"Apologies to Roman Polanski for substituting James Maslow for Jake Gittes in a twist on that classic line from his 1974 neonoir gem.
Couldn't resist after seeing Maslow, Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena Jr. and Logan Henderson in action in Chinatown filming scenes for Big Time Movie, director Savage Holland's slick Nickelodeon flick that wraps a whirlwind shoot here this weekend.
In a film some have compared to A Hard Day's Night, the dashing twentysomething dudes play members of the Jonas Brothers-type boy band Big Time Rush, the title of the network's series that inspired the film.
If the "BTR All Over the World Tour" graphics on a white truck parked near Chinatown's Gate of Harmonious Interest wasn't enough to indicate the boys weren't in L.A. anymore, the black London cabs, red double-deckers, British phone booths and cars driving on the wrong side of the road were telltale signs.
"Off to Victoria Island [sic] today. Gonna be my first flight in a sea plane! Can't wait," tweeted Schmidt before touchdown.
With rickshaws reappearing in Chinatown and the teenthrobs chased through its nooks and crannies by mysterious Swedes and a hammer-handed villain played by John de Santis, Wednesday was no ordinary day in the neighbourhood.
Indeed, Big Time Movie is living up to its title here with a large cast including several stuntpersons, a crew of more than 125 and a huge complement of trucks and trailers.
Victoria is masquerading in part as London. The Fairmont Empress is posing as the Queen's Hotel for sequences that include a lavish tea party.
"Well, we certainly have the weather for it - grey and wet," quipped Dennis Corbett, brolly at the ready late Wednesday as light rain began to fall, a prelude to snippets of sunshine that illuminated Fisgard Street.
Victoria actor Stuart Nemtin, a.k.a. clown entertainer Maj. Conrad Flapps, was another.
"This is just like the old days in Victoria when we used to have bigger films come in," said Nemtin, who is between school tours of a show about "bully-proofing" children. "We haven't had a group this big since Dungeon Siege."
Some local crew members were also hired, including "Rocker" Mike Dennison.
"I'm just glad there's work," said Dennison, sporting a Black Point ballcap, a memento of the David Caruso thriller shot here.
"It's nice to finally have a couple of shows in succession on the Island. I just wish there were more."
Dennison and other local crew began working three days after wrapping producer Kyle Mann's thriller The New Girl. Before that he did Hallmark's The Note 3: The Heart Healer and Lifetime's J.K. Rowling biopic Strange Magic.
The sudden upswing in production followed a slump that saw Dennison work only five days locally during eight months.
Another familiar face was CHEK newscaster Tess van Straaten, cast in a nonspeaking role as an Englishwoman.
"It's kind of nice not having to talk for once," laughed van Straaten, also seen at a "swanky London event" at the Empress.
She caught the filming bug after landing a role in last year's Bond of Silence.
Just don't expect her to give up her day job anytime soon.
"Hollywood isn't knocking down my door yet," she laughed.
The filming of the chase scenes in Fan Tan Alley prompted flashbacks to other scenes filmed there - most memorably Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn roaring through Chinatown on a motorcycle for Bird on a Wire about 20 years ago.
"My dad was an extra in that," recalled Tony Joe.
"Dad and George Chan played two elderly Chinese guys in Fan Tan Alley as Mel and Goldie raced by. He told us about craft services and how he was there for days for a three-second scene."
The organizer of Chinatown's new night market was an extra himself in another movie filmed there - I Fought the Law, the action thriller originally titled Dead Heat that starred Anthony LaPaglia and Kiefer Sutherland.
"It's neat for our town to have that little bit of notoriety," Joe said.
For champion runner and triathlete Lucy Smith, watching the shoot was an eye-opener.
"It's a completely different world than my sport world of running and racing," said Smith, accompanying her young daughter Maia, an athlete and musical theatre performer who waited patiently in the drizzle to learn if she might be used. Some Big Time Rush fans got a closer encounter with the show's stars than they anticipated.
"I talked to James yesterday. He was really nice," beamed Stephanie Porcellato, 19. "He took his picture with me."
Summer Gibson, 12, also got a thrill while watching De Santis's character and his henchmen chase the boys through Canada's narrowest alleyway from the second-floor Fisgard Street loft she shares with her mother Tracy across the street.
"I think the show's really cool," said Summer, who took a snapshot. "I saw them running into the alley and one of them slipped."
Before doing another take, the boys looked up, smiled and waved to let her know everything was OK.
Her mother was impressed.
"For them to be so friendly was so nice," she said. "They weren't snobby or up on their high horse."
Source: Victoria Times Colonist