During the week of April 10th through 16th, Karoline of @Jamie_DornanCan and I (Holly from EJD) spent a week in Vancouver, BC for the filming of Fifty Shades Darker and Freed. We also visited previous and upcoming filming locations while the cast was in studio or while shooting interior scenes. This is our week and everything we experienced and visited in review.
Sunday April 10th, 2016
After I had finally made it to Vancouver, we took a trip to Cecil Green Park House on the UBC Campus which was rented out by production to complete scenes for Fifty Shades Freed. Because minimal setting up by the crew had begun, we had unlimited access to the property and were able to take beautiful pictures of what will be Christian and Ana’s home. With the sun shining bright, the flowers in full bloom, the grass as green as ever and the cool breeze off the Pacific Ocean, it’s no wonder Cecil Green was chosen to be Christian and Ana’s forever home.
Monday April 11th, 2016
We arrived on set shortly after 8:00am where it was evident that the crew had been hastily setting up for the day’s exterior filming. Trucks, crew, cable, cameras, lighting and the like engulfed Cecil Green Park House, turning it into Christian and Ana’s home. The cast, including Jamie Dornan, Dakota Johnson, Arielle Kebbel, Max Martini and Brant Daughtery were already on set being prepped in hair and makeup. Filming would commence shortly after 10:00am.
Filming first began at the entrance of Cecil Green, where Christian first introduces Ana to his idea of buying them a house. Jamie and Dakota were seen laughing and enjoying each others company between takes. It was a beautiful day for filming and the cast and crew were seen all around set, waving, smiling and enjoying the warm Vancouver air. We were gifted with waves from Max Martini who seemed to be elated to be on set. Arielle Kebbel was also on set as the saucy Gia Matteo. She looked gorgeous with her long blonde hair and sassy clothes.
An unfortunate turn of events occurred when some obnoxious paparazzi began bullying us. We were minding our own business when we were suddenly attacked verbally. The comments made were derogatory, belittling and downright mean with nothing to implicate the sudden outburst. The verbal attacks went on and on and understandably left us in shock. We had began packing our things to leave as we were not going to stand for such offensive behaviour, however, every other fan and paparazzi on set at the time stuck up for us, reminding us that we traveled a very long way to come here and that we shouldn’t let the actions of others deter our goal. With the support of fellow fans and goodhearted paps, we decided to stay, not knowing that the next day, it would totally pay off.
The day continued with the sun beaming brightly. We broke for lunch and headed to an on campus pub for some grub.When we returned, production had moved to the driveway part of the set where Christian’s uber sexy 2017 R8 Audi became the focus point.
In a scene from Fifty Shades Freed, Christian lets Ana drive his Audi after visiting Christian’s parents for dinner. In this scene, Christian and Ana are seen walking down the driveway, arms wrapped around each other as newlyweds, engagement rings and wedding bands blinging brightly. Christian tosses the keys to Ana playfully, in which she graciously accepts with excitement. While filming, Dakota dropped the keys, or rather couldn’t catch them, creating laughter and fun on set. Oh to see the blooper reel. Jamie and Dakota were laughing and giggling no doubt to mock Dakota’s much-like-Ana’s clumsy demeanor. It was a real treat to see.
After a successful day of filming, production wrapped roughly around 6:00 pm. Even though we stood for hours and had a little bump in the road, it was all-in-all, a fantastic day. One that we wouldn’t soon forget.
We were approached by a senior PA and notified that Dakota herself had gotten word regarding the verbal attack we had suffered earlier that day. He asked for both of our Twitter and Instagram handles as well as our names, personally requested by Miss. Johnson herself. Confused, we weren’t sure it was a good idea to divulge our information. After seeking the advice of a fellow fan who is well known by the crew, we spoke to another senior PA regarding the odd request, which he also validated. So, we graciously identified ourselves on Twitter and IG. Tuesday would prove to be just as stellar, we just didn’t know it yet.
Tuesday April 12th, 2016
The weather in Vancouver changed significantly on Tuesday; it was cold, wet and dreary but that didn’t break our spirits. Scenes shot from the interior of Cecil Green were underway in the late morning, and we arrived just in time to catch a glimpse of the action. Even though we didn’t get any clear shots of Jamie and Dakota, the experience in itself was exciting. We knew there was a possibility of a day without pictures but when you travel so far to get a glimpse of the action, you seize every opportunity. We met a lot of people including crew members and other fans alike and sparked friendships and relationships with each and every one of them.
