on Wendy Crewson.

Mum's the Word for New '24' Star
Chris Gardner

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "My name is Dr. Ann Packard. That's my name, so you can deduce that I am a woman, and I am a doctor, and that's, of course, all I can say," says Wendy Crewson, who is about to make her "24" debut opposite Kiefer Sutherland (news) on the hit Fox series, which begins its third season Tuesday.

"I'm sort of involved with one of the leading male characters, but I'm afraid I can't say which one," she adds.

Fair enough. But what she will talk about is "24's" Canadian connection.

"At last, the great Canadian series we've been waiting for," says Crewson, who has appeared in such films as "Air Force One" and both "Santa Clause" films. "There are so many of us -- Kiefer, Elisha Cuthbert (news), Leslie Hope (news), our DP (director of photography) and a lot of the main directors," Crewson adds. "There's a great swelling of national pride in Canada for this show."

There seems to be a lot of Great White North pride for her as well: She just picked up a Gemini Award for best actress in a TV movie called "The Many Trials of One Jane Doe."

"It's nice to work in Canada where I can get big leading-lady parts in lovely movies," she says. "When you are (in Los Angeles), there is vast competition and so many people that are kind of ahead of you in line. I can get a smaller part in a big movie here, which gives me enough of a profile to get a big part in a smaller movie up there, so it's a nice balance."

'I'm a consort of presidents and kings'
Wendy Crewson joins a talented team of Canucks in the third season of 24, GAYLE MacDONALD writes.
The White House setting is a familiar one for her
Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Wendy Crewson clearly has a "thing" for presidents. First, she was Harrison Ford's better half in the 1997 thriller Air Force One. Then the Canadian actress was the squeeze of another presidential hopeful in HBO's caustic miniseries Tanner '88.

Now TV audiences will get to see Crewson in her latest White House incarnation, as the very personal physician and love interest of President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert), one of the stars in the cult-hit Fox TV series, 24, which makes its third-season debut tonight. "I'm a consort of presidents and kings, dammit," jokes Hamilton-born Crewson. "They just knew, given my track record, that I could handle the guy."

With her dark, refined good looks, Crewson looks the perfect presidential partner. But the 47-year-old actress figures her "Canadian-ness" might have had as much to do as anything with her landing this plum, eight-episode role. "Usually you have to audition 60 times for 800 producers," says Crewson, who moved from California back to Toronto with her husband, actor Michael Murphy and two kids, Maggie and Jack, a few years ago. "They just called me up and said, 'Would you like to do this part on 24?' "

The show's executive producer, Joel Surnow, already knew Crewson and her work. An American, Surnow had spent a great deal of time in the Great White North a few years ago, consulting on La Femme Nikita.

Crewson figures it didn't hurt, either, that 24's leading man Kiefer Sutherland, another Canuck (and the grandson of former Saskatchewan premier Tommy Douglas), had long known, and liked, Crewson's résumé.

Crewson accepted their offer. And since July, she's been flying back and forth from L.A. to Toronto, filming the espionage thriller which packs a season into a 24-hour span. "It's kind of a kicker because I moved everyone up here with the promise that if I was in Toronto, at least sometimes, I could go to work in the morning and come home at night. During the 10 years we lived in San Francisco, I only did one movie in that town. We move up here, and I'm back in L.A.," Crewson sighs, smiling.

She finished shooting her eight-episodes last week.

In keeping with the series's code of silence, Crewson can't divulge much about her character, Anne Packard, and what the good doctor will get up to. But she throws out a few teasers. "I'm a personal physician, whatever that entails," she says with a smirk. "What it means is I have full access, which of course puts me in the position of being dangerous and threatening.

"Not only am I Palmer's doctor, I'm his lover as well. The president's brother is now his chief of staff [Wayne Palmer is played by D.B. Woodside, formerly Principal Robin Wood on Buffy the Vampire Slayer] and there is, uh, certain tensions that go on. Not only am I very close to the president, I'm also obviously very white. And he's black."

Crewson joins several other top talents on 24 who jokingly refer to themselves as the Commonwealth because of their Canadian connections -- including Sutherland (son of national acting icons Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas), playing the counterterrorist ace Jack Bauer; Elisha Cuthbert, who grew up in Port Coquitlam, B.C., and Montreal, who is Bauer's daughter, and the first Mrs. Bauer, who was played by Halifax-born Leslie Hope, who unfortunately got knocked off at the end of the first season.

Tonight's episode begins with Palmer, back in the presidential saddle fully recovered, it seems, after an assassination attempt three years ago. The day starts off badly, and quickly get worse, as Bauer and Palmer, in tandem once again, try to thwart a deadly virus unleashed on the City of Angels by a nasty drug czar, Ramon Salazar.

Crewson says she has no clue how long her character's lifeline will be with the show. "What the writers/producers do is they hint at what you may be doing down the line, but they never tell you specifically," Crewson explains. "And that's because I don't think they know. There is a sense in this series that the writers run on what they see happening. I'm sure they have a general outline of what's going on. But I think there's a lot of seat-of-the-pants kind of stuff, which is probably what keeps this show crackling."

Crewson doesn't seem overly stressed about the fate of Dr. Anne Packard. After all, she's got other projects underway, including the film A Home at the End of the World with Colin Farrell and Sissy Spacek, and The Clearing, in which she plays Robert Redford's mistress.

She laughs boisterously when asked if she thinks her star-turn in 24 will turn her into a celebrity that gets harassed at her local supermarket. "Here's the great thing about being a woman in show biz," she says. "I'm completely unrecognizable in the grocery store. I just look like any other frazzled mother in sweatpants and a baseball cap, screaming at her kids to put the Fruit Loops down."

The New Mrs. Palmer? First Leslie Hope. Then Penny Johnson Jerald and Sarah Wynter. So many losses on 24 we know it's wise not to get attached.

But color me naive, I've already fallen for Wendy Crewson, the latest femme fatale to join 24. Mostly because she's also a fan who knows about loss.

"I'm really good friends with Leslie Hope, who played Kiefer Sutherland's wife the first season," she said, "so I was devoted right away. I was so mad they killed her! I didn't want to watch it anymore, but they pulled me back in."

Her devotion to the show explains why she's willing to make a few sacrifices. "I have two children who feel neglected when I'm not around," Crewson said. "So, doing a television show is really difficult...When they called about 24, I said, 'I can't say no to this. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.' If 24 calls or Six Feet Under calls, you don't even question it, you just go."

Crewson already has shot eight episodes playing "a love interest for the President" (Dennis Haysbert). And of course, even she doesn't know how long she's staying. "It's tough. I mean, an actress is paranoid already, and they put you in a situation where you could get shot in the head at any time. The heads of the departments get the scripts first, and sometimes if they are laying around, the actors just snatch 'em up and flip frantically through to see what's going to happen to them--if they're good, bad, dead. It keeps you on your toes."

