Arts & Life
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This article was published 2/5/2019 (469 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s been a long winter and with the thaw, it’s starting to look like film production in Winnipeg is ramping up.
On the production slate:
After circling the project for years, Sean Penn is looking to make the film Flag Day a reality. The movie is slated to commence production in June.
Currently in pre-production, the film casts his daughter, Dylan Penn, as a woman forced to come to terms with the lifelong criminality of her father.
The film is an adaptation of Jennifer Vogel’s memoir Flim-Flam Man: The True Story Of My Father’s Counterfeit Life, about how John Vogel, Jennifer’s father, supported his family through a wide spectrum of illegal activities, including bank robbery, arson, fraud and counterfeiting.
Sean Penn is likely going to play the role of John Vogel as well.
The two-time Oscar-winning actor (Milk, Mystic River) has enlisted another Oscar-winning actor to the cause, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), as well as actress Sienna Miller (American Sniper), according to film news website Revenge of the Fans.
It would be a return trip for Affleck, who shot some scenes from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford in Winnipeg in 2006, when the Exchange District was dressed to look like New York City in the late 19th century.
The Amazon Prime series Tales from the Loop is continuing its extended shoot until July, with stars Rebecca Hall as well as Jonathan Pryce and Paul Schneider (the latter was in the first season of the locally lensed horror series Channel Zero).
Pryce is the Wales-born actor who proved a favourite of director Terry Gilliam (Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote) and played a Bond villain/media magnate loosely based on Rupert Murdoch in Tomorrow Never Dies.
To younger audiences, he may be best known for his role as religious leader High Sparrow in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
Cinema of Sleep, which is shooting until May 10, is the sophomore feature of director Jeffrey St. Jules, a Toronto-based filmmaker.
St. Jules’ debut feature, Bang Bang Baby, won the best first feature prize at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2014.
In his past works, St. Jules has exhibited a Winnipeg Film Group esthetic in his projects — an ineffable mix of artifice, melodrama and queasy nostalgia.
The film’s more substantive Winnipeg connection is hometown actor Jonas Chernick.
In a phone interview while taking a break from shooting, Chernick says the film focuses on a Nigerian immigrant confined to a hotel room where he becomes involved in sordid criminal activities. Chernick plays the hotel guest next door, an enigmatic salesman.
St. Jules is "an incredible, visionary director" Chernick says, enthusing over his "’40s noir esthetic."
Chernick adds he was hooked from the moment he read the script.
"It’s really special," he says.
"It’s just one of those scripts that jumps off the page."
Night Raiders is a feature film from Saskatchewan-born, Toronto-based Cree/Métis filmmaker Danis Goulet, who has staked out a genre — Indigenous futurism — in previous short films.
Slated to shoot throughout June, Night Raiders is about an Indigenous resistance in the future centred on a fugitive mother seeking an underground group of vigilantes in a desperate bid to get her child back from the state.
Finally, just because it’s May and the trees are budding doesn’t mean we’re done with Christmas TV movies.
Seasoned Hallmark Channel vet Gary Yates is helming one film, Merry & Bright until mid-May.
In the meantime, past productions shot in Manitoba are coming to the multiplexes.
A Dog’s Journey, a sequel to the Manitoba-lensed A Dog’s Purpose, opens May 17.
JT Leroy, a film about the figures behind a major literary hoax by director Justin Kelly, starring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern, opens elsewhere in Canada this week, and will likely hit a Winnipeg theatre later in May.
The Grudge, a Sony-produced reboot of the Japanese horror classic that shot here last summer, was originally targeting a summer release, but has since claimed a slot on Jan. 3, 2020.
In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.
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