News has been flowing out like an open wound for Focus Features’ upcoming film, Silent Hill, which is an adaptation of the popular video game. Although casting hasn’t been announced yet for Christophe Gans’ horror flick, we should expect some news soon, since they’ve already been scouting out locations to shoot. Live in Ontario? Then you might want to read on. Feel free to email B-D images if you sneak on set…
According to the Brantfordexpositor:
A derelict stretch of downtown Colborne Street will star in a horror movie to be filmed here in April.
Called Centralia, the film is based on the popular video game, Silent Hill. The independent feature will use run-down, vacant facades between Brant Avenue and Queen Street to stand in for a ghost town, location manager Jonathan Matthews said Tuesday.
“We needed to find stores that we could transform into looking derelict and old, where we wouldn’t have to displace a business,” Matthews said in a telephone interview from the production offices in Toronto.
“Here, half of our work is already done because the stores are already closed.”
He stressed that the production’s interest in Brantford is positive.
“Brantford is a fantastic city. We have received nothing but great help from city hall and the downtown merchants.
“We didn’t come to Brantford because there’s no economy here, but because there’s a look, an architecture and an atmosphere that we require to film.”
In turn, the city is greeting Centralia with open arms.
“We are delighted to see them,” Mayor Mike Han**** said Tuesday, after the city’s engineering and public works commitee approved temporary road closures for the filming.
However, Han**** and some councillors are concerned that the movie could promote a negative image of Brantford — something the city has worked hard to correct through redevelopment projects.
“It’s an embarrassment,” Coun. Richard Carpenter said of the Colborne Street area to be filmed. “It’s not something we want to market and advertise to the rest of the world.”
Council must still formally approve the road closures, as well as negotiate compensation for the use of city services and of special duty police officers.
Written permission from affected property owners is required, as well as a $2-million insurance policy insuring the city against any liability.
“They have said they are prepared to do whatever they need to satisfy the city’s concerns,” said Wayne Wood, commissioner of engineering, public works, parks and recreation.
Centralia will pump a minimum of $25,000 a day into the city’s economy during filming, said Matthews: up to 120 people will be staying in local hotels, spending their money on food and other goods.
The movie’s budget is yet to be determined, as is casting, Matthews said.
While many other details are still to being finalized, such as exact dates, filming is set for a total of three to five days between April 11-29. During that time, the following streets will be affected:
* Colborne Street between Brant Avenue and Market Street;
* King Street between Dalhousie and Colborne streets;
* Queen Street between Dalhousie and Colborne.
It’s unlikely the streets will be shut for entire days during filming, said Wood, noting that traffic will be rerouted along Icomm Drive and also along West Street to Darling Street. “When (Colborne) doesn’t need to be closed, it will be opened up to traffic.”
Though location scouts have been in town over the past few weeks, checking out sites and talking to property owners and merchants, no details have been publicized until now. That’s because the Silent Hill games — there are four versions so far — have such a huge following on the Internet.
“We don’t want the wrong idea getting out about how the movie is being made,” Matthews said.
Produced by Konami, a Japanese corporation, Silent Hill has sold more than four million copies worldwide. Fans appreciate its combination of suspense, plot twists and chilling atmosphere.
Centralia’s storyline is a “hodge podge” of the plots from Silent Hill I and II. It centres on a woman who, desperate to save her dying child, takes the girl to a faith healer in the town of Silent Hill. There, the mother “finds herself trapped in an alternate reality as she searches for her daughter in a dangerous world of demons.”
Centralia is a joint France-Canada venture being produced by Davis Films. Christophe Gans, whose resume includes thrillers such as Brotherhood of the Wolf and Crying Freeman, will direct. The movie will be distributed worldwide.
Matthews praised the co-operation of city officials in arranging the shoot and noted that filming offers more than economic benefits, for example, by bringing people into Brantford who might not otherwise visit the city. As well, the production team can reciprocate by meeting with local secondary students, who may be curious about careers in the film industry.
“I can’t say enough good things about economic development and just how beneficial filming can be to an area.”
Colborne Street merchants seem unfazed by the prospect of road closures, expecting only minimal disruptions to business. And filming may even help by attracting curious residents to the downtown.
“They might come down and watch and find out we’re here again,” said Peter Flood, owner of Harvey E. Flood Jewellers at 81 Colborne.
But, Flood noted, it’s sad that downtown Brantford so easily stands in for the scary set of a horror film. “City council has no one to blame for that than themselves.”
The Centralia filming is linked to the recent shoot of Slings and Arrows at the Sanderson Centre. A crew member who worked on the TV show is also involved in finding sites for the movie.