Less than a week after Hollywood’s long and bitter strike concluded, there are already big signs Hollywood North is springing back into action.
The Last of Us, arguably the world’s biggest television blockbuster, is set to return to production in Vancouver starting Jan. 7, 2024, according to the Film & Television Industry Alliance’s production list.
The show, which follows protagonists Joel and Ellie as they make their way through a fungus zombie-ravaged post-apocalyptic America, is based on a video game of the same name and became a smash hit for HBO earlier this year.
‘The Last of Us’ season 2 will be shot in Vancouver
The first season, filmed in Alberta, was also hailed for showcasing its Canadian backdrop, something British Columbians are now looking forward to.
“I’m always excited when I hear things are being filmed in Vancouver, especially things I’m interested in because part of it is I like pointing out like, ‘Oh, I worked there,’ or ‘Oh, I’ve been down that street or something,” fan Jadine Konghey told Global News.
“And so seeing it in a huge hit like Last of Us is really exciting.”
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The show’s first season saw stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey travelling across the U.S. Midwest.
Brian Hugues, owner of Game Deals Video Games, said the plot of the game’s sequel moves the story through the Pacific Northwest.
“Vancouver plays Seattle a lot. So I imagine it’ll be pretty much the same,” he said.
“They’ll shoot here and do all their exteriors in Seattle and then like they’re big wide shots … we’ll recognize all the buildings here but most people around the world will just think could Seattle.”
‘The Last of Us’ season 2 to film in B.C.
While Vancouver already has a reputation for playing other cities on the big screen, there are also hopes the big name production could be a draw for visitors to the city.
“We know where it was filmed last time, in Alberta, it increased tourism, it was a huge attraction,” Vancouver City Coun. Mike Klassen said.
“Getting The Last of Us here in Vancouver is a real shot in the arm.”
There’s also the direct economic impact. The city’s film and television production industry — which supports up to 70,000 jobs and is worth up to $3.6 billion to the B.C.’s economy, according to Creative BC — has been largely dormant while writers and actors in the U.S. took job action.
The Last of Us, one of the most expensive TV shows ever made with a per-episode budget of $10 million to $15 million, could help supercharge its revival.
“It adds a billion dollars worth of production costs for the film industry at large,” Klassen said.
“These productions, they create tons of fantastic jobs, they create more opportunities for digital programming and other kinds of work, it’s just great for our economy … and puts Vancouver back on the global stage where it belongs.”
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News of a production date even drew a smile from the province’s premier.
“Its a great show,” David Eby said.
“It’s a Christmas present early for film and television workers, it’s been such a hard time with the strikes with the writers and performers and a lot of people have been hurting in the province — to have the industry back up and running as soon as January is really good news.”
But while the wheels will be turning soon for cast and crew, fans likely still have a long wait ahead of them before they see the series return to the screen.
The Last of Us Season One was shot between July 2021 and June 2022, before making its way to television in the spring of 2023. If production follows a similar pattern, it will likely be 2025 before fans next see Joel and Ellie.
That is, unless they spot them out and about around town.
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