Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and 30 other stars filming in Toronto this summer

Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig and 30 other stars filming in Toronto this summer
Matt Damon. Still from YouTube

Moviemakers have long disguised Toronto as New York, Chicago and countless other American cities: Steve Guttenberg jet-skied past the CN Tower in Police Academy 3 in 1986, the Incredible Hulk fought in front of Zanzibar in 2008, and the Batmobile will cruise down Yonge Street in Suicide Squad, which hits theatres in August. This summer, a fresh batch of Hollywood productions are flooding our streets and studios. Here are some of the movies, TV shows and stars setting up shop in your neighbourhood.


Starring: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Alec Baldwin, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz Director: Alexander Payne Release Date: December 25, 2017 Writer-director Alexander Payne (Nebraska, Sideways) spent a decade nursing this dream project about a man (Matt Damon) who literally shrinks himself to live a better life. Where better to film a high-concept social satire than CityPlace? York University and Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute will also make appearances. Filming is set to wrap August 9.

Star Trek

Starring: TBA Executive Producer: Bryan Fuller Release Date: January 2017 The Enterprise’s mission: to boldly go where no man has gone before. Or, failing that, Pinewood Toronto Studios. Super-producer Bryan Fuller (Heroes, Hannibal, Pushing Daisies), a former writer/producer on Star Trek: Voyager, returns to the franchise that launched his career with this TV reboot. It’s set to premiere on CBS’s All Access streaming service in 2017.

The estate in Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak.
The estate from Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak. Still from YouTube
The Shape of Water

Starring: Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer, Sally Hawkins Director: Guillermo del Toro Release Date: 2017 Hollywood legend Guillermo del Toro turned Trinity Bellwoods Park into part of a crumbling gothic estate for last year’s Crimson Peak. Now, he’s transforming the city into Cold War–era America, circa 1963. Plot details are under wraps, but the movie will reportedly combine history with fantasy à la Pan’s Labyrinth. Filming will coincide with del Toro’s career-spanning exhibition at the AGO.


Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, Ellen Page, Nina Dobrev, Diego Luna Director: Niels Arden Oplev Release Date: 2017 Hollywood’s mandate to revive every piece of pop cultural ephemera from the ‘80s and ‘90s has inevitably found its way to Flatliners, a reboot of Joel Schumacher’s 1990 thriller about medical students who seek near-death experiences to glimpse the afterlife. Production began July 9, and local boy Kiefer Sutherland, an alumnus of the original, is back at it.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage

Starring: Vin Diesel, Nina Dobrev, Samuel L. Jackson, Ruby Rose, Donnie Yen, Tony Jaa Director: D.J. Caruso Release Date: January 20, 2017 Vin Diesel suffered an unceremonious off-screen death in 2005’s xXx: State of the Union, but that was before the last few Fast & Furious films gave his career a second wind. This blockbuster resurrects his chrome-domed secret agent for another go-round, with Donnie Yen and Tony Jaa on hand. The Toronto leg of the production was spotted filming at Balzac’s Coffee (on Market Street), Thompson Hotel and Walmer Road Baptist Church.


Starring: Bill Skarsgård Director: Andrés Muschietti Release Date: September 8, 2017 Hemlock Grove’s Bill Skarsgård stars as Pennywise, horror’s most iconic creepy clown, in this new adaptation of the Stephen King story. Production began in June at Pinewood Toronto Studios; Pickering and Hamilton will stand in for the Town of Derry.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers

Starring: Seann William Scott, Alison Pill, Liev Schreiber Director: Jay Baruchel Release Date: 2017 One of Canada’s few honest-to-goodness domestic box office hits finally gets a sequel: Scott, Pill and Schreiber reprise their roles, while star, co-writer and man-about-town Jay Baruchel graduates to the director’s chair. Production began on June 22, and will split between Toronto, Hamilton, and Barrie (with hockey scenes shot at that city’s Molson Centre).


Starring: Clive Owen, Amanda Seyfried Director: Andrew Niccol Release Date: 2017 This sci-fi thriller takes place in a future where privacy no longer exists, the government records citizens’ memories, and crime is a thing of the past. (Wait, wasn’t that Minority Report?) Writer-director Andrew Niccol is no stranger to dystopian parables—he wrote The Truman Show and directed Gattaca. Production starts July 12.

Margaret Atwood.
Margaret Atwood. Photograph by Reuters
Alias Grace

Starring: Sarah Gadon Director: Mary Harron Release Date: 2017 Writer, actor and former Avonlea-er Sarah Polley adapts Margaret Atwood’s historical crime novel into a six-episode miniseries for the CBC and Netflix. Ubiquitous Canadian actress Sarah Gadon (Cosmopolis, A Dangerous Method) stars as Grace Marks, a real-life maid convicted of double-murder in 1843. The Giller-winning novel sought to reconcile Grace’s crime with her seemingly mild-mannered nature—a task that should be familiar territory for director Mary Harron, best known for American Psycho and I Shot Andy Warhol.

American Gods

Starring: Ricky Whittle, Gillian Anderson, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover Creators: Bryan Fuller, Neil Gaiman Release Date: 2017 The Norse Gods live among us in this series based on Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel. Deadwood’s Ian McShane stars as Odin (disguised as “Mr. Wednesday”), who leads the old gods in a battle against the “New American Gods” of money and technology. The Starz series began shooting March 1 at Toronto’s Cinescape Studios, with street scenes to be shot in Guelph. Production on the first season is scheduled to wrap in September.


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