Tue, October 28, 2003

24 hours
Ex-Winnipegger Wendy Crewson joins the cast of Fox's hit series
By Bill Brioux

When 24 returns for a third season tonight (8 p.m. on Fox and Global), there'll be yet another Canadian in the cast: Former Winnipegger Wendy Crewson. The recent Gemini winner (for The Many Trials of One Jane Doe) begins an eight-episode stint tonight as Dr. Anne Packard, a doc who attends to president Palmer (Dennis Haysbert). Hey, wasn't he killed off in last season's cliffhanger?

"I brought him back to life, Bill," says Crewson on the phone. "It was a tough job but they had to come to a Canadian girl to get it done."

Not just any Canadian girl. Born in Hamilton, Ont., but raised in Winnipeg, Crewson's brazen lip lock with CBC News Anchor Ian Hanomansing -- her own personal tribute to Oscar-winner Adrien Brody -- was the high point of last week's Gemini gala.

"He was a little bit speechless, but when he got backstage he was at least smiling by then," she says. "The look of terror had been wiped off his face."

Crewson says she's as surprised as anyone that she wound up on 24. "They called me up and asked," she says. "I didn't even have to audition."

Close pal Leslie Hope was a 24 regular in Season One and two other Canucks -- Kiefer Sutherland and Elisha Cuthbert (danger-prone daughter Kim) star in the series.

There are plenty of Canadians behind the scenes too, says Crewson, including director Jon Cassar (Nikita), who is pals with Jane Doe director Jerry Ciccoritti.

Her character ministers to the president in more ways than one as his new gal pal. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to pucker up to Haysbert, says Crewson. "OK, he's no Ian Hanomansing," she jokes.

Then again, her other leading men haven't exactly been chopped liver. Crewson has been paired on-screen with the likes of Harrison Ford, Tom Selleck and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Off-screen, another actor plays hubby at home: Woody Allen fave Michael Murphy. The couple have two kids.

That Schwarzenegger connection could come in handy. Crewson says that even on the 24 set, there's a chill where Canadians are concerned. "You really have to watch it down there," she says. Besides the runaway production resentment, there's that Iraqi war sidestep.

"Used to be we were a nonentity down there," says Crewson. "But as our cool factor goes up so does our visibility and we become a target."

Crewson mentions the $200 million tax credit currently before the U.S. Congress that demands a 75% American job quota. That and the rising Canadian dollar -- as well as competition from places like South Africa and Romania -- could squeeze Canadians out of the production loop.

Crewson should know. Her next project takes her to Romania, where she will shoot the British Channel 4 drama Sex Traffic.

Still, she's determined to find ways to keep working in Canada "with all this amazing talent." Crewson is one of the founding members of The Movie Co-op, a unique new venture that teams her with actors such as Maury Chaykin, Peter Outerbridge and Paul Gross, as well as production suppliers such as William F. White, on 20-minute demo reels.

Everything is done on spec. The reels are then shopped around to financial interests as a way around the current Canadian funding mess. The finished films are later shopped to distributors at filmfests and international markets.

It's a way to try to "come up with original programming and not a carbon copy of some American formula," says Crewson, who walks the walk -- on both sides of the border.

"24"s Wendy Crewson
By Lorrie Lynch USA
November 16, 2003

In the complicated world of Fox's "24," nothing is too outlandish, so why shouldn't the U.S. president (played on the show by Dennis Haysbert) have a doctor who's also his girlfriend? Enter Wendy Crewson. "Being the girlfriend is a step up," she says. "I've been a lot of wives, to presidents and otherwise, but there's something more interesting about being the girlfriend. It allows you a life outside of his career." Like "24" star Kiefer Sutherland, Crewson, 47, is a native of Canada. She now lives in Toronto with children Maggie, 14, and Jack, 11, and husband Michael Murphy, whom she met making the 1988 HBO miniseries "Tanner '88" (he played the title character, a presidential candidate). Crewson has two movies coming up: "In A Home at the End of the World," she plays the mother -- she says with a mock snort of disgust -- of Colin Farrell, but "it's his mother when he's young!" And she's Robert Redford's girlfriend in "The Clearing." "I like going from wives to mistresses at this late date in my life," she says. Who wouldn't when Robert Redford is involved?

Lo and behold, 'Kisser' Crewson saves the day
Thursday, October 30, 2003 - Page R2

This is a true story. It's not necessarily gripping, but it's true.

Okay, so I wasn't here yesterday. On Tuesday, when I'd normally be writing what you read here on Wednesday, I was so not on the lam. I put on a suit and went to moderate a panel at the augustly named 7th Annual Film & Television Summit. The topic for discussion was "Canadian Drama: Is Recovery in the Script?" You can call me a lot of things but damn it, I'm dedicated.

A bunch of current and former TV execs, producers and representatives of TV writers and directors' organizations sat in a row, with me at the end. It was mid-morning. The audience numbered a few dozen. At the best of times, a discussion of the problems surrounding Canadian TV drama tends to cast a pall over an event. On this occasion, I tried manfully to get people to talk about TV programs, not just policy, funding agencies and regulatory requirements.

What the occasion needed, I realized, was glamour -- the glamour of an actor or celebrity figure that could articulate what it meant to make Canadian TV drama. I didn't know it at the time, but what the occasion needed was the now ubiquitous Wendy "Kisser" Crewson.

I asked the participants to name Canadian dramas they had personally enjoyed and admired, and not merely from a professional perspective. Some mentioned Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion, which had just aired on CBC. As soon as somebody mentioned the CBC miniseries Trudeau, everybody gushed about it. There was a glow of satisfaction because everybody agreed it had been terrific TV.

At the end of the discussion (which covered the role of specialty channels, the decline of CBC's role, the problem of getting Canadians excited about locally made drama), I asked the participants to name an upcoming Canadian TV drama that they might recommend to people -- again, not merely out of professional duty, but because it was entertaining TV.

This was a tricky question but it crystallized the situation -- there isn't a lot of upcoming Canadian TV drama. The producer of the CTV miniseries Morgentaler gamely recommended his own show. As soon as somebody suggested that Wonderland (a CBC series created by playwright George F. Walker) might be good, everybody recommended that too.

Then I came to work. I turned on the computer and the TV. On TV, it was Question Period in the House of Commons. I sat and watched for a few minutes, because Question Period is one of the few instances of continuing Canadian TV drama. All the MPs were in a flap about freebies from the Irving family. People were making accusations and others were making apologies.

Then, to my astonishment, a fella stood up and, apropos of nothing at all, mentioned that he'd recently had the pleasure of meeting Kisser Crewson. He said, "A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Crewson who last week received a well-deserved Gemini Award for best actress in a TV movie. As she said, 'Canadian drama is in a rough spot right now.' " He had a question for the Parliamentary Secretary about the government coming through with stable funding for Canadian TV drama. In response, up popped Carole-Marie Allard, MP for Laval-Est and parliamentary secretary to Heritage Minister Sheila Copps. She said in response to the fella, "I can tell him that he is not the only one concerned about the dissatisfaction of the public in English-speaking Canada with respect to English-language Canadian drama. The CRTC is also concerned and has just issued a public notice to gather comments from Canadians."

So there -- the problem of Canadian TV drama is not just a source of worry for a handful of TV execs and writers. It is being discussed in Parliament, albeit for two minutes, in-between fiery accusations of petty corruption. And who is responsible? It's that Kisser Crewson woman again.

