She may have known Jack Layton better than anyone else in the world, and this weekend Olivia Chow was in Winnipeg to visit a movie being filmed to share his story with the rest of us.
“Some parts of it are painful, and some parts are joyous,” said Chow on set at the Manitoba Legislative Building Sunday, which is doubling as the House of Commons for Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story. “It’s the story of an ordinary person being able to… make a bit of difference in the everyday life of people.
“I think it’s a story that needs to be told.”
Chow spent two days in the city meeting the cast—including Sook-Yin Lee who is portraying her, and Rick Roberts who’s taking on the role of her late husband—and watching the filming process.
Chow said she worked closely with the writer, producers and director of the movie, set to air on the CBC next year, and even met with Lee and Roberts to help coach them on their roles. She also lent personal items of Layton’s—including the cane he carried throughout last year’s federal election campaign—to the movie.
“So it could be as authentic as possible,” she explained, adding with a chuckle Robert’s mustache, is his own.
Some scenes would be easier to watch than others, said Chow, admitting a hospital scene at the end of Layton’s life, set to be shot Monday would be emotional.
“I dread tomorrow,” she said honestly. “I don’t know how I will handle that, it will be probably be pretty traumatic.”
Despite the ups and downs of the process, Chow said she’s very glad Layton’s story is being immortalized on film.
“It was difficult but I welcomed it,” she explained. “I want Jack’s spirit of hope and optimism to continue.”