News that expired in 2001 has been archived.
7 January 2002 Peter does his first nude scene in
the Canadian erotic anthology series Bliss, shot last October
in Montreal, Canada. But don't salivate too much just yet
there won't be any full-frontal nudity on screen. In the most recent
PWFC newsletter, Peter talks about filming Bliss, including
the disturbing experience of being fitted for a patch to cover his
Bliss will premiere this spring in Canada on The Movie Network
and Movie Central and the Quebec cable stations Super Ecran and
Series+. It will also air on Canada's Showcase TV network sometime
From Canadian national newspaper The Globe and Mail (8
The thinking woman's porn: Some big names are making a new show
that's as risqué as TV gets
By Matthew Hays
MONTREAL Pausing momentarily in between takes, co-producers
Janis Lundman and Adrienne Mitchell try to appear convincing as
they discuss the setting for the inspiration for their erotic
TV series Bliss. "Airports," Lundman says, "really, we'd
been doing a lot of travelling."
The cold, dreary and mundane aura one usually associates with
airports may not seem a likely birthplace for a brainchild as
sexual as Bliss, but with some explanation, it begins to
"About three years ago, Adrienne and I had been doing a lot of
travelling," Lundman says. "We wanted to find good things to read
while moving around. We realized there'd been an explosion of
women's literature of erotica.
"When we came home from one of our trips, we started researching
and tossing ideas around. We realized there was a lot of sex on
TV, but most of it was from a male perspective. Would anyone be
interested in a women's erotica TV series? We came up with a bunch
of different ideas over the next six months."
As it turned out, those ideas did prove highly intriguing to
other producers and broadcasters. Arnie Gelbart, and his Montreal-based
Galafilm (Lilies, The Hanging Garden), came on board,
as did Showcase, along with Mitchell's and Lundman's production
company, Back Alley. The result, Bliss, will air on the
Movie Network next year, and on Showcase in 2003.
The trick was to create a diverse and realistic range of stories,
while avoiding the clichés inherent in so many sexual representations
"A lot of the sex I see on TV is the late-night, really hard-core
porn," Lundman says. "And that really doesn't interest me. Or
these titillating background scenes that aren't really developed
"We wanted to come up with something that was more reality-based,
and explore the characters and what happens to them as they go
through this erotic moment. This is the focus of the story, the
characters and how these things change them most of the
time it's glossed over."
The team behind Bliss has managed to collect an impressive
array of talent, from thespians such as Adam Beach (Mystery,
Alaska), Torri Higginson (The City) and Callum Keith
Rennie (Last Night, Due South), Daniel Pilon (Dallas,
Suspicious Minds), Jennifer Levine and Quebec pop sensation
Mitsou, who will all appear in various episodes, to writers such
as Sharon Riis, Carol Lazare and Laurie Finstad.
"To us, it was important to pull together as many different,
varied female voices as we could," says Mitchell, who is also
directing one of the show's eight 30-minute episodes. Directors
also include Lynne Stopkewich (Kissed), Penelope Buitenhuis
and Holly Dale.
And if the talents assembled seem varied, consider the plot lines
a spectrum of sexual scenarios that could probably only
appear thanks to the proliferation of cable channels such as Showcase.
It's hard to imagine one of the main networks, Canadian or American,
approving this project. Tales involving gay, straight, bisexual,
transgendered and threesome setups are all being shot, as well
as themes of cybersex and sadomasochism. Dialogue calls for actors
to utter words that are far franker and saucier than your average
Fans of poet, journalist and novelist Susan Musgrave will undoubtedly
want to tune in for the episode she penned, in which a woman writer
visits a man she's enamoured with in prison on Valentine's Day.
The two end up making love clandestinely underneath a table, until
they are caught in the act and punished by prison guards. After
this experience, the female protagonist must decide about the
future of her relationship with the prisoner.
"I think it might be based on a true story," Lundman speculates.
"But I don't know."
Fittingly, the episode will be directed by Dale, who co-directed
(with Janis Cole) the landmark 1981 documentary feature P4W:
Prison for Women, an institutional profile of what was then
Canada's only women's prison.
