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Epic streaming series that was shot in Port Moody premieres February 2024

Port Moody residents will get to see a part of the city in a whole new way beginning Feb. 27. If they’re able to recognize it at all.
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Production crews spent weeks transforming a portion of the old Flavelle sawmill property in Port Moody into a 17th-century Japanese village that will be a set for a new TV series based upon James Clavell's 1975 novel, Shogun.

Port Moody residents will get to see a part of the city in a whole new way beginning Feb. 27, 2024 — if they're able to recognize it at all.

That’s when the limited series Shogun that took over the old Flavelle cedar mill property for several months in 2021 and 2022 premieres on the streaming networks Hulu in the United States and Disney+ in Canada. Its 10 episodes will drop weekly.

The production transformed the historic waterfront property into a 17th century Japanese fishing village. The set also included a large temple and a landlocked ship.

Crews spent weeks building the small wooden huts and other structures, many of which were shrouded by large scrims and blue screens, as much to keep the 21st Century out of sight as to shroud actual shooting from view.

According to the film production website BC Creates, producers imported several artifacts and materials from Japan to bring the show authenticity, including fabrics, swords and ropes. It even planted a Japanese pine tree on set that was later donated to the city and replanted near city hall.

The show, which is based on the bestselling novel by James Clavelle that was published in 1975 and adapted into a network miniseries in 1980 by NBC, was greenlit for production by FX in 2018. The first adaptation won three Emmys, three Golden Globes and attracted 20 million viewers to each of its five episodes.

But, according to the Hollywood website Deadline, production on the new take was delayed as scripts were refined and logistics for filming in Japan and the United Kingdom sorted.

The COVID-19 pandemic and global travel restrictions forced further delays and the production retrenched to North America.

Principal photography started in September 2021 and lasted until the end of June 2022.

Besides the Port Moody set, scenes were also filmed in Ucluelet and North Vancouver, according to industry website, Backstage. There was also a set on Quarry Road in Coquitlam.

FX CEO John Landgraf told the Hollywood Reporter last year the show has the network’s biggest-ever budget.

Shogun tells the story of a British sailor, John Blackthorne, who shipwrecks off the coast of Japan and is rescued by a local samurai.

Through his captivity, Blackthorne becomes embroiled in a plot of intrigue between feudal rivals and falls in love with a mysterious female samurai translator, forcing him to become Japanese.

British actor Cosmo Jarvis, who appeared in the Amazon series Peaky Blinders, plays Blackthorne, while the feudal lord, Toranga, is portrayed by Hiroyuki Sanada, whose previous credits include Mortal Kombat and the HBO series Westworld.

New Zealand-born actress Anna Sawai plays the samurai translator. She’s the former lead singer of the Japanese girl group Faky whose Western acting roles include the lead in the current Apple+ show Monarch: Legacy of Monsters.

Port Moody actor and playwright Hiro Kanagawa also appears in the series.

Shogun joins a CV of shows filmed in Port Moody that includes TV series like Supernatural and Supergirl, along with feature films Flora and Ulysses and Playing with Fire. The city has also been cast in several commercials.

AP Group closed the Flavelle cedar mill and removed most of its equipment and structures in 2020, ending a run of 115 years the waterfront property west of Rocky Point Park has been operated as an industrial site.

At the time the company was in the early stages of planning redevelopment of the property that would transform it into a high-density mixed-use neighbourhood with homes for up to 7,000 residents, jobs for 1,100 people, as well as park space and the extension of a walkway to link to Rocky Point.