Death Race 3000

That’s the name of the movie that is apparently going to be partially shot at Turcot Yards.

BRENDAN KELLY, The Montreal Gazette
Published: Monday, June 25, 2007
Montreal film commissioner Daniel Bissonnette got a call a few weeks
back from an executive at a major Hollywood studio. She was asking about
coming to Montreal in the coming months to shoot a film set in 1940s
Paris and Moscow. It was right at the same time that director David
Fincher was in town shooting Old Montreal to look like Paris and Moscow
in the same era for the Brad Pitt vehicle The Curious Case of Benjamin
Button.
When Bissonnette told the executive about the Pitt movie, she was not
even aware that film was in production here. She just thought Montreal
was the perfect place to do period Paris and Moscow.
But what really stunned Bissonnette was that she didn’t seem the least
concerned that the Canadian dollar was trading at its highest levels
since the 1970s, making it a lot more expensive for Americans to shoot
in Canada.
“There wasn’t a single question about the exchange rate,” Bissonnette
said.
“The lady just told me – ‘We think Montreal is the ideal place to make
this movie.’ (The high Canadian dollar) doesn’t seem to make a
difference, and that’s pretty amazing. We’re getting more phone calls
than ever.”
Brian Baker from the Quebec branch of the Directors Guild of Canada said
Montreal remains an attractive location for filming despite a high
Canadian dollar. “We have a look,” Baker said. “If they want to shoot
Europe, they can still shoot Europe here cheaper than having to go to
Europe. We also have the studios, the infrastructure and the crews. But
we’ll see next year how the dollar affects production.”
The common wisdom in the film biz was always that the Americans would
pack up and shoot in another country once the Canadian dollar moved over
the 80-cent-U.S. mark, as it did in the fall of 2004, ending the
substantial saving for U.S. filmmakers in Canada. But that hasn’t
happened. Right now, with the Canadian dollar comfortably ensconced
above 90 cents U.S., Vancouver is booming, Toronto is picking up steam
and Montreal is going gangbusters.
This is set to be the best year for U.S. filming in Montreal since the
record-breaking 2003 when the Americans shot 15 movies here and spent
more than $382 million in town. Bissonnette expects U.S. production to
top $200 million this year, up from around $150 million last year.
The Pitt/Cate Blanchett film Benjamin Button has come and gone,
following 10 days of shooting in Old Montreal a month back. Next up is
Afterwards, a French-Canadian co-production starring John Malkovich,
Evangeline Lily from Lost and French thespian Romain Duris. It shoots
here in early July.
The biggest Hollywood flick on the way is The Mummy 3, the third
instalment in the hugely popular series starring Brendan Fraser.
Technicians have been busy on pre-production on this mammoth picture for
several weeks now, and the film will shoot in town from late July though
to mid-October.
This is as big a movie as has ever been shot in Montreal, on the same
level as mega-budget flicks like The Day After Tomorrow, which filmed
here in 2002 and 2003, and last year’s The Spiderwick Chronicles.There
is also the action movie Death Race 3000, a remake of the 1970s cult
favourite Death Race 2000, which has already set up shop at the Alstom
Yards in Point St. Charles and is expected to shoot many of the race
sequences in the abandoned Turcot Yards just off Highway 20.
Get Smart – inspired by the great 1960s TV series, with Evan Almighty
star Steve Carell as Maxwell Smart – has been in production here all
month, with filming set to end next week.
The TV series The Dead Zone is also currently filming at the Melrose
Studios in St. Hubert.
Baker, of the Directors Guild, points out that we are not getting the
number of U.S. movies that were coming to town back when the dollar was
trading in the mid-60s five years ago and more. He also says this summer
is booming in part because the Hollywood studios are producing more than
usual everywhere because they want to stockpile movies in case – as is
widely expected – there is a strike next year by either the Screen
Actors Guild and/or The Writers Guild of America.
Film commissioner Bissonnette also happily underlines that – unlike
Toronto and Vancouver – we also have a booming local production scene,
with 15 local French-language TV series and another 12 franco features
filming in town this summer. And judging by the number of phone calls
folks in the biz are receiving, most believe it will be busy right
through the fall and into early 2008. There is talk of at least two
potential major Hollywood films coming this fall, an X-Men spin-off
starring Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and a new Martin Scorsese film.

“Anybody can direct. There are only 11 good writers.”
‹ Mel Brooks

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