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culture

Reel Toronto: The Company

Toronto gets a little Cold War action in a globe-trotting, blockbuster miniseries.

Toronto’s extensive work on the silver screen reveals that, while we have the chameleonic ability to look like anywhere from New York City to Moscow, the disguise doesn’t always hold up to scrutiny. Reel Toronto revels in digging up and displaying the films that attempt to mask, hide, or—in rare cases—proudly display our city.

2013 06 19company

It’s funny how one thing leads you to another. Last time out, we took a look at a surprisingly good spy-thriller miniseries called The State Within that used Toronto as a stand-in for Washington, D.C. Well, here’s another surprisingly good miniseries that uses our city for the same purpose.

The Company aired on the TNT network in 2007. It doesn’t have an A-list cast, but it does manage at least a solid B-plus. And it uses many of the same locations as The State Within (albeit usually in different contexts) in a story about the history of the CIA that spans the globe and several decades.

2013 06 19valleyhalla

One of the locations to which we frequently return, for example, is this lovely country home owned by Michael Keaton’s character, which (obviously) is supposed to be in Virginia. Most of the time we see a nice house of any kind it was shot at Casa Loma or Parkwood Estate. This, however, is the rather-less-fancy Valley Halla estate, on the Toronto Zoo grounds, just across Meadowvale Road. This is only the second time we’ve come across it in Reel Toronto. It also played the titular house in HBO’s Grey Gardens.

2013 06 19valleyhalla greenhouse

Here’s Keaton working in the greenhouse with Alfred Molina.

2013 06 19sunnybrookdoorway

Another local mansion that perhaps doesn’t get enough screen time is the site of this wedding scene…

2013 06 19sunnybrook

…which is Estates of Sunnybrook.

2013 06 19centreisland notconneticut

Like the ignominious The Skulls, this film features many scenes of would-be Yalies rowing their hearts out.

2013 06 19centerisland 2

This bit was shot at the lovely lagoons over on Centre Island.

2013 06 19knoxcollege2

And if you’re going to have some generic, Ivy League settings, of course you’re going to make use of the University of Toronto, including Knox College…

2013 06 19knoxcollege

…and some more Knox College (it’s just so pretty!)…

2013 06 19uc notDC

…and University College.

2013 06 19osgoodehall

Osgoode Hall played the British Ambassador’s residence in The State Within and it appears here, ever so quickly, in the background of this home movie.

2013 06 19ttcbus

If you have a keen eye, and we know you do, you might have recognized the guy in that Knox shot as Rory Cochrane, who, for all time, will be known to most as Slater from Dazed and Confused. Here he is (with old-age makeup) riding a TTC bus.

2013 06 19kahnshamilton

He gets involved in this chase scene…

2013 06 19hamiltonchase

…which was shot down in Hamilton.

2013 06 19slatervan

It’s probably not an international in-joke, but this is the van some CIA agents are hiding in before they chase him down.

2013 06 19mowatblock

As it did in The State Within and a bunch of other movies, the provincial government’s Mowat Block and its black marble interior are perfectly suited to conveying government menace, here as CIA headquarters.

2013 06 19mowatblock2

You might also recognize this open second floor as the office where David Cronenberg and Tracy Wright work in Last Night.

2013 06 19highpark

Spy movies have all sorts of clandestine meetings, and this one is in High Park.

2013 06 19tokyo kingbay

This scene, ostensibly in Tokyo, goes by awfully quick, but we know they shot something around King and Bay Streets, and this looks like it could be it.

We’ve hosted our fair share of terrible miniseries, but every dog has its day and it’s nice to remember there are some quality productions, like this one, mixed in there too.

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