Vancouver Screen Scene: Elizabeth Banks, Neil Patrick Harris, and Jimmy Fallon seen around town

Elizabeth Banks is in town to play the villain Rita Repulsa in the big-screen reboot of the Power Rangers.

Elizabeth Banks is in town to play the villain Rita Repulsa in the big-screen reboot of the Power Rangers.

While Vancouver may be nicknamed Hollywood North, it might as well be also known as Fanboy/girl/person Central.

You see, our city has long been the shooting destination for numerous sci-fi and fantasy series and films, with many thanks in part to the booming local visual FX industry. (Vancouver became the world’s largest visual effects and animation hub after Sony Imageworks relocated its headquarters here last July.)

On the TV front, there’s been Continuum, Battlestar Galactica, X-Files, and Highlander, and there’ve been a history of cinematic blockbusters like I, Robot, Fantastic Four, Blade, Man of Steel, Twilight, Tron: Legacy, Jumanji, Percy Jackson, and the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still all shot here.

Here’s a current case-in-point: the big-screen adaptation of Power Rangers is well underway, having started shooting here in February.

The cast features R.J. Cyler (Red Ranger), Dacre Montgomery (Blue Ranger), pop star Becky G (Yellow Ranger), Naomi Scott (Pink Ranger), and Beijing-based Chinese Canadian actor and former Vancouverite Ludi Lin (Black Ranger).

Ludi Lin will play Zack Taylor/Black Ranger in the Power Rangers movie.

Ludi Lin will play Zack Taylor/Black Ranger in the Power Rangers movie.

On set, Elizabeth Banks (30 Rock, Pitch Perfect) got repulsive playing alien villain Rita Repulsa as she did wire work for aerial manoeuvres on April 26.

Elizabeth Banks portrays Rita Repulsa on the Power Rangers shoot in Vancouver. Photo: JustJared.com

Elizabeth Banks portrays Rita Repulsa on the Power Rangers shoot in Vancouver. Photo: JustJared.com

Banks, who was recently confirmed as the director for the Charlie’s Angels reboot, has also been snapped around town while enjoying time off set.

Elizabeth Banks strolls around Vancouver while on break from shooting The Power Rangers. Photo: FameFlynet.uk.com

Elizabeth Banks strolls around Vancouver while on break from shooting The Power Rangers. Photo: FameFlynet.uk.com

The power pack will continue shooting in Vancouver until May 25.

On a shoot for Power Rangers, Elizabeth Banks is decked out in her Rita Repulsa costume. Photo: FameFlynet.uk.com

On a shoot for Power Rangers, Elizabeth Banks is decked out in her Rita Repulsa costume. Photo: FameFlynet.uk.com

In other sci-fi and fantasy news, Neil Patrick Harris was photographed on April 25 dressed up as the evil Count Olaf (a role he inherits from Jim Carrey who played him in the 2004 feature film) for the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events.

With a prosthetic nose, receding hairline, and devilish hair and makeup, he transformed into the dastardly role with convincing flair while shooting exterior scenes at Simon Fraser University’s Segal Graduate School of Business in downtown Vancouver.

Elsewhere in the city, the home screen version of Van Helsing is also busy at work, with Amanda Tapping and Jason Priestley in the director’s chairs.

Tapping has been a longtime fixture on the local scene for starring in shows like Stargate SG-1 and Sanctuary. Meanwhile, Priestley, who most recently starred on the Canadian TV series Call Me Fitz, is a hometown boy and Beverly Hills, 90210 alum.

This time around, the story focuses on a female protagonist, Vanessa Helsing, leading humankind’s battle against vampires who have taken over the earth. Production began in January and will continue until June.

Season 1 of the series will be broadcast on Syfy in the fall.

Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Jason Priestley is behind the camera for the Van Helsing series.

Beverly Hills, 90210 alum Jason Priestley is behind the camera for the Van Helsing series.

Shifting back to the world of reality—at least somewhat—celebrities usually try to keep a low profile or conceal their whereabouts while they’re in town.

Of course, the exception to that rule is a certain restless late night show host.

Jimmy Fallon, in the city to shoot scenes for the Universal Studios Orlando amusement park ride Race Through New York, made his presence well-known on two occasions in Vancouver this past week.

Taking the concept of pop-ups into his own hands, he first showed up unexpectedly at Paul McCartney’s second of two shows at Rogers Arena on April 20. The Tonight Show host got his Vangroove on by wearing a Vancouver Canucks cap and wishing everyone a happy 4/20 (the annual celebration of marijuana) as he joined the former Beatle on stage during the encore.

The duo rocked through a rousing rendition of “I Saw Her Standing There” that included Fallon breaking out his goofiest breakdancing moves, including the moonwalk and the worm.

But that was only the beginning.

At a dinner at the French fine dining restaurant Le Crocodile in downtown Vancouver on April 22, Fallon arose from his table with the three members of his barbershop quartet, The Ragtime Gals, to sing an a cappella version of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)” for chef Michel Jacob.

If you’re in town, who knows, with any luck, maybe Fallon—or some other celebrity—will crash your meal too? Keep your eyes peeled and cross your fingers, folks.

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