Road to Avonlea Reunion Movie?

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Road to Avonlea Reunion Movie?

Post by Timothy » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:05 am

During the 'Interact with Kevin' chat at the Avonlea Message Boards on January 26th, our friend WhitneyLyn asked kevin Sullivan if he was interested in making a RTA reunion movie. Here was his response:

Kevin Sullivan: A lot of RTA actors have asked me about a reunion movie as many of them are really keen to reprise their roles. Maybe after I meet with Mag Ruffman, Jackie Burroughs and Sara Polley in May, I'll have more to say on the subject.

KS also commented:

...However, after so many years maybe it would be nice to see some of the characters on screen again. Who knows?

With the cast reunion at ROM and comments that Kevin Sullivan has given, it appears that there is a possibility of a RTA reunion movie. Therefore, it's time to bring up ye ol' RTA reunion movie thread.

If there is a RTA reunion movie, what would you like to see (or not see) in the movie?

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Post by katie » Wed Mar 01, 2006 2:51 pm

F/G and the baby, a Fizzy reunion, Sartie smooching, Jasper (in some form), ummm....definitely NOT Memento Mori part III. *shivers*

As long as I see ample Goose, Izzy, Felix time this time around, I'll be happy Katie. Oh and Arthur has two thumbs up from this chick.
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Post by Roo18 » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:16 pm

That would be so awsome if KS made another reunion movie! I would love to see if Gus and Felicity have a family, Izzy and Felix get married or they are married and starting a family. Who knows what else KS would put in the movie. :D
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Post by Shelly » Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:51 pm

katie wrote:F/G and the baby, a Fizzy reunion, Sartie smooching, Jasper (in some form),
*nods* on all counts.
katie also wrote:ummm....definitely NOT Memento Mori part III. *shivers*
Please, god, no! *prays*

Meanwhile, I wish he would've named names. As in, which cast members have addressed him about this? I know at least two cast members (Zach Bennett and Mag Ruffman) have said that a reunion now would be, pretty much, nearly impossible. While a second reunion film would be nice, I have to agree w/Zach and Mag on this; and I would add that as the years go on, the less the likelihood of a reunion. (Of course, there were twelve years in between Annes 2 and 3; but I don't see that sort of a thing happening in regards to RTA.)
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Post by katie » Wed Mar 01, 2006 8:56 pm

Shells, I hate to admit this (I'm the eternal optimist) but you have a valid point. RTA's ensemble is so much bigger than the core Anne characters. I'm sure some of them wouldn't want to do it again or have conflicts (as in HCMK), but I guess that's what fanfic is for.

I hate admitting defeat. :cry:
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Post by Timothy » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:53 pm

Shelly wrote:Meanwhile, I wish he would've named names. As in, which cast members have addressed him about this? I know at least two cast members (Zach Bennett and Mag Ruffman) have said that a reunion now would be, pretty much, nearly impossible. While a second reunion film would be nice, I have to agree w/Zach and Mag on this…
Zach and Mag are not the ones who would be producing the RTA movie. It would be Kevin Sullivan and he recently has said that an RTA reunion movie was something he would consider. Therefore, I would put more weight on his comments because he is the producer of the series and his comments are more recent.
Shelly wrote:...and I would add that as the years go on, the less the likelihood of a reunion. (Of course, there were twelve years in between Annes 2 and 3; but I don't see that sort of a thing happening in regards to RTA.)
I would argue that the chances of a reunion would increase as times goes by based on the enduring interest in the series. A lot of reunions, generally speaking, are often a decade apart from each other. If you look at shows like Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, Chips, etc. they often had reunions over a decade(s) after they go off the air; and similar to RTA, they are shows that retain a strong fan base and general interest. That’s what makes these reunions so compelling is that we want to know what the characters are up to and as Sullivan said, “it would be nice to see some of the characters on screen again.” That statement to me, does not support the view that an RTA reunion is “nearly impossible.”
Katie wrote:Shells, I hate to admit this (I'm the eternal optimist) but you have a valid point. RTA's ensemble is so much bigger than the core Anne characters. I'm sure some of them wouldn't want to do it again or have conflicts (as in HCMK), but I guess that's what fanfic is for. I hate admitting defeat.
It would be unfortunate if the key characters couldn't be in the film, but the actors that are committed to the series will likely be in the reunion movie and those that aren't won't.

