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Apple TV series setting the stage for downtown London, Ont. shoot

Filming for the unconfirmed Apple TV series is expected to begin next week on this stretch of Richmond Street between King and Dundas streets. Andrew Graham / Global News

A stretch of Richmond Street in London, Ont., is set to get the Hollywood treatment next week as excitement builds for an upcoming Apple TV series shoot.

James Edwards, owner of AAHC Barbershop and Salon, says he and neighbouring business owners were told that an Apple TV production would be filmed on Richmond Street from Aug. 24 to Aug. 26, with the majority of the shoot taking place in the evening.

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“They’re going to kind of stage it like a ’70s type of scene,” Edwards said.

“We’re excited for it because it will give us some extra exposure, extra promotion, so we’re always glad for that.”

AAHC Barbershop and Salon is one of several businesses on Richmond Street that have been informed of the Apple TV upcoming shoot. Andrew Graham / Global News

Ryan Warren is a partner with Szemenyei MacKenzie Group LLP, a law firm that sits a few doors down from Edwards’ barbershop.

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Warren was also informed that the block of Richmond Street between Dundas and King streets would be shut down for an Apple TV shoot, but wasn’t told much else.

“We wouldn’t have access to parking, it would be used for the production crew, but that’s really about it … we haven’t really heard many details,” Warren said.

As for whether he’d be making a cameo in the upcoming series, Warren joked with Global News that he’d be open to the idea if the right offer came his way.

“They haven’t approached me yet, but I’m happy to have them talk to my people and we’ll see what we can work out.”

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According to a report from CTV News London, next week’s shoot is for the upcoming series Improbable Valentine, which is based on the 2017 Victor LaValle fantasy/horror novel The Changeling.

In a news release last year from Apple TV, Melina Matsoukas was named as the series’ director. Matsoukas is a two-time Grammy Award winner for her music video work. She also earned an Emmy nomination for her role as an executive producer and director on the series Insecure.

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Improbable Valentine will star LaKeith Stanfield, who earned his first Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in 2021’s Judas and the Black Messiah. Fans may also recognize Stanfield from his roles in Uncut Gems, Selma, Straight Outta Compton, Knives Out and the series Atlanta.

LaKeith Stanfield at the 2019 Film Independent Spirit Awards held on Santa Monica Beach on Feb. 23, 2019 in Santa Monica, Calif. The Canadian Press

Andrew Dodd is the manager of Film London, an office recently opened by the city that aims to bring film and television productions to the Forest City.

Dodd wasn’t able to confirm any details surrounding the upcoming shoot, but says the city is “tracking several different productions of various sizes.”

“Nothing’s for certain until it’s certain, so I don’t like to comment about anything until we know for sure it’s here and happening,” Dodd said.

Dodd says productions of all sizes bring plenty of economic benefit to the city as well, adding that “the bigger the production is, the more they’ll make it worth the while of all the asks that they have when they come to a municipality.”

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“In Hamilton, Cambridge and certainly in Toronto, if they need to close a street and ask all the business owners as well, they can be very handsomely compensated for the fact that they have to close or that there might be disruptions to their business,” Dodd added.

Dodd isn’t able to specify what productions are being tracked by Film London due to non-disclosure agreements and other deals, but says he always looks forward to when projects shot in London make it to air, giving him and his team the chance to flex their bragging rights.

Amazing Race is a perfect example. They were here back in May, they were able to operate under the radar, which is how they like, but when the episode airs, which it did this week … that’s when they say go ahead, open the barn doors and we can get hyped about it,” Dodd said.

“Keep your eyes peeled and look forward to more projects on the horizon.”

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