Scott Alexander drives from Stoney Creek to downtown Hamilton each night so he can destroy a small part of James Street North.
But he does so good-naturedly. Alexander is the assistant location manager for the reboot of Robocop, which has been shooting for a week on the street.
And shooting quite literally — there's been a half dozen bursts of machine gun fire on the set, which is at the corner of James and Colbourne.
“The gunfire has its challenges with permits,” Alexander said. “But it's a lot of fun.”
A crew of about 100 to 125 people work on the set of Robocop each night — from lighting technicians to camera people, hair and makeup technicians to special effects supervisors.
And their economic impact for Hamilton has been hefty: Alexander says the crew has pumped around $400,000 into the city for eight days of shooting.
The city of Hamilton projected the number a little more conservatively at $350,000.
The film is a re-imagining of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven cult classic. It stars Michael Keaton, Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman and Samuel L. Jackson and is directed by José Padilha.
The original was heralded by critics for its smart satire of American culture. Some called it the best film of 1987.
Alexander says he's a big fan of the film. “I watched it as a kid growing up.”
And at 13 years in the business, he's no stranger to film sets — or to shooting in Hamilton and the GTA. He's previously worked on films like Total Recall, Red and Kick-Ass.
“The city of Hamilton has a very different look about it,” Alexander said. “Sometimes you just can't get that 'old warehouse' look in Toronto.”
“Hamilton looks great on camera.”
Alexander has to stay tight-lipped about plot and which actors are in town as instructed by studio higher-ups. But the most common idea seen online is that this is the scene in which policeman Alex Murphy (played by Joel Kinnaman) is gunned down before his resurrection as the film's titular character.
Photos of Kinnaman as Robocop surfaced online in mid-September. Reaction has been mixed so far, as some fans say the suit doesn't quite embrace the “metallic charm” of the original.
But still, Robocop fans are lingering on James Street North which is bustling with all its businesses open during the shoot, hoping for a glimpse of that iconic, cyclops-esque faceplate.
“We've had quite a few die-hards of the original film hanging out,” Alexander said.
The RoboCop reboot is slated for an August 2013 release. Filming resumes Saturday night.