I thought it was rather interesting that Allard seemed to suggest that the public is not happy with the situation. Maybe she sees Crewson as representative of the public. I'm not sure exactly what's going on here, but Crewson is having one hell of an effect. She's on TV, in the papers and now she's getting MPs antsy about Canadian TV drama. Next thing you know, she'll be standing for election. Who says we don't have star system in Canada?

Catching Up With...Wendy Crewson
By Jenelle Riley

Who she is: The elegant and stunning Wendy Crewson has made a career out of playing smart, strong women thriving in a man's world. In America she is probably best-known as the no-nonsense wife to Harrison Ford's President in Air Force One or as the wickedly unsympathetic physician in The Doctor. There must be something about higher office and healing the sick that appeals to her, as she can currently be seen in the hit television show 24 as the doctor and love interest of President Palmer, played by Dennis Haysbert. Hopefully, her Dr. Anne Packard is a little better at her job than the brisk physician she played in The Doctor, a role that apparently made an impact on those in the medical community. "A friend of mine is the head doctor in the emergency room at Oakland Children's Hospital, and she'd go to conferences where they would show clips of how not to behave, and it would be me in The Doctor," Crewson said, laughing.

Playing the truth: Landing the plum role on 24 was made extra sweet for Crewson because she didn't have to audition. She recalled, "I just got a call saying, 'Would you like to do this role?' And I thought, Is that a trick question?" She added that it's thrilling to work alongside Haysbert. "Not to kiss and tell, but it's every bit as great as you'd think it would be." Crewson was able to tell little else about her character, as 24 is notorious for keeping its storylines secret. "Here's the whole thing about these characters: you don't know who you are, they haven't been written ahead, they don't know who you are. So it's sort of a week-by-week revelation. It's a little weird, but all you do is play the truth of the moment. And whatever comes along down the line, it is what it is."

Also a fan: Crewson was a fan of the show from the first season, when her good friend (and fellow Canadian) Leslie Hope starred as Kiefer Sutherland's wife. "I was really hooked on it, and I was so mad when they killed her," admitted Crewson. "But I sort of got sucked back in during the second season and couldn't stay away." Hope also warned her about the fanaticism of 24 fans, something Crewson had never experienced. "I've never been on a popular TV show before, so this is a whole new experience for me," said Crewson in an interview the day before the 24 premiere. "I'm going to get my grocery shopping done now, just in case."

The loving wife: In addition to playing the love interest to two presidents, Crewson also starred as governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger's wife in The 6th Day. "I am the power behind the throne. Just call me Lady Macbeth," she joked. "I'm always somebody's wife. I've played wives to the best of them. Those parts are hard because you know what you're there for. You're there to support your leading man in every way you can." But she isn't complaining. Asked if she finds such roles limiting or frustrating, she instantly said, "No. I love it. First of all, it takes all the onus off you. The movie's not sitting on my shoulders. I can have fun. It gives it sort of a sense of holiday. It's nice to be there, they're always great actors who are generous and kind, and because I get that cache from those big movies I can come back to Canada and do leading parts in our movies and TV dramas. I have to say it's been a nice balance."

Crewson, who recently won her fourth Gemini Award for the TV film The Many Trials of One Jane Doe, has played a wide variety of roles in her native Canada. "If you were just working in the States, those kinds of roles get frustrating if that's all you're doing and that's how people see you. But I have this nice little outlet where I can run out and do some big dynamo part and I'm OK going back to L.A., hanging around and sipping cappuccinos with Harrison."

Gibson's girl: In addition to her work on 24, Crewson will be seen in the upcoming films A Home at the End of the World with Colin Farrell and The Clearing with Robert Redford. She is also off to Romania to shoot a miniseries for London's Channel 4 about the trafficking of young girls in Eastern Europe. Considering some of the big-name co-stars she's worked alongside, is there anyone she's dying to collaborate with? "I'm wondering when Mel Gibson's going to need a good wife. I auditioned for Ransom when the part was smaller. He was so cute and so fun I thought he would be great to work with." But don't Gibson's movie wives tend to suffer some horrible death? "I can die, I don't mind," said Crewson with a laugh. "I've died before. As long as we get to kiss a little first, I'm OK."

Putting her star-power to work

Award-winning actress Wendy Crewson, Arts'78, received the Gemini Humanitarian Award at the 17th annual Gemini Awards, which were telecast live on Nov. 4, 2002. The award, which honours contributions and commitments to community and public service by members of the Canadian television industry, recognized Wendy's volunteer role with the ALS Society of Alberta.

This wasn't Wendy's first Gemini award. She won her first in 1998 for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role--Dramatic Series" and her second in 1999 for "Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series". The latter was for her portrayal of ALS-victim Sue Rodriguez in the film At the End of the Day: The Sue Rodriguez Story. That role led her to extensive promotion and volunteer work for the ALS Society of Alberta. In 1998 she starred in a series of public service announcements promoting Betty's Run, the Alberta Society's largest fundraiser. Wendy continues to host the Calgary event, and while she is there, she visits with the media, schoolchildren, and with those with the degenerative neuromuscular disease, which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease (after the NY Yankees baseball star who died of the disease in 1941).

Says Mary Hatcher, Executive Director of the ALS Society of Alberta, "It is her human side that connects with those affected by ALS. Having played someone with ALS, [Wendy] is very sensitive to what they are dealing with and humbled by their courage, determination and how they embrace life. Then she turns on her star power for us, taking the ALS story to a much wider public. Her impact has been enormous."

Upon accepting the award, the Hamilton, ON-native mused that she was "not deserving of it, " but said that "in whatever small way I can help, it is my privilege and it is my honour to accept this award on behalf of the real humanitarians who truly do work tirelessly to ease the pain of this illness." The award was accompanied by a $10,000 cash donation, which Wendy directed to the ALS Society of Alberta.

After graduating from Queen's with a degree in drama, Wendy continued her studies in England at the Webber Douglass Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA. If you missed the Geminis, you will have many more chances to catch Wendy in action in the near future. She has a leading role in the recenty released film Perfect Pie (which is based on a play by Judith Thompson, Arts'77), she has reprised an earlier role in The Santa Clause 2 opposite Tim Allen, and is currently filming The Clearing opposite Robert Redford and Helen Mirren. Past roles found her playing opposite such Hollywood big guns as Sophia Loren (Between Strangers), Sidney Poitier (The Last Brickmaker in America ), Arnold Schwarzenegger (On The Sixth Day), Robin Williams (Bicentennial Man ), Harrison Ford (What Lies Beneath, Air Force One), Michelle Pfeiffer (What Lies Beneath, To Gillian On Her 37th Birthday), and William Hurt (The Doctor). Wendy also recently co-produced a series for Lifetime/CTV called Criminal Instinct: The Joanne Kilbourne Mysteries, which earned her another nomination for Best Actress at this year's Geminis.

What do hair and $25-million have in common?
We asked some notable Canadians from the arts community for their Christmas wish lists. Here's what they want
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - Page R1

Actor Wendy Crewson, starring in the Fox TV show 24 and working on a new miniseries for the CBC, called Sex Traffic.

