The widow of late NDP leader Jack Layton was in Winnipeg Sunday to visit the film set where a biopic on her husband’s life is being shot.
Olivia Chow was at the Manitoba legislature to oversee work on “Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story.” The NDP MP even offered up some tips to help producers shape a true portrayal of her late husband, played by actor Rick Roberts.
“I know his mannerisms quite well, so I was able to give a few pointers,” Chow said. “And because I’m familiar with (news) scrums, the journalist was way too polite. Remember this was just as the election was about to be called — journalists are very polite people, but not at that kind of scrum, so I was able to give some opinion.”
Sunday’s shoot was set in the House of Commons, where mock journalists — and some real ones like local Brian Yasui — questioned Layton’s health.
Chow herself is being portrayed in the movie by actress Sook-Yin Lee, whom she’s spent time with in shaping the story.
Some of Layton’s personal belongings will even make an appearance in the film.
“I lent them (the producers) Jack’s cane, the clothing, the guitars, ties and suits, and whatever they wanted,” Chow said.
Production moves to a hospital scene today as the late NDP leader began to experience health issues. Chow said she isn’t sure how she will be able to handle the reenactment of an ailing Layton, saying it could be difficult to be on set.
“Some parts of it are painful — others are joyous. Rumour has it that there’s some hot and heavy scenes that they won’t bring me on set for, but I’ll wait and see what happens.”
The film is being produced by Pier 21 Films and Eagle Vision Inc. and will air on the CBC next year.
The biopic chronicling the life of the late NDP leader began production in Winnipeg last week.
The movie is looking for hundreds of extras to help recreate Jack Layton’s walk onto the stage of the Toronto Convention Centre where he greeted his supporters and celebrate the first time Canadians asked the NDP Party to be Canada’s official opposition.
Extras are being asked to wear business casual attire (men in dress shirts, sport shirts, ties, sweater vests and khakis / women in two-piece suits, dress pants, dress skirts, blouses and sweaters). Colours can be orange, neutrals, grey, tan and brown.
The shoot will take place Tuesday, August 14 from 4-10 p.m. at the Centennial Concert Hall.
Extras must be 18 years of age and older and are asked to refrain from wearing jeans, colours including black, red and white.
“Jack Layton was an incredible athlete, and I like to lie on the couch — so this in itself has been challenging,” Roberts said in a release. “The most intriguing part has been trying to embody his passion for life, his generosity, and his resolve to follow his vision in spite of overwhelming odds.”
Sook-Yin Lee is playing Layton’s wife, Olivia Chow, while Wendy Crewson (Air Force One) and Erin Karpluk (Being Erica) round out the cast.
Production began on August 5. The movie will air on the CBC.
Winnipeg’s Knox United Church will simulcast NDP leader Jack Layton’s memorial service on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Prior to the service, Health Minister Theresa Oswald will speak during an informal gathering to celebrate Layton’s life. Local musicians, members of the interfaith community and the public will take part in the memorial, expected to run from noon to 12:45 p.m.
“Knox is a natural place for a celebration of Jack’s live, lying at the heart of one of the most transformed urban neighbourhoods in our city, a area in which the residents themselves have worked together to make it one of the most vibrant, intercultural neighbourhoods in the country — themes close to Jack’s heart and life,” the church said in a news release.
The event is being held by Knox in conjunction with Manitoba’s NDP caucus at 400 Edmonton Street.
NDP leader Jack Layton died Monday, just weeks after taking a leave from the reigns of his party to battle a new form of cancer.
Layton’s wife, Olivia Chow, and children Sarah and Michael, released the following statement Monday morning:
“We deeply regret to inform you that The Honourable Jack Layton, leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, passed away at 4:45 am today, Monday August 22. He passed away peacefully at his home surrounded by family and loved ones. Details of Mr. Layton’s funeral arrangements will be forthcoming.”
Layton planned on returning to the House of Commons for the start of the new session on September 25.
On July 25, he stepped aside after appearing frail at a news conference to announce his new diagnosis. Quebec MP Nycole Turmel was selected as interim leader of the party days later.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Monday, which read in part, “I was deeply saddened to learn this morning of the death of Jack Layton. When I last spoke with Jack following his announcement in July, I wished him well and he told me he’d be seeing me in the House of Commons in the Fall. This, sadly, will no longer come to pass.”
Layton passed away at his Toronto home at the age of 61.
Manitobans who want to sign a book of condolences can do so at the Manitoba legislature until Monday, August 29 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Canadians handed Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservatives a majority government Monday. After leading the pack the entire night, with the NDP trailing in second place, the Conservatives won 167 seats across the country. Jack Layton and the NDP will sit comfortably as the official Opposition, winning 102 seats.
Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff took a beating at the polls, performing worse than political analysts had predicted and even losing his own seat. The Liberals picked up 34 seats nationwide, while losing one of their Manitoba seats in the riding of Winnipeg South Centre. Liberal Anita Neville was defeated by Conservative Joyce Bateman.
In tight local races, all eyes were on the ridings of Winnipeg South and Winnipeg North. In the south, incumbent Tory MP Rod Bruinooge won his seat for a third time, holding off Liberal challenger Terry Duguid by more than 8,000 votes.
In Winnipeg North, NDP candidate Rebecca Blaikie and the surge of the “orange crush” wasn’t enough to take back the riding from incumbent Liberal Kevin Lamoureux.
Gilles Duceppe, leader of the Bloc Québécois, lost in his own Montreal riding, while the party itself clinched four seats.
The Green Party won one seat in leader Elizabeth May — allowing her to participate in the federal leaders’ debate four years from now.
In another turn of events, the CBC indadvertedly broadcasted election results from the Maritimes Monday evening to other parts of Canada before all polls had closed. The federal broadcaster began showing results at 8 p.m. CT, before abruptly going off the air at 8:05 p.m. with a “technical difficulties” message on the screen.
It’s illegal to broadcast or transmit election results before 9 p.m. CT.
National voter turnout was 61%, while the provincial turnout was 60%.
Winnipeg election results:
Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia — Steven Fletcher (Conservative)
Winnipeg North — Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)
Elmwood-Transcona — Lawrence Toet (Conservative)
Kildonan-St. Paul — Joy Smith (Conservative)
Saint Boniface — Shelly Glover (Conservative)
Winnipeg South Centre — Joyce Bateman (Conservative)
Winnipeg South — Rod Bruinooge (Conservative)
Winnipeg Centre — Pat Martin (NDP)
Selkirk-Interlake — James Bezan (Conservative)
Churchill — Niki Ashton (NDP)
Provencher — Vic Toews (Conservative)
Dauphin-Swan River-Marquette — Robert Sopuck (Conservative)