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Jessica Chastain, Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige and 22 other stars filming in Toronto this spring and summer

Jessica Chastain, Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige and 22 other stars filming in Toronto this spring and summer
Photograph by Kourosh Keshiri, courtesy of TIFF

Last year was a banner year for Toronto-shot productions: Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water cleaned up at the Oscars, The Handmaid’s Tale dominated the cultural conversation and It scored big at the box office. This year looks just as promising, with a range of comic-book blockbusters, streaming series and Oscar-bait bringing the stars to our city. Here’s what’s currently shooting in your neighbourhood.

Jessica Chastain, Ellen Page, Mary J. Blige and 22 other stars filming in Toronto this spring and summer
It: Chapter Two

Starring: Jessica Chastain, Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis Director: Andy Muschietti Release Date: September 6, 2019 Last year’s blockbuster Stephen King adaptation was set in Derry, an idyllic Maine town played by a variety of small Ontario locales: Port Hope, the Elora Quarry, the West Montrose Covered Bridge. The sequel, which revisits the Losers Club and their nemesis 27 years later, is set to film this summer, with studio work at Pinewood Toronto and a rumoured return to Port Hope. As cinephiles suspected, Jessica Chastain will play the grown-up Beverly, and Bill Skarsgård will return as Pennywise.

 

Titans

Starring: Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft, Ryan Potter Executive Producers: Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti Release Date: 2018 DC Comics will launch a new, yet-to-be-named digital service with this live-action adaptation of the Teen Titans comic series. Brenton Thwaites stars as Robin/Nightwing (yes, Batman’s protégé), who leads a junior Justice League with a team of lesser-known superheroes. Shooting at Pinewood Toronto Studios wraps in May.

 

Shazam!

Starring: Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Ron Cephas Jones Director: David F. Sandberg Release Date: April 5, 2019 The Titans aren’t the only deep-cut DC property in residence at Pinewood. This flick follows a boy who can turn into an adult superhero with one magic word (guess which?), led by Annabelle: Creation director David F. Sandberg and Chuck star Zachary Levi, who’s been posting pictures of Toronto on Instagram.

 

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Descendant

Starring: Taylor Schilling Director: Nicholas McCarthy Release Date: TBD Orange is the New Black star Taylor Schilling headlines this horror potboiler for MGM’s newly relaunched Orion Pictures. Schilling plays a mother who fears her eight-year-old son’s alarming behaviour may be caused by a supernatural force.

 

Polar

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Vanessa Hudgens, Katheryn Winnick Director: Jonas Åkerlund Release Date: TBD The town of Orono (just east of Toronto) plays small-town Montana in Netflix’s action thriller, based on a graphic novel about a retired assassin who becomes the target of a group of younger killers. The stars have also been spotted filming around Yonge and King.

 

The Umbrella Academy

Starring: Ellen Page, Tom Hopper, Robert Sheehan, Mary J. Blige, Colm Feore Executive Producer: Steve Blackman Release Date: 2018 In his side career as a comic book writer, My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way pumped out the Eisner Award–winning series The Umbrella Academy. The dysfunctional team of superheroes is now headed to Netflix, and the production has been spotted around Little Portugal, Queen West, U of T and downtown Hamilton.

 

Secrets of the Russian Tea Room

Starring: Andrea Riseborough, Tahar Rahim, Zoe Kazan, Bill Nighy, Caleb Landry Jones, Jay Baruchel Director: Lone Scherfig Release Date: 2018 This new drama from writer-director Lone Scherfig (An Education) kicked off production a couple weeks ago. It’s a modern-day fairy tale about four people who help each other through troubled times. Toronto doubles for New York City in this international co-production, with Telefilm Canada splitting costs with funding bodies in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Sweden. New York’s Russian Tea Room, however, will play itself.

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