I'LL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
About The Production
Principal photography began in Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies
Principal photography began in Canmore, Alberta in the Canadian
Rockies. The company shot for one week before moving to Vancouver,
Production designer Cynthia Charette wanted the feeling of movement
in this cross-country film, but recognized that continual location
shifts were largely required within one city. "Imagine trying
to travel across America in one city," says Charette. "That
was a challenge."
Clearly, an understatement. Producers chose the versatile city
of Vancouver, British Columbia, to recreate the look of several
American towns in California, New York, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
"Because the nature of the film is a travelogue from the
west coast to the east, we really hit every Lower Mainland community
that exists," says co-producer Justis Greene.
One memorable location was Fort Langley, B.C., used as the site
of 150 fully-costumed Santas running a five kilometer marathon.
"Shooting in Fort Langley was a blessing," says Charette.
"It's one of the few real towns outside of Vancouver that
has a beautiful, historic look that can pass as a small town in
Co-producer Greene recalls, "The main street of Fort Langley
is a provincial highway as opposed to just a normal street. It's
surrounded by residential neighborhoods. To divert heavy traffic
through the neighborhoods wasn't acceptable."
Producers approached Interfor, a local pulp and paper mill, and
asked the company for permission to divert traffic from the provincial
highway through Interfor property on their private road. Rerouting
local traffic allowed the municipality to close the provincial
highway in order to film the Santa marathon safely.
Among the other filming sites in the Vancouver area were Shaughnessy,
an exclusive residential neighborhood transformed into a picture-postcard
Christmas scene complete with an evening holiday parade, and Edgemont
village in North Vancouver, which doubled for the staging area
of the parade. In addition, the filmmakers created a "Turf
and Turf" restaurant out of the unique Cloverdale Keg steakhouse,
which came complete with a large viewing window into an equestrian
center. In the hands of Cynthia Charette and director Arlene
Sanford, the restaurant became a tongue-in-cheek play on "Surf
and Turf" when, through the window in the film, we see a
herd of cattle.
"It's supposed to be Nebraska, like Route 66," explains
Charette. "First, we built a thirty-two feet high bleached
cow skull that you had to walk through to enter the restaurant,"
she laughs. "Second, the restaurant was changed so that
patrons were dining with a table-side view of the cows. Just
like you pick out the lobster of your choice, only instead you're
picking out your cow. And the cow's right up at the window mooing
Later, Charette also transformed Richmond's Fantasy Gardens into
the exterior of a Bavarian hotel, the Strudelstrasse Inn. An
additional challenge to the filmmakers was finding a location
city that could be easily modified into a winter wonderland in
May -- a process that started nearly three months before filming
"We started scouting for this film last January," explains
Charette. "At the time, I was seeing places with snow and
trees that looked perfect for shooting right then. But by the
time we went back to shoot, it was April and it was like a green,
"I have to be honest," indicates co-p
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