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Transit on film: Paycheck

All right, for Monday, here’s a fun item to start your week off.

Paycheck wasn’t exactly Ben Affleck’s finest two hours on film (that was Gigli, right?). But what it does have to offer is extended sequences involving elements of Vancouver transit :)

Hit 1:46 on this trailer and you’ll see Ben running between two of our articulated old MCI Classic buses. Close to the end of the trailer, you’ll also see Ben make a narrow escape from an oncoming SkyTrain.

The buses were shot downtown, and some of the SkyTrain filming was done in Burrard Station. Note that I say “some” and not “all” — the SkyTrain action sequence was actually done in a studio. Here’s the full story from Bill Knight, who, among other things, manages our film requests and supervised the Paycheck shoot on our property.

Ben was actually not present for the scene in the station, it was his double – who really does look like him. The scene of him being chased by a train was shot on a local sound stage, not at SkyTrain. This was a question of time available, safety and logistics. The shots would take too much time within the station – needing multiple nights of filming. We couldn’t have filmed anyways as you would have live power for a moving train. A moving train would have presented too much risk to the actor as well. Logistically it wouldn’t work because there are communications cables in the track area you could trip over plus the LIM reaction rail in the center of the track (which isn’t in their studio version of SkyTrain).

The train is authentic; well at least the first two feet or so! The production company was able to acquire a Mark II end cap for their mockup. In effect, Ben is being menaced by a two-foot long piece of fibreglas with car headlights added! The end of the train used to sit outside in the Vancouver Film Studios yard, visible by trains using the Millennium Line.

Bill also pointed out that this trailer doesn’t contain one crucial scene of Ben sitting at the back of a bus, in which to his immediate left sits a small black and white box marked “The Buzzer”! :)


  • By David Lam, May 4, 2009 @ 11:37 am

    The buses shown at 1:46 of the clip are not articulated buses, they are the older MCI “Classic” 40-ft suburban buses……in fact, I can pinpoint the exact bus coming from the right hand side based on the visible fleet number, B4155:

    Although, the photo was shot after the bus was repainted.

    However, it is true that there should be a scene with one or two high-floor articulated buses somewhere in the film – I’ve never seen the movie before unfortunately, but I know for a fact that they did have two high floor articulated buses used for filming this movie at Burrard Station.


  • By C.Cassidy, May 4, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

    When Ben was running between those two buses it actually wasn’t two articulates. It was 2 MCI Classics. One of them was B4155, not sure about the other. It also looks like this seen was filmed at the YVR terminal, although I could be wrong.

    Cool clip, and thanks for sharing.

    Chris Cassidy

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 4, 2009 @ 1:20 pm

    Okay, thanks Dave and Chris :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 4, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

    Also, Bill came by with a bit of clarification. An articulated bus was likely used for an interior sequence when Mr. Affleck was sitting in the back of a bus. The added length given by the articulation would have provided extra room for the crew.

  • By ;^), May 4, 2009 @ 8:44 pm

    Took me an hour to find this.

    I may be dating myself, but in 1988 there was the Trial of the Incredible
    Hulk. Skytrain Mark 1 got a much longer exposure and punishment.

    What always left me wondering is whether the last part was all shot in the
    Dunsmuir tunnel. After 2 decades, I always wondered what other secrets are in those tunnels.

  • By ;^), May 4, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

    Here’s the trailer

    You’ll find more if you search for the “Trial of the Incredible Hulk”.

  • By Dan, May 5, 2009 @ 12:49 am

    the artic in this movie was P3006. (one of the ones that will be retired by august.)

  • By Ivan, May 5, 2009 @ 1:47 am

    Just an FYI: the Skytrain mockup endcap was stored for a couple of years right beside the Skytrain tracks at the movies studios on the Vancouver side of Boundary.

  • By Bryan, May 5, 2009 @ 6:13 am

    After watching the movie for the 100th time, (i own it) the scene with the classics looks like the loading docks for the cruise ships at Canada place. And speaking movies i think there was another 2 part tv series that was filmed in the city back in the mid 90’s that had one of the West Vancouver Flyer Buses in a scene or it could have been a fishbowl but i know it was a West Van Muni. bus…

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 5, 2009 @ 8:59 am

    Bryan — yes, it does look like the cruise ship loading docks! I was wracking my brain trying to think of why that location looked so familiar. That must be it.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 5, 2009 @ 10:48 am

    WOW, that Hulk clip is amazing! I’ll make it into its own post :)

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 5, 2009 @ 11:17 am

    PS: I have no info on the Hulk clip as I don’t know who managed the film shoots back in the 80s. (Bill only started doing them circa 1999.) But if I do find out anything more about the secrets of the Dunsmuir tunnels, I’ll let you know :)

  • By Bryan, May 6, 2009 @ 8:27 am

    Jhenifer this is the West Vancouver Muni, Bus i was talking about… the only issue is that you have to forward it to 3:45… but if you’ve seen it there’s actually a couple more scenes, but i haven’t found them… yet. Actually if I’m correct there should be a couple other clips that involve transit, from Look Who’s Talking (either one of the three movies or it was all of them) and a movie that involved the Olsen twins. On a side note do you know what time the skytrain event at stadium is supposed to be?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano, May 6, 2009 @ 9:52 am

    Atomic Train!!! What a name. Thanks so much for that Bryan — these transit clips are great! I’ll make a post about it very soon :) And if you dig up a Look Who’s Talking clip I will DEFINITELY post that. Kirstie Alley + talking babies = yes!

  • By Eugene Wong, May 6, 2009 @ 11:49 am

    Atomic Train? :^) I was an extra in that movie. I think that we can see me somewhere in there. I know 1 of the actors, too.

    That was such a cheesy movie. My favourite cheesy line from the movie was about how the engineer must go down with the train. :^D

  • By Dan B, May 6, 2009 @ 9:39 pm

    @ Eugene Wong:

    That is by far the cheesiest line I’ve heard in a long time, although it did make me chuckle.

    Now I must go find that movie so I can watch it — not for the cheesy lines, but because the thought of a movie in which a train plays such a pivotal role appeals to me. Where does one find a copy? I’ve never heard of it until today.

  • By Eugene Wong, May 7, 2009 @ 1:30 am

    @ Dan B.

    I assume that you are interested in finding it for free, because it’s not worth buying. I found some clips on YouTube.

    The part that I was talking about is at the end of part 2 and the beginning of part 3. However, I was wrong. The engineer did want to go down with the train, but it was for a different reason.

  • By ;-), May 7, 2009 @ 7:29 am

    As mentioned in my Paycheck comment, I too was wondering about the 2:25 segment. Is that what the service corridor genuinely looks like to run between the Westbound and Eastbound tracks? Then again, it looks too large to allow for a movie camera to fit. Since seeing that segment 2 years ago, I always go looking for that point everytime I travel through the tunnel.

    FYI…. here’s a plot details on the movie if you want to get it from for $7 ($2 used, not available from

  • By buses_skytrains_and_more_stuff, July 14, 2017 @ 9:45 pm

    I have a question: Most bus enthusiasts like me record videos on their personal iPad, or phone. Do I need to fill out the request form? Or can I ask the bus driver and record? Also I don’t put any people in my video, its just the ride from place to place (example 407 Steveston to Knight Street and Marine Drive)
    Thanks, Jacob.

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