"What I was really looking for this Christmas was some glad tidings from our new minister of heritage and culture. I was looking for a passionate, rousing speech to the cultural community, giving us a little hope for the New Year. Because I haven't heard anything from her yet except her department is no longer going to be a bank, which is a little disheartening. And, so I'm looking for $25-million -- it's not much -- to restore the Canadian Television Fund. And then I'd like a little something in black cashmere."

CBC anchor Peter Mansbridge. "Personally, I'd like hair. And from a cultural standpoint? I'd still most like hair. But, no, I guess that's not appropriate. I would like us all to care a little bit more about our culture and our heritage."

Chris Haddock, Vancouver-based television writer and producer of Da Vinci's Inquest and the CBS series The Handler.

"I want a big long holiday, and several stockings full of support and subsidy for the film and TV industry. Everybody has to kick in at this point. There's a lot of moral and verbal vocal support from everybody -- but really, a substantial tax break has obviously proved beneficial. Especially now that Alliance Atlantis has jettisoned its production arms, it's time to support the little guys."

Denise Robert, producer of Golden Globe-nominated The Barbarian Invasions, and also the movie Mambo Italiano.

"Personally, I wish health to all my family and friends. And then I'd like tickets for all Canadians to the Golden Globes so we can have one big party, and all share the fun of rubbing shoulders with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Culturally, I'd like to see everyone of us have the opportunity to go and appreciate a Canadian film in 2004. And for Paul Martin, and his team, to go and see every Canadian film to be released this year."

George Bowering, poet laureate.

"I really hate Christmas, pretty well. But if I have to have any Christmas presents, I suppose that I would like to have a New Orleans Zephyrs baseball cap, size 7 7/8 because I am writing a book about baseball, Jerome Charyn's last three books, a carton of Big Turk chocolate bars, an end to U.S. invasions, Mike Myers movies and Viagra ads and a copy of the video of The Girl Can't Help It . What I do not want is a CD. I cannot get the wrapping off a CD without destroying the CD."

CTV talk show host Vicki Gabereau.

"Bill Leach of Ironbridge, Ont., now 19 then three, was heard to remark to Santa in response to the big question of what the boy would like for Christmas . . . 'Peace on Earth and a hot dog.' I am with him."

Writer and visual artist Douglas Coupland.

"I'd like to be marooned in Haida Gwaii for three months, on the west coast of the north island, facing all the storms. For culture, I wish for more, and more diverse Canadian publishers. They're dying, and once they're gone, that's that . . . Mr. Martin, Doug on line one."

CTV anchor Lloyd Robertson.

"My greatest wish is for a Christmas uninterrupted by tragedy. The world needs a time of reflection to treasure the blessings of life and contemplate a better future. Hoping for even a few hours without conflict in some corner of the globe is no doubt naive and probably in vain . . . but it is the true message of the season and the people of the world need the pause."

Film director Ron Mann.

"Personally, I'd like more time for yoga. Culturally, I'd like to see the trend continue for a more individual rights. I think that we live in a very enlightened country, where there's real progress in areas such as gay marriage, and decriminalization of marijuana laws. And it kind of makes me proud to be a Canadian.

Embracing a contented life
Single women pass on the idea that marriage cures all
Jane Ganahl, Chronicle Staff Writer

No package of stories on the highs and lows of the year would be complete without a look back at how the female gender -- single and otherwise -- fared in 2003.

Women's roles in film, TV and books increasingly showed the best attributes of women -- attributes that have nothing to do with "Baywatch." Young women and single women are getting off their dainty duffs and getting more politically involved. And -- praise God and pass the ammo -- "The Rules" are dead.

Long live the one new Rule that matters: that single women, and women in general, should embrace their lives as they are and quit chasing the illusory notion that being married fixes everything.

There are signs -- borne out by figures -- that we're becoming less frantic about the search. In a recent online poll, 51 percent of women said they were "perfectly happy" being single. That was nationally: In the oh-so- ahead-of-the-curve Bay Area, 61 percent of single women say it's a lifestyle choice they're content with.

Given the figures, and what my friends tell me, it appears that the online dating frenzy has waned -- at least around here. And the national backlash is setting in. The New York Times recently dubbed the plethora of services promising love the "dating industrial complex," and so it has become, with so many online services vying for your buck that I'm waiting for the one that caters to midlife red-headed newspaper columnists before I sign up.

There will be one, I promise you.

Most of my friends who relied on such Web sites to find dates wound up bitterly disappointed and have moved on -- or back -- to meeting lovers through friends, in cafes or at bars. Hey, at least it gives one a chance to check the all-important chemistry component before hours of e-mailing time is fruitlessly expended.

One can also hope that the popularity of TV reality shows about finding true love is also waning. The notion they promote -- that one can find a soul mate in a thicket of competitors by virtue of a bitchin' smile and perky wit -- is perverse and toxic.

At the same time, there were some female characters on TV this year who were authentic, entertaining, attractive and brainy all at once.

My new favorite is Dr. Anne Packard, the president's significant other on "24." Played by Wendy Crewson, Anne is 47, serious, capable and gorgeous -- and makes the case for midlife women as action heroines. Of the younger set, Carla Gugino as Karen Sisco in "Karen Sisco" kicks serious butt as a no- nonsense, albeit romantically challenged, federal agent. And perennial props go to Allison Janney as C.J. Cregg on the "West Wing." What a woman. If only our real president had a similar woman to beat some sense into him.

One hopes that young women are watching these shows and learning what strong, brainy women can do.

A booby prize of sorts must go to the hapless Jessica Simpson of "The Newlyweds" for showing us how not to prepare for marriage. Hint: Learn how to pick up your own towels first -- and figure out the difference between tuna and chicken.

In film, big huzzahs go to Diane Keaton in "Something's Gotta Give" for paving the way for midlife women to be re-examined as vital, sexy beasts. Ditto to the cast of "Calendar Girls" for helping knock down those barriers.

It was also a good year for female action heroes, albeit most in unworthy movies: Kate Beckinsale in "Underworld," Uma Thurman in "Kill Bill: Vol.1," Angelina Jolie in the second "Lara Croft Tomb Raider," Halle Berry and Famke Janssen in "X2," the "X-Men'' sequel. Keira Knightley, despite perma-pursed lips, swashbuckled as well as Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom in "Pirates of the Caribbean."

But my favorite inspirational female role of the year was played by a child: Keisha Castle-Hughes in "Whale Riders." The 11-year-old Maori actress from New Zealand portrayed Paikea, a child descended from tribal chiefs, barred from becoming chief herself because she was "just a girl." The film, depicting her spirited, relentless pursuit of her rightful destiny, ought to be required viewing for all prepubescent girls feeling daunted by being born female.

Female rockers proved that in 2003 you don't have to take your clothes off (hello, Britney and Christina) to be appreciated. Getting lots of ink and rocking hard (fully clothed) were Karen O, lead singer of Brooklyn's Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Palo Alto's the Donnas.

