B.C. Scene: Funniest Videos host directs MOW that hits close to home

Vancouver: Canadian Bob Saget was in Vancouver this month making his dramatic directorial debut on another disease-of-the-week mow for abc. An odd choice, you might think, for the man who laugh-tracks it through America's Funniest Home Videos each week. But the...

Vancouver: Canadian Bob Saget was in Vancouver this month making his dramatic directorial debut on another disease-of-the-week mow for abc. An odd choice, you might think, for the man who laugh-tracks it through America’s Funniest Home Videos each week. But the film is a fictionalized account of the real-life tragedy of his sister’s battle with a rare and deadly disease, scleroderma.

The disease, of unknown origins, progressively petrifies the skin and internal organs of its victims.

The producers at Brillstein-Grey Productions spent over $100,000 on prosthetics, designed by Tom and Barri Burman of Burman Studios in l.a., assisted by local prosthetics specialist Todd McIntosh.

Application of the prosthetics kept star Dana Delaney glued to the makeup chair six hours a day.

Canadian actor Henry Czerny (The Boys of St. Vincent) costars along with Polly Bergen (Winds of War) and Tracy Nelson.

Series action

Executive producer Chris Carter wrapped production this month on the third season of his hit tv series, The X-Files. Several longtime crew members, like dop John Bartley, are moving on, while production manager J.P. Finn remains, but gets bumped up to full producer status.

This month, Fox also gave Carter the go-ahead for series production on his new pilot Millennium, which shot here in February.

Meanwhile, across the lot at North Shore Studios, Cannell Film Services, owned by New World Communications, began production on 22 episodes of its new syndicated series Two. The series pilot, about a man whose life is turned around when his separated-at-birth twin brother shows up seeking vengeance for his unhappy childhood, had originally been shot for cbs. The network took a pass, but Cannell is going ahead in syndication anyway.

The series stars Michael Easton. Vancouver’s David Levinson is executive producing and N. John Smith is producing.

Even though Cannell’s fledgling series Profit, starring Adrian Pasdar, has been getting the best critical reviews the Cannell camp has ever seen, Fox yanked it from the air this month prior to the May sweeps.

According to the network, the series just wasn’t getting the numbers, so in an effort to salvage its significant investment, Fox is hunting for another time period and will air the remaining four episodes sometime this summer. Word on the series’ renewal will be announced on May 21 in New York.

Take a bow

Two months ago when bcmpa executive director Brenda Collins phoned to say she was trying to organize the first-ever b.c. motion picture industry awards, I said, ‘Great idea, but two months? Can’t be done.’ Wrong! On May 5, over 800 members of the industry headed out to the Hotel Vancouver in their tuxes and taffeta for the first annual Leo Awards.

Granted, it was a bit of a rush job: they handed out paper certificates in lieu of trophies because they didn’t have time to sculpt those stone lion heads. And yes, the clips were definitely too long and occasionally misplaced. But in the end you have to hand it to Collins and a crack support staff – they pulled it off.

Veteran mc Fred Keating and cohost Cynthia Stevenson, star of the tv series Hope and Gloria, anticipated the usual glitches of an inaugural production and wisely forewarned the award recipients that they were there to ‘celebrate your achievements, not relive them on stage.’

Although most recipients kept their long-winded thank-yous to parents, long-suffering spouses, favorite algebra teachers and Bob the gaffer to a minimum, the awards still lasted four hours. But all agreed the event was long overdue and destined to become an annual affair.

Some of the best moments in the evening came from the presenters.

Actress Babz Chula, in prepresentation patter, gushed in envy over copresenter, Canadian actor Gary Jones’, 16 days’ work on a ‘big’ American film: ‘Wow, you must be thrilled. What was your line?’

(For more on the Leos, see this page.)

The big bang

Uh-oh, the folks over at The Sentinel blew it again – literally. This time it was a tint-coated windshield that exploded and ignited before being propelled across the street and through the dining room window of a fourth floor apartment to land at the feet of a rather startled occupant sitting down to lunch.

After a speedy evacuation of the building, the carpet layers were called in and it was back to business.

Luckily no one was hurt, but you have to wonder about the karma of this Paramount production. Earlier this year, the special effects crew blew out a block of windows and the door on a bank across the street from the set when they ‘slightly miscalculated’ the force of a planned explosion.

So if you see The Sentinel signs going up in your neighborhood, you’d better keep that fire extinguisher primed – that is unless you need new carpets and windows.

Between the covers

Screenwriter Peg Thompson’s (The Lotus Eaters) new bedside table book, Hard Boiled, Great Lines From Classic Noir Films, has been getting well-deserved rave reviews from entertainment mags north and south of the border.

Between the elegant art direction by Saeko Usukawa and snappy repartee like this one from the film Sunset Boulevard – ‘I always heard you had some kind of talent.’ ‘That was last year, this year I’m trying to make a living.’ – the book is selling so well, publisher Chronicle Books has already engaged the duo to do a follow-up book on westerns.

Thompson also recently debuted as a director on a short documentary entitled Broken Images – The Photography of Michelle Normoyle. The film has just been selected for both the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival and Australia’s Sydney Film Festival.

Editor’s note:

This marks Joanne Morgan’s last B.C. Scene. Our Western news correspondent, Ian Edwards, will be taking over next issue. Edwards can be reached in Vancouver at: Tel. (604) 689-8801; Fax (604) 689-8831; E-mail iedwards@wimsey.com