By Nicole Fitzgerald
Two actors from CTV’s Whistler television series walk through a scene for next season’s run at Ross Rebagliati Park in Whistler.
The production crew, usually stationed at a Lower Mainland studio where the bulk of the television show is filmed, have spent the last month intermittently shooting in Whistler. Producers wanted the Dallas meets O.C. drama to reflect more of the “real” Whistler — just not too real.
Actor Christopher Shyer, more famously known as resort giant Adrien Varland, and actor Amanda Crew, who plays Carrie Miller, stood directly in front of the park sign that touts the name of Whistler’s Olympic gold medalist.
Rebagliati launched a lawsuit against CTV and Whistler producers last August, maintaining that the show’s Beck McKaye character was modeled on Rebagliati and portrays him negatively. The case is scheduled for court in October 2008.
For the television shoot, the situation was covered with evergreens blocking name and park sign from rolling cameras.
How accountable is the show in portraying the “real” Whistler? Does any responsibility fall on show organizers because the name Whistler is being used?
“From a legal branding perspective, (CTV Whistler ) can make us look however they want and we can’t do anything about it,” said John Rae, Manager of Strategic Alliances and Marketing for the Resort Municipality of Whistler. “The way they decide to depict our community is up to them. There is no recourse as far as I know.”
The Whistler community is as powerless as Las Vegas was in their efforts to shutdown CSI shooting.
“There are two ways to look at it,” Rae said. “You can look at it like a politician where any press is good press. The other side is ‘Well I never. That’s not Whistler. That’s not us!’ At the end of the day, it is probably a bit of both.”
The first season of Whistler the television series was highly criticized by the local community. In an interview with Pique Newsmagazine in August 2006, Mayor Ken Melamed said he was approached by a few citizens who were concerned about how the town was portrayed in the show with themes that included murder, blackmail and substance abuse.
RMOW officials also voiced disappointment that the show was mainly shot in Langley, with only a few file shots of Whistler scenery, preventing viewers from seeing the “real” Whistler.