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[Serie] The Great War

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Geregistreerd op: 13-7-2006
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Jul 2006 9:52    Onderwerp: [Serie] The Great War Reageer met quote

One dashing Quebecker signs on to play another
From Thursday's Globe and Mail

MONTREAL — When the makers of a CBC television series about the First World War were searching for actors to play soldiers on the battlefield, they knew they faced a tough challenge for the part of war hero Talbot Papineau.

Mr. Papineau was a dashing Quebecker who was bicultural, bilingual, charismatic, a foe to Quebec nationalism and a visionary for Canada. In fact, he's been dubbed the Pierre Trudeau of his time.

So the producers phoned somebody they thought could fit the bill: Justin Trudeau.

The 34-year-old son of the late prime minister mulled it over, and then said yes. And Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau began work on his first Canadian acting role.

The sometimes teacher, orator and self-described “ham” will don a scratchy First World War-issue army uniform to a Quebec field next week to take part in a large-scale dramatization of the crucial Canadian battles of the war.

He'll be working for scale.

“I'm just excited about it. This is something completely new for me — and geez, I hope I don't suck,” Mr. Trudeau said Wednesday in an interview.

Director Brian McKenna's $4.3-million series for the CBC and Radio-Canada will use about 150 of the actual descendants of soldiers and nurses who participated in Canada's great war effort. The great-grandchildren will embody their ancestors in the series.

But a handful of lead roles went to actors. And when Mr. McKenna and producer Stephen Phizicky started thinking about the person to play Mr. Papineau, Justin Trudeau's name came up like an inspiration.

“It was like a bolt from the blue,” Mr. Phizicky recalled yesterday. “If you want the Trudeau of his time, how about the Trudeau of today? So I said to Brian, the person who is Papineau is Justin Trudeau.”

Mr. Papineau, though obscure to most Canadians, was a seminal figure during the First World War. He was the great-grandson of patriote Louis-Joseph Papineau and cousin to one of Quebec's greatest nationalist thinkers, Henri Bourassa. Son of an anglophone mother and francophone father, Mr. Papineau became a Rhodes scholar and joined the war effort, where he rose to rank of major.

A devoted letter-writer, Mr. Papineau came to defend Canada's role in the war and, in echoes of Mr. Trudeau's vision many generations later, promoted the idea of English and French Canadians fighting side-by-side for a common purpose. In doing so, he become an outspoken opponent to Mr. Bourassa — much like Mr. Trudeau duelled with Parti Québécois leader René Lévesque decades later.

“The echoes are haunting,” Mr. McKenna said.

Mr. Papineau died in battle like so many other Canadians. Touted as a future prime minister, he came to symbolize the huge loss suffered by Canada on the battlefields of the First World War.

Justin Trudeau says he was won over to the project because of the values Mr. Papineau represented.

“It's all about the importance of fighting and building a nation with it,” he said. “It's through fighting and dying in the trenches that we really created a national identity for Canada. We're talking about the founding of a country and the birth pangs of a nation.

“My sense of Canada as a peaceful country is tied in directly to the fact that, in order to be able to be a peaceful country, we have a noble and glorious history in war — which we are forgetting.”

Though he sees parallel between Mr. Papineau and his father — “the niche that Talbot created was one that my father definitely stepped into” — Mr. Trudeau says he strongly identifies with Mr. Papineau as well. The soldier was killed in the battle at Passchendaele, aged 34.

“For me, my father was an old man and Papineau is a young man. My dad was 51 when I was born.”

While the television performance will represent Mr. Trudeau's major acting debut, he's no stranger to public roles. His eulogy at his father's funeral in 2000 was seen by millions of Canadians.

Mr. Trudeau took a voice and speech class while studying English literature at McGill University in the early '90s. He then taught drama, along with English and math, to high-school students in Vancouver. But his performances have been largely limited to public speaking on his favoured topics — the environment, education and youth.

Though he admits to being “a bit of a ham,” he said he never thought he could take on a role where he had to “get in the mind space of being someone else.”

But he'll have to: For his television role, he'll be expected to spend time in trenches, lead troops across battlefields, and live the re-enacted horrors of real battle, right down to the rats. He's also growing a mustache for the role.

The Great War, a four-hour series produced by Galafilm, is to air next April, the 90th anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge.


Officiële Site
“If any question why we died,
Tell them because our fathers lied.”
— Rudyard Kipling, Common Form (1918)
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Geregistreerd op: 17-2-2005
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BerichtGeplaatst: 14 Jul 2006 11:54    Onderwerp: Reageer met quote

Ze zijn nogal bezig, er is ook een Canadese film in de maak.

En er bestond ook al een serie over Canada in WOI.
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