As the day wrapped, we began packing our belongings ready to leave. We waited until the cast was driven away from the set in hopes of getting a glimpse of Jamie and Dakota. We were not left disappointed. Miss Dakota Johnson herself requested to her driver that he stop so she could have a word with us. She stopped where we were standing and rolled down her window. Now, try to understand our pure shock at the site of the beautiful Miss. Johnson rolling down her window to talk to us. Magical, to say the least. Dakota looked like Heaven; her long brown hair was glistening even though there was no sun and her movie makeup was still on. She looked breathless. She rolled down her window and said “Hi girls! I just want to apologize for the way you were treated yesterday. It’s unfortunate. I know you’ve traveled a long way to be here and the behaviour you experienced yesterday by paparazzi is inexcusable. They’re *ass holes* (she mouthed, and scrunched her nose in disgust. It was adorable). Is there anything I can do for you?” In a moment of paralysis, we said nothing except acknowledge the fact that Johnson has stopped to speak with us. In that moment, all the abuse we had suffered became worth it. And had it not have been for the poor judgement and lack of respect from these paparazzi, we would not have had the chance to have such a memorable encounter with Dakota. She truly adores her fans and would do anything for them. We have a new and higher respect for Miss. Johnson and are flattered that she took the time to address us regarding the previous day’s incident. Thank you Dakota for being so gracious to us.
High on our encounter with Dakota, we left the set in search of food and good cocktails to celebrate such an awesome day!
Wednesday April 13th, 2016
Cast and crew were inside for interior scenes at Northshore Studios. This gave us the day to visit Casa Mia where scenes would be filmed inside on Friday and Saturday. Casa Mia is used as the Grey Mansion and was used in Fifty Shades of Grey and will continue to be used for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. We weren’t permitted to enter the grounds so any and all of our pictures were taken from the front gate.
After we visited Casa Mia, we took the rest of the day to explore the city of Vancouver and visit various filming locations featured in Fifty Shades of Grey as well as upcoming filming locations which will be featured in Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Naturally, we took Pocket Christian and Pocket Dakota along for the ride!
First we visited The Fish House in Stanley Park. The Fish House was featured in the first movie as the restaurant that Ana and Carla (Ana’s mother) visit while Ana is in Georgia. The Fish House sadly closed on October 1st, 2015 after 25 years of business. The doors were locked and thus, we could not enter the establishment, but we still managed to take some extraordinary pictures!
Next, we were off to Beaver Lake, the infamous lake in which Christian and Ana visit in Fifty Shades of Grey. It was such a beautiful place that Pocket Christian decided to make a cameo! The scenery was stunning, peaceful and full of wildlife. We saw mallard ducks and a beautiful blue heron. This was definitely one of my most favourite parts of my trip to Vancouver.
Next we were off to Grey House, to see in person where our favourite megalomaniac hides high in his glass tower. Nestled right in the middle of downtown Vancouver, Grey House is a nostalgic reminder of the billionaires office building used in Fifty Shades. Definitely worth seeing in person if you ever visit Vancouver! Pocket Christian (of course) had to take a picture in front of his castle.
Next we were off to Clayton’s! What a fantastic visit! The store personnel were generous to let us take pictures and to Periscope! We cleaned them out of their stock of rope, tape and cable ties. However, no actual red rope was in the store. We were told that the red rope was brought in specifically for Fifty Shades. Darn. (Make sure to check out our giveaway here.)
After a long day of walking and sightseeing, we decided to call it a day and went to The London Pub for dinner. The London Pub is used in Fifty Shades Darker as Fifty’s – the bar in which Ana, Jack and their co-workers visit after Ana’s first successful week at SIP. It’s rumoured however, that the pub in Darker will not be named Fifty’s. Regardless, it’s rustic and chaotic interior will make for the perfect awkward bar scene in which Christian will finally meet Jack. There was also a scene filmed which included Ana, Kate and Elliot, which we presume is when Elliot receives the news regarding Christian, Ros and Charlie Tango.