In the book world, for every tome preaching how to snag a man (or woman), there were boundary-stretching volumes, from Jane Juska's "A Round-Heeled Woman," about a 70-year-old's late-life binge on sex and romance, to "Seductress: Women Who Ravished the World and Their Lost Art of Love," by academic Betsy Prioleau, celebrating gutsy, wanton women throughout history.

And, in keeping with the new I'm-OK-You're-OK attitude toward being single, 2003 gave us "Living Alone and Loving It: A Guide to Relishing the Solo Life," by Barbara Feldon (yes, formerly known as Agent 99 on the 1960s television show "Get Smart"), and the stereotype-busting "Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto," by the Bay Area's own Anneli Rufus. And coming next month, "Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics" by Sasha Cagen.

The message of all three: It's OK to be alone, OK not to date, smart to take charge of your own romantic destiny.

Take that, Rules women.

There are other signs that the stock of single women is on the rise. Despite a certain lack of female friendliness in Washington these days -- or possibly because of it -- women's groups have been spurred into action. Locally, the Emerge training program for young women interested in political careers is having ripple effects around the country. And Women's Voices, Women's Vote has just started a national campaign to enroll more underserved single women in the political process.

And despite the national media's focus on San Francisco's new mayor as a future hope of the Democratic Party, where was the mention of a young African American woman who'd never run for public office before and yet crushed an incumbent district attorney? If you're scouting for rising political stars in their 30s, I offer you Kamala Harris.

And Jane Fonda is back, re-entering the feminist fray. Her speech at the National Women's Leadership Summit in Washington (available on whipped around women's e-mail lists like wildfire.

And now it seems we're at a female crossroads of sorts: the end of HBO's "Sex and the City" this month. How will it end? It's the subject of much debate. I lost interest in and some patience with the show and its characters a while ago. I just couldn't subscribe -- to the heartless, joyless sleeping around or the relentless pursuit of matrimony.

But I was encouraged recently by comments made by Sarah Jessica Parker about how she would like it to end. She, like many of us, has learned that we need to look inward to find what makes us happy -- whether that's being married, being alone or counting on our female pals.

"I'm very conflicted," she admitted. "I really want contentment for Carrie. And that doesn't mean that is a man or marriage, but maybe it is man and marriage. I want her (to be) the way she is during her best moments with her women friends. That kind of feeling of safety and comfort and inspiration and challenge."

Anatomy of a student film
Jan. 23, 2004. 01:00 AM

It's not exactly on the same scale as Mickey and Judy's, hey let's go to the barn and put on a show.

But Toronto's Anthony Green, 21, a third-year film student at NYU has pulled off a coup by shooting Pigeon, a student short starring national treasure Wendy Crewson and Academy Award nominee Michael Lerner (Barton Fink) on a shoestring of under $25,000 Canadian. Okay, it doesn't hurt that Green is the son of Don Green, co-founder of the Roots empire. But Green fils assures us that the cast and crew aren't getting Roots product in perpetuity. They responded to the script, which Green wrote, inspired by a true story recounted to him by Rabbi Eli Rubenstein. "It is set in occupied France," Green relates. "A Jewish woman was on a train in Germany with fake papers. The Nazis started to do a raid on the train, questioning everyone and she started to lose it. A stranger across the aisle noticed and he stood up and started yelling profusely at her that she forgot her wallet, her glasses and now his wife has forgotten her papers. The Gentile stranger ended up saving this woman's life.

"But because of how long ago the story occurred, the woman has passed. We contacted her family about inconsistencies like why she was on the train."

Green fictionalized some of it and changed the dynamic: Crewson's character saves Lerner's life. "Michael is incredibly Jewish looking so Wendy is the hero. I switched the roles around so the strength is in the woman and it plays even better with the Nazi dynamics."

He got Lerner onboard through artist Jim Budman, brother of Roots' other co-founder, Michael Budman, who is Lerner's friend.

"I was scared to bring an Academy Award nominee on set," he confesses.

They shot in two days of frigid weather in Tottenham, Ont., near Orangeville, but at least the blizzard conditions dissipated for the shoot.

"We got a break in the weather," he sighs. "I haven't slept for the last week.

"It is a period film, it is historical and there are costumes. I had kid actors, moving vehicles, animals - pretty much everything our professors warn us against."

Never mind finding a steam engine, which is where Tottenham came in.

"It has the South Simcoe Railway with an 1890 steam train," Green attests. "It is one of two period trains in Canada on the eastern seaboard and it was in hibernation, but I was able to convince the guy to steam it up."

He consulted producer Karen Wookey, whose credits include Mutant X.

"She was excited by the script and Karen pulled together a lot of industry support, including Fuji Film, William F. White (supplier of camera, lighting, grip and related production equipment), Panavision. Everything donated was the equivalent of $ 1/2 million."

Wookey and Crewson have the same agent. "Wendy loved the script and she knows Karen," Green says. "Wendy's daughter is in the same class as my little sister."
Crewson worked for scale. She would have done it for nothing.

Okay, what about Roots? Did his dad throw money at it?

"My dad's support came in Roots dollars: $6,000 and $7,000 gift certificates for 40 people on set. I was pretty insistent on me taking on the rest (of the cost). It's a lot to ask my dad. The last thing my dad needs is to bankroll his son's film."

Green's interest in entertainment and media was spiked when he was editor the yearbook for 2000 at his alma mater, Upper Canada College.

"I was in love with New York City and I knew about NYU film school," he explains. "I shot my entrance video about a teen in Toronto who undergoes stress in high school because of family problems - which is the exact opposite of my life."

Green intends to submit the short in the film festival circuit, starting with the Jerusalem International Film Festival on April 1st and possibly the Toronto International Film Festival.

He lists as one of his mentors, Norman Jewison, founder of the Canadian Film Centre. Federico Fellini and Stanley Kubrick are also right up there on his list of favourite directors.

Meanwhile, it's back to school for Green. He is in the third of a four-year program at NYU and will probably go to grad school, perhaps working towards a Masters degree in communication.

"I'll likely go to grad school overseas. Probably in Great Britain."

Why not Italy? University of Sienna has a great campus.

"I do love Italy," he concedes. "My girlfriend is from Italy."

Maybe he could tackle a short on Fascist Italy next time. Something along the lines of Under The El Duce Sun.

TV reading club lacks depth, reflection
Jan. 24, 2004. 01:00 AM

It is quite fashionable to belong to a reading club, the sole purpose of which is to foster discussion around ideas. These groups may be based on geographical proximity, ethnicity, shared professions, gender or age. They are one constructive response to the splintering of community. In the late 1970s, I founded a reading club at St. Michael's College School and several fellow teachers joined me in an experiment that enriched our intellectual and social lives. Three decades later, now in a university environment in Waterloo, I find myself again a member of a reading club, one founded by Toronto Star columnist Richard Gwyn (Chancellor of St. Jerome's University, among other things) and appropriately named the Pilgrim Club. Our bi-monthly gatherings overflow with opinions, insights, intellectual energy and spiritual openness. It was in light of these discrete but similar experiences that I looked forward to the CBC's version of a reading club: Mary Walsh: Open Book. After all, Walsh is an engaging talker, feisty, and humorous. All the ingredients are there for a sprightly, possibly heated half-hour talk show with a difference.

