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Susan Gittins

Longtime mainstream media (MSM) journalist and author Susan Gittins began writing about and photographing Vancouver’s many film and TV location shoots in the summer of 2010 after the Winter Olympics put the city and its beauty on the world stage. Movies and TV series often showcase the Vancouver area in similar fashion. Vancouver is Awesome commissioned her YVRShoots series in the fall of 2010 and it ran regularly for three years. She launched her own daily YVRShoots blog in the spring of 2012.

RECAP: Everything in its Right Place on FRINGE – Updated

Oh how I’ve missed you, alt-universe. Fringe returns to the Other Side in episode seventeen, Everything in its Right Place, with Anna Torv’s Fauxlivia toting a big gun as Seth Gabel’s Agent Lee faces off with Seth Gabel’s Captain Lee (Fringenuity‘s episode hash tag was a spot-on #FaceYourself).

So we had a double dose of Lincoln Lees but when Seth Gabel played both in Victory Square in downtown Vancouver on February 8th, I only managed to get decent shots of Fauxlivia, although I did see Captain Lee get shot (a spoiler I kept to myself because I couldn’t bear the thought of Fauxlivia losing her Lincoln Lee).

This episode opened in Walter’s lab with Gene the cow wearing an FBI “jacket” while grazing as Jasika Nicole’s Astrid complains to our Lincoln Lee about having to cross over to the other universe to help investigate a vigilante with a connection to the shapeshifters. Agent Lee offers to take her place on the bridge to the other side where he meets up with Fauxlivia and Captain Lee. Clearly Seth Gabel is as good as Anna Torv at playing dopplegangers: Captain Lee is so macho and Agent Lee is borderline dweeb.

From there we go to the top of a parkade at night where the vigilante shapeshifter is killing a criminal in the act. When Fauxlivia, Captain Lee and Agent Lee show up at the crime scene, filmed on February 13th, @MartiniHoudini had a window seat on the action on the Bentall Parkade and Seth Gabel as our Lincoln Lee, an alt-Lincoln Lee double and Anna Torv as Fauxlivia below.

Some of the funniest moments took place on this parkade like Fauxlivia weedling Agent Lee’s middle name out of him and then pranking Captain Lee with a “What’s up Tyrone?” Followed by a superhero debate: “What’s a Batman?” asks Fauxlivia, explaining their superhero is Mantis. “Seriously? Your superhero is an insect?” says our Lincoln Lee. “Because nothing says badass like a flying rat!” retorts Fauxlivia.

And then we’re at a Fringe Division Quarantine Zone at  St. James’ Anglican Church in the Downtown Eastside, where Containment Unit workers are reopening an amber area. Fringe crew turned almost an entire block of Gore Avenue into this quarantine zone on February 9th with DO NOT ENTER signs posted on the entrance doors to the church and FRINGE SITE – DO NOT CROSS red tape stretched across the corner of Gore & East Cordova. The red tape also kept spectators off set — although it’s amazing how close half-a-dozen fans were allowed to stand to watch the steadi-cam crew filming Anna Torv and Seth Gabel. And hidden in among all this set decoration, fans spied a Fringe Division Renewal poster, widely thought to be a subtle plea for a fifth season renewal. Well played Fringe. Well played. I photographed Seth Gabel and Anna Torv having fun in the rain ahead of filming a scene of them entering the church.
I didn’t catch Seth Gabel in character as Captain Lee at this set; only a Captain Lee photo double. But I saw quite a bit of Agent Lee looking dweeby.
A month later on March 15th, Fringe filmed a pickup scene on Gore Avenue recreating much of the Quarantine Zone and then moved to Oppenheimer Park to film the soccer scene with some Fringe fans from France and  NYC prop cabs in the background.
Much of the action shifted to the Terminal City Ironworks complex in east Vancouver, which you should recognize from the season four premiere. The two Lincoln Lees get into it about how their paths diverged until Fauxlivia quips, “Get off the line Girls”. They do have a vigilante shapeshifter to chase down and then interrogate.

BIG READ: Darker Season 2 of FALLING SKIES Filmed in Vancouver

Published April 5, 2012 on Vancouver is Awesome

The second season of sci-fi summer hit Falling Skies takes place three months after Noah Wyle‘s father of three boys boarded an alien spacecraft in a bid to protect his middle son. It’s said to be an even darker look at the trials and tribulations of a small band of insurgents fighting against an occupying alien force which has killed most of the world’s adults and captured their children. So it’s appropriate they filmed it in Vancouver over the fall and winter durng our Rainocalypse, instead of in the Toronto area over the summer and fall in the mainly sunny weather of season one.

