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Mexican actor Bernal expected to film here

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Between Guy Maddin's work on his new project Seánces at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this week and a couple of movies already in production, cameras are rolling all over the city this autumn.

Industry buzz is that Gael Garcia Bernal, a major movie star in his native Mexico, will be shooting a film in Winnipeg in the next few weeks.

The 33-year-old Bernal is the star of celebrated films such as Y tu mamá también and The Motorcycle Diaries, in which he played the role of Ernesto (Che) Guevara. In North America, he was last seen in the Will Ferrell comedy Casa di mi Padre, a parody of Mexican soap operas known as telenovelas.

Bernal is said to be coming to Winnipeg to shoot scenes for the film Deserted Cities (Ciudades desiertas), which will also be shot on location in Mexico. Buffalo Gal Pictures has been pegged as the Winnipeg production partner for the film.

Directed by Roberto Sneider, it is based on the novel of the same name by José Agustn, in which Bernal plays a Mexican husband who follows his wife to an Iowa retreat.

Buffalo Gal producer Phyllis Laing says the company has also been keeping a low profile while filming a "faux reality TV show" titled Siberia which Laing intriguingly describes as "kind of like Survivor meets Blair Witch meets Lost."

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Original Pictures is at work on a second American Girl franchise movie to follow up the feature shot in 2011 with Nia Vardalos. Jane Seymour (who will either be remembered as Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman or Solitaire in the Bond movie Live and Let Die, depending on your preference) is in town for the film, which will be produced by Debra Martin Chase, the Hollywood producer whose most recent film was Whitney Houston's final movie Sparkle.

The project comes as Original Pictures (concurrently at work on the horror franchise entry Curse of Chucky) announced a partnership with Partners in Motion and Veria Search Media Marketing to create a new national company called Shift Media Group with offices in Winnipeg, Langley, Regina, Saskatoon and Toronto.

Original Pictures founder and president of drama Kim Todd says the creation of Shift "will help us grow in Manitoba" but stresses Original Pictures' head office will remain in Winnipeg.

"The province has great incentives, great locations and first-rate crews, all of which can benefit the new company," she says.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 29, 2012 G5

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About Randall King

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

His dad was Winnipeg musician Jimmy King, a one-time columnist for the Winnipeg Free Press. One of his brothers is a playwright. Another is a singer-songwriter.

Randall has been content to cover the entertainment beat in one capacity or another since 1990.

His beat is film, and the job has placed him in the same room as diverse talents, from Martin Scorsese to Martin Short, from Julie Christie to Julia Styles. He has met three James Bonds (four if you count Woody Allen), and director Russ Meyer once told him: "I like your style."

He really likes his job.


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