Godzilla stomps into Shawnigan Lake
Instead of laying waste to Tokyo, Godzilla is making his way across the island to Shawnigan Lake.
The Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures' Godzilla movie is filming in south-Cowichan, Ladysmith, and downtown Nanaimo this week.
Depending on weather, various locations — closed to the public — will be used for the big-budget, 3-D remake involving 300-odd crew members giving life to the nuclear-spawned dinosaur creature.
Louise McMurray of Film Cowichan was stoked about Hollywood cash heating Warm Land's coffers.
"This is one of the bigger productions we have had coming through this region," reads her email to the News Leader Pictorial.
"It will certainly affect the Cowichan region, and all of southern Vancouver Island, in terms of economic spin-offs from hotels, to food, to all sorts of goods and services they require."
Tinsel Town likes Cowichan's versatile geography too.
"A major production like this is coming here because we can offer unique, useable locations that are not easy to find," McMurray says, noting Cowichan's flexible rail-corridor use during the remake of Godzilla that was unleashed in 1954 and 1998 versions.
"It is not easy to close bigger rail systems. We have something that can be used, and if a production calls for it, they will travel to where it is available. Once (directors) are here, they tend to look for other locations so spin-off benefits increase."
The movie, directed by Gareth Edwards, stars Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen and Juliette Binoche.
Godzilla's screenplay was written by Max Borenstein, Frank Darabont and Dave Callaham.
Sasha Angus, of Nanaimo Economic Development, said the film industry is important and a large movie production means lots of money reaching the local economy. He figured hundreds of thousands of dollars a day will hit Nanaimo's economy.
Film crews often hire local catering companies, fill hotels and motels and rent equipment from local businesses, he said.
Joan Millar, Vancouver Island North regional film commissioner, said when filming happens in Ladysmith, Godzilla's crew will be staying in Nanaimo hotels because there isn't enough capacity in Ladysmith.
"This is rare for us," Millar said of shooting in a downtown location on the island.
She noted downtown locations usually occur in the Vancouver area.
Nanaimo's economic development office was contacted some four months ago about filming locations for Godzilla.
That development office works with InFilm, Film Cowichan and other folks to find suitable sites.
"Its a sporadic industry," said McMurray, "but businesses and communities that learn how to welcome and work with this fast-paced creative industry will benefit."
Godzilla is expected to open in theatres on May 16, 2014.
- With a file from the Nanaimo News Bulletin.