Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim says he would be excited to see a "blown up," post-apocalyptic version of city hall after announcing that the hit HBO TV series "The Last of Us" will film Season 2 in "Hollywood North," moving from Alberta.
The filming will provide Vancouver with more "swagger," said Sim, adding the series has been one of the most popular and critically acclaimed shows this year.
It will also provide hundreds of jobs, career opportunities and significant contributions to the city's economy, he told a news conference on Friday.
Sim said he and Vancouver film commissioner Geoff Teoli were in Los Angeles early in March to meet with senior film and television executives and share the message that Vancouver is "open for business," while asking what steps they could take to make it easier for productions to film in the city.
He said executives for "The Last of Us" were still deciding where to film the next season of the wildly popular show, which stars Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey as their characters traverse the United States 20 years after a fungal pandemic collapses society.
Within weeks, Sim said his phone was "lighting up" with the news that Vancouver had been chosen.
"All of a sudden you've landed one of the biggest productions in the country's history, it just feels amazing," Sim said.
"I'm so excited for everyone, not just people that work in the industry, but for all of Vancouver. This is great for our city."
Teoli said he believes production of the second season would start early next year, with early preparations beginning this summer or fall.
It was his understanding that it cost about $15 million to make each of the nine episodes of the show's first season in Alberta.
"Most shows of this size are employing hundreds of people directly in production, and then many hundreds more indirectly through the support services," he said.
The show, based on a video game franchise of the same name, has proved to be a boon for Alberta's film and travel sectors. Travel Alberta has a map on its website listing 180 filming locations and an itinerary for visiting fans of the show.
Sim said Vancouver is already one of the most sought-after destinations for film and television productions around the world, but officials want to attract more.
"If you want to film more productions here, you definitely have a direct line to the mayor's office, because we will do whatever it takes to attract more business, more filming to the City of Vancouver and that helps our local economy."
Asked about potential disruptions arising from filming, Sim said the city has an ongoing process to ensure residents' concerns are heard.
"There will be times where, you know, people will be inconvenienced," he said.
"We'll try to mitigate that as much as possible, but make no mistake about it, these productions are incredibly important to the whole area."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 31, 2023.
Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press