Kevin Tierney, a pioneering Montreal film producer and writer and the maker Bon Cop, Bad Cop, has died. He was 67.
Tierney passed away early Saturday after a “long hard fight with cancer,” his family said in a post on his Facebook page.
“My dad, the amazing Kevin Tierney, left us this morning at 4:15. My sister, mom and I were all there,” Jacob Tierney wrote on Instagram.
Bon Cop, Bad Cop, which Tierney also co-wrote, is the highest-grossing Canadian film ever made. It won the 2006 Genie Award for Best Picture.
The 2006 movie tells the story of two police officers — one Ontarian and one Québécois — who reluctantly join forces to solve a murder.
Colm Feore played OPP officer Martin Ward. Patrick Huard, one of the film’s other co-writers, played his Sûreté du Québec counterpart.
The dialogue is a mixture of English and French, and the film’s humour plays off the culture clash between the two officers.
“When I first heard the premise from Patrick Huard, my first reaction was, ‘How the hell did we already not make this movie?'” Tierney recalled in a 2010 interview with CBC’s Bernard St-Laurent.
Tierney would explore the same themes in French Immersion, a 2011 comedy that follows a group of anglophones who come to a remote town in Northern Quebec in order to learn French.
Bridging the divide
In his interview with St-Laurent, Tierney reflected on his reputation as the “anti-solitudes producer.”
“It’s my life. It’s the way you live here. It’s not strange to me. Most of my life is spent going from one language to the next,” he said.
“It would be preposterous to talk to my anglophone wife and my anglophone children in French, but many of my friends, and certainly the way I make my living, is in French.
“I have an ironic take on it because I do not feel particularly Canadian and I certainly have been told I am not Québécois, and so, to me, it’s like I’m a bon anglais, because I can speak French. That’s it.”
His long list of credits also include serving as executive producer for the Gemini-nominated Choice: The Henry Morgentaler Story (2003), about the doctor whose advocacy led to a Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in Canada, and One Dead Indian (2006), about the fatal shooting of an Indigenous man during a land-claims confrontation. It won a Gemini Award for best TV movie.
He also produced The Trotsky, a film about a revolutionary Montreal high school student directed by his son, Jacob.
Born on Aug. 27, 1950, Tierney went to high school in St. Hubert, Que., on Montreal’s South Shore before attending both McGill and Concordia.
He taught English as a second language abroad before going into show business. More recently, Tierney worked as a columnist at the Montreal Gazette.