For several of the stars of Big News from Grand Rock, making the film was a family affair.
“Peter and I were asked to do it first,” says Leah Pinsent of her husband and co-star Peter Keleghan, “and didn’t even know Dad was going to be part of it.”
Dad, of course, is acting icon Gordon Pinsent.
“Because it is a small independent movie we were all put up at the Super 8 Motel,” says Leah. “I said, ‘You have an opportunity where the three of us are family and we’re right next to Georgian Bay so why don’t you give us the cash for the Super 8 and we’ll rent a cottage. So we actually made it into quite a nice summer affair. Brought the dog and walked along the beach. It was pretty cool.”
In the movie Ennis Esmer stars as Leonard Crane, the editor of the Grand Rock Weekly Ledger, a small town newspaper on the verge of bankruptcy. With no real local news to draw from Leonard turns to the town’s video store for inspiration. In the hope of pumping up circulation and advertising revenues, he fabricates a series of wild “news” stories based on the plots of old movies.
Leah co-stars as the town’s mayor, a part she says she based on Pamela Wallin and Rob Ford, while Keleghan is a dimwitted reporter employed by the paper’s embattled publisher played by Gordon.
We flipped the movie’s premise on Leah and Peter, asking them to take a recent headline and turn it into a movie pitch, complete with casting.
Keleghan suggested, “Harper shuts down transparency… Kills Sun TV by mistake but CBC thrives!” As for casting he says, “John Baird is looking for a job so he would play Ezra Levant. Tom Green would be Pierre-Karl Péladeau and Raymond Burr, as he is today, would co-star as Steven Harper.”
Leah chose, “Woman gives birth in first class airport lounge while waiting for flight” as her headline. “In this particular version she doesn’t have a business class ticket so they make her pay the entrance fee as her water bursts,” she says. “The person behind the desk would be me and the woman having the baby would be me. The woman with the cart, serving food who helps birth the baby would also be me. And the baby, of course, would be me.”