This year marks the third year that The Curse of Clara is airing on CBC television. This is a really special project for me. It’s based on a story I wrote about my real-life experience playing Clara in the National Ballet Company’s production of The Nutcracker. I was 12, a magical age where everything seems possible.
It was also the year of the 1972 Team Canada vs Russia tournament and I fell impossibly in love with Phil Esposito. Hence the big cartoon of Espo in the image! Turning the story into an animated feature meant making some changes and expanding the imagination. A love story between a 12 year old girl and a 30 year old hockey player just wasn’t going to fly so we transitioned it into an imaginary mentor role. This left lots of room for animated antics too.
I co-wrote the script with Jeremy Diamond of Smiley Guy Studios and it was a seamless collaboration. This middle aged guy with no dance experience managed to crawl into my brain like he was born to fouetté. The film was co-produced with Smiley Guy Studio, Veronica Tennant and myself. So here’s a fun fact, Veronica Tennant was one of the Sugar Plum Fairy’s when I played Clara and I, like the rest of the world was a huge fan. So imagine my joy at collaborating on this project with this amazing artist? It was everything and more than I could hope for.
The next bit of magic was casting the roles. From Saara Chaudry who played me, to Sara Botsford who played Madam, Sheila McCarthy, Chloe Gillard, Zoe Fraser, Karen Kain, Bob Cole and get ready for it…. Phil Esposito playing Phil Esposito! With a group of very talented animators, to see and hear it come to life was the best Christmas gift I could ever imagine. And of course, waiting 40 years to finally meet Phil Esposito was pretty great too. I hope you can tune in to CBC on December 21st at 7:00pm and December 23rd at 6:30pm. Or you can catch it online here https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2680436374
Happy holidays to all!
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