Alas, my first exposure to Open Book was an unhappy one. The unexamined religious biases, cheap shots, flagrantly uninformed judgments, and rampant silliness of the program made it a deep disappointment. Now clearly, Open Book is not Ed the Sock with a dictionary and subsequent viewings have somewhat mitigated my first impression, but only somewhat. My first night with Open Book was a closed shop - intellectually and spiritually, that is. The book for discussion was Antonia White's first volume of her autobiographical tetralogy, Frost In May. This poignant evocation of a convent girl's struggles in early 20th-century London is bound to elicit strong reactions. And rightly so.

But Walsh and her panellists of the evening - Shirley Douglas, Wendy Crewson, and Bette MacDonald - appeared startlingly ill-equipped to provide enlightened commentary on a work that has become a minor classic. They offered opinions that were, to my mind at least, nothing more than spontaneous outbursts of anger, annoyance, pity, and amusement. There was no depth, considered reflection, or luminous awareness. Walsh and her companions seemed to delight in commiserating with the travails of a convent girl and were outspoken about growing up in the shadow of a nun's veil. They made comparisons drawn from the United Church, and, in one particularly egregious moment of staggering political ignorance, opined that Pol Pot, the ruthless mass murderer of Cambodia, killed in the name of God.

Now this is not to say that Frost In May shouldn't spark controversy, only that care should be taken to provide a viewpoint that, if not comprehensive, should at least be considered. For instance, Antonia White, a confessedly autobiographical writer, recounts in her powerful fiction - and that includes her several novels as well as her one collection of short stories - the emotional and intellectual upheavals that characterized her life. These should have been alluded to in the far-flung discussion. We should have been apprised of her series of emotional breakdowns (what she called the "Beast"), her three marriages and numerous love affairs, her tortured relationship with her father, her departure from the Roman Catholic Church in her 20s and her re-conversion at 41. We should also have been informed of her illustrious career as a writer, critic, translator, and correspondent of distinction. The reason for doing so is simply to move beyond caricature, easy stereotyping and ideological score settling.

White's book deserves both a sympathetic and a critical reading and viewers deserve a focused discussion distinguished by its level of genuine interest and sensitive discernment. White's feminist and theological convictions, nicely encapsulated in her volume of correspondence The Hound And The Falcon, throw light on the bittersweet evolution of the child protagonist of Frost In May, Nanda Grey. It's fair play to give the larger picture. Open Book's discussion of the anguish of a fragile convent girl was anything but open. It's time to move beyond the clichés and get to the heart of the matter.

Perhaps other "religious" books - non-fiction as well as fiction - will fare better on Mary Walsh's late-night program. They deserve to.

24's Sutherland kisses and tells
Tonight on 24: Will Jack get out of another tight corner?
By BILL BRIOUX -- Toronto Sun
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

When we last saw 24 tough guy Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), he was smooching with that evil hussy, double agent Nina Myers (Sarah Clarke). Hey, didn't she once kill his wife? What's up with that?

That was certainly Leslie Hope's reaction. The Canadian-born actress, now starring as a kick-ass agent of her own on ABC's Line Of Fire, played the late Mrs. Bauer on Season One of 24. Her character's cold-blooded murder was the most shocking climax to any series in years.

Hope was just as aghast about the sneaky spy vs. spy kiss as the rest of us. "Kiefer never told me anything about that," Hope told a couple of Canadian TV columnists earlier this month at the ABC press tour party in L.A. "Just wait till I get him on the phone again."

The very next day, at the Fox press tour session for 24, Sutherland spilled the beans about that follow-up phone call. "She was quite cross," he said, turning to co-star Clarke, who was sitting on stage with Sutherland and several other cast members. "She phoned me this morning when she found out that you and I had been kissing and she's coming after both of us."

The edge-of-your-seat thriller, which just won a Golden Globe award as TV's top drama, is set to roar into the second half of the season tonight at 9 p.m. on Global and 24. Besides Jack and Nina's unlikely twist, Sherry Palmer (Penny Johnson Jerald) is back as 24's resident Lady Macbeth, the disgraced wife of president Palmer (Dennis Haysbert).

"Every time I pick up the script, I'm looking at, 'Oh my God, she's doing what?' " Johnson Jerald told critics earlier this month.

Later, after the Fox session, she slipped me her manager's phone number. "You're going to want to call me after (tonight's) episode airs," she said.

Sounds like president Palmer is in big trouble, which is good news for Haysbert. There were too many shots of him just glaring at his brother this fall. It's time for Palmer to kick it up a notch.

The tall, soft-spoken actor told me that he will miss Wendy Crewson, who played his doctor/girlfriend earlier this season. Haysbert is just the latest in a long line of people who fall instantly in love with the Canadian actress. "If she had stayed another week, I would have proposed," Haysbert said.

Guess Crewson's hubby, actor Michael Murphy, is used to it.

Sutherland was easy to spot at the Fox party -- follow the cigarette smoke. The actor was pumped about the second half of the season. Three years into the run of the series, Sutherland, who is also an executive producer, stands to cash in big now that 24 is being shopped for future syndication.

Last summer, he found time to shoot the upcoming feature Taking Lives opposite Angelina Jolie and Ethan Hawke. "I never felt so welcome by a film cast in all my life," he told me, adding that Jolie was probably, "the smartest person I've ever met."

A typical Canuck in Hollywood, he still plays shinny Sunday nights and, with the addition to the cast of James Badge Dale as his junior partner at the agency, now has a former Junior B goalie between the pipes.

He's still hoping to get his pet project, a CBC miniseries about the life and times of his grandfather, NDP founder Tommy Douglas, off the ground. Sutherland, who spoke passionately about his grandfather's contribution to Canada's medicare system, feared the CBC might want to get going on the project sooner rather than later. With his commitment to 24, he might have to stand aside and let some other actor play the political icon.

A CBC spokesman said yesterday that the project is still in the early planning stages. Sounds like the CBC will wait for Sutherland, which is as it should be.

CBC uses holiday weekend to air Sex Traffic, gritty prostitution miniseries
Updated at 13:10 on October 7, 2004, EST.

TORONTO (CP) - For those who believe slavery and flesh markets are a thing of the past, Sex Traffic, a gritty and unsavoury two-part miniseries airing on CBC this Thanksgiving weekend, will prove to be an eye-opener.

Trafficking of drugs and weapons are among the most profitable businesses in the world but the trade in human beings remains a close third, according to the United Nations. It is a $7 billion global business, say the creators of the Canada-U.K. co-production which follows the plight of two young women from Moldova, who are lured with the promise of legitimate work in London but are instead abducted into an international prostitution market.

"It really is a slave-trade happening in the heart of Europe," explains British-based producer Derek Wax. "It's grown quite exponentially since the collapse of the Soviet Union, really. The economic collapse of certain countries, particularly the Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, have left literally hundreds of thousands of people with incomes of less than $15 a month and no hope of any life or opportunity (and) has made them very much prey to traffickers."

He says the U.S. State Department estimates between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year and that both UNICEF and Amnesty International have commended his production.

