Reel Toronto: Cosmopolis
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Reel Toronto: Cosmopolis

David Cronenberg's latest film passes off Toronto as New York, and Robert Pattinson is there.

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.


David Cronenberg has probably shot Toronto as itself more than any other major director. Indeed, Videodrome and Crash both subtly take place in the city, as if it ain’t no thang. His most recent film, Cosmopolis, is very much a New York story, however. On the other hand, it mostly takes place inside a car so you can understand why they didn’t want to break the bank and go film down there. We were a little worried this would reduce us to pathetically watching out the windows of the car for the whole movie, but actually Cronenberg does occasionally leave its confines. At the very least, he gives us a relatively convincing faux New York.


Sometimes we pride ourselves on our detective work. Sometimes we make booboos. Sometimes we get a gimme where the locations are so obvious we blush with embarrassment at explaining them to you. And sometimes (but rarely) the star of the movie is so fricking hot that every moment of the shoot is tracked by stalkers Tweet-addicted Twi-hards letting the whole world know that not only is Robert Pattinson on Temperance Street but Kristen Stewart showed up. And she brought his dog (Bear, as if you don’t know). So, yeah, people followed this shoot rather closely, back in July 2011.

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If you go on YouTube you can watch something like 20 different iPhone videos of Robert Pattinson getting hit in the face with a cream pie. It’s from this scene, late in the movie, and all we really care about is that it was shot at Bloor and Ossington.


Also, in roughly the same neck of the woods, is this happy diner scene…


…shot at the photogenic Lakeview.


This less-formal repast was shot across town, at the Café Victoria, on, like, Victoria Street.


Victoria Street doesn’t seem exciting enough to warrant two locations in one movie but, hey, here’s the entrance to the Canon Theatre!


Speaking of theatres, this rave scene was shot at the Opera House…


…so next time you’re in the balcony, respect: You’re in a place in which Robert Pattinson and Mariah Carey have sat. (Is that more or less exciting than trekking to Forest Hill to ride the same teeter-totter as Vin Diesel? We’ll leave that to you.)


Back to the beginning of the movie, here’s Union Station. It’s subbed for Grand Central a few times but the two stations have rather distinctive facades and no one’s fooled.


When Pattinson gets into his limo, hey, Canadian actor Jay Baruchel is there waiting. Nice! And, yeah, here we are reduced to staring out the window as they drive up University Avenue, and go past Mt. Sinai Hospital.


Some more cruising shots here, past Rock Variety on Yonge…


…the nearby Money Mart, up by Yonge and Wellesley


…and over to Dundas, for this big riot by Celt’s Pub


…and the High Park cycle shop. If you look at the Google Map link, you can actually see the film crew getting ready! That’s a first for us.


They also shot a bit in the financial district, including this chat on King Street


…and just a bit west, outside the Le Germain hotel.


Our basketball courts don’t have the same quasi-prison fencing that they do in New York, so this one was actually constructed in the otherwise-open David Crombie Park.


Uh, excuse us Mnsr. Cronenberg, but is that the CN Tower in the background? Really?


This drove us crazy (and we wouldn’t have found it without a member of the Pattinson faithful), but this big scene near the end, where Pattinson parks his limo for the night, was shot over on Geary Street.

Oddly, that shot of Temperance Street way up top is a reverse of this same scene; Pattinson turns around when he hears a gun shot on Geary, and looks at a building on Temperance.


The interiors (like this climactic scene with the great Paul Giamatti) were primarily shot at Pinewood Studios, as well as Cinespace’s Kipling Studios.


Sadly, this awesome looking barber shop is also a studio set.

Do you care if the movie’s any good? Nah, all you care about is how fricking dead sexy Robert Pattinson is (especially now that he and Kristen broke up) and how sweet he was, signing autographs for all his fans. Well, he is and he was. And Cosmopolis might not be the greatest movie ever, sure, but as Roger Ebert points out, it’s probably the best possible movie of a book that was tricky to begin with.