For many fans of classic melodic rock, Angel is one of those bands that should have…
- Posted on Sep 17th 2010 1:00PM by Jason MacNeil
The amazing rock'n'roll drama would be the last film late Canadian actress Tracy Wright made before she succumbed to pancreatic cancer on June 22 at the age of 50. The film co-stars Molly Parker ('Deadwood') and Wright as Kat and Vic, two friends who reunite a dozen years after their punk band Trigger broke up. The rocker chicks get back together one more time for an unbelievable performance and, in the process, rekindle their friendship and reminisce about old times.
McDonald notes that initially the duo wanted to shoot the film in the summer but Wright's cancer diagnosis last December sped things up. "That's what kicked it off," he says. "Don [McKellar], Tracy's husband said, 'If you want to do this, now is the time.' This was on a Sunday and the following Saturday we were shooting. When he said now, I thought he meant June, but it was January and we shot through four weekends ending on Valentine's Day."
The movie took an almost unheard of eight days to film which was made easier he admits with support from the Toronto film and music community.
"The actors that phoned and said, 'We want to be in the movie,'" he says. "Sarah Polley, Callum Keith Rennie and Julian Richings and it was the project itself. A big part of it was Tracy's sickness and we all wanted to do something for Tracy. She's our girl and we wanted to do it up right with her. We knew our small gang would pull it together but we were pretty surprised and astonished at the community at large that kicked in, whether they were equipment suppliers or camera guys, people wanted to say yes."
Filming culminated with a Feb 14 benefit concert at The Mod Club in Toronto featuring local bands like Lioness and Foxfire as well as Trigger shooting reunion show scenes. Hundreds of extras-slash-fans turned out for the concert -- including iconic Canadian director Atom Egoyan which was a benefit gig for a women's shelter.
"People couldn't believe this was actually the last day of shooting for this film," McDonald says. "'They didn't even know we started. People were floored seeing the girls on stage rocking out. It was great way to end and it was a pleasure all the way through. It was a great way to shoot -- two days of shooting and five days off, if I could have that schedule all the time it would be awesome."
The concert footage also features Broken Social Scene member Brendan Canning portraying a Trigger band member. "So Brendan did the score and Sarah Heywood, who lives with Brendan, she helped organize and curate the show," McDonald says.
'Trigger' includes several songs by Canadian acts such as Land Of Talk, Basia Bulat, and (which McDonald describes as "stunning") and closes with 'Changes,' the Stars track from their new album The Five Ghosts.
"I'm a fan of Stars and Amy Millan and Torquil [Campbell] and when that new album came out 'The Five Ghosts,' I was listening one night and I thought, 'Oh my god, that song would be great for the tail credits,'" McDonald says. "Brendan had written one which was good but it was a guy singing it and I thought maybe it should be a girl singing it. So they were really quite gracious, Amy and Torquil basically gave us the song for the tail credits."
'Trigger' -- which was the first film shown at the new TIFF Lightbox cinema -- is something both McDonald and MacIvor say they'll remember fondly. "It was one of the best experiences I ever had making a movie under strangely tragic circumstances, but that tragedy was buried so far underneath the surface," McDonald says. "Going into it I was a little bit like, 'Man this could be tough.' But it was actually pretty fun."