The Chan Centre is best known as a concert hall and theatre — but it has also been a sci-fi gladiator fighting ring, a superhero nightclub, a trendy luxury apartment, a cafeteria, and a high-tech company office.
Thanks to its modern look and flexible spaces, the building is a favourite among film and TV location scouts, and has played host to nearly 100 productions, from Hollywood blockbusters to student films.
Halle Berry walked the halls in her catsuit when the Telus Studio Theatre became a futuristic bar in Catwoman. In Josie and the Pussycats, the lobby was transformed into a stunning high-end apartment. In Fifty Shades of Grey, when lead character Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) graduates from college, she walks across the concert hall stage. For the George Clooney film Tomorrowland, the adjacent stretch of Main Mall became the 1964 New York World’s Fair, while the building was filled to the brim with racks of costumes and extras awaiting their big moment.
When heartthrob Ryan Phillippe and Tim Robbins did an outdoor scene for Antitrust, a nearby staircase was packed with students trying to catch a glimpse from above; and there was plenty of buzz when the popular Step Up dance film series chose the Telus Studio Theatre for its big finale.
Even the stylish washrooms have been used for multiple shoots, and one week, the Great Performers Lounge went from a posh office to a warehouse to a men’s locker room.
“It’s amazing what professional set decorators can do. It’s so convincing when you see it,” says Rentals and Programming Manager Wendy Atkinson, who regularly fields calls about the space. “There’s no other venue quite like it in town. That’s why it’s used so often.”