Winnipeg Police Service officers were investigating a bank robbery and possible bomb in Osborne Village Saturday when the call came in that a passerby had spotted two bloodied men with guns in a vehicle in the Exchange District.
The police responded immediately.
But the only thing being shot in the Exchange was a movie, said Kenny Boyce, the city's manager of films and special events. Not just a movie, but the latest work of art from the man Boyce described as the king of gore.
"It was six people in a car, an old stationwagon, with a hand-held camera," Boyce explained. "In the scene were two bloodied individuals driving around."
And packing heat.
In the Exchange District, on a Saturday afternoon.
This being Winnipeg, a law-abiding witness realized this was not normal, law-abiding behaviour and alerted the constabulary.
The police sorted it all out quickly and no one got hurt or arrested.
"They all had a good laugh about it," said one source within the film company.
But such things shouldn't happen, said Boyce.
The film is Mother's Day, a loose remake of a 1980 horror film that Roger Ebert awarded zero stars back then. This time, it stars Rebecca de Mornay and is directed by Darren Bousman, who's responsible for Saw II through Saw V. The movie is about sadistic members of a villainous family who return to their childhood home to terrorize the new homeowners and their guests. "They had permission from the city for a travelling shot, but not for a gun shot," Boyce said.
"They were granted permission to shoot in a moving vehicle. Through a glitch, the art department decided to include a gun in the scene," he said.
"We have a whole protocol around guns and gun safety," Boyce said. There was a gun handler in the car, and everything was fake, though realistic-looking.
When a film calls for guns to be discharged or even brandished, police are informed well ahead of time, and if the scene involves moving vehicles, there is a police escort and a film company truck so that everyone knows it's just a movie.
Boyce said that Bousman has a well-deserved reputation as "the king of gore" and of making very profitable movies and this is a big deal for Winnipeg. Richard Saperstein, one of the producers of Mother's Day, said the scenes Saturday were shot by a secondary unit getting some exterior shots of cast members playing bank robbers fleeing from the police.
Filming continues indoors on the soundstage on Pacific Avenue, said Saperstein, who said the crew got their film in the can before police arrived Saturday.
— With files from Carol Sanders