Cherry biopic pulls no punches

In his usual role as the outspoken star of CBC’s Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry is hardly shy about going after players for lousy sportsmanship or half-hearted play.

TORONTO — In his usual role as the outspoken star of CBC’s Coach’s Corner, Don Cherry is hardly shy about going after players for lousy sportsmanship or half-hearted play.

So when CBC-TV decided to shoot a biopic of Cherry’s life, he didn’t want the film to pull any punches.

“A couple producers said: ‘Jeez, (you) don’t look too good in this,”’ Cherry said as the CBC unveiled its winter television schedule at the network’s Toronto headquarters.

“There’s no lying about it. I guess I was a selfish guy . . . . I only thought of myself, I never thought of the family a lot — that’s the way it comes out (in the film). It’s tough to see yourself like that, but that’s the way it was.”

Keep Your Head Up Kid: The Don Cherry Story will debut March 28 and 29.

Written by Cherry’s son, Timothy, the film follows the man nicknamed Grapes from his youth as an aspiring hockey pro through the 16 seasons he spent toiling in the minors, uprooting his family again and again, before he found success as a coach and, eventually, a TV personality.

Jared Keeso (I Love You, Beth Cooper) plays Cherry in the film. The 25-year-old native of Listowel, Ont., says he grew up playing junior hockey and staying up on Saturday nights to watch Coach’s Corner.

While he calls Cherry an “icon,” Keeso also praises the flamboyantly clad commentator for his honest lack of vanity with the more unflattering material.

“The good thing about Don that really speaks to his character is that he just wanted the truth told,” he said. “He didn’t want anything sugar-coated. He wanted it exactly like it was.”

To try to attain that realism, Keeso studied tape and trained with vocal coaches in the hopes of nailing Cherry’s inimitable delivery.

“It was a ton of work to prepare for,” Keeso said. “It’s the biggest role of my life to date and I’d be hard-pressed to find a bigger one.”

He didn’t, however, receive any advice from Cherry himself.

Cherry says the movie was shot while he was away covering the playoffs, and he only made it to the set for two weeks near the end.

“I think they were happy I wasn’t (there), that way I didn’t bother them,” the genial Cherry said.

Cherry has only seen bits and pieces of the production, but praised everyone involved, saying that producers did a “terrific job.”

Just Posted

More than $25k raised for Red Deer firefighter who is recovering in hospital

‘I think the support he’s getting is because of the person he is’

Lacombe backs Blackfalds stormwater plan

Stormwater management plan will open up more land for development in Blackfalds

Two men facing charges in alleged abduction

RCMP issued alert for woman on Wednesday morning who was found safe later that day

Red Deer RCMP seek public assistance to identify suspect in indecent acts

Red Deer RCMP are looking for a man believed to be responsible… Continue reading

WATCH: Two weeks away from Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer

In just two weeks, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir will compete with the best… Continue reading

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store on first day

EDMONTON — She’s being called one smart cookie. As people lined up… Continue reading

New vacuum needed: Calgary family adopts three bonded St. Bernard buddies

EDMONTON — Three adult St. Bernards who couldn’t be separated because they’re… Continue reading

Film with Fan Bingbing, Bruce Willis cancelled after tax case

BEIJING — The director of “Air Strike,” featuring Chinese actress Fan Bingbing,… Continue reading

Michael Buble shuts down rumours of retirement from music

LOS ANGELES — Michael Buble is shutting down rumours that he’s going… Continue reading

After Canada legalizes pot, industry eyes rest of the world

MONTREAL — Cam Battley is a top executive at one of Canada’s… Continue reading

Facebook’s election ‘war room’ takes aim at fake information

MENLO PARK, Calif. — In an otherwise innocuous part of Facebook’s expansive… Continue reading

Military to overhaul morale-boosting trips after review finds serious problems

OTTAWA — Canada’s top general is overhauling military morale-boosting tours after an… Continue reading

Police hand out a few hefty fines for allegedly violating Cannabis Act

The celebratory mood that marked the legalization of recreational cannabis lost a… Continue reading

Most Read