People

People

TV's Trojan horse

BARBARA WICKENS April 7 1997
People

People

TV's Trojan horse

BARBARA WICKENS April 7 1997

People

BARBARA WICKENS

TV's Trojan horse

He dresses like the bicycle courier he once was, while his stream-of-consciousness diatribes do not fall into easily digestible sound bites. In other words, Stephen Marshall is not a typical TV journalist. And that’s exactly how he wants it. Marshall, 29, is the prime mover behind Channel Zero, an eclectic video newsmagazine determined to challenge the conventional wisdom of TV news. Still, it is the good old CBC that is providing Channel Zero with its first national forum. Two earlier offerings, “Planet Street” and “This is Channel Zero,” are available on VHS cassette in retail outlets on four continents. But starting with last week’s broadcast of Channel Zero's “The Mondex Scenario”—about the testing of the new cash card in Guelph, Ont.—The National is airing three new Channel Zero instalments, all focusing on privacy issues. Despite his antijournalism stance, Marshall says he is thrilled with the mainstream access—“We’re the Trojan horse.”

Actor Vál Kilmer has gained a reputation as more of a sinner than a saint for his behavior on set. Joel Schumacher, who directed Kilmer in the title role of 1995’s Batman Forever, went so far as to call the star “childish and impossible.” But when Kilmer, 37, was in Toronto to promote his new movie, The Saint, which opens this week, he gave no hint of how he may have earned the “difficult” label. Instead, the actor seemed eager to please. Kilmer, who plays master thief Simon Templar and deploys all kinds of nifty gadgets in the new movie, readily fixed a re-

porter’s jammed tape recorder. He also praised co-star Elizabeth Shue for the freshness she brought to her role as scientist Emma Russell, and director Phillip Noyce for the chemistry he created on set. Kilmer—who eschews the Hollywood scene and lives in Tesuque, N.M., when he is not working—even confessed that he enjoyed portraying Templar, the hero of more than 50 crime stories by British novelist Leslie Charteris and a 1960s TV show starring Roger Moore. “It was fun,” says Kilmer, “and it was fun in all the places it looks like it was fun.”

Oscars and whispers

As predicted, the screen adaptation of Canadian author Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient dominated last week’s Academy Awards, winning nine of its 12 _ nominations. But there were some surpris| es. Juliette Binoche was flabbergasted to I be named best supporting actress for her □ role in the film. Sitting in the audience, ni Ondaatje heard his name mentioned four times from the podium. But director Anthony Minghella forgot to thank him. So when producer Saul Zaentz accepted the Oscar for best picture, Minghella told him—in a stage whisper clearly audible to the show’s one billion TV viewers—“Don’t forget to thank Michael.” Who says writers get no respect in Hollywood?

A mission as children's minstrel

VT Then Jack Grunsky sings, children listen. It wasn’t always that V V way, however—he started out entertaining adults. But, Grunsky, 51, found the late-night lifestyle of a folk musician incompatible with family life, and so drifted towards children’s music. In 1984, he connected with Prologue to the Performing Arts, a nonprofit On-

tario organization that takes singers, dancers and storytellers into schools—and hasn’t looked back since. His multicultural music has garnered him a raft of awards, including a Juno and two U.S. Parent’s Choice Gold Awards. For his most recent project, he joined several other children’s entertainers on Schoolyard Jam, a fund-raising CD for Prologue’s 30th anniversary. “I have found my mission ir life,” says Grunsky. “I am happiest serving youth.”