Earlier today the Sci Fi Channel announced the casting of the lead roles in two of their four-hour back-door movie pilots. Tahmoh Penikett (Battlestar Galactica, Dollhouse) and Laura Vandervoort (Smallville) star in Riverworld, which is based on the popular award-winning series of novels by Philip Jose Farmer. Penikett plays Matt Ellman, an American war zone reporter who, together with his fiancee Jessie (Vandervoort), is killed by a suicide bomber. The two wake in a strange world where anyone who has ever died on Earth has been “reborn” along the banks of a seemingly endless river. Matt and Jessie team up with a female Samurai warrior named Tomoe (Jeananne Goossen) and American novelist Sam Clemens a.k.a. Mark Twain (Mark Deklin). The foursome set sail on the river in an effort to find its source as well as more about this world and why they have been brought there. Alan Cumming (who played Glitch in the 2007 Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man) guest-stars as the enigmatic Caretaker.
Stepping into the title role of The Phantom and his alter ego Chris Walker is Ryan Carnes, whose credits include Doctor Who, Desperate Housewives and the daytime TV soap opera General Hospital. Carnes plays a re-imagined version of this classic comic strip superhero whose battle with the criminal element continues in the present day. His heroic alter ego matches wits with the villainous Lithia, played by Isabella Rossellini (High Priestess Thar in the 2004 Sci Fi Channel miniseries Earthsea). Rounding out the cast is Cameron Goodman (Mad Men, The Closer) as Chris Walker’s love interest Renny, and Sandrine Holt (24, The L Word) as The Phantom’s trusted advisor Guran.
Riverworld has begun production in Vancouver, B.C., while The Phantom is shooting in Montreal. Both TV movies are slated for a 2010 broadcast.
On Monday, the nominees for the 2009 Canadian Leo Awards were announced on the Leo’s official site. A Celebration Awards Ceremony will take place in Vancouver, B.C. on Friday, May 8th, with a Gala Awards Ceremony following on Saturday, May 9th. Among the nominees are a number of familiar names in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy genre including:
Best Direction in a Feature Length Drama – Martin Wood (Stargate Continuum)
Best Screenwriting in a Feature Length Drama – Brad Wright (Stargate Continuum)
Best Supporting Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama – Sebastian Spence (Ice Blues: A Donald Strachey Mystery)
Lead Performance by a Male in a Feature Length Drama – Dan Payne (Mulligans), Roger Cross (Playing for Keeps), Michael Shanks (Stargate Continuum)
Lead Performance by a Female in a Feature Length Drama – Amanda Tapping (Stargate Continuum)
Best Dramatic Series – Reaper, Smallville, Stargate Atlantis
Best Screenwriting in a Dramatic Series – Sam Egan (Sanctuary – “Edward”), Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie (Stargate Atlantis – “Remnants”), Brad Wright (Stargate Atlantis – “The Shrine”), Alan McCullough (Stargate Atlantis – “The Queen”)
Best Production Design in a Dramatic Series – James Robbins (Stargate Atlantis – “Search and Rescue”)
Best Costume Design in a Dramatic Series – Valerie Halverson (Stargate Atlantis – “The Queen”)
Best Make-Up in a Dramatic Series – Todd Masters, Nicholas Podbrey, Sarah Pickersgill, Harlow MacFarlane (Sanctuary – “Warriors”), Todd Masters, Holland Millar, Kyla-Rose Tremblay, Nicholas Podbrey, Brad Proctor (Stargate Atlantis – “Vegas”)
Best VFX in a Dramatic Series – Lee Wilson, Lisa Sepp-Wilson, Sebastian Bergeron, Les Quinn, Matthew Belbin (Sanctuary – “Sanctuary For All”), Mark Savela, Shannon Gurney, Kodie MacKenzie, Vivian Jim, Dan Wier (Stargate Atlantis – “First Contact”)
Best Guest Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series – Ryan Robbins (Sanctuary – “Edward”)
Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series – Christine Willes (Reaper – “The Leak”), Teryl Rothery (The Guard – “Sound of Loneliness”)
Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series – Tyler Labine (Reaper – “Coming to Grips”), Steve Bacic (The Guard – “At Sea”)
Best Lead Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series – Missy Peregrym (Reaper – “Coming to Grips”), Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary – “Requiem”), Jewel Staite (Stargate Atlantis – “Tracker”)
For a complete list of catagories and nominees check out www.leoawards.com