The CTV comedy series Acting Goodstarring Anishinaabe standup comedian Paul Rabliauskas, has put out the call for “hundreds” of Indigenous extras — male and female ages 16-90 years old — to play in various scenes throughout the shoot.
The 10-episode series has already begun filming in Winnipeg and surrounding areas and is expected to continue into June.
Rabliauskas plays Paul, a comic who returns home to the fictional remote fly-in community of Grouse Lake First Nation after a botched attempt to move to the big city. Grouse Lake was inspired by Rabliauskas’s own home community of Poplar River First Nation.
Also in the cast is actor, comedian, and series co-showrunner Pat Thornton (of the under-appreciated shot-in-Manitoba series Sunnyside), who stars as Brady, the “only white guy on the rez.”
The cast and crew also features Billy Merasty as radio DJ Roger Laughingstick, the voice of the rez, and Roseanne Supernault as reformed bad girl and band councillor Jo. Gabriel Daniels plays the big-hearted Dean, and series producer Tina Keeper does double duty playing the family matriarch Agnes.
In their debut acting roles, Avery Claudia Sutherland stars as Jo’s rebellious daughter Chickadee, comedian Cheyenna Sapp is Paul’s on-again-off-again girlfriend, Rose, Jason Mason is overzealous band constable Lips, and writer-broadcaster-playwright Rosanna Deerchild plays Deedee , the First Nation Grouse Lake chief.
Award-winning actor, director and choreographer Michael Grayeyes is set to direct five episodes of the series, which is being produced by Keeper’s company Kistikan Pictures.
The extras casting department is hoping to reach out to the local Indigenous community, as the series will require hundreds of Indigenous extras to play in various roles. Extras are only expected to commit one or two days here and there throughout the filming dates and will get paid $13.50 per hour when hired, no previous experience necessary.
An application form is available online at karicasting.ca.
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A second TV series with Indigenous themes is already underway. The six-part limited series Little Bird is produced by Rezolution Pictures and Original Pictures, for Bell’s Crave service. The show is about an Indigenous woman (local Cree-Saulteaux actress-playwright Darla Contois, who premièred her drama The War Being Waged at Prairie Theater Exchange in December) on a journey to find her birth family.
Removed from her home in Long Pine Reserve in Saskatchewan, Bezhig Little Bird is adopted into a Montreal Jewish family at the age of five, to become Esther Rosenblum. In her 20s, Bezhig begins a search for the family she lost, taking her to the Canadian Prairies, where she comes to learn the truth of the racist government policy now known as the ’60s Scoop.
Joining Contois are actors Ellyn Jade (Letterkenny), Eric Schweig, Michelle Thrush, Osawa Muskwa, Joshua Odjick, Imajyn Cardinal and Mathew Strongeagle.
Actress-director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) and Zoe Hopkins (Run Woman Run) will each direct three episodes, with Hopkins writing three of the episodes.
The show was created by writer-actress Jennifer Podemski and playwright Hannah Moscovitch, who will reportedly serve as executive producers alongside Jeremy Podeswa)Game of Thrones).
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The newly announced horror feature Felix is set to film in Manitoba in May and June, and has cast actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the role of a father trying to save his son from the influence of an evil ventriloquist dummy.
The film will be directed by John Kissack (whose credits include horror thriller Everfall) from a screenplay by Casey Giltner.
Morgan should feel at home in the horror genre as a veteran of The Walking Dead and the 2012 film The Possession. Playing Morgan’s son is young British actor Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (Son of a Critch), who will be very familiar with Manitoba, as he has been working here on another thriller, All Fun and Games, opposite Asa Butterfield and Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), which is set to wrap next week.
That latter film includes horror vet Keith David, who survived to the end of John Carpenter’s The Thing and participated in a memorable sustained fight scene in Carpenter’s They Live with the late former Winnipegger Roddy Piper.
All Fun and Games also stars Annabeth Gish, who recently starred in the Netflix series Midnight Mass.
Ainsworth wrapped work on a high-profile project, Disney’s live-action production of Pinocchio starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis.
A third thriller is in the works, the long-delayed Elevator Gamewith director Rebekah McKendry attached.