TORONTO (CP) _ If legendary Canadian filmmaker Ivan Reitman has his way, the Trailer Park Boys _ Ricky, Julian and Bubbles _ will soon achieve the level of stardom in the United States that they enjoy here at home.
Reitman is close to inking a final deal with an unnamed American company to distribute "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie" to a U.S. audience, he said Wednesday on the line from Los Angeles.
"I literally have not closed it, we have not signed the contract, but a deal is being made and it should be announced in the next few weeks," said Reitman, who served as executive producer of last year’s Canadian box office hit.
Reitman pointed out that the humour of the movie, which follows the hard-partying Maritime thieves in their uproariously unsuccessful efforts to steal a mass quantity of change, is not exclusively Canadian.
"We’ve screened in America a number of times, including the South by Southwest festival and it was huge there; they loved it," he said. "The reception was actually better than at the Toronto screenings I attended because it was more surprising."
It was during the festival in Austin, Texas, in March, in fact, that distributors sat up and took notice of the film, referred to as a "cinematic masterpiece" by the Orange County Weekly reviewer who watched it (www.ocweekly.com).
Reitman, who’s heading to his hometown of Toronto in two weeks to be lauded for his induction into Canada’s Walk of Fame, is certainly used to those kinds of accolades. The 60-year-old _ "a very young 60," he’s quick to point out _ made his name as the man behind comedy classics including "National Lampoon’s Animal House," "Ghostbusters" and "Stripes."
His most recent success is the teen thriller and box office smash hit "Disturbia," starring Shia LaBeouf. Reitman produced the film. Reitman spends a lot of time in Canada, travelling here every six weeks or so, and will soon have an apartment in Toronto at the new Toronto International Film Festival complex, currently under construction in the city’s downtown core. But he’s particularly happy to be coming in June to be feted after being formally inducted into the Canadian Walk of Fame a few years ago.
"There’s something very warm and inviting and friendly about coming back," he says. "I got married in Montreal, I grew up in Toronto. They are beautiful cities with an enormous amount to offer, and two very distinctive cities in a very distinctive country."
Reitman still has lots of friends and family in Canada, many of whom he’ll see when he visits in a couple of weeks _ including his son, Jason, the subject of rave reviews himself last year for his film "Thank You for Smoking." Jason Reitman, who was born in Montreal, is currently working on his next movie, "Juno," in Vancouver.
"Now he’s giving me tips," Reitman said with a laugh, remembering how he used to give his son suggestions on filmmaking _ but the tables turned when the elder Reitman was making last year’s "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," starring Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson.
"I remember the day I brought him into the editing room, and he felt so great, and I felt so great, because he was doing to me what I had been doing to him all these years. It was a very interesting kind of shift in generation."
Reitman says he’s got a number of projects he’s working on _ but one of them isn’t, for now, a sequel to the "Trailer Park Boys" movie.
"It doesn’t make any sense unless we can make this work outside of Canada," he said. "There might be a sequel for only Canadian consumption, but I’m hoping there could be a sequel for worldwide consumption."
"I have hopes, but the issue is it’s very hard to break through right now in the American theatrical marketplace because it’s so expensive and they’re not going to spend that kind of money. It’s a small distributor, so we’ll see. I’m keeping my fingers crossed."