Noah Wyle (from ER) is former History professor Tom Mason, the civilian second-in-command of a Boston insurgent group named after the 2nd Massachusetts of the American Revolution and made up of about 300 fighters and civilians. Mason, whose wife was killed in the initial attack, has three sons —  Hal, played by Drew Roy, and Ben and Matt, played by  Connor Jessup and Maxim Knight.  Middle son Ben has been captured by the insectoid multi-legged aliens known as Skitters and harnessed. These harnesses are attached to the children’s spines and act as some kind of biomechancial device that allows the aliens to control their minds. Much of the first season is spent trying to get Ben back and to figure out how to remove his harness without killing him. But even when they do get the harness off Ben, it’s clear he’s not free from alien mind control. And that’s why his father boards the alien spaceship in the season one finale to find a way to protect Ben and stop the harnessing of kids.

This is the family show in a post-apocalyptic setting that legendary director Steven Spielberg had envisioned. Other key civilians are Moon Bloodgood as pediatrician Anne Glass and Seychelle Gabrielle as Lourdes, who’ve formed a makeshift medical clinic for the group. Will Patton is Captain Dan Weaver, the military leader of the 2nd Mass and Mpho Koaho as Thomas (a former Boston cop) and Peter Shinkoda as Dai are two of its best fighters. Jesse Schram is Karen Nadler, who starts off as Ben’s girlfriend and fellow scout until she is captured and harnessed. Sarah Carter‘s Maggie takes her place on the frontlines of 2nd Mass and maybe as Ben’s girlfriend too in the upcoming season.

Maggie happens to be the survivor of a gang of marauders headed up by Colin Cunningham’s charismatic and wickedly funny John Pope, an ex-con who causes mayhem wherever he goes, nicknaming Tom Mason, “Papa Smurf”; Karen, “Sexy Freedom Fighter”; Hal. “Strapping Young Man”; Anthony, “Black….Looks Like a Gangbanger”; and Dai, “Oriental of Some Kind” when they’re briefly in his custody early on. No one has better lines than Pope in this series, like his protest, “What am I? Canada”, when his 2nd Mass captors insist he go unarmed on a sortee. Here is Cunningham in character as John Pope on set in Vancouver.

At the Falling Skies panel at the Emerald City ComicCon last Friday in Seattle, new showrunner Remi Aubuchon (an SGU Stargate Universe writer/producer) and cast Colin Cunningham (SG-1’s Major Paul Davis) and Drew Roy talked about the upcoming second season and showed a three-minute teaser The Resistance Continues.

Noah Wyle’s Tom Mason has not been seen or heard from in three months. Many of 2nd Mass have died Read More »BIG READ: Darker Season 2 of FALLING SKIES Filmed in Vancouver

Matt Davis Has Wrapped Filming TV Pilot CULT in Vancouver

Matt Davis took time out of playing history teacher/guardian Alaric on The CW’s hit show The Vampire Diaries to film the pilot Cult in Vancouver in March. Even for a pilot, it was a relatively-short nine day shoot, which wrapped last Thursday night so that Davis could be back in Mystic Falls on the Atlanta set of The Vampire Diaries by Friday.

In this meta pilot, Matt Davis is a blogger named Jeff investigating the rabid fans of a cult horror TV show who have taken the series too literally. But relax, TVD fans. Even if picked up, Cult will be a short, 13-episode series, leaving room for Davis to return to Vampire Diaries. In other words, this pilot doesn’t mean the death of Alaric. Although it might.

I found Matt Davis — looking far too fine for a typical blogger — filming a scene on the pilot’s first day of shooting, March 20th, in Victory Square in downtown Vancouver.

From Victory Square in the morning, Cult moved production that afternoon into an empty heritage bank building with a glorious stained-glass ceiling on Pender Street, the same building that Supernatural turned into a vampire nest.

After this downtown sighting, Matt Davis fans looked for him on location but couldn’t find him. Some had better luck tracking him out and about enjoying Vancouver, which he tweeted about falling in love with –“Dear Vancouver, In spite of your rain, I think I may love you…. The only thing missing here is my Vampire Diaries family.” He then demanded that The Vampire Diaries return to the city where it shot its pilot — “#ByThePowerOfGreySkull!!!!!! I command the CW to move TVD back to Vancouver!!!!” And later Davis reunited with David Anders and Sara Canning here (Anders was in town guest-starring on Once Upon a Time and Canning is the lead of a new series Primeval: New World).

I didn’t find Cult again on location until its last day of filming, March 29th, when crew shot some scenes of Matt Davis sitting at the bar and at the window of the Alibi Room in Gastown. A film notice suggested that the last scene Read More »Matt Davis Has Wrapped Filming TV Pilot CULT in Vancouver

Mamie Gummer of TV Pilot Emily Owens, M.D. (formerly First Cut) at University of British Columbia

Students at the University of British Columbia did a double take last Friday entering their Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, which had suddenly been renamed Denver Memorial Hospital in preparation for Saturday’s shoot. It featured Mamie Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter) filming some scenes for The CW’s hospital drama pilot Emily Owens, M.D. (formerly First Cut).

Read More »Mamie Gummer of TV Pilot Emily Owens, M.D. (formerly First Cut) at University of British Columbia