Another movie is set to shoot in North Bay, and the casting call is out.
“The Swan” will follow the real-life journey of dancer Tia Zhang starting in 1949. Once Chairman Mao comes to power, families are torn apart by perceived disloyalty to the Communist Party. Eventually, Zhang is able to defect to Canada in 1980.
“Part of the movie takes place in China and for those scenes, we are looking for a lot of Chinese background actors,” Ainslie Wiggs, the production’s casting director for extras said. “Background actors are very important to any production because they fill in and provide texture and context for the scene. We are looking for primarily Chinese actors, but we have days where we are pretending to be in London and Toronto and we have so many who have applied so I know we will have a great looking show from that perspective.”
“Whether it’s visiting students, elderly parents and grandparents, it doesn’t matter the age range, just over 12,” Wiggs continued. “We are looking for as many as possible to be in this movie.”
Finding the people proved to be tough at first, but they have gained momentum since, according to Wiggs. However, there are still spots open.
“I wasn’t aware of a lot of different organizations in Sudbury and North Bay, it started as a really big challenge,” Wiggs explains. “As a result of posting on different Facebook groups, a lot of people have come to me with helpful information. I have contacted Canadore, Martial Arts and Dance studios. What started as a really daunting task, my email is now blowing up with people looking to work on the film.”
For Wiggs, this is her second time working on a production in North Bay.
“I worked on a TV series called Rising Suns, and it was all the same production team who decided to come back to North Bay because they had such a great experience there,” she said.
North Bay has recently become a bit of a hub, even being dubbed as “Hollywood North” a couple of times. Wiggs agrees with that sentiment and says North Bay has a lot to offer.
“First of all, there is a northern tax credit which incentivizes companies to go there and hire as many people from northern Ontario as possible,” Wiggs explained. “Great locations, the geography of North Bay actually replicates what we are trying to pretend is China. It has a great main street, wonderful restaurants, lovely homes.”
“There is a lot of talent from a technician’s point of view,” she added. “I think those are the reasons I think that North Bay has become a place that people want to come to.”
To reach out to Ainslie, you can email her at [email protected], or find her on Facebook.
Filming is set to begin on February 18, running until March 8. Shooting will follow a Wednesday to Sunday schedule.