Entertainment

Netflix TV series replica subway car a bargain at $3,600


Auctioned-off car used in Metro Vancouver-shot series was built to scale and had complete interior, but was largely made out of wood

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If you wanted to buy your own personal SkyTrain car, it would probably cost you $3.5 million.

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Alternatively, you could have bid on a replica of a Washington, D.C., subway car that was recently sold by Able Auctions. It cost about $250,000 to build, but sold for a mere $3,600, or $4,212 after commission.

That’s about 0.1 per cent of the cost of a SkyTrain car.

The 48-foot-long, 10-foot-wide replica was built for a new Netflix TV series, The Night Agent, and was sold as part of a giant Set Dec and Wardrobe online auction on July 18.

Because the replica is so big, the auction took place at the William F. White Fraserwood Studio in Richmond, where the scenes involving the subway car were filmed.

The car was purchased by Vancouver Horror Nights, which puts on a giant haunted attraction around Halloween.

On Wednesday the company’s creative and casting director Ryan Purdy and a crew were at Fraserwood Studio to pick up a bunch of stuff the company bought at the auction. They’ll also have to figure out how to move the car, which was built in three sections and will have to be taken out by trailer.

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The subway car will become a “haunted attraction” at Vancouver Horror Nights, which is only three years old but has grown by leaps and bounds — it started off with 6,000 sq. ft., and this year will be putting on a 100,000-sq.-ft. extravaganza at the old Sears location in Coquitlam Centre.

“We’ll jack it up,” said Purdy.

“Stick some hydraulics underneath it and some airbags, shake it around, take people for a little trip. We don’t know if we’ll do like a ‘derailing experience,’ we might fill it with zombies … I’ve got a whole year to plan out all the evil things I’m going to do to people.”

Able Auctions just auctioned off a 48-foot-long replica of a subway car that was made for a TV show Night agent. It’s made of wood, one side looks real, the other makes it look like a set.
Able Auctions just auctioned off a 48-foot-long replica of a subway car that was made for a TV show Night agent. It’s made of wood, one side looks real, the other makes it look like a set. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

It’ll be up to all the shimmying and shaking because Jacek Scheller and his construction crew built it “to be safe and secure” for up to 40 riders during filming.

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“The art department designs it and tells you what they want, but it’s us on the floor that figure out (how) it actually goes together,” explains Scheller, the construction foreman for the build.

“Working with the stunt guys and the special effects guys to know what their parameters are, and what they’re going to do with it. If they’re going to shake the crap out of this thing, I need to make sure it doesn’t fall apart.”

Scheller said the subway car is mostly made of wood, engineered lumber and beams like microlams and TJ joists, and a steel frame.

“We had a hydraulic ram attached to it and the thing shunted,” he said.

“It’s really difficult to get 40 people to (move) all at the same time, so we gave it some movement to have that effect. Not enough to make them fall to the ground and hurt themselves, but enough to make them jolt.”

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The flip side.
The flip side. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

One side of the car looks exactly like a Washington subway car — the wood has been painted so it looks like weathered aluminum. The other side is unfinished wood and looks like a film set.

“For budget purposes we only needed to finish one side of it,” said Scheller.

The film biz is always in a hurry, so there was quite a crew involved in the construction.

“We have time constraints, obviously, so I had to have a lot of people building different components all at the same time,” said Scheller, who has built sets for films like Star Trek Beyond and Godzilla.

“I’d say at one time I probably had 25 or maybe even 30 people working at the same time, including painters. On top of that there would have probably been four or five special effects guys crawling on it.”

But it made for a bit of cinematic magic, a Washington, D.C., subway car in a Richmond, B.C. film studio.

jmackie@postmedia.com

Ryan Purdy (left) and Jacek Scheller in the interior, which is all fitted out.
Ryan Purdy (left) and Jacek Scheller in the interior, which is all fitted out. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG
Another view of the unfinished side, which never appears in the TV show.
Another view of the unfinished side, which never appears in the TV show. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG
Another view of the finished side, which does.
Another view of the finished side, which does. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

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