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felicity18
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Q&A session with Mag Ruffman March 8th 2006(part two)

Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:35 pm

Do you find it strange to be answering questions from people who love shows like Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables even though it finished airing over 10 years ago?

No. These programs are ageless, and they are attractive to people for good reasons. People like the feeling they get from the shows. They resonate with the emotional atmosphere and they want more of that feeling. As long as you want more of a feeling, you're going to stay connected to anything that gives you that feeling. So no, I don't think it's strange at all. I think it's admirable to want to feel good.

Do you think it would ever possible to make another RTA movie like Happy Christmas Ms. King? If so, would you be willing to star as Aunt Olivia again?

I think it would be possible. The actors would all need to agree to come back of course, which can sometimes be an irritating issue, and they all need to be in the country at once. And there would have to be a compelling story, but that wouldn't be too tough because the characters are all so distinct and societal changes (in the roaring Twenties, for instance) would create interesting and diverse pressures on the characters. There would have to be compliance funding to make it worthwhile for the producers and that can be the most difficult component. There also has to be massive inspiration on the part of the producers because it can be a slog getting through all of the pitching and funding and budgeting and negotiating and hiring and organizing and costuming and set building and location selection and, and, and, ....you get the picture; it's an enormous undertaking. But it would be possible.
Keep the faith.

I would like to see a spin-off series which somehow included both Olivia and Grace Bailey. This might require some kind of time travel. Or else you would have to be twenty or thirty years older than Grace. (I got this brainstorm when I saw you and Grace replace a kitchen P-trap.) What do you think?

I adore Kathy Greenwood, so I'm with you. We both had the same kind of role (the awkward spinster), so it would be fun. Perhaps a period (Forties) sitcom called The Maids, in which two women who work as welders try to get husbands during the 2nd world war when there are no men around. So mostly they end up taking care of their aged parents and daydreaming about being married to Spencer Tracy.
Okay, I'm on it!

Did you get along well in real life and do you still keep in touch? Also another question about RTA, I read most of the interiors of the houses were shot in a studio but were they all because "King Farm" looks like a real house?

We were pretty tight in real life. We went out together almost every night after work and ate French fries and discussed life with alarming intensity. She's adorable and I talk to her once or twice a year. So we're not in close touch, but we don't lose track of each other either. Yes, the interiors of King Farm were shot in studio in studio, even though there is a real house on the farm where we shot the exteriors of Avonlea. People actually live in the house (the lovely Helen and Jack) so it wouldn't it have worked to shoot inside their house, plus it's harder to light a real house than it is to light a studio set, which has the benefit of not having a ceiling so you can hang lots of Fresnels ans scoops and Redheads (grip lingo).

I've enjoyed all 5 seasons of Avonlea. And, anxiously waiting the release of season 6 in May. I remember watching for the first time around 1993 on the Disney Channel. I would rush home everyday after work to watch. I was curious of the temperature it would be sometimes during filing. You all looked like you were freezing to death, but, kept on smiling! And, did it really snow most of the time as well? I'm also interested in your book regarding BBQing. Is it available for purchase in the states?

Yup, sometimes it was brutally cold. The reason we were smiling was because our lips were frozen to our teeth. after the first season we all bought technical gear (mountaineering underwear and socks) to wear under our costumes, after that the winter shooting wasn't so bad. The coldest I remember it being was minus 30. Sometimes we had trouble talking because our faces were stiff. But it built character. I have a book called "How Hard Can It Be?" and it's available in the States through the usual online vendors, or at http://www.beyondword.com. It's not about barbecuing knowledge, if written in large letters with a Sharpie, would fit on the palm of my hand.

In Road to Avonlea, what episode do you feel was your best performance and why?

I thought some of my best work was in the episode where I had to have a baby. I didn't have the first clue about how to have a baby and I still don't So if you want to see someone totally faking and important life experience, that's the episode.

How did your involvement in the repair show come about? Was it enjoyable?

I'd gotten married to a carpenter in San Francisco during a week off from shooting the first season of Avonlea. (Sounds sketchy, I know but we're still married so it wasn't the spectacularly bad judgment most people assumed it was when I got hitched 3 weeks after I'd met the guy, who's name is Daniel by the way). Whenever Avonlea was on hiatus (about 6 months a year) I'd go help Daniel build houses. So I learned lots and eventually became a contractor. When Avonlea ended, the Canadian women's network contacted me to ask if I wanted to host a repair shoe for women. It was a lot of fun and I had some of the best laughs of my life, particularly when trying to execute plumbing repairs, because plumbing sucks (literally and figuratively). We shot almost as many episodes of A Repair to Remember (78) as we did of Avonlea (91), but in a total of about 8 weeks, as opposed to 7 years!

What was it like wearing all the clothes that you had to wear? Were you able to take any "shortcuts" by not wearing some of the undergarments and such, especially in the summer? Did you have seamstresses  make your clothes or where did you get them from? I absolutely love the clothes from that era. What was your favorite Avonlea outfit?(ETA: Now that I re-read some of the questions before mine, I think this first part was already answered) What was your most despised outfit? What happened to all of the clothing and props after RTA??

