Marquee star in Marquette: Tiny Manitoba town buzzes as Keanu Reeves arrives to shoot thriller
Interlake community with population of 50 or 60 stands in for Russian town in feature film Siberia
It's a long way from La-La Land — but there's a lot of celebrity buzz right now in Marquette, Man., where a Hollywood film starring actor Keanu Reeves is currently shooting.
Parts of the tiny community have been transformed to look like a Russian town for Siberia, a feature film about an American diamond trader searching for his missing partner.
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With Reeves and a production crew shooting scenes this week in Marquette, located about 46 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, star-struck Manitobans have been posting photos of the the 52-year-old Canadian, famous for his roles in hit movies like Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, Speed and The Matrix.
"This little town of about 50 or 60 people is just buzzing here today," said Trevor King, reeve of the Rural Municipality of Woodlands, which includes Marquette.
"It's not just the local residents; there seems to be an awful lot of traffic around here that's not so local."
Locations being used in Marquette include a restaurant across the road from King's workplace and a home in the community.
King said the company behind the film had contacted the RM about two months ago, seeking permission for a street closure and a more unusual request — asking that some snow be hauled in and stored for the production.
"One of our councillors actually had some snow piled up for them and they had it parked here," he said.
"I don't know whether it all lasted because they've actually brought in some of their own fake snow as well."
While residents have been lining up to snap selfies with Siberia's star, the reeve has not had a photo with Reeves … yet.
"I haven't had the opportunity, but I am employed here with the local Co-Op in Marquette and I understand that my boss may have lined something up with a picture with the staff here," said King.
"I'm not sure whether I'll be around for it but if we get that opportunity that would be great."
It's not the first time Hollywood has come to the area recently. King said another production shot at at the Baie St. Paul Bridge in the neighbouring Rural Municipality of St. Francois Xavier, south of Marquette, a couple of weeks ago.
It's also not Reeves's first appearance in Manitoba. Many Winnipeg theatre-goers will remember when he took to the stage in the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre's production of Hamlet in 1995.
As for Reeves's current project, King said all eyes in Marquette will be on Siberia when it is released next year.
"I'm sure all the local residents are going to be watching for this film when it's released in the theatres or Netflix or whatever the case may be, just to watch it and look at some of the props that have been here for a long time and will be here for a long time to come."
With files from CBC's Radio Noon