Thursday, October 23, 2014

‘Corner Gas’ stars reuniting for film

ROULEAU, Sask.—Stars of the hit Canadian TV series “Corner Gas” are pumped to reunite for a new movie, and say it’s like seeing family again.
Brent Butt, Lorne Cardinal, Nancy Robertson and the rest of the cast are back in the fictional town of Dog River (a.k.a. Rouleau, Sask.) to shoot a feature film based on the series, which ended in April 2009.

Butt says it feels like only a few weeks have passed.
“It’s getting back together with family, but it’s family that you don’t have tremendous psychological issues with, so it’s all great you know,” laughed Butt.
“It was great. The cast, we were all looking forward to seeing the crew. You come in, you see people every day for six years and then you kind of go your separate ways and you really miss these guys.”
Butt, who was born and raised in Tisdale, Sask., was a standup comic when he created “Corner Gas” in 2004. He starred as Brent Leroy for six seasons.
The comedian says he wanted to do a movie after the TV series ended and the script has been in the works for a while. But just because time has passed, doesn’t mean the characters have changed and that’s by design, he says.
“I was always against growth ... I seriously was. It sounds glib when I hear myself say it, but I was actively against these characters growing because thematically this is about a group of people who don’t like change. They don’t change much. They like their situation and they’re kind of adverse to change,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.
“We’ve come back five years later and it was a conscious decision to say they’re still here, kicking around. They’ve been here all this while.”
Still dishing out sarcasm from behind the cash register in the gas station is Wanda Dollard, portrayed by Nancy Robertson.
Robertson, who is Butt’s wife in real life, says being surrounded by the cast and crew and back in Saskatchewan helped her to get back into character. It’s like going home to visit family for Christmas or Thanksgiving, she says.
“I know everybody in the business says ‘Oh we’re like a family and blah, blah blah,’ but it really is,” said Robertson.
“For six years, we spent half a year together on location, living in the same residences, being driven together, travelling for promotion. You cannot help, working 13 hours a day, you cannot help but become a family, that’s just an automatic and it’s just a nice plus when you think the people you’re becoming a family with are pretty great.”
Robertson says she was a little nervous at first because she wanted to make sure she was bringing the same elements to Wanda as on the TV show. But, she jokes, Wanda hasn’t changed.
“I don’t think any of the characters really have, which the beauty of the world out here. Everything just keeps going along,” she laughed.
“Well, she’s changed in the sense that she’s heavier and she’s older. That’s the change.”
Lorne Cardinal, who plays police officer Davis Quinton, waited to shoot his next scene with Robertson and Tara Spencer-Nairn, who plays officer Karen Pelly.
He leaned against a gas pump and turned his face toward the Prairie sky, soaking in the sunshine.
Cardinal says reuniting for the movie was like “getting the band back together.”
The rhythm came back once the cast was in the same room, reading through the script, he says.
“I was little nervous about it, but once I donned on the polyester and got the hair just right, it was pretty seamless. It was nice to know it was still there,” said Cardinal.
“Corner Gas: The Movie” is set to hit theatres in December.

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