After a long and tiring day, we headed back to the hotel where we watched Fifty Shades of Grey with an entirely new perspective after having visited many of the filming locations in person. We were ready to rest up and conquer the day tomorrow with more filming locations!
Thursday April 14th, 2016
Thursday started on a high note with our first visit beginning with the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, or The Heathman Hotel in Fifty Shades of Grey. With so many iconic scenes filmed at the Fairmont, we were on cloud nine and ready to do whatever it took to get a glimpse at the inside.
First we started with the exterior where in the movie, Christian is seen returning to the hotel after a morning jog in the cool, brisk weather. As surreal as it was to see the exterior of ‘The Heathman,’ we had no idea how surreal our adventure was going to become!
We decided in the moment that we needed to get inside and check out the ballroom and the infamous elevators used in the first movie. With direction from a friend, we walked into the hotel like we owned the joint and were not left disappointed. The ballroom and corridor leading away from the ballroom was our first of two stops. It’s unmistakable carpet and hallways were the epitome of nostalgia. You could almost feel the charge in the air as if we were flies on the wall during Christian’s photoshoot with José.
Our next goal were the elevators. Oh those infamous elevators in which Christian violates his own rules with his potential submissives because his overwhelming need to consume Ana takes over. Once we were in the elevators ready to hit the 14th floor, it quickly became apparent that we did not have access as we were not staying at the hotel. Reserved for GOLD MEMBERS only, the only way to reach the 14th floor would be to have a hotel card granted to those who have suites on either the 14th or 15th floors. Sadly, we did not have this key card. But we weren’t going to give up that easily. We stayed in the hotel lobby for roughly five to ten minutes before deciding that we would get into the elevator with the next person who came along, in hopes that we would somehow reach the 14th floor. Luck was on our side; on the first try a young woman entered the elevator which we were already in, inserted her card and pressed ’14.’ We were elated to say the least and in the brief moments that it took us to reach the 14th floor, our excitement was barely under control, trying not to crack at the sheer anticipation of seeing these most infamous elevators. The doors to the 14th floor opened and we were in awe. There, right before our eyes were THE elevators. We were laughing hysterically at the unbelievable luck we had encountered. It was meant to be.
Next we were off to Gastown – a small yet extremely popular part of Vancouver where many scenes for Fifty Shades of Grey as well as Fifty Shades Darker were/are filmed. We visited Ana’s Apartment, SIP, the corner which the cyclist incident occurred, the Waterstreet Cafe, where Christian and Ana go for coffee and the restaurant in which Ana takes Christian for breakfast. We also visited the site which Leila (Bella Heathcote) watches the pair from outside. Nostalgia once again set in as well as the excitement for the upcoming movies!
Last but certainly not least, we visited Coal Harbour, where Christian is seen jogging during the opening credits to Fifty Shades of Grey. With a cool breeze off the Pacific Ocean, the view was accompanied by the Canadian Rockies and the glowing sun. Coal Harbour really hit home and was an absolute spectacle to see in person.
After Coal Harbour we returned to Casa Mia in hopes of getting more shots of Grey Mansion. However, we were still not permitted to enter the grounds. We complied as we did not want to impede on the work of the crew. After we left Casa Mia, I made my way to the airport hotel where I would spend the night to catch the earliest flight home in the morning. Karoline and I parted ways but will always remember the times we shared and the memories we created in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia.
We have uploaded all of our Periscope videos to our YouTube Channel for your viewing pleasure.
We have added a slew of photos from Monday April 11th, 2016 to our Photo Gallery as well.
EJD and Jamie Dornan Canada would like to thank the following people:
Crissy, Alisa, Adrianna, Lisa and Marie for their constant love, support and hard work while we were in Vancouver having the time of our lives.
@lightboxgallery for his kindness and compassion as well as his beautiful photos.
@50ShadesGirlPDX for her knowledge and generosity while we were visiting.
@Jamie_Dornanorg for his constant and devoted friendship to us.
Keith, Chris, Colton, Shawn and Rachael for putting up with us all day on set.
E L James for always taking the time to acknowledge the fans.
Dakota Johnson for her beautiful soul, her kindness, compassion, love and generosity.
Jamie Dornan for looking sexy AF.
And to you, the fans. For coming along for the ride. We hope we can take you back again some day.