Occasionally things pinched, and the wooly stuff itched, but most of the time I was happy in everything I wore. Yes, most of us had a day or two in summer when we 'forgot' to put on our corsets. You just had to stand up straight and ACT like you were corseted, and that way you could more or less fool the wardrobe department. Some of them were on to us, but they had too much compassion to force us to put the corset on in the heat. Some of the clothing was original, rented from a company in England. It was very delicate and most of us were too big for it. Women at the turn of the century weren't as athletic as we are now, so their shoulders were small and for that reason I had trouble fitting into some of the period clothing. A very talented team of designers, cutters and seamstresses made sure that we had lots of custom made outfits. I was especially lucky to get some of the prettier things, especially the suits made for Olivia's career women days. My most despised outfit was the pregnancy body suit. Thankfully I only had to wear it for one episode. It was all padding and lead birdshot to give realistic weight and it was hot as blazes. I'd had it with that thing by the time the episode ended. Some of it is still in the closets at Sullivan Entertainment! Some of it is for sale on eBay and some of it remains in the safekeeping of collectors. The hats raised our body temperature by 40% which was handy in winter, not handy in summer. So it would be fair to say that we liked our hats in winter.

Are you still friends and do you still talk with anyone from the cast of Road to Avonlea?

Yes I think I've answered the question about staying in touch with the cast. I think we will always be friends.

Mag, are surprised at the popularity of Road to Avonlea and the long-lasting impression it's had on it's fans? I mean, I watch RTA all the time, and I never tire of it, and I know many others who feel/do the same. Did you ever think, when making this show, that it would be sooo loved by sooo many, and that it's popularity would last this long?

I'm not surprised. We knew when we were making it that it was special, and it makes sense that people would respond whole-heartedly to the love in the labor. I'm glad that Avonlea is still making people happy. I hope its effects lasts a very long time.

Do you still keep in contact with the other cast members? Have you ever been to Australia? When you signed up for RTA did you have any idea it would become as popular as it did?

Every chance I get. No, but my brother has moved to New Zealand, so when I'm visiting him I will definitely have a good romp in Australia too. No! We thought it would only for one season. It was a huge surprised to all of us when it got picked up after the first season, and then we all started hoping it would go on forever. I'm waiting for my hair to go gray do I can do character parts. In the meantime, I'm about to launch an Internet how-to-show. For news about that, please visit http://www.toolgirl.com. I've also written a screenplay that takes place in the 11th century in an alternate timeline. The story is about a young princess who loses her youth, her parents and her kingdom on her 11th birthday. In order to reclaim everything she's lost she has to discover her metaphysical powers. It's quite fun. I'm also writing a young adult novel, and there are 4 others in the series.

Do you play any musical instruments? What's your favorite style of music? Do you sing to yourself?

I play guitar and piano by ear. Hip hop, classical, musical theatre, Indian Bhangra, African drums, Australian didg, trance music - i.e. eclectic taste! Always, especially when I'm anxious. Or happy. Or bored. In fact, I song all the time. I'm working on producing an album this summer with a few of my professional friends, with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity.

Would you ever come to this forum again? Perhaps just to post stuff and join in on all the fun and excitement??

I'd come back for another night of fun anytime.

Do you still talk to some of the cast on a regular basis? If so who?

Mostly R.H., Jackie and Sarah. I was at Gema's wedding a couple of years ago and she was the most beautiful I've ever seen her.

What was your best behind-the-scenes memory?

Jasper and I practicing our canoe dump at lunch before having to shoot it in the afternoon. We got in enormous trouble with the director because we got wet. But then we only needed one take when it came to shooting. He's probably still mad. His problem.

Did you and the cast ever hang out anywhere?

Jackie and I used to spend a lot of time in a bar at Richmond and Sherbourne in Toronto. The Montreal Bistro. Cast members lived in such different locations that it would have been difficult  to hang out after work, so the best place to goof around was in the studio lunchroom.

Did you ever keep one of your costume pieces as a souvenir?

The wardrobe department gave me the linen hanky into which I sobbed on the last day of shooting! But that's all I have.

What was it like working with Lally Cadeau? I've always wanted to meet her, and know more about her.

She's a beautiful babe with a heart as big as a car and she's living in Stratford, Ontario where she is a major component in the acting company of the Stratford Festival.

Do you plan to write any more repair books?

Nope, I think I've said all I need to say about home repair, at least in writing!

What's your favorite Color?

Red.

What's you favorite food?

Chocolate.

What's you favorite dish involving a potato?

Fries, the backbone of my diet.

WhatSs you favorite animal?

The noble wolf.

Mag, how did you like your time with the wonderful cast of Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea? Was it hard for you, not to mention all the others who made "the switch", to switch characters from Anne of Green Gables to your new characters in Road to Avonlea?

Honestly, it was one of the best times of my life. The people were wonderful and the scenery was idyllic. It was a great working environment. The switch wasn't hard at all; most  of us had only played our Anne characters for a day or two of shooting, so in fact it was much nicer to have more lines to play with in Avonlea. We sunk our teeth into the new roles and never looked back.

You were so good with the kids on Road to Avonlea, I was wondering are married and do you have any kids of your own?

Nope, just cats!

If Sullivan Entertainment decided to do another reunion movie, would Olivia Dale come back from England to be in the movie?

I think Olivia would come back if Sarah was getting married, or if Hetty had fallen ill, or if Alec go the gout, or if Felcity was expecting triplets, or if Cecily joined the circus. Or, really even if the Ladies' Auxilliary needed a pie baked. Because Olivia, while she was adjusted to Oxford protocols and Jasper's brainy colleagues, misses the comaraderie and rambuctiousness of Island life.

Also what was the funnest episode to do?

The episode with the bats, especially when one of them landed on the camera man's back in the middle of a take and shat all down his shirt.
Last edited by felicity18 on Fri Oct 02, 2009 10:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Yes, but your not one of those persons are you? Courage Gus Pike. Take your strength from those who love you. We'll survive all this. I promise you." Hetty King to Gus Pike

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