Star sightings as day five of Sonic the Hedgehog filming wraps up in Ladysmith
It wasn't Jim Carrey, but a Vancouver Island town got a glimpse of another Hollywood A-lister as crews filmed scenes for Sonic the Hedghog Friday.
The big-budget picture has been shooting on central Vancouver Island this week, shutting down a highway and taking over streets and storefronts in Ladysmith.
Much of the downtown core has been taken over by the live-action movie, based on the video game series of the same name.
"Oh it's fascinating, I love it. This crew is just phenomenal, people are happy and they're putting a lot of money in our community," said Jackie Jurisic, who owns a pet store on 1st Avenue, where filming has been taking place.
The street has been transformed into the fictional U.S. community of Green Hills, Montana, with a local picture framing shop becoming a sheriff's office.
"It's fun for the town, it's fun for the businesses, it gets people talking," said owner Bruce Whittington. "I think the spruce-up for downtown helps, and it's an economic boost in a small way for business owners."
Extras working on the film were buzzing just as much as local merchants, with some hoping for a glimpse of Jim Carrey, who's rumoured to star as Sonic villain Dr. Robotnik.
"Jim Carrey is of course near and dear to I think every single Canadian's heart, including mine," said Esther Hamar.
Carrey hasn't been spotted so far during filming, but star James Marsden, known for leading roles in movies like X-Men and the TV show Westworld, was seen filming scenes in a police uniform.
Filming has begun in #Ladysmith for #SonicTheHedgehog. We spoke with a young inspiring movie maker who is a #Sonic fan & his mom as well as a local extra. There has been no sightings of @JimCarrey yet, however onlookers were able to catch a glimpse of #JamesMarsden— Andrew Garland (@CTVNewsAndy) September 14, 2018
While many are excited at the chance to have their town featured in the movie, shooting hasn't been without its headaches for some locals.
Some drivers complained that they were forced to take a detour as the movie shut down the Inland Island Highway for most of the week, but North Island Film Commissioner Joan Miller says the route was the key to the entire production coming to the mid-island.
"That allowed us to land Ladysmith, which was in the running with four or five other great-looking little communities," she said. Other scenes were filmed at Courtenay, Comox and Parksville.
Miller said long-term benefits of the production are already being studied.
"We're going to work really hard with Tourism Vancouver Island and Tourism Vancouver, and talking to Paramount about a kind of screen tourism campaign that we can potentially launch around the release of this show," she said.
That release will come in November of 2019, she said.
Sonic The Hedgehog has a release date of Nov. 15, 2019, according to IMDB, and will feature the voice of Ben Schwartz as the titular blue hedgehog.
VIDEO: Inland Island Highway now re-opened after 5 days of filming for Sonic the Hedgehog movie. Taking a look at production and some economic benefits tonight on @CTVNewsVI pic.twitter.com/DJFb1D2UYv— Gord Kurbis (@CTVNewsGord) September 15, 2018