A few years ago, Sullivan probably wouldn't have been able to make a reunion because he was under fire from the Montgomery heirs. I think he fell into a slump during this time because the heirs ruined his plans for SE to go public and his European expansion plans, causing retaliation with the defamation lawsuit and appeal. KS emerged from the LMM Heir battle rubble to take on new creative challenges. The following was reported from the Boutique newsletter:

Rumours Abound…?
A passer-by might notice that the lights at Sullivan have been burning
later into the night these days and new people have been coming and
going. Is something afoot at Sullivan? What are we to make of these
strange goings on? It’s almost as though the wheels of production were
beginning to turn again…. Stay tuned!


Sullivan is working on a film version of Mozart’s Magic Flute among other projects; but he is also connecting more with RTA fans and seems to have shown a greater interest in the series. KS went to the first Avcon. He’s appearing on more Avonlea chats and getting an idea of what the fans want. Now he’s going to ROM to meet up with alumni. I’m sure that the continuing DVD sales in the RTA series hasn’t passed his attention.

It would be great to see Gus and Felicity, and a Felix and Izzy storyline explaining what happened to them.

The one thing I don’t want to see is Stephan Scaini directing the film. Scaini directed the episode ‘From Away,’ ‘Anne 3,’ and HCMK; but KS has supported the director’s work in Anne 3.

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Post by Shelly » Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:35 pm

But Zach and Mag played two of the series' main characters and were involved in every season of the series, as well as in HCMK (although Zach's Felix was reduced to only a handful of screentime). And Mag is also an aspiring producer, so she does know something about that. I would say the two of them know a sight more about how production works in general than you or I do. I'm not saying KS doesn't know anything; but I'm taking in all the intel I've read, and based on my own intuition, and what I have read, I don't think a second reunion is likely, as much as I would like to see one.

Once again, I wish he would've said which actors have expressed interest.

HCMK had several main characters missing (Gus, the Pettibones (minus Arthur), Jasper, Felix for 98% of the movie, even Sara); and if you asked any RTA fan who saw HCMK what they thought about that, I think most would say there was a bit of a void left behind with their absences. You can also say the same thing about various episodes where the Kings aren't necessarily the primary focus ("Tangled Web", "The Disappearance", or almost any episode centred on Davey Keith).

"I'll consider it" doesn't necessarily mean "I'll do it", either. It simply means he'll decide if it's plausible enough to go on with it. And there's a lot to consider--availablility of the main actors*, money, getting a good script written, casting actors in any other roles that needed filling, that sort of thing.

IMO, the most cost-effective reunion for them is to have everyone (at least the main cast) gather in one place as themselves, or have them be interviewed separately in their own homes or in a public setting, and reminisce. SE still has all the tapes; the only costs would come from equipment usage and post-production.

* Like Katie pointed out, while Anne has only three core characters (Anne, Diana, and Gil), RTA has loads more (the King/Dale/Pike families, Sara, and the Pettibones)--at least fifteen, by my count. Getting the bulk of fifteen actors together seems a lot harder to do than getting three, IMO.
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Post by Timothy » Thu Mar 09, 2006 12:56 pm

Shelly wrote:But Zach and Mag played two of the series' main characters and were involved in every season of the series, as well as in HCMK (although Zach's Felix was reduced to only a handful of screentime). And Mag is also an aspiring producer, so she does know something about that. I would say the two of them know a sight more about how production works in general than you or I do. I'm not saying KS doesn't know anything; but I'm taking in all the intel I've read, and based on my own intuition, and what I have read, I don't think a second reunion is likely, as much as I would like to see one.
I don't doubt that Zach and Mag are capable producers and I don't question that it was believed at one time that a reunion would be unlikely. I'm pointing out that circumstances are subject to change and it will be Sullivan who makes the official decision on the possiblity of a reunion, because he owns the rights; and to this date, he has not dismissed that possibility.
Shelly wrote: Once again, I wish he would've said which actors have expressed interest.
When Mag was asked at the March 8th chat if she was interested in reprising her role as Olivia for a reunion, she replied:

YES! YES! YES! Even if I had to wear a corset. Even if I had to have another baby. Even if I had to shoot in minus 30 on the tundra. Even if Jasper were diagnosed with dementia. (Then we would have lots more children because he wouldn't be distracted by his experiments.) What's not to love?

