Photo credit: TOTORORO.RORO | Flickr
Filmed in Vancouver
Hollywood North's Film Industry
Just a two-hour flight from Hollywood, Vancouver has become the third largest centre for the film industry in North America, earning it the nickname "Hollywood North." After all, the movie industry pumps $1 billion a year into the local economy, and with flicks like the 50 Shades of Grey, Deadpool and The Interview being shot here, word is out that Vancouver is picking up the glitter of its American Tinseltown sister.
Chalk it up to lower production costs, close proximity to a wide range of locations, or a climate conducive to all-year shooting. Whatever the answer is, Vancouver has become a hit with movie producers and, by extension, movie stars. This actually isn't a completely new thing. In fact, celebrity lore has tangled with Vancouver since the days when Gary Cooper hitched a ride back to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on a passing street-cleaning machine.
Of course, it’s not just productions destined for the big screen that shoot in Vancouver. You’ll also find plenty of your favourite television shows are filmed in our city as well. Vancouver made a name for itself as a sci-fi location with the original X-Files series back in the 1990s, and David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson recently returned to shoot the all-new season of the series. Other small screen fan-favourites shot in Vancouver include Supernatural, Once Upon A Time, Arrow, and The Flash, as well as series stretching all the way back to Smallville, 21 Jump Street and even MacGyver!
A telltale sign of a movie being shot at the big white trailers parked around the city, with cables snaking down the footpath, and plenty of casually-dressed people with walky-talkies milling around. To see what’s currently shooting in Vancouver, take a look at Creative BC’s “In Production” page, or YVRShoots.com.
Celebrity Spotting in Vancouver
Many of the actors filming in Vancouver appreciate the relaxed attitude locals have towards celebrities and the relative anonymity they enjoy here. So with plenty of movies stars out and about, enjoying their time in Vancouver, you could well find yourself sharing the pavement with a celebrity as you walk down Robson Street!
But many stars have their favourite haunts around the city. Drake loves the cannoli at Cioppino’s in Yaletown, while George Clooney was spotted enjoying sashimi and a vodka martini at neighbouring Minami. Uma Thurman and Jamie Lee Curtis have both been seen enjoying Blue Water Café’s seafood, and CinCin Ristorante on Robson has served Ben Affleck, Naomi Watts and Justin Timberlake. Stars including William Shatner, Eddie Murphy and Morgan Freeman have all enjoyed the Japanese cuisine at Tojo’s.
If you're completely obsessed with star-spotting, you can always try camping out at one of the hotels that celebrities love. Yaletown’s Opus Hotel is hot with musical types, from Lady Gaga to Gwen Stefani, while old school rockers like Eddie Vedder and R.E.M. prefer the Wedgewood Hotel. Goldie Hawn and Cameron Diaz have checked into the Fairmont Pacific Rim, and George Clooney and Tom Cruise both chose the Shangri-La Hotel Vancouver as their home-base in the city.
Top Films Shot in Vancouver
A lot of people express surprise about Vancouver as a filming destination, and they're even more surprised when we rattle off some of the blockbusters touting Vancouver credentials. Here are six that we like:
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin
Local boy, Ryan Reynolds, returned home to shoot this flick based on the Marvel Comics character. Vancouver is easily recognizable in the movie, including in scenes filmed downtown on the Georgia Street viaduct over a 10-day period in April 2015. Reynolds and his wife, Blake Lively (who filmed The Age of Adeline in Vancouver as well), made the most of their time in Vancouver during the shoot, and were frequently spotted in Kitsilano, the neighbourhood where Reynolds was raised.
50 Shades of Grey (2014)
Starring: Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan, Marcia Gay Harden
Although this movie is set in Vancouver, WA and Seattle, most of it was shot in Vancouver, B.C.! Watch this much anticipated film version of the uber-popular book, and you’ll see Christian Grey jogging the seawall, Gassy Jack’s statue, and lots of downtown and Gastown street scenes. After many a long day shooting, the cast and crew were spotted kicking back at the Irish Heather.
Twilight: New Moon (2009)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner, Ashley Greene
When the Twilight crew came to Vancouver in March 2009 to shoot New Moon, it was one of the most highly anticipated events in the city. Vancouver was abuzz about potential filming locations, and packs of crazed teenagers were prowling the city in search of vampire celebs. If you see the movie, look for scenes shot in Stanley Park and Kitsilano.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin
There's nothing like the Vancouver wilderness to inspire mutant adventure. Some scenes from the other X-Men movies were shot in the city, but X-Men: The Last Stand features such easy-to-recognize landmarks as Vancouver Art Gallery and the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Saving Silverman (2001)
Starring: Steve Zahn, Jack Black, Jason Biggs, Amanda Peet
It's inevitable that a cast like the one in Saving Silverman would create an epic laugh track, especially with its ridiculous plotline (Zahn and Black try to save Biggs from an über-aggressive Peet). Plus, Vancouver is everywhere in the movie: Granville Island, Jericho Beach and the old Cannery Seafood House all make prominent appearances in the film.
First Blood (1982)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Brian Dennehy
This classic wasn't shot in the city obviously, but Golden Ears Provincial Park, known as one of the best camping spots in Vancouver, was the setting for much of the first Rambo film. Just think: you can go camping where Rambo went postal!
Other Movies Filmed in Vancouver
This is not an exhaustive list of every movie ever filmed in the city (for that, visit Creative BC’s website), but here are some of the most notable films shot in Vancouver:
- The BFG
- Planet of the Apes (entire reboot trilogy)
- Hot Tub Time Machine
- The Interview
- Star Trek: 3
- Superman: Man of Steel
- The Killing
- The A Team
- Blade: Trinity
- Fantastic Four
- Mission Impossible 4
- Tron Legacy
- Sucker Punch
- Final Destination
- Happy Gilmore
- Ghost Rider
- The Neverending Story
- Night at the Museum
- Legends of the Fall
- 40 Days and 40 Nights
- Scary Movie 1 - 4
- I Robot
- Midnight Sun