TONIGHT: Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town

Pinsent and Pinsent last summer at the CFC TIFF BBQ

When I ran into Gordon Pinsent at the Toronto International Film Festival/Canadian Film Centre BBQ last September, he was still sporting the ‘stache from playing Stephen Leacock in tonight’s CBC movie Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Pinsent is a marvel at 81 and prattled off a list of other things he was working on at the time, including a return appearance on Republic of Doyle. There’s not an ounce of retirement in him.
The CFC TIFF shindig reunited Pinsent with Norman Jewison. I happened to catch Jewison’s 1968 feature The Thomas Crown Affair the other night and there was Pinsent among the performers.
Tonight’s Sunshine Sketches premiere finds Pinsent in good company among a who’s who of Canadian actors, some based in Canada and a few Hollywood-based ex-pats. Besides his daughter Leah, the movie stars Jill Hennessy, Donal Logue, Collin Mochrie, Deb McGrath, Peter Keleghan, Caroline Rhea, Pat McKenna, Eric Petersen, Sean Cullen, Steffi Didomenicantio, Rick Roberts and Ron James, among others. It’s as if somebody rounded up all the Canadian actors who protest outside the Global upfronts every spring and put them in a movie.
Former Alliance dudes Seaton McLean and Michael MacMillan are among the producers along with another Mac, Malcolm MacRury. The latter also adapted the screenplay from Leacock’s wry collection of turn-of-the-century tales from the fictional Ontario town of Mariposa. I’ve always loved the book and admired the way Leacock balanced the idyllic and the ironic. This is the 100th anniversary of its initial publication.
The movie will have a tough time fighting for viewers tonight, however, what with the return of Celebrity Apprentice on NBC and especially The Grammy Awards on CBS/Global, which is shaping up to be Whitney Huston memorial.
Watch that stuff tomorrow on YouTube. Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town airs Sun., Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. on CBC.

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