Some of you may be surprised to find out that UBC’s Vancouver campus is the ninth most-filmed location in the world. Yep, you did read that right, the entire world! Located in the city that is known for never playing itself, UBC’s Vancouver campus has been disguised as everything from Nazi Germany to a high school to even multiple different science fiction universes. I hate ranking movies, probably because my own personal favourite changes from hour to hour, so I’m going to count them down based on how many UBC locations are visible on the big screen.
5. She’s the Man (2006) - Thunderbird Stadium
It was only after rewatching She’s the Man this summer that I recognized the stadium skyline as being UBC. Based on Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, the film follows a teenage girl named Viola who after her high school gets rid of the girls’ soccer team, poses as her twin brother so she can play in the big tournament. The film basically annihilated gender stereotypes with its exaggerated performances that are sure to make viewers laugh. While not the most recognizable spot, it’s still fun knowing that this quirky rom was filmed on campus.
4. Tomorrowland (2015) - Main Mall
I was unsure of where to put this film on the list. Tomorrowland is a science fiction film about an inventor named Frank and a teenager named Casey who explore Tomorrowland – an unexplored dimension of time and space. While the film features the Buchanan side of Main Mall, the few glimpses we get of campus were digitally altered in post production to make it look like New York’s 1964 World Fair. It’s pretty easy to miss campus, but if you watch closely you can see a corner of the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery. This movie is probably the least underwhelming and unrecognizable view of UBC out of the bunch, but it technically features more than She’s The Man, so I had to place it at number four.
3. The Age of Adaline (2015) - Chemistry Building
Set in San Francisco, The Age of Adaline follows the adventures of a woman who after a fatal car accident, is miraculously granted immortality, causing her to remain twenty-nine for eight decades. In the film, Blake Lively’s character drives an old-timey car down Main Mall where you can see the Chemistry building and IKB in the background. If you look up the film online, you can even find some student-taken photos posted on reddit of Main Mall from the night of the shoot!
2. The Butterfly Effect (2004) - Main Mall
The Butterfly Effect is a science fiction thriller that features a time travelling Ashton Kutcher. In the film, Kutcher uses his powers to change past events for himself and friends; finding himself having to live through multiple alternate universes after realizing that changing the past also changes the future. This film boasts multiple UBC locations. While Main Mall is the most obvious of the locations, some scenes also take place within various classrooms on campus.
1. Fifty Shades of Grey - Various
Finally, the film with the most UBC locations out of this list is Fifty Shades of Grey. The film is the first film in the Fifty Shades trilogy adapted from E.L. James’ novels. Perhaps the most entertaining part of this movie is the way they construct spaces using multiple different UBC locations. One of many of these instances is the graduation sequence where they enter the auditorium through the MacMillan building and end up inside The Chan Centre auditorium. Some other notable locations visible in the film are IKB, the Chemistry building and the Frederic Wood Theatre. Similar to Age Of Adaline, you can find student posted photos of Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan filming on campus on the internet.