Katie, I hope this renews your eternal optimism. She also said:

Yes I'd do a reunion movie. Jasper would have to not miss the boat this time.

While she indicated there were no plans, she said that there were "sparks and ideas." I think KS is an artist who could be motivated to produce another movie if he gets the right spark of creative inspiration (mixed with public interest and DVD $ales). Maybe Mags will lobby some of the ideas to KS at ROM.
Shelly wrote: HCMK had several main characters missing (Gus, the Pettibones (minus Arthur), Jasper, Felix for 98% of the movie, even Sara); and if you asked any RTA fan who saw HCMK what they thought about that, I think most would say there was a bit of a void left behind with their absences. You can also say the same thing about various episodes where the Kings aren't necessarily the primary focus ("Tangled Web", "The Disappearance", or almost any episode centred on Davey Keith).
The void of actors and a mediocre overall script definitely hurt HCMK. I think HCMK could have been salvaged to some extent if they focused more on the Felix story and less on all the aptly titled Memento Mori II interludes. They should have brought Izzy back. What were they thinking? HCMK also took a hit when the government cut its contract, likely causing Michael Mahonen to drop out of the production. Terrible timing for cuts.
Shelly wrote: "I'll consider it" doesn't necessarily mean "I'll do it", either. It simply means he'll decide if it's plausible enough to go on with it. And there's a lot to consider--availablility of the main actors*, money, getting a good script written, casting actors in any other roles that needed filling, that sort of thing.
If anyone can produce and sell a Montgomery based movie it's Sullivan. Another issue is air time. CBC has struggled in the ratings and could use some help from one of it's greatest proven rating winners. Pressure from ACTRA to produce Canadian based television could also favor a reunion. The thing I'm worried about is the script. There could be a serious problem if Scaini gets his mits (or hands, claws, tentacles, whatever he uses,etc.) on it.
Shelly wrote: Like Katie pointed out, while Anne has only three core characters (Anne, Diana, and Gil), RTA has loads more (the King/Dale/Pike families, Sara, and the Pettibones)--at least fifteen, by my count. Getting the bulk of fifteen actors together seems a lot harder to do than getting three, IMO.
It would be unfortunate if all the primary actors were not able to return; but if a handful of committed actors show up for a reunion movie, I wouldn't turn it off.

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Post by The Story Girl » Wed Apr 19, 2006 8:39 am

i think they should make a RTA reunion movie. It would be fun!!! It seems like Sullivan is lazy. If i were him, i would ask all the cast members to come back. Maybe it should be like three hours or so... i dunno. It's been almost 15 yrs. Sullivan needs to write a script. :o
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Post by Timothy » Wed Apr 19, 2006 12:19 pm

About 15 since RTA started, but it's been 10 years since the series ended and only about 7+ years since the last reunion. A lot of reunions are +10 apart. I think Sullivan has had his hands full a few years ago with the lawsuit against the Montgomery heirs. Also, he has been pursuing other non-Avonlea projects and the Avonlea marketing stuff. As an artist, I don't think he wants his life's work solely defined by Avonlea, although that's most likely what he will be most remembered for.

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Post by Shelly » Wed Apr 19, 2006 7:04 pm

Timothy wrote:As an artist, I don't think he wants his life's work solely defined by Avonlea, although that's most likely what he will be most remembered for.
*nod* on both counts. That definitely could be another reason why he's in no rush to do a second RTA reunion, methinks. Aside from marketing Anne/RTA memorabilia, supporting AvCon, and attending the upcoming event at the ROM, he's--for all intents and purposes--practically washed his hands of almost anything regarding LMM/Anne/RTA.
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Post by Wild Roses » Thu May 11, 2006 7:13 pm

I think another reunion movie is a realistic possibility. I would love it if the majority of the core actors were there, but if not, that would be fine, so long as a decent storyline was produced.

Between the fanbases salivating for -anything new- Avonlea related and the possibility to redeem himself for (at best) the disappointments or (at worse) disasters of Anne 3 and HCMK, it does seem likely that KS would make another one, even though he might not do it within the next year or so.

As far as the length of time that has passed. Well, some tv shows do their first reunion movies over 30 years after the tv show has ended. (Mary Tyler Moore show coming to mind.)

