Harrison Mooney: Two years after the first Deadpool filmed practically the entire first half of the movie on the Georgia Viaduct, Deadpool 2 has begun local production in Vancouver.
I actually watched the first one for the first time earlier this month, and I’ve gotta say, it was pretty fun. The movie certainly utilized Ryan Reynolds better than the crummy Green Lantern, but beyond that, it was a lot of fun watching a movie that took place primarily on the road I take to work.
This was far from the first time Vancouver stood out in a film that claims to be happening somewhere else. The Seth Rogen film 50/50, set in Seattle, opens with a shot of Joseph Gordon-Levitt jogging the seawall before he crosses under the Lions Gate Bridge, rounds a corner and emerges on Seattle’s Pike Street (which is actually Burnaby). It’s ridiculous. He’s barely sweating for a guy that just ran 235 kilometres. The whole thing feels like an in-joke from Rogen, who grew up here and, like myself, has probably found himself chuckling many times at a movie’s half-hearted efforts to convince the viewer that Vancouver is actually somewhere else.
This phenomenon was actually the focus of a pretty great viral video from last year: Vancouver Never Plays Itself.
My personal favourite example is and will probably always be The X-Files. Seemingly every episode opens with a little bit of text explaining where in the United States Mulder and Scully are supposed to be (or where Mulder, that maverick, isn’t supposed to be). But for the first six seasons, it’s clear where they really are. In “Ascension”, the the Season 2 episode where Scully gets abducted, watching Mulder swing from the Grouse Mountain Skyride is a particular highlight. You can see it in this old promo spot for the episode.
Hey, that’s Vancouver! Anyway, I’ll put the question to my pop culture-savvy co-workers. You guys: what’s your favourite “Hey, that’s Vancouver!” film or TV moment?
Scott Brown: Deadpool may have had the most “hey, that’s Vancouver!” moments of any major motion picture ever. Deadpool’s home is never mentioned as being Vancouver but the filmmakers didn’t make any real attempt at disguising some very distinguishable Vancouver landmarks like the viaducts, the Cobalt hotel and the iconic No. 5 Orange strip joint.
Much of Deadpool seemed like a knowing wink from Ryan Reynolds to his hometown.
The first time I ever remember saying “hey, that’s Vancouver!” was when I first watched the 1984 fantasy film The NeverEnding Story. The parts of the movie that don’t take place in the fantastical (and aptly named) world of Fantasia were filmed in Gastown.
When Bastian, the young protagonist who spends most of the movie reading a book before realizing he is in fact an integral part of The NeverEnding Story, uses Falcor the flying dog-dragon thing to terrorize some bullies, we get to see a whole bunch of familiar Vancouver sites.
Before Falcor corners — and I have to imagine later devours the young ruffians — he flies past the Dominion Building, B.C. Place Stadium, Sun Tower and Harbour Centre.
Patrick Johnston: X-Files, shmex-files. They made that at my high school.
Know what else they made at my high school? The Jonathan Taylor Thomas-Chevy Chase (with bored George Wendt) classic “Man of the House.”
The movie is set in Seattle, where young Jonathan is horrified when his mom, Farrah Fawcett, shacks up with a new man, played by Chase. Hijinks, as you can imagine, don’t ensue. A key (if you can call it so) plot point is some sort of boy scouts knockoff called “Indian Guides,” which also doubles as some sort of father-son bonding thing.
The casual racism involved is, well, palpable, as you can probably infer from the preview image below.
As for the “whoa Vancouver” moments for me, not only is there an early establishing shot from movie that clearly reveals “Seattle” to be Vancouver, but the locker used by young JTT at my school WAS MY FRIEND’S. This scene shows them leaning on it.
Believe me, they actually opened it and used it. If I remember correctly, my friend got paid for its use. (My locker was roughly halfway down the hall, over the other kid’s shoulder.)
There are plenty of outdoor examples: look, there’s the Brockton Point lighthouse.
Or this scene which places them near the Burrard Bridge:
There’s the rain dance the “dads and sons” perform to Everybody Dance Now. (Yes, that’s George Wendt.) You may not be able to identify that as the Brockton Oval, but believe me, it is.
Stephanie Ip: Saving the best for last, I see. Fine. I’ll share some of my favourite ‘Hey, that’s Vancouver!’ moments. I’m a big pop culture fan but also a hometown girl, so any time something is filmed locally, I figure it’s worth a show of support.
The first show or film I watched where I recall thinking, “hey, that’s Vancouver!’ was Dark Angel, which starred Jessica Alba as an escaped super-soldier trying to live under the radar in… Seattle. I don’t remember what it was that made me realize it was actually Vancouver or if that was just something I’d read somewhere.
But if we’re digging into the category of Vancouver film moments in my brain, this is the earliest memory.
Once Upon a Time also has some great scenes of fantasy fairy-tale heroes and villains wreaking havoc upon Storybrooke, played by Richmond’s Steveston Village. Not to mention, anytime the characters venture beyond Storybrooke and head for New York City, I’m always impressed by how big downtown Vancouver looks on screen. I guess the camera adds 10 pounds…?
Van Helsing’s production office is located in downtown Vancouver at the old Canada Post building, so if you’re ever wondering what’s going on with that massive building that appears abandoned, know that inside it is Ground Zero in the fight against a vampire takeover in an alternate fictional universe.
But my favourite Vancouver cameos have to be those found on iZombie. Created by Rob Thomas of Veronica Mars, the show sets Seattle’s soon-to-be zombie apocalypse against countless Vancouver landmarks.
The Vancouver Film School building at Cambie and Hastings in Gastown is the Seattle Police Department’s headquarters, Liv and Ravi have visited countless Vancouver businesses to shake down would-be witnesses and suspects, and more characters have been offed than there are shady-looking Gastown alleys.
Roll end credits!
These are our picks. Are we missing something? Let us know by tweeting or e-mailing us below, like these people did:
And if you have a suggestion for our next Van Live Roundtable, feel free to reach out and suggest something.Follow @harrisonmooney Follow @risingaction Follow @browniescott Follow @stephanie_ip
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