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Transit on film: Paycheck

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”! :)