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From the SCITS Revue to the Silver Screen

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Jack Poirier

Corunna’s Jeff Stout has found a way to bridge the 6,000 km gap to Portugal, thanks to an upcoming feature film that may be that European country’s big summer blockbuster.

The 38-year-old Hill Street School and Sarnia Collegiate graduate serves as Associate Producer of the soon-to-be-released A Date with Miss Fortune. Although the feature length film was shot entirely in Toronto and Hamilton, Stout says the film is primed to draw huge crowds in Portugal.

A Date with Miss Fortune features some familiar names, including George Stroumboulopoulos and Nelly Furtado. However, in Portugal the crowds will come to see Joaquim de Almeida.

“He is the Tom Cruise of Portugal,” says Stout.

While some locally may not be familiar with the name, his face has graced the screen in more than 120 television series and movies. Credits include Fast Five, Desperado, Behind Enemy Lines, Clear and Present Danger, and 24.

Stout compares this romantic comedy to My Big Fat Greek Wedding, as it pokes fun at a lot of cultural stereotypes. The film centres on Jack (played by Ryan Scott) and Maria (Jeannette Sousa). She is a superstitious, religious Portuguese beauty, while he is your average white guy who also happens to be atheist.

During their accidental “first date” Jack and Maria project idealistic images of themselves, which are contradicted through a series of flash-forwards.

Her family, which includes Jose (de Almeida), is steadfast in their beliefs.

“She is superstitious almost to the point of being crazy,” Stout says. “Jack is a fish out of water … when it comes to her very old world family.”

Stout says when both Furtado and Stroumboulopoulos read the “phenomenal” script, they were hooked.

The stars of the film also served as its writers.

Stout met Scott as young actors in Toronto. The two agreed that regardless of who first got a deal on a feature film, they would work on it as a team. Scott honoured that pact, which Stout calls rare in the film industry.

A Date with Miss Fortune premiered April 30 at the Los Angeles Comedy Festival, the largest comedy festival in the U.S. A distribution deal in Portugal will see it released there this summer, and Stout says Canadian audiences will get a chance to see it around Valentine’s Day.

Stout, who credits the SCITS Revue for getting him hooked on dramatic arts, has several projects on the go through Trillenium Media Group, Straight Fix Entertainment and Picasso Chasers Productions.

There is interest from investors with “deep pockets,” Stout says. “This could be a career changer for us all.”

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