Seeking Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan at Fifty Shades of Grey set

Sex, lies and location photos.

Movie magic: Location dressing for 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

Fake plastic trees

"It's called... 'The Adventures of Max and Banks'." The production assistant is lying to my face with a smile. She's just doing her job. It's common practice for high-profile movies to shoot under fake names: "The Empire Strikes Back" was filmed as "Blue Harvest".

In this case, "The Adventures of Max and Banks" is really "Fifty Shades of Grey".

"Fifty Shades of Grey" is shooting in Vancouver, but, like just about everything else that shoots here, it's set elsewhere. (Vancouver's lack of a strong architectural identity upsets the locals, but filmmakers south of the border can't get enough of it.

Below are some "Fifty Shades of Grey" "Adventures of Max and Banks" location photos, which Anja Konjicanin and I shot at Oceanic Plaza. We'll add some more as the shoot progresses.

The set dressers have done a good job at transforming the bare winter foliage into vibrant spring trees and bushes. The production team is particularly fond of this large tree on the sidewalk along Pender. They should be: it's some fine work.

Moviemaking is an exercise in early mornings and sustained tedium. Hours of boredom punctuated by seemingly-trivial tasks, all of which add up to movie magic. Expect maybe five minutes of finished film per 12 hours on set.

Today's shooting schedule calls for exterior shots outside Chill Winston. The same building was used as a legal aid office in "Arrow", whose Stephen Amell was considered for the role of Christian Grey.

The boom equipment that proves this isn't a student film:

Oceanic Plaza itself:

Here are some more of those fantastic trees:

"Fifty Shades of Grey" stars Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele and Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Charlie Hunnam was originally cast as Grey, but dropped out, citing a scheduling conflict with the F/X biker saga "Sons of Anarchy".

Also on today's shooting schedule are exterior shots at Gastown's Chill Winston, but there were no signs of life when we swung by. This block has appeared on movie screens all the time.

Expect to see "Fifty Shades of Grey" in cinemas come February 2015. Before that, you'll see Dakota Johnson as Imogen in "Cymbeline", an adaptation of a rarely-staged Shakespeare play. I want to see the Venn-diagram overlap of those who've read "Fifty Shades of Grey" and those who've read or seen "Cymbeline".

Max Banks is totally going to be my nom de plume for when I write "Fifty Shades of Grey" fanfic. Hey, "Fifty Shades" itself began as "Twilight" fanfic. It's a circle-of-life thing.

Here are more photos from the very private "Fifty Shades of Grey" film shoot:

What happened at Oceanic Plaza will have to stay at Oceanic Plaza, at least for now....

Photos taken from sidewalk where the security guard, a tall, heavy-looking man, holding an umbrella, ushered VO with a smile, grumbling, "Sorry, it's a closed set."


Read More:

More in Film

Marguerite Pigott will be a featured panelist at the American Film Market 2018

Marguerite Pigott at the American Film Market: Gender Diversity Panel 2018

Marguerite Pigott, Vice President of Outreach and Strategic Initiatives for the Canadian Media Producers Association, will be a featured guest at the American Film Market 2018

VIFF chinoiserie: Taiwan island fever, mainland navel-gazing

Taiwan's Hsiao Ya-chuan upholds Hou Hsiao-hsien lineage; PRC documentarian world-premieres her narrative film debut; director-producer duo Nai An and Yang Mingming co-star in feminist tragicomedy

A dog lover’s cinematic delight, Spielberg’s dip back into the 1980s and another expose of a financial racket

Also the emotional life story of a BC slam poet, and three new films from France (one about the country our peacekeepers are going to)
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.