Silent Bob spoke and Snake got the job.
So says Degrassi High director/producer Stefan Brogren, who claims he was pegged to helm the latest Degrassi TV movie after a recommendation from director Kevin Smith of Jay and Silent Bob fame.
“We were talking to Kevin about making a guest appearance and he was asked who he might like to work with. And he said why not Brogren?” says Stefan, who is the midst of working on the new season of Degrassi.
“I guess the conversation had happened before. Still, it was a bit daunting.”
But not surprising. For Brogren is old school Degrassi. Not only is he instantly recognizable as “Snake” Simpson from the original Degrassi High series (or “Mr. Simpson” as he’s known on the current version), he now works behind the camera as episode director and producer.
Still, this movie of the week is a Degrassi with a difference. It’s a two hour movie special, set in Hollywood, with an ambitious plot and plenty of music and celebrity guest stars (including Smith and Jason Mewes as themselves, Vivica A. Fox, and Perez Hilton). Think Degrassi 90210.
“It’s definitely got a bigger scope and a different vibe. It’s more a Degrassi fairy tale,” says Brogren. “The trick was to go with the different vibe but somehow maintain what makes Degrassi so great.”
In the story, the Degrassi kids head on a road trip to Hollywood in pursuit of fame and fortune. There they meet up with Degrassi grad Paige (Lauren Collins), who has just jumped from the role of lowly personal assistant to movie star.
“It’s sort of a typical Paige story,” says Collins, who spent six years on the show.
“She wants to try something new and heads off to LA. But then she gets into trouble because she lies to everyone at Degrassi about what she’s doing.”
Collins, who now splits her time between Toronto and Montreal, says the TV movie has generated a lot of interest in the Canadian media —something that hasn’t always been the case.
“I think the fact we stepped it up a bit with all the stars and the music and the setting. But in the U.S., we always get a lot of press.”
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