Silent Hill - Press Archive - Brantford Expositor

Source: Brantford Expositor

Cameras roll on Silent Hill
By Elizabeth Yates, Expositor Staff
Local News - Tuesday, April 26, 2005 @ 01:00
Wait and watch is the message of filmmakers who have spent millions to
transform Colborne Street into an ash-strewn ghost town.
Secrecy continues to surround the filming of Silent Hill, the thriller based
on the popular and suspenseful video games. Photographs were
forbidden on set and a TV news crew was turfed from the downtown,
where shooting began at 5:40 a.m. on Monday and wrapped around 6:30 p.m.
The clampdown is necessary to curb wild interest from gamers, who are
scouring the Web for any tidbits, said producer Don Carmody.
“(Silent Hill) has a fairly rabid fan base,” Carmody said in an interview
on the Colborne Street set. “And we don’t want to ruin the surprises.
“People get extremely upset if they think you’re changing things ... So,
rather than have them get riled up with misinformation, we’d prefer
they get no information at all, and just go and see the movie and judge
it on its own merits.”
Carmody is familiar with gamer frenzy from work on Resident Evil:
Apocalypse, the 2004 movie based on another hit video game. On
Silent Hill, he’s co-producing with Samuel Hadida of France, whose
resume includes the first Resident Evil movie, as well as Brotherhood
of the Wolf. Christophe Gans is directing and the screenplay is by
Roger Avary.
For production purposes, the movie is being referred to as Centralia.
But, possibly in response to fan protest, the release name has been
changed back to Silent Hill.
Casting details have also been slow to emerge, but are now confirmed.
Australian Radha Mitchell, recent star of Melinda and Melinda and
Finding Neverland, plays Rose, the lead character who is searching
for her lost daughter, Sharon, in the terrifying town of Silent Hill.
California-born Laurie Holden is Cybill, the police officer helping Rose,
while the role of Sharon is being filled by 10-year-old B.C. actress Jodelle
Ferland. Deborah Kerr Unger is Dahlia, a witch-like character who
lives upstairs at 68 Colborne — transformed into Traditional Tailoring
for the movie.
Also cast is British Lord of the Rings star Sean Bean — he played Boromir
— and Canadian Kim Coates.
The characters encounter terrifying obstacles at every turn, said
Carmody, calling the movie a psychological thriller with broad appeal.
“You don’t have to play the game to see what’s going on and to
share in the suspense and the struggle to overcome Silent Hill.”
But the demonic inhabitants of the movie’s ghostly alternate reality
won’t be seen on the street: computer-generated imagery will be
added in a Toronto film studio.
Instead, Monday found a well-behaved crowd of about 50 watching as
shooting progressed intermittently throughout the day. Mimicking the
constantly falling white ash in the video game, flakes of sooty, grey
cellulose coated the sidewalks and blew in the wind along the streets,
which were lined with dead plants and covered with a layer of grime.
At the corner of Queen and Colborne Streets — transformed into Nathan
Avenue and Katz Road -- spectators obediently hushed as crew called
“Quiet.” Holden — dressed in black leather police jodhpurs — and Mitchell,
wearing a skirt and longsleeved top, huddled for a half-minute over a
map spread out on the trunk of a dull green ’70s Plymouth.
The short scene was repeated several times, the blonde actresses
warming up in parkas in between takes on the unseasonably chilly
The typical filming routine of long periods of inaction, followed by brief
flurries of activity, seemed strange to some.
“Who would want that life, standing there for a few seconds at a time?”
mused Doris Gilarowski, a volunteer at the SPCA thrift shop. She was
standing in the store’s glass door, which, like its front window, was
completed obscured by grime painted on for the movie.
Earlier, the Queen Street window of Automation Systems Corporation
was broken for a scene in which someone reaches in to grab a map
from the Silent Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Inside, a front space has been blocked off and turned into a movie set,
with office furniture, tourism brochures for Silent Hill, W. Va., and
even a standup display for a Silent Hill Turkey Fund. The walls are
lined with historic black and white photos of local landmarks, such
as the Waterous Foundry, the Superior Courthouse and the train
station — real life relics borrowed from Grieve’s Mercantile.
Everything is coated with a layer of dust — made up of cornmeal and
flour — and dirt for an old, abandoned appearance.
“It’s so cool,” says Nancy Moffat, corporate accounts manager for
Automation Systems, which is being paid for the filming. The company
is open, but Moffat confessed to watching the movie instead of working
on Monday morning. “It’s definitely exciting. And the people are super nice.”
During the shoot, pedestrians may use downtown streets and stores and
restaurants remain open. Affected companies have been compensated,
but it remains to be seen if the monies are fair, said Dave McCabe of
Kreative Khaos and Piercing at 111 Colborne St., now signed as Cafe Mist.
“We’ll see at the end of the week,” said the owner and tattoo artist.
But he was cheered, at least, to see so many people around the shop.
“I’ve seen more action down here in one week than I have in my 17
years downtown.”
The film’s economic impact — including the spinoff of 200 crew and
cast staying in town — is expected to top $25,000 a day during the
shoot. And the movie has spent several million dollars just on the
Brantford set, said Carmody, who couldn’t name an exact figure.
He praised the reception from locals, who have been inconvenienced
by road closures and detours.
“The people of Brantford have been very co-operative and I’m very
pleased with that. I’ve filmed in a lot of places in Canada and the
people here are very nice.”
The movie’s main unit will be shooting in Brantford through Wednesday,
before moving on to St. Thomas. Crews from its second unit may
be back in town later this week.
Silent Hill will be released by Alliance Atlantis in Canada and Tri-Star
Pictures in the U.S., likely in 2006. Hadida’s Metropolitan Filmexport
is working with Focus Features on all aspects of international
sales and marketing.


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