KS's wanting to move beyond Avonlea is understandable, yet at the same time it is a profitable venture, and I don't think even he is stupid enough to ignore the money to be gained by doing another reunion movie. (Although I would argue he has long successfully done stuff outside of Avonlea. Witness the success of Wind at My Back, not to mention the tons of movies he has made before, during, and after RTA. Doing Anne 3 and HCMK brought him back into Avonlea, then the lawsuit, the dvd releases, etc, started happening, and that is when tunnel vision hit and suddenly he thinks all people will remember him for is Avonlea. He has other fanbases for his other work, but perhaps those fanbases aren't quite as vocal as we LMMers???)

ETA: fan pressure really can work wonders. Dr. Quinn got cancelled by CBS (?) but fan love of it was so great, that the network ultimately ended up producing -3- reunion movies because the fanbase refused to shut up about the series being ended.

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Post by Shelly » Fri May 12, 2006 9:19 pm

Wild Roses wrote:Witness the success of Wind at My Back,
I don't think Wind at My Back has been half the success that some of his other projects have been (although, IMO, it was an excellent series (except for the final season, methinks ;))), even though it has a good, loyal fanbase. It didn't seem to get the acclaim that Annes 1 and 2 and RTA got.
WR also wrote:not to mention the tons of movies he has made before, during, and after RTA. Doing Anne 3 and HCMK brought him back into Avonlea, then the lawsuit, the dvd releases, etc, started happening, and that is when tunnel vision hit and suddenly he thinks all people will remember him for is Avonlea. He has other fanbases for his other work, but perhaps those fanbases aren't quite as vocal as we LMMers???)
Anne 3 and HCMK also weren't as successful as RTA and the first two Annes, especially not with most of the fans. Anne: The Animated Series, IMO, wasn't that great; and his only foray into comedy--P.R.--was a disaster, it seemed, lasting only one season.

The Wind fans are as loyal as the Anne and RTA ones (IMO); and, of course, some Wind fans are also Anne and RTA fans (I am one, for example). The same can be said for his other movies.
WR also wrote:ETA: fan pressure really can work wonders. Dr. Quinn got cancelled by CBS (?) but fan love of it was so great, that the network ultimately ended up producing -3- reunion movies because the fanbase refused to shut up about the series being ended.
Yep, CBS aired it; but, as I recall, they made only two post-series movies--the first one with Katie being abducted, the second with Colleen graduating medical school and Michaela's mother dying. (There would've been a third; but it seems like it was scrapped for whatever reason.)

I'm maintaining cautious optimism: While it'd be cool to have a second movie, at the same time, I'm not getting my hopes up.
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Post by Wild Roses » Sat May 13, 2006 9:12 am

You are right, my mistake. It was 2, not 3 DQ movies.

A thought occurred to me the other night watching the season 6 stuff. KS feels caged in by Avonlea, perhaps, but he is partly responsible for creating the cage. All the Sull-Ent website promos are one long Annefest. He doesn't market his other movies. And, the website itself seems to make secondary his other work. If he is going to promote himself using only his Anne films, then he shouldn't be surprised that he is tied by the foot to the Avonlea cage.

I realize Avonlea is his best marketing tool, but if doesn't want to be caged in, he should be promoting how good his other stuff is too. (Although I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of him having inherited LMM's Anne curse: no matter what he continues to make that may be a good caliber, the fans/public will still clamor for Anne/Avonlea despite the attempts to deliberately ruin the franchise.)

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Post by Shelly » Sat May 13, 2006 3:33 pm

Wild Roses wrote:A thought occurred to me the other night watching the season 6 stuff. KS feels caged in by Avonlea, perhaps, but he is partly responsible for creating the cage. All the Sull-Ent website promos are one long Annefest. He doesn't market his other movies. And, the website itself seems to make secondary his other work. If he is going to promote himself using only his Anne films, then he shouldn't be surprised that he is tied by the foot to the Avonlea cage.

I realize Avonlea is his best marketing tool, but if doesn't want to be caged in, he should be promoting how good his other stuff is too. (Although I wouldn't dismiss the possibility of him having inherited LMM's Anne curse: no matter what he continues to make that may be a good caliber, the fans/public will still clamor for Anne/Avonlea despite the attempts to deliberately ruin the franchise.)
Excellent points, methinks.
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