MOVIE-STYLE WRESTLING: Heaven is For Real, the film about a boy who died temporarily on the operating table and came back with stories of heaven, shot wild wrestling scenes in Winnipeg on Tuesday at Arthur A. Leach School. The Waverley Heights school was transformed into Chase County High School in Imperial, Neb., with a noisy cheerleading team called Dynamite doing pyramids and backflips in the background. The dad in this Christian feature-length movie, directed by Randall Wallace, is played by Greg Kinnear of Little Miss Sunshine fame. In this movie, he's a small-town pastor and local wrestling coach. Kinnear is a lover not a fighter, but luckily Winnipeg wrestling coach Toby Rutner and the Manitoba provincial team -- now practising for the Canada Games -- were on hand to train actors and play extras in the movie. "We put on an exciting, realistic action sequence," said Rutner. "And they shot it from every angle -- cameras on the mat, on the side, some taken from a crane." Rutner said it was very hot in the gym, "but makeup people spritzed the wrestlers with water to make it look like they were sweating even more."
Kinnear was friendly and didn't take himself too seriously. He said to Rutner, a Winnipeg psychologist, "I'm going to tap into all your experience as a wrestling coach and then steal it onscreen so I'll look like I know what I'm doing!" Rutner, a former American college wrestler, taught the Hollywood star how to position himself and what to yell to the wrestlers. His son, Caleb, who travels worldwide to wrestle, is also a wrestler in the movie and his sister, Brooke, is an extra. Rutner chuckles about his own small acting experience, "I couldn't talk, because then they'd have to pay you more."
But, he did get asked to blow his whistle: "Let's get ready, roll 'em, give me a sound on your whistle, Toby!"
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SAUSAGES AND SPANKINGS: That's the name of a sassy new restaurant in Fannystelle, just 25 minutes from Winnipeg on Highway 2, owned and operated by Cori Audet. If you ask for sausages, you get sausages. If you ask for a spanking, her joking responses is, "Depends on how naughty you are!" or "Depends on how big your credit card is." The Sausage and Spankings business location was a gift from Audet's husband, Jules, building inspector for the RM of Grace. "I had been working in and out of the restaurants for over 25 years -- from prep cook to dishwasher to manager. The opportunity came up, and it was our anniversary and my birthday, and he said, "Here you go!... Oh, he's awesome." The exterior is still a little rough, but there are plans to jazz it up. "My husband and I are hoping to do insulation and siding this summer. The colour will be dramatic, for sure."
Audet had always wanted to have her "own little restaurant on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere." the main drag in the old general store location comes pretty close. As for the name and what it promises? "Years ago, a girlfriend and I were trying to think of a name for a restaurant like that, and started with Bangers and Mash, which soon escalated. I'm sure we had a bottle of wine between the two of us!" Audet serves breakfast and lunch until mid-afternoon. Call the business at 204-803-5731 for more information.
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RACE TO THE FINISH: Hammers are banging as business developer Sam Colosimo rushes to open a second new restaurant, with a glam rooftop patio, called Local Burger & Bar at 645 Corydon Ave. The new spot, next door to Nucci's Gelati, is opening in about two weeks. No, Ace Burpee won't actually be behind the bar, although this new project has the well-known radio host as one of the financiers. Alexander Svenne, owner of Bistro 7 1/4, helped design the menu of snazzy burgers with locally sourced fresh ingredients. The interior is recycled barn board from a Manitoba farm, with old wooden farm chairs. The look is all rustic except for the men's washroom. A peek in the door reveals a "Lazo"-signed mural with a skateboarding madman carrying a drink bottle in one hand and a tattoo gun in the other. Local Burger & Bar shares the white brick building with iconic Nucci's Gelati -- natural neighbours, great for the date-night crowd.
Colosimo's other project on Corydon this year, Mano a Mano Restaurant & Teo's Bar near Hugo Street, is still waiting for the green light. "It should be open in about a week," said Colosimo. "We're just waiting for final inspections." Workers were busy spraying the decks and putting finishing touches on the chic new restaurant this week. The fancy spot replaces Civita (for a short time renamed The Maple) and the popular Red Cactus Bar. The only thing that remains unchanged in this large project is the garage door that divides the patio, offering patrons the ability to slip inside quickly if there's a shower.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.