Jack Layton biopic ordered by CBC

CBC has commissioned biopics of hockey hero Gordie Howe and the late NDP leader Jack Layton for future seasons.

Gordie Howe comeback story to be told in film

NDP Leader Jack Layton raises his cane as he takes to the stage in Vancouver, B.C., on June 19, 2011 after illness forced his retirement. CBC plans a biopic of the late NDP leader. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

CBC has commissioned biopics of hockey hero Gordie Howe and the late NDP leader Jack Layton for future seasons.

The public broadcaster announced Wednesday that it has commissioned three new films after meeting with writers and producers at the Banff World Media Festival.

The third film is a crime story, based on the best-seller Still Life by award-winning Quebec novelist Louise Penny.

"Each one of these stories is a uniquely Canadian story that celebrates and reflects our rich culture," Tom Hastings, CBC’s head of scripted drama, said in a statement released Wednesday.

The three films are:

  • Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story: produced by Brightlight Pictures and Nutmeg Entertainment, the story of how Gordie Howe came back to play professional hockey at age 45, opposite  his two sons, aged 18 and 19.
  • Smilin’ Jack: The Jack Layton Story: produced by Pier 21 Films and Eagle Vision Inc., is a biopic about the late NDP leader,  who began as a student activist and eventually became a respected federal politician with a unique personal style.
  • Still Life: by Three Pines Productions, is a story about a murder in the sleepy fictional town of Three Pines, Que., and the investigation led by Penny’s popular hero, Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of  the Sureté du Québec. 

CBC has previously created biopics about Don Cherry, John A. Macdonald and Tommy Douglas.

The network did not announce when the films are likely to be completed.