Spielberg, Cruz, Hanks, Zeta-Jones and some equally famous colleagues are bringing a potentially record-breaking number of film shoots to Montreal
Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stanley Tucci, Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Susan Sarandon, Penelope Cruz, Paul Walker and Gérard Depardieu are among the stars expected in and around Montreal in coming weeks as the film-shoot action heats up.
Some heavyweight behind-the-scenes talent is also on the way, most notably Steven Spielberg, who returns here for the second time in two years in December to film part of his latest movie, The Terminal.
George Clooney, who was here on the weekend to do a commercial for an Italian sparkling wine, and director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's Eleven) may also make the trek to Montreal, given that they are producing The Jacket, starring Brody and Knightley, which is scheduled to be filmed here in January.
It could end up as a record year for Hollywood shooting in town, said Montreal film commissioner Daniel Bissonnette. At the least, foreign movie-making in town will equal last year's record-breaking tally of $368 million, he said.
Sarandon, Cruz and Walker will be in town for the holiday-themed drama Noël, which marks the feature directorial debut of actor Chazz Palminteri (Bullets Over Broadway). The film will be shot in Montreal from Nov. 10 to Dec. 23.
In the film, Sarandon plays Rose, a depressed woman taking care of her ailing mother. Walker plays a cop who is consumed with jealousy over his beautiful fiancée, played by Cruz. This is Cruz's third film shot in Montreal this year, following Head in the Clouds and Gothika.
The Terminal is the project that's bringing Hanks, Zeta-Jones and Tucci to our area. Spielberg will be shooting the DreamWorks film at Mirabel airport Dec. 1-13. Hanks plays an eastern European immigrant who becomes a resident of New York's JFK Airport after his own country disappears as the result of a war. Zeta-Jones, who won the best-supporting-actress Oscar this year for Chicago, plays a flight attendant who becomes pals with Hanks's character. Tucci plays head of airport operations.
The makers of The Terminal, which has been shooting since Oct. 1 in a huge airplane hangar outside Los Angeles, chose Mirabel because they needed a big airport that was not particularly crowded. They are not shooting at JFK itself because the New York airport has too much traffic to accommodate such a large production. Spielberg was here two years ago to shoot the opening sequences of Catch Me If You Can.
The Jacket, with Brody and Knightley, is directed by British filmmaker John Maybury, who is best known for the brilliant 1998 Francis Bacon biopic Love Is the Devil. Brody is coming off an Oscar win as best actor for his breathtaking performance in the Holocaust drama The Pianist, and British actress Knightley, 18, was in two of the year's hotter films, Bend It Like Beckham and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Brody portrays a soldier who, while in a psychiatric hospital, begins to think he is travelling through time. Knightley plays a woman he met as a child and whom he is now searching for. The film is produced by Section Eight, the production company run by Clooney and Soderbergh.
Nouvelle-France, an ambitious period piece being shot simultaneously in English and French, brings Depardieu to Montreal next month. The $30-million Canadian/British/French co- production is produced by Montreal's Richard Goudreau (Les Boys) and also stars Tim Roth, Irene Jacob, Pierre Lebeau, Monique Mercure and David La Haye. Directed by Montreal filmmaker Jean Beaudin (Le Collectionneur), it is a tragic love story set in 1750s Quebec.
Shooting began here in September and the cast and crew are currently shooting in England. The production moves back to Quebec on Nov. 16 for the final month of production. The film is to be released by Christal Films next year.