'Corner Gas: The Movie' a bittersweet ending for stars of the beloved sitcom - InfoNews

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'Corner Gas: The Movie' a bittersweet ending for stars of the beloved sitcom

Brent Butt waves to fans while giving an interview in The Ruby Cafe, on the set of Corner Gas in Rouleau, Sask., on July 16, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell
December 02, 2014 - 10:00 AM

TORONTO - When the pumps closed at "Corner Gas" five years ago, the end of the beloved CTV sitcom was an emotional time for its close-knit cast.

Now that "Corner Gas: The Movie" is set to hit theatres, stars including Brent Butt, Nancy Robertson and Gabrielle Miller say it's bittersweet to face the end once again.

"It was tough this time around," said Lorne Cardinal, who plays simple-minded police officer Davis Quinton. "I took a selfie of myself in front of the gas station, in front of the 'Corner Gas' sign, and I got really weepy. I spent 10 years here with all my good friends. And now I have to leave again."

The movie picks up five years after fans last saw the "Corner Gas" gang, and little has changed in Dog River. But when Brent and his pals discover their sleepy Saskatchewan town is broke, a greedy corporate giant swoops in to capitalize on their misfortune.

Filmed in Rouleau, Sask., this summer, "Corner Gas: The Movie" will screen in select Cineplex theatres across Canada from Wednesday to Sunday. Fans can visit cornergasthemovie.com to buy tickets or check local listings.

Butt, the creator and star of "Corner Gas," said one of the themes of the show is that nothing ever changes in Dog River. In the movie, the well-known cast of characters — gas station attendant Brent Leroy, his sidekick Wanda Dollard (Robertson), coffee shop owner Lacey Burrows (Miller) — are the same as always.

"They're almost frozen in time," he said. "I think there's comfort to knowing that or feeling that in Dog River, Sask., in this town that you watch every week on TV, nothing changes. You can come back at any time and they're all going to be there hanging out."

But even while bringing back the characters fans loved, Butt knew he had to elevate the storyline for film. He spent years reworking the script, which was co-written by Andrew Carr and Andrew Wreggit.

"It's a tightrope to walk," he said. "You don't want to change it so much, because (fans) like 'Corner Gas,' they want to see 'Corner Gas.' But you can't just make it be a long episode. You have to raise the stakes."

After the movie's theatrical run, it will air on The Movie Network Dec. 8, on CTV and CTV Two Dec. 17 and on The Comedy Network Dec. 22. The DVD will be released before the holidays.

During recent interviews in Toronto, the cast was jovial and wise-cracking. But when asked about how the movie perhaps marks the end of "Corner Gas," all became earnest and reflective.

In Butt's mind, the people of Dog River will always be there, going about their business and getting into trouble, he said.

"In a way, it doesn't feel like an end. It just feels like we've turned the cameras off and walked away. But that's still all going on," he said.

Robertson, who is Butt's real-life spouse, said she was grateful to have a second chance to say goodbye. When filming on the series wrapped, everyone was exhausted at the end of a four-month shoot, she said.

So when the cast returned to Rouleau in June to film the movie, they made a point of being "present" and appreciating their surroundings.

"This was the nicest month I've spent," said Robertson. "If this is the end of it, then the wind-up couldn't have been nicer. But we'll always be a part of each other's lives. As corny as that sounds, it's true."

Fans were also constantly on set during the month-long shoot, in part because of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign — which raised more than $285,000 — that featured rewards like set visits and walk-on roles.

"It's really nice to run into fans at the airport or grocery shopping, but having the experience of them being in Dog River with us in that environment was lovely," said Miller.

Fred Ewanuick, who plays the perpetually unemployed, slow-witted Hank Yarbo, said it helped to get a daily reminder of who they were making the movie for.

"Sometimes you get caught up in the world of shooting the film or TV or whatever you're working on, and you forget that you're actually making it for an audience," he said. "It's nice to work on something that people enjoy and to be reminded of that is like a selfish kind of natural high that you get."

Ewanuick compared returning to "Corner Gas" to being reunited with an old friend.

"That show to me is like a friend in your life that can go away for long periods of time, but when you come back, it's like, 'Yup, right back into it. Great, happy to have you around.'"

— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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