Netflix sci-fi series ‘bigger than Game of Thrones’ ready to move into Surrey film studio

Skydance Studios, a state of the art film production facility in Surrey that will be home base for a Netflix series, opens Tuesday

  • Sep. 16, 2016 5:00 p.m.

Actor Joel Kinnaman (pictured in the Robocop trailer at omegaunderground.com) will star in Altered Carbon

Scott Brown, Vancouver Sun

Skydance Studios, a state of the art film production facility in Surrey that will be home base for an ambitious Netflix science fiction series, opens Tuesday with a ribbon cutting.

Skydance Media, the California-based film and television production company behind big-budget Hollywood fare like Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and Star Trek Beyond, which were both filmed in Vancouver, converted the former Pacific Newspaper printing press building in Kennedy Heights (12091 88 Avenue) into a five sound stage studio that can accommodate a production staff of up to 400 people.

The first major production to take up residence in the facility will be Altered Carbon, a 10-episode Netflix series adaptation of author Richard K. Morgan’s 2002 cyber-punk science fiction novel of the same name.

Altered Carbon is set in a future where consciousness is digitized and stored in cortical stacks implanted in the spine, allowing humans to survive physical death by having their memories and consciousness “re-sleeved” into new bodies.

Kinnaman, who filmed four seasons of The Killing in Vancouver, told Yahoo News earlier this year that the series will be Netflix’s biggest endeavour yet.

“They’re really going to be able to create a world that’s got a bigger budget than the first three seasons of Game of Thrones,” Kinnaman said. “It’s going to be something special. It’s something that’s never been done before, and I’m a big fan of intelligent sci-fi. To see a sci-fi show that’s a hard R-rated sci-fi show with a big budget, so they’re really going to be able to create this entire world … I just started drooling at that possibility.”

The city of Surrey has said Skydance Media estimates the new studio will bring in $100 million per year of regional economic spinoffs at full production.

“There’s economic spinoffs in every direction, whether it’s food or hairdressing or rental equipment. The studio will make a big difference even in the sheer number of people here. That’s a huge economic spinoff industry itself,” Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said in May. “In Vancouver, people can’t even get into the studio space.”

They’re really going to be able to create a world that’s got a bigger budget than the first three seasons of Game of Thrones

According to the Director’s Guild of Canada’s production list, there are 61 film and television productions either underway, wrapping up or about to start in Metro Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver reports a 45-per-cent increase in movie and TV production so far in 2016 compared with 2015.

Hollywood studios have been lured to Vancouver by the lower Canadian dollar and B.C. film tax subsidies.

Film and television productions in B.C. receive production services tax credits of 33 per cent and digital animation/visual effects credits of 17.5 per cent. Although Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced in May that those subsidies would be scaled back to 28 per cent and 16 per cent, respectively, come Oct. 1.

Altered Carbon begins production at Surrey’s Skydance Studios on Nov. 14.

sbrown@vancouversun.com

Click here to read more stories from the Vancouver Sun.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil Forfeiture Office alleges Crescent Beach home used to launder money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

Surrey firefighters battle a house fire near the 70A Avenue and 126A Street intersection early Sunday morning. According to a witness, it appears that the occupants were able to get out without injury. (Shane MacKichan photos)
PHOTOS: Fire causes extensive damage to Surrey home

Occupants able to escape without injury: witness

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read