Sex Traffic got its inspiration from Traffic, both the movie and the miniseries about the drug trade. Wax says many former drug traffickers are now dealing in women and girls because they find it less dangerous.

"It's just as ruthless and in many senses more so," adds Wax. "There seems to be no downside because they simply dispose of the girls if they prove to be problematic."

This "disposal" is disturbingly portrayed in the film when one of the victims, who has been passed from Moldova to Romania to Serbia and then en route to Italy is simply dumped overboard into the Adriatic to distract a pursuing police boat.

Described as "inspired" by real events, Sex Traffic, in its realistic portrayal of a seamy, ruthless underworld, pulls no punches. There are many scenes of nudity and perhaps the most graphic rape scene ever to air on conventional television. But because it's about punishment and control, not sensuality, Wax says such imagery is not gratuitous.

"We felt we needed to be true to that moment," he says. "The reason why the girls are anally raped is because they don't want to get them pregnant. . .because they're less useful to them."

Canadian actor Wendy Crewson, who has a leading role, admits to finding the sequences disturbing but nevertheless has to agree they are valid.

"You can't get away from the fact that that's what it is," she says. "To bring it home like that, that's what you needed to do."

Crewson starred in the lauded 2002 Canadian TV film The Many Lives of One Jane Doe, based on a true story of a Toronto rape victim.

"It's true that rape has nothing to do with sex. Rape is about violence."

In Sex Traffic, she plays the loyal wife of a corporate executive of a Boston-based multinational company who, she learns, looked the other way when evidence surfaced that employees contracted to provide peacekeeping security in eastern Europe were involved in the sex trade.

Wax, who praised the CBC for its 30-per-cent budgetary commitment to the project, says Crewson was hardly a token Canadian hire and in fact delivers an extraordinary performance.

"She's got a very subtle expressive talent and I don't think there are many actresses who could have charted a journey as richly and expressively as she did."

Crewson says her character eventually blows the whistle in order to live with herself, but that she is slow to accept her husband's wrongdoing and that's not unusual.
"I don't think you find a wife who jumps to those things quickly," she says. "People are always amazed that they are the last ones to know what is really going on. Even smart, political educated spouses."

Sex Traffic is a co-production of Britain's Granada Television and Canada's Big Motion Pictures and was filmed in Halifax, London and Romania.

One might question the timing of the Canadian telecast. Wax diplomatically says that's a matter for the CBC but Crewson seemed skeptical that it was appropriate post-turkey-dinner entertainment.

"OK, kids, c'mon, everybody bring their pumpkin pie in here!"

No holds barred for Sex Traffic
Tough, compelling miniseries personalizes business of international prostitution

IF YOU'RE looking for television with a purpose, look no further than the Canadian-British co-production Sex Traffic.

The gritty two-parter airs Sunday and Monday at 8 p.m. on CBC. It personalizes the issue of trafficking women from Eastern Europe by taking a fictionalized look at two sisters who are unwittingly lured into an international prostitution ring.

"You can't understand the subject and become aware of it and research it like we did and explore the depths that we have without hoping that it makes an impact," actor Wendy Crewson said in a telephone interview from her Toronto home.

"The idea that it's cheaper to traffic a human life now than it is to traffic drugs is a startling and horrifying fact of our world. It's really easy to stay a little naive about it or a little blind to it.

"I think that's television at its very finest - that you are made aware of something."

Sex Traffic had a gala presentation at the recent Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax. Wayne Grigsby of Chester is executive producer of this international co-production with his company, Big Motion Pictures, and Britain's Granada Television for Channel 4 and the CBC.

Crewson (24, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe) plays Madeleine Harlsburgh, the head of U.S. defence contractor Kernwell International's charity foundation.

She encounters evidence that leads her to suspect her husband, Tom (Chris Potter), CEO of Kernwell, may be involved in a coverup involving the disappearance of young women.

Luke Kirby (Mambo Italiano) plays Callum Tate, a Canadian security officer working for Kernwell who witnesses sex trafficking and has the strongest piece of evidence against the company.

Based on research and testimony in Eastern Europe, the story centres around Elena and Vara, sisters who are trafficked through Romania, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Italy. They eventually make it to London, although by different routes.

Also among the international cast are Canadian actors Len Cariou (About Schmidt) as Magnus Herzoff, chairman of the board of Kernwell; Robert Joy (Fargo) as Maj. James Brooke; and Maury Chaykin (Nero Wolfe) as corporate lawyer Ernie Dwight.

British actor John Simm stars as Daniel Appleton, an investigator for a London-based charity.

The sisters are played by newcomers Anamaria Marinca and Maria Popistasu, whose natural performances are outstanding.

"You could tell on the set that they were stunning. They've never done any film work. They were both right out of theatre school in Romania," Crewson said.

"There's a great seriousness to their lives. There's a thoughtfulness that you don't see here so much and a real sort of political awareness."

The story of desperate and destitute women being steered into sexual slavery is sometimes difficult to watch. The filmmakers didn't flinch when it came to making their points.

"It's tough now to make compelling television. Your audience is weaned on different kinds of things. Reality shows have made it really hard," Crewson said.

"We have to rethink drama. Because people are sophisticated, in a sense. They want it immediately. It has to all come together in this startling and compelling way."

Kernwell, the fictional defence contractor, is based in Boston. Scenes set there were shot around Halifax during a period that included the February blizzard.

Viewers will see several shots in downtown Halifax with very high snowbanks in the background.

"We shot outside that whole week. And getting around was really tough. And it was bitterly cold. . . . It was hypothermia. I thought, 'I'm going to die,' " Crewson said.

"That (first) morning of the storm - and we knew it was coming - they decided they were going to go ahead and shoot, and it's the big opening charity dinner."

The fundraising gala organized by Crewson's character was shot at the Lord Nelson Hotel. Some in the production crew were skeptical that any footage would be shot.

"The town was shut down except us. We were shooting. We had a big party going on in the ballroom. And the Brits could not believe that the extras showed up in the storm. So I'm walking around like, 'Yeah, this is nothing for us Canadians,' " an ebullient Crewson recalled.

"It was so nice being there to witness that. How often do you get to see something like that?"

Madeleine Harlsburgh is one of the few characters in Sex Traffic who has scenes in both Boston and Europe. As a result, Crewson got to work with most of the behind-the-scenes people on the project.

"We had British crew, Canadian crew, Romanian crew. I love that sort of mix-it-all-up in the artistic community. Everybody brings a nice flavour and everybody gets to try something different."

The travels of Crewson's character allowed her to feel connected to the larger story, which plays out over four hours.

"I have to say it did feel like a sprawling picture. It felt that way when I first read it, though. The script arrived like a phone book."

Crewson's name was brought up by producers as a possible member of the Canadian contingent, but she ended up making initial contact in Hollywood.

"I was down in L.A., oddly enough, shooting the great Canadian series 24," Crewson joked.

(Series regulars Kiefer Sutherland and Elisha Cuthbert are from Canada, and Leslie Hope, born in Halifax, played Sutherland's wife in the first season of 24.)

"I was down there and they were in L.A. meeting Canadians. Because that's where you want to go to meet Canadians," she said.

