Al Pacino Almost Walked the Road to Avonlea

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It was an offer he couldn't refuse.

In February 1992, Road to Avonlea director George Bloomfeld told the Ottawa Citizen that he got Al Pacino his first film role in the independent movie "The Panic in Needle Park." Bloomfeld recommended Pacino after seeing him in an off-Broadway play.

Pacino would go on to build a career playing brooding and angry characters, prone to explosive outbursts. His roles included the The Godfather (1972), Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Scarface (1983). In 1992 Pacino received an Academy Award for Best Actor in 'Scent of A Woman.' The American Film Institute awarded him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.

Years later Pacino told Bloomfeld that he owed him one after a chance run-in at their agent's office. "I've often thought," says Bloomfield, "maybe I should bring him back to do a Road To Avonlea with me."

Unfortunately, the offer was never presented and the actor would never grace Avonlea's red roads. Nevertheless, it would have been interesting to see Pacino play a tantilizing role like the cantankerous Ezekiel Crane, the bitter Roger King, or the corrupt Judson Parker.

In the spirit of writer Raymond Storey, here are a few episode ideas:

godfathers and sons

Godfathers and Sons

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Scent of A Woman of Importance

Oscar flub was an Avonlea affair

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For one brief moment last February, it appeared that Road to Avonlea special guest star Faye Dunaway was about to award Best Picture to a film starring former Avonlea alumni Ryan Gosling.  Instead, Dunaway and her co-announcer Warren Beatty were handed the wrong card, announced the wrong winner, and were immortalized in the most controversial moment in Academy Awards history.

FayeFaye Dunaway played Countess Polenska in the episode "What A Tangled Web We Weave" and  Gosling played the troubled Bret McNulty in the seventh season episode "From Away."  Prior to her Avonlea appearance, Dunaway won Best Actress in a Leading Role for her excellent performance in Network (1976) and was nominated for this same award for her iconic performance in Bonnie and Clyde (1967).

Despite the success and skill of these two actors, both episodes are ranked in the bottom ten least favorite Road to Avonlea episodes with Gosling's 'From Away' being the worst all time.

Dunaway received a lot of flack during her stay in Avonlea for her cosmetic products, her unusual behavior in the Bloor and Younge incident, and for the outright lackluster episode.  Despite these criticisms, I feel sympathy for Ms. Dunaway and want to point out a few positives.

Unlike Sarah Polley, Dunaway never spoke bad about Road to Avonlea.  And while most actors were oblivious to the series (Bruce Greenwood doesn't even remember that he was on the show), she is one of the few special guest stars that praised Avonlea before stepping foot on the set.  Furthermore, Dunaway didn't complain when she was given the terrible script for 'Tangled Web.'

Dunaway shouldn't be blamed for the Oscar debacle and she is not at fault for her lack luster appearance on Road to Avonlea.

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