The creators of Bliss concede that they'd like to make
it as envelope-pushing as possible, something that's not always
feasible in a medium as conservative as TV is even cable
"Both Adrienne and I would like to push it a lot more," Lundman
says. "But the broadcaster wants to air this in prime time. And,
absolutely, we want this in prime time, so people will see it.
But there are restrictions in terms of the Broadcast Act and what
people feel comfortable showing.
"Also, we have wonderful actors here and I don't want to take
them to places they're not comfortable. It's not about taking
off your clothes and exposing your body it's about exposing
your mind and your vulnerability and your emotions."
Laura Michalchyshyn, with program development at Showcase, says
there were limits, but they were reasonable and not intended to
"We've had lots of dialogue about how far the directors can go,"
she says. "We said that they should use their judgment and think
about the same integrity their film work has shown.
"We do abide by the Canadian Broadcast Act. There are certain
limits we have to recognize: no bestiality, no use of minors,
no penetration. We showed them the list, but it was meant as nothing
more than an FYI."
Which is an indication of the fine high-wire act the women behind
Bliss are walking. On the one hand, this is intended to
be a no-holds-barred exploration of the erotic; on the other,
it shouldn't come across as B-grade sleaze.
"This isn't just about sex," Mitchell says. "This is a series
which really explores emotional and psychological journeys.
"The thing we don't want to touch are soft porn, stories that
aren't about three-dimensional characters.... Contentious subject
matter can be done just as long as there's insight into character
and depth of story."
Excerpt from Playback
Magazine (12 November 2001):
Bliss anthology wraps
Galafilm and Toronto's Back Alley Films wrapped principal photography
Nov. 1 after 32 days on the highly charged erotic anthology series
Bliss. An official Quebec/Ontario coproduction developed
as a Showcase Original Series, Bliss explores the lives, passions
and fantasies of women exclusively from a female perspective.
The series preems next spring on The Movie Network and Super Ecran
and on Movie Central. It will also air on Series +.
"Showcase was in at the initial stage of development. They were
the first to come in and have been very involved creatively with
this project," says Janis Lundman, who cocreated the show and
is exec producing with partner Adrienne Mitchell (Drop the
Beat, Talk 16) and Arnie Gelbart. Galafilm's Ian Whitehead
is producing. Lundman says Showcase has 14 different viewer advisories
to choose from, "but we haven't got to that point yet."
The opening episode, "In Praise of Drunkenness and Fornication,"
stars Quebec pop star and music producer Mitsou and veteran actor
Daniel Pilon. Canadian actors Adam Beach and Tory Higginson (The
City) are featured in subsequent episodes....
Productions - One of the companies producing Bliss.
Magazine - Scroll way down to see the Bliss mention.
- Order the latest thrive! newsletter (#21) where Peter
talks about filming Bliss.
Strange World returns
7 January 2002 After being cancelled by ABC after
only three episodes, and after airing in several European countries,
Strange World will finally be seen in its 13-episode
on the Sci-Fi Channel starting this February. For more on Peter's
role and an episode guide to the series, see the Strange
World page on this site.
7 January 2002 Thanks to a deluge of requests from
fans, Global TV has released all 22 Queen of Swords episodes
on VHS video (North American NTSC format only) in an eight-tape
set which includes some bonus video material and that ubiquitous
certificate of authenticity. The episodes are available only as
a full set for US $99.95 or CDN $149.00. Only a limited amount of
sets have been made and it's unlikely they will be making more once
the current stock has sold out, so don't wait too long to order
Preaching to the converted
UPDATED 7 January 2002 The Wingfield curse
the unfortunate situation that plagued Strange World and
Cold Feet, where Peter's appearance seemed to ring a death
knell for the TV series, leaving Peter's episodes unaired. That
couldn't happen with a movie, could it? Especially not one by a
well-known Canadian director? Alas, Peter recently told his fan
club that he's screened the final cut of A Wilderness Station
and so many of his scenes have been edited out that fans will be
playing "Where's Waldo?" in order to spot him. Looks like
it's time to start looking forward to the Wilderness Station
DVD release and hope that deleted scenes will be one of the extras...
