Something fishy about filmmaker’s new flick
Don McKellar brings new comedy ‘The Grand Seduction’ to TIFF Subject: Jordan Prentice, star of ‘Howard the Duck’
Toronto filmmaker Don McKellar is one of the faces everyone expects to see at the Toronto International Film Festival. Before appearing in his first TIFF film — Bruce McDonald’s Roadkill — he worked at the festival. But he hasn’t had a film at the festival since Blindness in 2008. But he’s back. The Dundas Street West resident, who can often be found dining at the restaurant Campagnolo, has a new film at TIFF, starring Gordon Pinsent, Taylor Kitsch and Brendan Gleeson, which is getting the gala treatment. Post City chatted with McKellar about The Grand Seduction.
Tell me about
It is about a small fishing village having a tough time in Newfoundland, and they find out they have a possibility for a factory that would employ them. To qualify, they need to have a resident doctor in town and they don’t. So when they have an opportunity to find a doctor, they do everything they can to seduce him to stay. So it isn’t a sweeping romance, it is about a town seducing a doctor.
How important is TIFF?
For this film, I felt that it was absolutely the only place in the world it could premiere. A Canadian film of this scope, with a largely Newfoundland cast, except for Brendan [Irish actor Brendan Gleeson], had to be at a Canadian festival. And I have such an association with the festival. I think it’ll be a real crowd-pleaser and can play Roy Thomson Hall. Not many films play really well in that environment. TIFF seemed the only possibility, and I don’t know what I would have done if we hadn’t got it. It would have been very sad and pathetic. It’s a great cast you’ve assembled, including a current Hollywood heartthrob. How was Taylor Kitsch to work with? Taylor is fantastic in this film. His last few films were all those big action films, so this was a bit of a departure for him. He’s very charming, but his comic timing was a real surprise. He was excellent.
What will surprise people about this film?
It is one of those films that sort of sweeps you up. There are quite a few big surprises, and they are almost all comic surprises. What I loved most about the script was that it was really genuinely unpredictable. There are some big and beautifully imagined comic set pieces that are quite a delight. What is the best part of presenting a film at TIFF and taking part in this experience? For me, you know, it is different than for a lot of people. It is my hometown, and I have such emotional memories from the festival — of working there and showing all my greatest triumphs of my career, and all my friends will be there. It is complicated but such a rich experience for me.
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