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How the film Trigger underwent a sex change

Bruce McDonald's new movie Trigger will go down in TIFF history as the first film to screen at the new TIFF Bell Lightbox Sunday night, but without destiny's intervention, it might have been a very different film indeed.

Years before Tracy Wright and Molly Parker joined forces as a pair of retired, recovering but reunited rocker chicks, McDonald had an idea sparked by the 1981 flick My Dinner with Andre, which depicts two people having a conversation at an upscale restaurant ( Trigger opens with a similar scene). With that as a central motif, the dialogue would need to be good, so he called on playwright Daniel MacIvor's script writing skills.

"I sent Daniel a letter to ask him if he'd be interested in making a movie about these two rock 'n' roll guys - guys - based around My Dinner with Andre, and it was actually specifically a sequel to [McDonald's 1996 movie) Hard Core Logo, with Hugh Dillon and Callum [Keith]Rennie playing the two parts that Tracy and Molly eventually played," remembers McDonald, who on this afternoon is pulling off the unlikely feat of looking stylish in a pinstripe jacket and waistcoat and a straw cowboy hat.

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So MacIvor wrote the screenplay, but then "for a number of different reasons," one of which was scheduling, "it was decided that it wasn't going to work with those guys," McDonald says.

Back to the drawing board.

"So we had this script and no actors, and then we thought we could make it an animated claymation movie, and then we thought we might do a Bugsy Malone and cast two 10-year-old boys as the junkie and the drunk. And then one day we thought, 'Oh, it should be two women,' and forget the whole Hard Core Logo thing," McDonald says with a grin.

So MacIvor rewrote the script, and "it was effortless," MacIvor says. "So it felt to me like it was kind of destined that it should be this way."

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About the Author
Banking Reporter

James Bradshaw is banking reporter for the Report on Business. He covered media from 2014 to 2016, and higher education from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, he worked as a cultural reporter for Globe Arts, and has written for both the Toronto section and the editorial page. More

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