News source from CTV News
A scheduled three-day shoot has brought several big name stars to Calgary including a former member of the Calgary Stampeders practice roster who found success after his playing days came to an end.
Filming is underway on the sequel to ‘Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle’ at an undisclosed location in the neighbouring mountains and industry insiders say the call sheet includes Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Nick Jonas.
For Johnson, the return to Alberta stirred memories of his pursuit of a professional football career with the Calgary Stampeders back in 1995.
“I came to this area – Calgary, Alberta, Canada –with a big dream and a willingness to work,” said Johnson in a video he shared on social media, “so it’s ironic that I’m back here now shooting Jumanji with this amazing cast and this hardworking crew.”
Members of the local film industry say the influx of star power is nice but it’s the opportunity to flaunt Alberta’s scenery and local talent on both sides of the camera that excites them.
“Film and television is diversification personified,” explained Luke Azevedo, Calgary commissioner for film, television and the creative industries with Calgary Economic Development. “Here in this province we have some of the best people that you will find in the world working in this sector.”
“Unlike the general public, it’s not about the talent that show up with the project. It’s about how we are able to showcase our people and our talent to the world.”
Tom Benz of IATSE Local 212, a union that represents entertainment technicians, artists, and craftspeople, says most Albertans would be surprised to learn how many people within the province have sustainable, year round work in the motion picture industry and the quality of their output resonates.
“When a studio looks for a location, one of the first things they look at, and one of the most important things, is do we have a labour base,” said Benz. “We can quickly set up an office with a project and, within a month or two, be filming a $100 million project.”
While the majority of the filming for the Jumanji sequel is taking place in the United States, the local film industry is set to begin production on several other high-profile projects in the near future including the Ghostbusters remake that is slated to be filmed in southern Alberta.
With files from CTV’s Stephanie Wiebe
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