Published April 14, 2011 on Vancouver is Awesome
Sci-fi series Fringe began in its third season filming an alternate universe with the Orpheum Theatre digitally encased in amber and seems to have ended it filming a post-apocalyptic future with the Orpheum Theatre exploded into rubble and cars burning on Granville Street. In between, it’s been one wild nine-month ride of inventive location shoots, other-worldly lighting and set-signage-to-puzzle-over (Manhatan is spelled with one “t” and The West Wing is in its 12th season in Fringe’s alternate universe).
Is it any wonder that Fringe location shoots are my favourite to photograph? I recently joked about how hard it is to quit Fringe shoots on Twitter but Fringe solved the problem last Sunday when it wrapped its third season with an extra day of shooting: shutting down the Deltaport Highway near Tsawwassen (for the second time) to film more daytime doomsday aftermath of explosions and burning cars. Tempting as that sounds, I was one long ferry ride away on Vancouver Island.
Fringe’s final four episodes of the season begin broadcasting this Friday night. And it’s fitting that the first is a homage to Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi mind-trip Inception in an episode entitled Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD). As I watched it being filmed in the T intersection of Hastings and Hornby in downtown Vancouver on March 1st, I remarked that it looked like one of Dr. Walter’s acid trips. Three hundred extras dressed in grey and black kept running around the Vancouver Club and down Hornby Street as if caught in a vortex while Joshua Jackson’s Peter Bishop (wearing dark sunglasses) and John Noble’s Dr. Walter Bishop ambled through, sometimes cracking up after a take. Later I photographed John Noble standing on a ladder and others captured him sitting on a bus. If it wasn’t obvious already, a Manhatan subway station sign gave it away: Drugs are hard to take.
Fringe had shut down the same T intersection on Sunday, February 20th to film master shots of the extras running. And a Fringe fan blogged on Tumblr (Un Canadian Errant) about watching Joshua Jackson and John Noble filming a scene with Noble driving a taxi outside Bentall 5. She called it “How I Hung Around the Set of Fringe and Didn’t Die of GLEE” and it’s a hilarious account of her adventures on set.
The tone changed to post-apocalyptic when Fringe returned to the T intersection at Hornby & Hastings on St. Patrick’s Day for a night shoot with Joshua Jackson seemingly playing a future version of his character Peter Bishop with a receding hairline, lying on the ground amidst burning cars and explosions, the first of several shoots where Fringe blew stuff up and strewed wreckage. I swear I heard Joshua Jackson yell “Holy Frak” after completing that scene in front of hundreds of spectators, some drunk and not sure what they were seeing.
I also watched Anna Torv seemingly play a future version of her character Olivia Dunham with her hair cut to shoulder length in a separate scene a few weeks later. One of the dangers Read More »BIG READ: FRINGE Wraps an Epic Third Season