“I’m a nasty old lady who does shit,” says the shockingly shameless senior played to the hilt by renowned actor Jayne Eastwood in the audacious short-form comedy series Hey Lady! that had its world premiere at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
A CBC Gem original series, Hey Lady! is produced by TJ Content with the participation of the Canadian Media Fund (CMF). The series is created and written by Morris Panych, directed by Adriana Maggs, Sarah Polley and Will Bowes and produced by Jessica Jennings. Tara Ellis, John Buchan, Sarah Polley and Morris Panych serve as executive producers.
Don’t ever tell a 75 year old to go quietly into the night. Hey Lady! is a 8x5min digital comedy series about a wiry old gal with a whiskey voice and a bourbon appetite, who refuses to let herself be put out to pasture. In an age when age is often the problem, Lady is a testament to the life force. Episode after episode, Lady finds herself at the centre of some absurd and very public embarrassment, requiring the assistance – and sometimes the bail bond – of one of her tired and over-worked middle-aged children. With the assistance of her friend Rosie, Lady goes on an off-the-charts, rampage of urban vengeance, upturning everything in her path – social norms, rules of etiquette, even the series itself.
Prepare to be startled by the escapades of this ‘lady’ without filters---she’s spiteful, boozy and blunt, spewing stinging insults and raw language. “I do strange things sometimes,” she says as she accosts a baby, tries seducing a hunky plumber, puts her son’s house on the market, and gifts her parole officer with deadly snakes. She thinks nothing of taking on a judge and her shrink doesn’t stand a chance. “Can’t you just be a normal old lady?” her straight-laced daughter pleads. Sensitivity, tact, and a maternal instinct are not this lady’s skill set. Terrorizing her adult children is a favourite pastime.
Created by lauded playwright Morris Panych and conceived specifically for Jayne Eastwood, Panych brings the inventiveness that marks his hit plays to the punchy eight episodes of Hey Lady!. Not only is ‘Lady’ in constant confrontational mode, she also steps outside her role by badmouthing the very series she’s making. It’s a surprising crack in the 4th wall that gives her even more ammo.
The series is helmed by award-winning directorial team Adriana Maggs (Goalie), Sarah Polley (Stories We Tell) and Will Bowes.
“I’ve been in this business a very long time,” says Jayne Eastwood, a five-decade veteran of the Canadian acting world, “So it’s wonderful to finally get a series lead written just for me!”
Eastwood’s sidekick in mayhem is actor-singer Jackie Richardson as the jovial, chain-smoking Rosie, a fellow party-animal. Crossing paths with ‘Lady’ and Rosie are their hapless victims played by a line-up of top Canadian acting talent: a psychiatrist (Don McKellar), the judge (Scott Thompson), and a gallery owner (Peter Keleghan). Her children are played by Zachary Bennett, Christine Horne, Matt Watts, and daughter-in-law by Grace Lynn Kung.
“’Hey Lady!’ is daring and elevated comedy,” says Eastwood. “I mean, I got to play a character who named her children after dogs!” And the ‘lady’ she brings to life in a bravura comic performance is one viewers are unlikely to soon forget.