Peter showed up at Highlander DownUnder 4 on April 6-8 sporting
the beginnings of a goatee for a new role in a Canadian thriller
destined for the film festival circuit. In A Wilderness Station,
Peter plays Scottish Presbyterian minister Reverend Walter McBain...
At last! Australian fans won't be alone in hearing Peter butcher
their native accent! (See The Sentinel.) Apparently, the
producers want him to do a Sean Connery-like Scottish accent. Peter
says he can do Scottish about as well as Christopher Lambert (i.e.
not well at all). Peter also thinks the producers might want his
character to have a full beard, though he said they will probably
ask him to shave it off when he arrives at the studio. (That's our
enigmatic Pete says one thing, then says the opposite!)
From the press release:
Set in Manitoba in the 1850s, the film stars Caroline Dhavernas
(Marilyn Bell, Tag, Ile de Sable, Out
Cold) as 18-year-old Annie. We first meet Annie when she stumbles
into the trading post of Fort Garry, barely alive, starved and
half-mad claiming to have committed a murder. She is immediately
confronted by the town’s legal authority, James Mullen, played
by Paul Johannson (Berserker, John Q.) and
eventually admits the murder victim was her husband Simon (Brendan
Fehr, The Forsaken, Roswell).
As Mullen begins to discover Annie’s past, he learns that she
blindly entered into an arranged marriage to help Simon and his
brother George (Corey Sevier, Little Men, Lassie:The
Series) forge a newly inherited homestead. After arriving
at her new home, Annie quickly learned Simon was an angry and
violent man. Her only solace was George, a kind, educated lad
who abhorred the treatment Annie received from her husband.
Directed by Anne Wheeler (Better Than Chocolate,
The Sleep Room), A WILDERNESS STATION is a taut period
mystery, literate and character-driven. It is authentic to the
rigors of the times, but is told in a contemporary, cinematic
“A WILDERNESS STATION has all the key ingredients to a great
story/film,” states Producer Bill Gray, “the elegance and beauty
of an Alice Munro story, the suspense of a mystery, and the engagement
of a love story where young people struggle to survive each other
and the ruggedness of the times.”
Also starring in the film are Currie Graham (Suddenly
Susan, L.A. Doctors), Tantoo Cardinal (Smoke
Signals, Dances With Wolves), Peter Wingfield
(The Wedding Dress, Highlander) and Francis Damberger
(Last Call, Paris Or Somewhere).
Anne Wheeler also directed the "Marilyn Larson" and "Douglas
Somerset" episodes of Cold Squad (episode
guide here), which makes me wonder if Peter's work in Cold
Squad directly led to him being cast in A Wilderness Station!
And Paul Johansson is better known around here as Nick Wolfe from
Highlander: The Raven!
With a production base in Winnipeg, A Wilderness Station
is currently shooting at several locations Manitoba, Canada. Two
that were mentioned in articles are Minnedosa (200 km west of Winnepeg)
and Lower Fort Garry, a historical site where the original settlement
The film is based on a short story, "A Wilderness Station"
by Canadian writer Alice Munro, which in part uses letters
written by Robert B. Laidlaw in 1907. According to a Winnipeg
Wilderness Station, based on a short story by Alice Munro,
is about a young woman who agrees to marry a homesteader named
Simon (Fehr) so she can get out of an Ontario orphanage. The bride
eventually falls in love with Simon's younger brother and, after
a woodcutting "accident," confesses to murdering her husband.
If A Wilderness Station follows the typical route of many
Canadian indie films, it will be showcased at the Toronto International
Film Festival (world famous film festival held for a couple weeks
every September; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the talk
of last year's festival), go into a limited release in "art-house"
theaters in Canada and the US, then go to a cable network or pay
TV with a possible home video release at the same time.
North, a review of several of Alice Munro's stories, has an
interesting quote that may illuminate Peter's character as well
as the theme of the film:
[Alice Munro's] view of our human struggle for happiness
often a mere flight from unhappiness partakes of the austere
Presbyterianism of Ontario's Scots settlers. She quotes the preacher
Thomas Boston: "The world is a wilderness, in which we may
indeed get our station changed, but the move will be out of one
wilderness station unto another."
