This was shot a few weeks ago but aired today on CBC Television as we get ready for episode 1 of The Best Laid Plans miniseries tomorrow night, Sunday, January 5th at 9 p.m. on the CBC national network. The more Canadians who tune in, the more likely it will be that the series will continue beyond these initial six episodes. (Yes, that’s a shameless request for an hour of your time Sunday night. Hope you enjoy it.)
Archive for the ‘Canadian politics’ Category
Here’s a very cool mini-documentary offering a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Best Laid Plans miniseries airing on CBC Television in January 2014.
This past Monday, my wife Nancy, older son Calder, and I drove up to Ottawa to spend the afternoon on the set of the TV miniseries based on my first novel, The Best Laid Plans. I really didn’t know what to expect. You see, like most of us, I’ve never been on the set of a TV series. But the experience exceeded all of my expectations. Simply put, it was quite surreal. Having carried these characters around in my head for so many years, it was strangely exhilarating to come face to face with Daniel Addison and Angus McLintock. I never dreamed I might one day have lunch with Angus and Daniel. But this past Monday, that’s exactly what I did.
The photo above shows the wonderful Director/Producer of the miniseries, Peter Moss of PDM Entertainment. Bringing TBLP to the small screen was his idea from the start, and it will be his vision we’ll see when the miniseries airs in January, 2014, on CBC Television. The scene he is directing in the photo is when Angus confronts Dean Roland Rumplun about being assigned to teach English for Engineers yet again. It’s a great encounter.
We toured the set, met some of the 65 crew members, visited the wardrobeÂ truck, donned headphones to watch the shooting of a scene, and generally walked around on air for a few hours as what, for months, had been a nebulous concept took on concrete form before our eyes.
The miniseries has been brilliantly cast. Kenneth Welsh, a fine and respected actor takes on the role of Angus. Jonas Chernick will be a terrific Daniel. Jodi Balfour from Bomb Girls takes on the role of Lindsay. Barbara Gordon is Muriel, Raoul Bhaneja plays Bradley Stanton, Sarah Allen is Rachel,Â Peter Keleghan is Eric Cameron, Leah Pinsent is Petra Borschart, Sonja Smits is the Prime Minister, Mark McKinney is the Leader of the Opposition, and the amazing Eric Peterson plays Muriel’s protector in the seniors’ residence. What an amazing cast! I’m thrilled with this stellar lineup of Canadian talent.
Matt Code, the Associate Producer, actually showed us some footage shot on Parliament Hill last week from what they call the “dailies.” The scenes shot in Centre Block and particularly in the Parliamentary Library that we saw were nothing short of stunning.
Here are few more shots from our day on the set. I’m afraid I don’t yet have a shot of Angus, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it. It’s all very exciting.
What a thrill. The Samara Foundation and the Writers’ Trust of Canada have joined forces to find the “Best Canadian Political Books of the Last 25 Years.” Over the last couple of months, nominations were sought from Canadians and nearly 200 books were submitted. Yesterday, a shortlist of 12 finalists was unveiled. Canadians are now invited to read the twelve books and vote for our favourite. Early in August, the winning book will be announced. Somehow, The Best Laid Plans made the cut and stands as the only novel among the twelve finalists. There are some terrific reads on the list including my friend John Duffy’s award winning book Fights of our Lives. I don’t know whether being the only work of fiction in a collection of wonderful nonficition books about politics works in TBLP’s favour, but I can tell you that it is a singular honour to be anywhere near the shortlist, let alone on it.
So, veering dangerously close to “pimping mode,” you can vote for the book of your choice here, or click on the graphic below. As always, my thanks for your support…
My mother-in-law was sorting through some photographs the other day and came across these two shots taken a few years ago when we visited the Leacock home on the shores of Brewery Bay in Orillia, Ontario. If you’re ever in the area, it’s well worth a visit to the beautiful home Stephen Leacock built as his refuge. Leacock wrote many hilarious works on the desk at which I’m seated below. The home has been painstakingly restored with many of the very items and artifacts that adorned the home when the man himself lived there. You can learn more about the Leacock home and museum here.
There has been much discussion lately of the so-called “Canada Reads Effect.” In past years, the Canada Reads winner has gone on to sell tens of thousands of copies, sometimes even when it was out-of-print when named as a finalist. In fact, publishing industry insiders say that Canada Reads sells more books than any other literary award, except for the Giller. Well, we’ve already had an early but clear indication of the “Canada Reads Effect.” Shortly after The Best Laid Plans was declared the winner of Canada Reads 2011, it shot to the top of the Amazon and Chapters-Indigo bestseller lists and has remained there ever since. You may remember I’ve shown before on this blog The Best Laid Plans, and The High Road leading the Amazon charts, but if you read my blog posts carefully, you’ll note that this was only ever in Amazon‘s “political” category. Canada Reads has pushed TBLP to the top of heap for all books.
In short, for the last four days at least, TBLP has been the number one bestselling book in Canada. I’m hyperventilating again…
Update: As of today, there were over 530 “holds” on The Best Laid Plans in the Toronto Public Library system.
What a thrill it was to watch Jim Cuddy and Ali Velshi square off against NDP MP Pat Martin on Evan Solomon’s show Power & Politics on CBC News Network. You can watch it here (fast forward to start at 1:19:09 into the show). The sometimes heated discussion revolved around my second novel, The High Road. Jim and Ali were very supportive while Pat Martin wasn’t such a big fan. The debate went on for a good 15 minutes or so and actually included a reading from THR by the very Scottish National Post columnist, John Ivison. In the end, I think fair-minded viewers would feel encouraged to pick up the book on the basis of Jim and Ali’s positive reviews. I confess it was a little surreal to watch my second novel being discussed on television by such high fliers who had obviously read the book. Yes, it was quite a thrill…
A couple of weeks ago, my wonderful colleagues in our Ottawa office organized a fantastic launch event for The High Road. It was held in the all too appropriately named Parliament Pub on Sparks Street, just steps from the Hill. We were raising money for the Jaimie Anderson Parliamentary Internship, a very worth cause. My friend, Rob Oliphant, MP for Don Valley West, acted as Master of Ceremonies, and as expected, he did a fine job. On a side note, Rob Oliphant, who is also an ordained United Church minister, married my wife Nancy and me 23 years ago in Nova Scotia. That’s how far back Rob and I go! We tried to keep the speeches to a minimum to maximize the socializing so I read a short section and got off the stage. There must have been 75 or 80 guests including colleagues, former clients, friends, and a number of politicians and political staff from Parliament Hill. It was a fantastic event. I’m so grateful to everyone who helped make it such a memorable night.
Here’s a less than stellar cellphone shot capturing my brief reading…
On the eve of my departure for the Vancouver International Writers Festival, a popular news site in BC, The Tyee, has run quite an long article on my humble writing odyssey. You can read the piece on The Tyee website here without taxing your eyesight, or by clicking on the article below.
Reading reviews is often a heart-wrenching, stomach-turning exercise that can leave you elated, enraged, or any point in between. I’m happy to report that I’m squarely in the “elated” category after reading the Winnipeg Free Press review of The High Road that ran this past weekend. One line in particular is already etched in stone in my memory:
“In The Best Laid Plans, the Toronto-based former Liberal Party strategist introduced us to a new brand of political satire– the most irreverent, sophisticated, and engaging CanLit has seen since Stephen Leacock.”
Wow. I’m bowled over and grateful. Here’s the review: