December has been full of lights, cameras and lots of action at the Beach Club Resort in Parksville.
The waterfront hotel has been bustling with a 65-person film crew, mostly from Vancouver and Victoria, producing a Hallmark-style movie titled The Game of Love, formerly Family Court.
“It’s about a glamorous family, lots of money, a family feud about selling the basketball arena, out of that feud comes a love story,” director Farhad Mann explained to The NEWS in a short but all-encompassing plot synopsis making sure not to reveal any spoilers.
Heather Locklear, who is well known for her role in Melrose Place, is one of the big stars alongside Canadian actor Lochlyn Munroe who is known for his roles in A Night at the Roxbury, Scary Movie, White Chicks and Freddy vs Jason.
Much of the film was shot within the Beach Club and many staff members were chosen to appear as extras, including bartender Dave Paul — who plays a bartender.
Beach Club general manager Arthur Wong said it’s been exciting having the film crew around for the last few weeks.
Wong said this isn’t the first time the Beach Club has been featured in a film, but it’s definitely the most extensive screen time the resort has landed.
Pacific Prime Restaurant, the Beach Club’s pool and a meeting room on the second floor (which was transformed into Munroe’s office) were all used in the film.
Assistant director Michele Dutka said the crew also filmed at Tigh-Na-Mara (in the spa and the cabins), Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Club, Oceanside Place and in parts of Nanoose Bay.
Dutka said they used 122 extras from around Vancouver Island, noting they had particular trouble finding ethnic minorities in Parksville.
“It was very difficult to find African Americans,” she said with a laugh, noting the film is set in Seattle. “But we managed.”
Dutka said the Vancouver-based film company, Odyssey, shot a movie last summer in Osoyoos using the same hotel company (Bellstar Hotels) that owns the Beach Club. And that’s simply how they ended up filming in Parksville at the Beach Club.
“It’s been great,” Dutka beamed about filming in Parksville. “Vancouver is really inundated with films right now so it’s been a nice change… This establishment (the Beach Club) has been particularly amazing and accommodating.”
The Game of Love started filming Dec. 6 and wrapped up Sunday. The crew had a few days off to enjoy Vancouver Island — many said they were heading to see the new Star Wars movie on their day off Friday — but the whole film was shot in just 12 days.
“Twelve days is a pretty short time to make a movie,” said Dutka, who got into the film industry 21 years ago as a production assistant on the original X-Files, where she worked for 11 days before getting promoted. “I love my job. Every day is different and every day you learn something new.”
The Game of Love will air on an American network sometime in the spring but a final release date and network have not yet been confirmed.