Evidence: The Historical Fiction of Alice Munro - Short essay
that discusses how "A Wilderness Station" uses series
of letters to tell its story. Has a fairly detailed rundown of
Group Center - Info on the anthology Open Secrets,
which "A Wilderness Station" is part of. If you're interested
in buying it, this site has the ISBN and other info.
North - Review of several of Alice Munro's stories, including
"A Wilderness Station."
- Paul Johansson
Online - Official website, will continue to have info on A
Wilderness Station as filming progresses.
- Brendan Fehr - Official
website, will probably have more info on A Wilderness Station
as filming progresses.
star to land in Manitoba - Winnipeg Sun article on
Brendan Fehr in Wilderness Station.
filmmaker loved the late cold - Winnipeg Free Press
interview with director Anne Wheeler. Looks like Brendan Fehr
will also be trying to fake a Scottish accent... Oh no! Peter's
got competition! Will that make Peter's accent look better
or worse?! ;-)
UPDATED 7 January 2002 The Methos Collectors Package
announced by Peter last summer was supposed to be out in time for
Christmas but delays in putting the package together means that
it will come out sometime early this year instead.
Davis/Panzer (quick to make a fast buck but slow to realize the
spending power of Methos fans) are going to be putting out a special
Methos Collectors Package featuring a replica Methos sword, a DVD
interview with Peter, an audio (not sure if it's on CD or tape)
of Peter and Ocean Hellman (Alexa from "Timeless") reading
excerpts from the "Postcards from Alexa" stories in the
An Evening At Joe's anthology, Methos pictures and the usual
"signed certificate of authenticity." (Do they actually
anticipate such a booming black market in pirated Methos collectibles
that they think fans won't believe they're authentic without a signed
certificate?) Part of the proceeds from sales will go towards UNICEF
UK's Growing Up Alone Fund, Peter and wife Carolyn's chosen charity
in honor of their son Edan.
There will also be a "special" (are there ever any that
are not special in marketing-speak?) collectors package of autographed
Methos photographs. In real-speak, this is just a cheaper alternative
for fans who can't afford the Methos Collectors Package.
And early in 2001 Highlander action figures were announced
at a UK toy fair. There was supposed to be 6-inch and 12-inch versions
shipping in the fall of 2001 but Davis/Panzer later announced that
the action figures had been put on hold.
The Methos Chronicles Flash animated series, which Peter
narrates, was recently sold to iFilm, who will be hosting the series
from now on. iFilm is a website showcasing Internet films, Flash
as well as traditional video (using QuickTime).
Cringe and bear it
26 July 2001 Just last week my sister and I were
talking about embarrassing things our favorite actors have done.
Her favorite starred in a movie about a chimp that plays ice hockey.
"Oh no," I assured her, "Peter has never done anything
that cringe-worthy." Famous last words.
Peter is filming the sequel to Baby Geniuses called, imaginatively
enough, Baby Genius II: Superbabies. He'll be playing spin
doctor Harris Crowe (does that count as another doctor role?!),
henchman to Bill Biscane (John Voigt), a baddie who, imaginatively
enough, wants to take over the world. Yawn.
The IMDb describes the plot as "A super-baby with mysterious
powers comes to the aid of a new set of brilliant toddlers in this
high-adventure sequel to the smash-hit Baby Geniuses." (Not
quite a smash-hit, Baby Geniuses total US gross was only
$27 million. Then again, it was probably made for much, much less
I can understand why Peter would take this role a crappy
film is still a film, and Peter hasn't done too many of those
but what's John Voigt, respected actor and Angelina Jolie's dad,
doing in this? Apparently he executive-produced the first Baby
Geniuses. Frighteningly, the first Baby Geniuses starred
well known (and now washed up?) celebs Kathleen Turner, Christopher
Lloyd, Kim Cattrall, Peter MacNicoll and Dom DeLuise. It was notable
for using computer graphics to animate the babies' mouths so it
looked like they were talking. It also had the dubious honor of
being the worse movie of 1999, according to critic Roger Ebert.
Baby Genius II is scheduled to shoot in Vancouver, BC, from
July 23 to September 10.