After a year-and-a-half of spotty TV and film production in Manitoba, things are ramping up in a big way in the coming months as the threat of COVID-19 recedes.

Coming soon…

Allen Fraser / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures</p><p>Dylan Penn stars as Jennifer Vogel in Flag Day.</p></p>

Allen Fraser / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

Dylan Penn stars as Jennifer Vogel in Flag Day.

With all the films going into production, spare a thought for a few locally shot films that may make their way into theatres in the next few months… assuming theatres open.

With all the films going into production, spare a thought for a few locally shot films that may make their way into theatres in the next few months… assuming theatres open.

Flag Day: This Sean Penn-directed feature, which will have a Cannes screening in the next few weeks, is an adaptation of Jennifer Vogel’s memoir Flim-Flam Man: The True Story of My Father’s Counterfeit Life. It’s about how John Vogel, Jennifer’s dad, supported his family through a wide spectrum of illegal activities, including bank robbery, arson, fraud and counterfeiting.

Shot in Manitoba through the summer of 2019, the film casts Penn’s daughter, Dylan Penn, as a woman forced to come to terms with the lifelong criminality of her father, played by Sean Penn. (The director’s son Hopper has a role in the film as well, making it a true family affair.)

Penn enlisted Josh Brolin and Miles Teller for supporting roles, as well as an impressive array of character actors, including two-time Tony Award-winning Broadway star Norbert Leo Butz and English actor Eddie Marsan. The movie, distributed by MGM, is scheduled to be released Aug. 13.

 

Dark Castle Entertainment</p><p>Isabelle Fuhrman (rear) returns for Ophan: First Kill.</p>

Dark Castle Entertainment

Isabelle Fuhrman (rear) returns for Ophan: First Kill.

Orphan: First Kill, a prequel to the 2009 horror thriller Orphan, casts the adult actress Isabelle Fuhrman in the role she played as a child — which was an adult masquerading as a child. Got that? Anyway, she returns as the murderous adoptee as she makes her way from an Estonian mental asylum to America. There, she insinuates herself into a vulnerable family, whose mom (Julia Stiles) starts to suspect something is amiss. The movie was directed by William Brent Bell (The Boy and Brahms: The Boy II) and also stars Rossif Sutherland. It still has no release date.

Blood: Also shot in early 2020, Blood is director Brad Anderson’s (The Machinist, Session 9) followup to the Manitoba-lensed thriller Fractured. Michelle Monaghan stars as a mom whose son is afflicted with a terrifying ailment after suffering a dog bite. Skeet Ulrich (Scream, As Good as It Gets) also stars. According to producer Kyle Bornais of Farpoint Films, Blood is in post-production and is expected to be finished early this month. No release date has been announced.

After a year-and-a-half of spotty TV and film production in Manitoba, things are ramping up in a big way in the coming months as the threat of COVID-19 recedes.

Aside from the already-shooting CBC/BET series The Porter, the French-language series Le Monde de Gabrielle Roy, and a Lifetime TV movie tentatively titled The Good Doctor, the province will see a lot of film work in the coming months, including no fewer than four significant horror projects.

 

Time Cut

Christopher Landon directs Happy Death Day.</p></p>

Christopher Landon directs Happy Death Day.

Scheduled to shoot in the coming weeks, through July and the first half of August, this project comes from producer Christopher Landon, who wrote four Paranormal Activities movies and directed recent notable horror-comedies including The Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, Happy Death Day, Happy Death Day 2U and the recent serial-killer body-swap movie Freaky.

Time Cut, described as "Scream meets Back to the Future" is directed by Hannah Macpherson (Hulu’s Into the Dark) and reportedly stars Madison Bailey (Outer Banks) and Antonia Gentry (Ginny & Georgia).

 

Dark Harvest

David Slade comes to Winnipeg to direct Dark Harvest.</p></p>

David Slade comes to Winnipeg to direct Dark Harvest.

Horror heavy hitter David Slade (Hard Candy, 40 Days of Night) will be helming this seasonally chilling tale through September and most of October.

Based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Norman Partridge (which Publishers Weekly deemed one of the 100 best novels of that year), it’s about a Halloween tradition in a small town where young men are invited to stop a murderous supernatural entity known as the "October Boy."

The novel, set in 1963, is about one young man who vows to kill the October Boy as a means of escaping his small town life. Reportedly cast in the film are Casey Likes (The Birch) and E’myri Crutchfield (Fargo).

 

Bring It On: Halloween

Kirsten Dunst (centre) in the original Bring It On (2000); the seventh film in the cheerleading franchise is a Halloween-themed entry that will film in Winnipeg this fall.</p></p>

Kirsten Dunst (centre) in the original Bring It On (2000); the seventh film in the cheerleading franchise is a Halloween-themed entry that will film in Winnipeg this fall.

Scheduled to begin shooting from late September through October, this TV movie is based on NBC/Universal’s cheerleading Bring It On franchise, which began in 2000 with Kirsten Dunst as the hyper-competitive pop-pom shaker, and continued through five more movies. This seventh time out, it goes to scary territory. Yes, scarier than cheerleading world championships.

The premise of the movie, designated for a berth on the SyFy network in 2022, is that an embattled cheerleading squad moves into a creepy boarded-up school gym to practise for regionals, only to have the members of the squad disappearing one by one.

SyFy shot four seasons of the series Channel Zero in the province.

 

The Elevator Game

The horror production company Fearworks announced this project a few months back. It has apparently been stalled, with one director — American Horror Story’s Michael Goi — now off the project. Buffalo Gal producer Liz Jarvis anticipates it may still go this fall or early winter. The film is based on the online phenomenon of the same name that suggests supernatural powers may be behind mysterious, elevator-related deaths and disappearances, such as that of student Elisa Lam at L.A.’s Cecil Hotel in 2013 (the subject of the Netflix docuseries Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel).

In the film, a socially awkward teenager investigating the disappearance of his sister and discovers she may have been playing the titular game.

 

SkyMed

This is a full TV series about aerial medical units of the title. It has not yet been announced, but it has been scheduled to shoot from August to December, so watch this space.

 

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

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Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

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

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