Scott Pilgrim Vs The World | 2010
- DIRECTOR |
- Edgar Wright
Bags of energy and gaming visuals in Edgar Wright’s whizzbang adaptation of the graphic stories by Canadian author and artist Bryan Lee O'Malley, with geeky Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) having to overcome seven evil-exes before he can date Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
"Not so long ago, in the mysterious land of Toronto, Canada..." runs the opening title, and author O’Malley used real Toronto locations as a basis for the drawings. Where possible, the film keeps to the specified locations. Toronto is for once playing itself – now there’s a rarity.
The basement 'secret lair' Scott shares with Wallace (Kieran Culkin) is 65 Alberta Avenue, at Tyrrel Avenue in Regal Heights, northwest Toronto. There’s not really an apartment there – that’s nothing more than the basement rubbish collection area. Which is a shame, I thought it looked so good.
Interiors, including of course that endlessly extending front room for the opening credits, were created in the studio.
A little to the northeast, Scott meets his new high-school girlfriend Knives Chau (Ellen Wong) outside her school, St Michael’s College School, 1515 Bathurst Street, York. The existing trees were simplified digitally to match the style of O’Malley’s drawings and that stone archway has since disappeared under a covering of ivy.
It’s north a few miles north to Markham to find the arcade in which Scott and Knives play Ninja Ninja Revolution. This was built specifically for the film in inside the Markville Shopping Centre, 5000 Highway 7 East, at McCowan Road.
The pizza place frequented by Scott and his pals is Pizza Pizza, 558 Bloor Street West at the corner of Bathurst Street which, as you can see in the film, stood opposite the landmark Honest Ed’s discount store. And, as you can see from the photo, that store is no more.
Scott and Knives pass by Pizza Pizza, and briefly pop into the Goodwill Store, which you might assume is alongside the pizza place. Watch again. There’s a crafty cut masked by a passer-by. The Goodwill Store was 585 St Clair Avenue, west of Bathurst Street, more than a mile to the north, and – needless to say, now gone.
They are soon back to Bloor Street, inside Sonic Boom record store, where the CD of Clash At Demonhead stirs up painful memories for Scott. The (real) record store, which stood at 512 Bloor Street West, was temporarily restored to the way it looked in the comic book. After filming, in 2011, the store moved to new premises – unfortunately inside Honest Ed’s!. Now both Ed's and the original record store have disappeared. Don't worry – you can visit the new Sonic Boom at 215 Spadina Avenue in Downtown Toronto.
On to something which actually remains. The library in which Scott first sees pink-haired Ramona is the Wychwood branch of Toronto Public Library, 1431 Bathurst Street at St Clair Avenue West, in The Annex, the neighbourhood next to University of Toronto's St George Campus.
Scott is besotted but nothing happens until he accompanies his bandmates to a party at Julie's – ex-partner of Stephen Stills (Mark Webber). He dawdles along Manning Avenue at Queen Street West in the weirdly named West Queen West district – which is just around the corner from the store used as the pawn shop in David Cronenberg's adaptation of William Burroughs' Naked Lunch.
It's going to be a sturdy walk. The party, where Scott makes his first fruitless move on Ramona, is held in the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity House of the University of Toronto, 131 Lowther Avenue at Huron Street, nearly two miles to the north.
Inevitably they meet up again (courtesy of Amazon) and spend a chaste night together at Ramona’s house, 294 Carlton Street, just west of Sackville Street in the Cabbagetown district.
Scott invites Ramona to see him perform with his band Sex Bob-omb supporting Crash & The Boys at the ‘Rockit Club’, and it’s here he finds himself facing the first of Ramona's evil exes, Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha).
The Rockit was a real punk venue which closed around 2005. The venue’s undergone a bit of a change and is now Club 120, 120 Church Street at Richmond Street.
Scott is persuaded to do the decent thing and break up with Knives. The phone box from which he calls her – and where she unexpectedly turns up – is in front of Green Beanery, 565 Bloor Street West, just across the road from Pizza Pizza. No, there's no really a phone here.
At night, Scott and Ramona go for a romantic stroll, or climb, up Baldwin Steps, leading through Spadina Park from Davenport Road at Spadina Road.
The steps lead up to the "totally awesome castle" where they're shooting an action movie, Talk To The Fist, starring skater-turned-actor Lucas Lee (Chris Evans), who just happens to be Ramona's second ex.
The castle is much-used location Casa Loma, 1 Austin Terrace at Spadina Road, on a bluff overlooking northern Toronto.
This mock-Gothic folly has proved a real boon to the city’s film industry, featuring in countless productions, most famously as Professor Xavier’s Academy in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie, as well as Eighties Tom Cruise vehicle Cocktail, David Cronenberg's Dead Ringers, Keanu Reeves sci-fi Johnny Mnemonic, and Oscar-winning musical Chicago.
When Scott challenges Lee to perform a "grindy-thingy" on his board down the handrail of Baldwin Steps, he chalks up a second victory.
The coffee shop, in which Scott’s sister Stacey (Anna Kendrick) works and where Scott bumps into his ex, Envy Adams (Brie Larson) – now singer with The Clash at Demonhead, was the branch of Second Cup at 535 Queen Street West, on the corner of Augusta Avenue. It's another location that's closed – replaced by Aroma Espresso Bar.
Sex Bob-omb find themselves having to support Envy's band and Scott must face another ex, the band's bassist, psychic vegan Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh) at rock venue Lee’s Palace. The famous psychedelic mural at 529 Bloor Street West now fronts restaurant Bombay Roti. Don't panic. Lee’s lives no, though its entrance has now been moved to the side of the club.
Scott faces the fourth ex, Roxy (Mae Whitman), at the after-party, held in the Artscape Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street, Wychwood – a former streetcar repair barn, just to the east of Scott and Wallace’s Regal Heights apartment.
Now Sex Bob-omb find themselves obliged to face off, Amp vs Amp simultaneously, against the Katayanagi twins (yes, two more exes) at 'Ninth Circle'.
The exterior of this club, where Ramona returns to her last ex, obnoxious music mogul Gideon Graves (Jason Schwartzman) as he signs Sex Bob-omb (sans Scott), is one of the red brick industrial buildings alongside the old Gooderham-Worts Distillery, which is now the smart Distillery District.
It stands on the north side of Mill Street, at Trinity Street, opposite the Distillery gates (which you can see in the background behind Gideon).
The final confrontation takes place in Gideon’s ‘Chaos Theatre’ club, another huge set, built in the Cinespace Studio.
The 'Chaos' frontage is nothing more than a set, constructed across Front Street just east of the junction with Cherry Street, a block north of the Distillery. This much used crossroads was also the site of ‘Safe house B’ in Matthew Vaughn’s film of Kick-Ass.