Monday, 19 March 2012

Update: Film Adaptations of Janette Oke's Canadian West Series

UPDATE 16/07/2012: If you are interested in newer news on this film series (and a short video preview) see this new post here. For those of you who may be interested in reading the book, I suggest checking out my review here too. 

I was reminded this week of some posts I wrote a while back regarding some beloved Janette Oke novels, which were said to have been picked up by several film companies. The lovely Melody was asking in particular about the possible adaptation of Janette's novel A Gown of Spanish Lace. I plan to do a post sometime quite soon focusing on that wonderful novel but for now I'm going to share some news I found regarding the film adaptation of another series of Janette's novels- the Canadian West Series. I first wrote here about this back in March of last year (wow- last year! wait a minute *goes off to look at blog dates*.... my first ever post was the 13th of March 2011, I've been here for a year now!).

Image Credit: Christian Film Database
If you are a fan of Janette's work you may have noticed that for a while now there have been production stills, cast lists and quite a lot of information regarding the film When Calls the Heart floating around. It even appears that the film itself is already filmed and is only awaiting distribution. At one point there was even an IMDb site which was unfortunately taken down almost a quickly as it appeared. This lead to many speculations that the film had been cancelled. However  thankfully due to a little digging I found this flyer (There are spoilers on the flyer, so if you haven't read the book I would advise not following the link. See Below for my attempt at a spoiler free version of the flyer) and some information to prove the contrary.

Wynn Delaney (Stephen Amell) and Elizabeth Thatcher (Maggie Grace) in When Calls the Heart (Image Credit:  aBridge International)

The flyer not only displays some lovely pictures from the film (as you can see above) but also has a detailed blurb. I have carefully cut out large spoiler sections in the blurb and added the non-spoiler-ish parts below (well as much as non-spoiler-ish can go) so those who want to know more about the film can read it. I cannot promise that it is spoiler free as such, but believe you me it has less spoilers than that blurb in the above flyer link.

Young, pretty, cultured and educated, Elizabeth Thatcher’s big-city eastern upbringing in a rather well-to-do family has not prepared her for a teaching position on the Canadian frontier. But when a love-spurned school superintendent in Toronto manipulates her into the only teaching opportunity available, she has no choice but to embrace her destiny and head west. Elizabeth chooses to face her fears of the frontier and journey far away from her family, friends, and comfort.
When she arrives, she must learn many tough lessons about living in the Canadian wild west, but she is not alone. Amongst the farmers and townspeople of Pine Springs, she meets Wynn, Delaney a very handsome and charming man who immediately sparks her interest, but also seems to have his own family.  As Elizabeth becomes acclimated to the frontier and welcomes the local children into her classroom, she faces many obstacles, including wild animals, mischievous students, and misunderstandings with the townspeople [....] 
she soon realizes that Wynn is not only not a farmer, but actually a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. [...]As the school year winds down, and Wynn and Elizabeth grow closer, she soon realizes that Wynn is in deep conflict with himself.  [...] is in love with her [...] but he is [...] sworn to the dangerous duty of a lawman – a job not suited to a man with a wife.  

The Dvd release date for this film  is marked as TBA (to be advised) on each site I have come across, however, Annelie at the Christian Film Database site has very kindly answered some questions regarding the date saying:

'According to Believe Pictures, the production of this film will be in the Summer of 2012. There is still no release date at this time.'
This comment was posted quite recently on March 11, 2012 so it does give me hope that despite the long wait this film will eventually be released sometime in the near future :) (you can read the rest of Annelie's comments here)

Image Credit: Christian Film Database
In my search I also stumbled upon the picture to the left on the Christian Film Database site. When Comes the Spring is the second book in this lovely series and therefore would in essence be the sequel to the above film When Calls the Heart. So yay, we now have two films to eagerly await and again the Dvd release date for When Comes the Spring also stands at TBA.

I have subscribed to the site's newsletter which is the best way to hear of news on upcoming films. So as soon as I hear word of an actual date on either of these films I will be sure to let you all know.

I hope this post was of some use, most of the information is quite new to me but since I have been absent from blogger it is quite possible someone else has posted all this and you all already know about these films. Either way I enjoyed writing this up so.... :)

All my love,

Mel xx

ps. I'm really looking forward to seeing Stephen Amell as Wynn. I remember seeing Stephen in the Heartland tv series and a rather enjoyed his performance, he was quite charming.

pps. If only Harry Lloyd was going to be in these films. Actually scrap that if only Harry was in every film I plan on watching in the future. *sigh* If only I could make it through a post without saying 'Harry' or referring to him in some extremely obvious way or worse- getting stuck on this dream cast I'm trying to put together and finally deciding the perfect cast is one with Harry in all roles- male and female. I'm rambling. Sorry. Bye.


Melody said...

Ooh! I read these a couple years ago. Hehe... I started re-reading one a while back and noticed that Elizabeth was reading Jane Austen. I hope they put that in the movie. :D

But....she's supposed to have brown hair.

Oh well, I don't really expect much from them anyways, sorry to say.

But I love old-fashioned stories about teachers.
Love them, love them....

Oh wait, these aren't the same movie-makers, are they?

Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

How lovely! I remember you posting about this film being made but I haven't heard any news recently about it, not even the casting news. The photos from the flyer look lovely!
Maggie Grace looks like she's be great in the role but I've only seen her in The Jane Austen Book Club so that's not too much to go by because I dislike that film intensely. Stephen Amell looks great for Wynn.
I can't remember if I read all of When Calls the Heart but I remember enjoying Wynn's character especially. Thanks for cutting out the spoilers as I can't remember much of the plot so it's nice to have a surprise waiting. :)

A poster for When Comes The Spring looks very promising! Hopefully they won't make us wait long, and hopefully there's no unseen hitches that keep them from releasing both films.

Loved you PPS about Harry! I was wondering if you could get through a post without mentioning him! hehe
But somehow no post of your would be quite the same without a hint at one or other of his roles if not to the man himself! :D

Mel said...

Melody: Yes Elizabeth does read Jane Austen! And I do hope that they include that in the film. Even if she is just carrying an Austen novel or one happens to be lying on her beside table.
I think these books will prove to be quite difficult to adapt to screen unfortunately, especially in comparison to A Gown of Spanish Lace (that novel seems made for the big screen). But with all the rotten films that are around and coming out these days I am thankful that I have these two to look forward to, and the knowledge that they will be family friendly - despite the knowing there will be departures from the novels.
And *whispers* Elizabeth isn't supposed to have brown hair as such but rather a dark golden curls with red highlights. But either way it's quite disappointing that they couldn't stay true to that small (but important) detail. Hair is ever so important!

I wasn't exactly sure what you meant by 'these aren't the same movie-makers, are they?' (I think I went to sleep last night too late haha) I'll try and answer it as best as my sleepy brain allows: Both these two above films are directed by Michael Landon Jr. Produced by Believe Pictures and Distributed by Mission Pictures International. Similarly A Gown of Spanish Lace is being produced by Believe Pictures (a company founded by screenwriter Brian Bird and Michael Landon Jr) hmmm, Michael Landon Jr everywhere :S I hope with all my heart that due to the AGoSL being such a relatively short novel and not quite outrageous in plot that they will not have to make too many changes- however if Ariana is cast as a blonde (and they don't dye her hair/ use a wig) I will kick the tv screen. And just in case I offend any blondes with that comment, I am a natural blonde myself so I don't mean anything by it- simply that Ariana HAS to have dark hair :)

Miss Laurie:
The photos are lovely, aren't they! When I found them I was just about jumping up and down :)
I too have yet to see Maggie Grace act properly (I too have only seen her in the JA Book Club and as that was one of the worst films I have ever wasted my time on, and I can barely even remember her part in it), but from the pictures I think she actually really suits the part (despite the hair colour). Wynn's character is so dashingly wonderful. I've started re-reading the series and I'm quickly falling in love with him again (but I fall in love to easily- apparently) :)

Haha, it will be quite a trial for me to get through a post without mentioning him won't it. I am so glad that you enjoy my fangirl-ishness concerning him! xx

Melody said...

OOOOHHHH that's right she doesn't have brown hair. *facepalm* I knew that!... somewhere in the back of my head. Haha. It's been quite some time since I read that series. (When I was re-reading the first book, I didn't get very far.) Did you read the two sequels, about their adopted children? I read the first one, but never got through the second.
Oooh, okay, so it is Michael Landon Jr. Sorry I was confusing. ;-) I tend to prattle on nonsensically sometimes, haha. Anyways, I mustn't expect much then... I wasn't particularly impressed with the Love Comes Softly series... especially compared to the books. 9-year-old-Missie, my eye. (Or however old she was.) And that was only the beginning! As the series went on... oh dear. They changed sooo much! Nefarious creatures.
And aren't they making prequels now or something? Well, at least those aren't supposed to actually be based on the books. :P

Oh yes. Ariana HAS to have dark hair. I definitely agree. :D
One of the reasons I liked the new Jane Eyre better than I was expecting to, was the fact that they actually paid attention to hair color! *applauds* Haha, I watched almost every single adaptation for my Jane Eyre series of posts (which I think you missed), and at least some of all of them, and I was getting sick and tired of blonde-haired Miss Ingrams.

Mel said...

Haha. I've read the entire series a couple of times through now (there are 6 in the series I believe which include the ones about the adopted children). Janette Oke was one of the first Christian authors I was introduced to so I sort of collect and read anything of hers I can get my hands on.
Ohh that's fine, I love your nonsensical prattling :) and yes ...oh dear, lets not get into the Love Comes Softly series. I just watched the first few films again last week with my Mum and spent the entire time pointing out flaws... "*sigh* THIS DID NOT HAPPEN IN THE BOOK!", "HEY MUM DID YOU KNOW THAT IN THE BOOK........" arghhh yes Missie's age threw me off a wall and then Willie's death!- ughh no, that was it for me.
Yes the prequels have been aired, the first one is avaliable on dvd and the next one is out in May (I think). Considering they aren't based on the books, they may be a little more...hopeful but I have this horrible feeling that perphaps some of the events in them won't link up to the past that Clark describes in the novel. But I've yet to see them so really what do I know :)

Ohh no, I remember you saying something about doing some Jane Eyre posts and I was looking forward to it. I'll go on a hunt and track that post/post down sometime over the next few days- so expect comments!

You know I've really missed our chats, it's so nice to be back :)