"I read the script and I just loved it, and we had a long discussion about the politics of it and who these people were."

Crewson has just gotten back from Winnipeg, where she was shooting Niagara Motel. The feature film is an ensemble comedy written by George F. Walker (This is Wonderland).

She starts working next week in Montreal on another intense project, this time about United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour, called Endgame in Kosovo.

"I had the summer off. I was fine. I had a good break," Crewson said.

CTV has begun production on "The Louise Arbour Story"

Wendy Crewson, John Corbett, William Hurt and Leslie Hope Star in CTV Movie, the story of how Chief War Crimes Prosecutor Louise Arbour sought justice for crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia

Montreal, PQ - (November 2, 2004) - CTV together with Montreal-based Galafilm Inc. announced today that principal photography has begun on CTV Original Movie "The Louise Arbour Story". The movie, from CTV's Heroes, Champions and Villains programming strand, will shoot in and around Montreal until November 14, 2004 before moving to Germany and Holland, where shooting will continue through to December. A broadcast date is not yet available.

The two-hour movie tells the heroic struggle of Canadian Louise Arbour, Chief War Crimes Prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, as she battles world politics and fierce opposition to indict Slobodan Milosevic for crimes against humanity.

Producers have assembled a powerhouse cast for the film. The endlessly talented Wendy Crewson (Sex Traffic, The Wandering Soul Murders), who has sculpted an award-winning career in film and television, has been tapped to star as Arbour. Joining her are John Corbett (My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Sex in the City, Raising Helen), Academy Award-winner William Hurt (The Village, Kiss of the Spider Woman) and German film stars Stipe Erceg (The Educators) and Heino Ferch (Run Lola Run, Napoléon). Leslie Hope (24, H2O), Claudia Ferri (Mambo Italiano, Ciao Bella) and Neville Edwards (Dawn of the Dead, The Human Stain) and Jacques Godin (Being At Home With Claude, The Last Casino) round out the ensemble cast. The movie is directed by acclaimed Quebec director Charles Binamé whose last film Séraphin: Un Homme et son Péché (Heart of Stone) was the highest grossing Canadian film of the last 20 years. He recently wrapped production on the political thriller H2O: The Last Prime Minister starring Paul Gross. Ian and Riley Adams (Agent of Influence) and Michelle Lovretta (Instant Star, The Associates) wrote the screenplay.

"Arbour's courage and determination are an inspiration for us all. We believe that her achievements have made a true difference and it is important that her story be shared with audiences the world over. Louise Arbour's accomplishments are an eloquent embodiment of the values and principles Canada defends on the world stage", said Francine Allaire and Anne Marie La Traverse, the movie's producers.

The producers added that: "we are thrilled to entrust the vision and scope of this compelling screenplay to the expertise and talent of director Charles Binamé who, along with an extraordinary cast and crew, are dedicated to making a film that will do justice to Louise Arbour."

Time Magazine named Arbour one of the world's 100 most influential people (April 19, 2004), and with good reason. She changed the face of international criminal law with her groundbreaking work as head of the U.N. mission to bring justice to those responsible for the genocide and massacre in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. From 1996 to 1999, Louise Arbour served as Chief Prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunal and was responsible for the first indictment in history of an active head of state, Slobodan Milosevic. Today Milosevic is imprisoned in The Hague and is currently standing trial for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

On July 1, 2004, Arbour became the new UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland and therefore the second most influential person in the UN after Kofi Annan.

The Louise Arbour Story is a Canada/Germany co-production involving Montreal's Galafilm Inc. and Germany's Tatfilm in association with CTV. Producers are Francine Allaire, Anne Marie LaTraverse and German co-producer Christine Ruppert. Executive producers are 2003 Primetime Emmy Award-winner Arnie Gelbart (Cirque de Soleil Fire Within), Gemini Award-winners Francine Allaire (Dr. Lucille: The Lucille Teasdale Story, The Blue Butterfly), Anne Marie LaTraverse (The Eleventh Hour, Lucky Girl), and Randy Holleschau (Changing Hearts). Tecca Cosby is CTV's production executive overseeing the movie. Bill Mustos is Senior Vice-President, Dramatic Programming for CTV. Susanne Boyce is President of CTV Programming and Chair of the Media Group.

Joining the production is Line Producer Renaud Matthieu (15/Love), D.O.P Georges Archambault (Les Boys II-III), Production Designer Danielle Labrie, Costume Designer Suzana Fischer, Editor Dominique Fortin (Tomorrow Never Dies, The Sixth Day) and seasoned Locations Manager Michèle St-Arnaud (Catch Me if You Can, The Terminal).

The Louise Arbour Story was made possible with the financial participation of CTV's Heroes, Champions and Villains (HCV) strand, Cogeco Fund, a contribution from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Flimstiftung Nordrhein-Westfalen Fund, ARTE and WDR Broadcast licences, the Quebec Tax Credit Program administered by SODEC and the Canadian film or Video Production Tax Credit.

The Louise Arbour Story is the third dramatic title in CTV's Heroes, Champions and Villains (HCV) strand. Other titles in this strand are Zeyda and the Hitman and Lives of the Saints, starring Sophia Loren. This new strand of CTV original projects focuses on remarkable Canadian personalities and characters, whether fictional or real life.

PorchLight Entertainment will distribute The Louise Arbour Story internationally. Based in Los Angeles, PorchLight has gained an excellent reputation throughout the world as a major supplier of quality product. PorchLight maintains a full sales and marketing staff and attends all of the major film and television markets each year.

Galafilm is an internationally renowned, independent film, television and new media production company based in Montreal. Galafilm has produced over 200 hours of award-winning and commercially successful programming ranging from documentaries, children's programs, television dramas and feature films. In 2003, the company was the recipient of a Primetime Emmy Award for the television documentary series Cirque du Soleil Fire Within. The company recently won the PRIX EUROPA for TV Current Affairs: Television Programme of the Year 2004 for the multiple award-winning documentary The Origins of AIDS.

Louise Arbour Story filming in Montreal before going on location in Europe
Updated at 21:13 on November 14, 2004, EST.

MONTREAL (CP) - The actress playing Louise Arbour in an upcoming TV movie says the former war crimes prosecutor and now United Nations human rights commissioner is a "hardworking Canadian girl" with a compelling story that needs to be told.

"The most amazing thing about her is not only how brilliant she is but how really down-to-earth she is," Wendy Crewson told Radio-Canada, CBC's French service. "She's a hardworking Canadian girl."

The $6.5-million English-language movie, produced by Galafilm, is being shot in Montreal before moving to London and Germany for filming.

"It's been a labour of love for three years," said producer Francine Allaire. "(Arbour) is a woman that fascinates me. I admire this woman so much and I want the whole world to know (about her)."

Born in Montreal, Arbour was named chief prosecutor of war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

She headed the investigation that resulted in the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic after the Yugoslav war.

Arbour was later named to the bench of the Supreme Court of Canada but left to accept the appointment of United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights last February.

American actor William Hurt also has a role in the film.

The Louise Arbour Story will be broadcast on CTV in 2005.