Monday, 14 November 2011

Now filming in Ottawa: Career Killer

Star-gazers might want to note that Michael Keaton is coming to town in a couple weeks to shoot a movie called Penthouse North.

He's playing the googly-eyed bad guy.


I used to be a big Keaton fan in the early days. When he played Beetlejuice. And Mr. Mom. When he was on the Night Shift.

In other words, I used to love the old Michael Keaton, before he played Batman. Talk about casting against type. Tim Burton must have been doing some pretty good 'shrooms in those days.

We rarely see Keaton these days -- I saw him last week in a bit turn as a janitor on 30 Rock .

Mostly, he's been doing cameos.

Which pretty much explains why he's coming to Ottawa.

Ottawa, the graveyard of old movie stars and has-beens.

Lou Diamond Phillips. Cuba Gooding, Jr. Christian Slater.

They come to Ottawa as a last resort, to star in rock bottom remainders usually destined for U.S. cable. Like the Lifetime Network, with such inspired offerings as A Nanny's Secret, A Neighbor's Secret, A Sister's Secret.

The movies are so awful they can't even be bothered coming up with a new title.

Lou, referred to affectionately by the night crew at the Embassy Hotel as LDP -- comes to Ottawa for pragmentic reasons. He can whip off a movie-of-the-week and sneak in a visit to his wife's folks in Cornwall.

Beats spending another 11 weeks shooting I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Outta Here.

Or does it?

You can usually recognize a movie shot in Ottawa because there's always a scene at 18 Restaurant.

You can usually recognize a movie shot in the old Hull section because it's chock-a-block full of shots of seedy strip clubs and run down buildings.

Gatineau's version of Historic Sites.

Or because it needs fake scenes of somebody running through the Gatineaus who is not being chased by a real predator.

Remember a few years back when Ottawa was heralded as the new mecca for American film production? Both Ottawa and Gatineau poured money into establishing a film office here and turning the old Laurentian High School into a film studio.

How did that work out?

The film studio is now a Walmart.

The film industry in Ottawa is a real racket alright.

The casting companies are now charging extras $25 just to be in their "database". Unfortunately for extras, they only make minimum wage, so they have to work the first three hours for free, and probably won't get a call back.

I'm hoping Michael Keaton and his co-star, Michelle Monaghan, will class up the joint a bit.

But if the Gooding/Slater movie was an indication of the calibre of the pieces shot here it's bound to be a stinkeroo.

But there is good news.

Don't be surprised if Keaton is mistaken for one of the province's finest. As Braindroppings pointed out during the Ontario election campaign, Keaton a dead ringer for Ontario Conservative leader Tim Who Dat?

Or is it the other way round?

Just see for yourself.

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.



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