Between Chloe and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, 2010 was the year the city of Toronto—after decades of meekly disguising its streets as a cut-rate NYC, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, or even Cincinnati for penny-pinching, exchange rate-monitoring Hollywood executives—stood up and said to American moviegoers, in a politely raised voice: See us! Us, Toronto! See our charmingly mismatched duplexes, our hip coffee shops, our well-integrated parks! Our fire-engine-red streetcars! Our unparalleled all-night vegetarian hot-dog stands! Go Leafs!
But if you were thinking that this newly out-and-proud Canadian metropolis now has the self-esteem to refuse entry to slumming American productions, well, you’ve miscalculated: the Hollwood Reporter Hollywood reports that Pinewood Toronto Studios has announced plans to expand its existing soundstages to encompass “streetscapes” providing exteriors for films purportedly set in New York, London’s West End, and Chicago’s Loop. Will all American movies now be… Secretly Canadian?
So that productions no longer clog Toronto’s streets—streets now reserved for born and bred Canadian films, apparently—Pinewood, which operates the soundstages where producers already shoot extensive interiors, plans to build full-scale replicas of frequently filmed urban neighborhoods. The “shooting streets will be part façade and part permanent buildings,” apparently, and may even be open to the public.
So the plague of short-sighted cinematic outsourcing will continue. At least now, we know where they’ll shoot the English-language remake of Jia Zhang-ke’s The World.