Please, no. Not another pandemic-themed entertainment entry. While 2020's beyond tragic coronavirus thriller Songbird — which has a gnarly Rotten Tomatoes score of 9 percent — seemingly tried to capitalize on the very real COVID-19 pandemic, HBO Max's new drama Station Eleven is an entirely different animal.
Based on Emily St. John Mandel's bestselling 2014 novel of the same name, Patrick Somerville's new limited series showcases the grungy, chaotic aftermath of a flu that took over the world. Twenty years later, the remaining survivors of said global pandemic attempt to rebuild the functioning society they once had, though nothing will ever be the same. The trailer boasts the phrase, "The end of the world is just the beginning."
With hope and existentialism oozing from its premise, Station Eleven does not intend to evoke fear. The series — which premiered on Dec. 16, 2021 — stars the likes of talented actors Mackenzie Davis (Terminator: Dark Fate), Himesh Patel (Yesterday), and Lori Petty (Point Break). From a crowded city to desolate open land, Station Eleven's setting differs depending on the scene. So, where was the show filmed?
Where was 'Station Eleven' filmed?
According to The Cinemaholic, Station Eleven was primarily filmed in Ontario, Canada, and Illinois, U.S.
Sources say that, back in January 2020, the series began filming in Chicago before being rudely interrupted by an actual pandemic. Chicago's Sheridan Park, Hyde Park, and South Shore all appear in the series.
In February 2021, filming continued in Ontario. The cities of Toronto (where the airport scenes were filmed), Mississauga, and Oshawa all appear in the show. Many of the natural backgrounds featured in Station Eleven are located by the shores of Lake Ontario.
While the post-apocalyptic world in Station Eleven is certainly rundown and barren, it doesn't appear as depressing as you think it would. This was important for the creators, who clearly had no intentions of presenting doom porn to our currently depressing world.
"For Patrick [Somerville], one of the things that was really important for him is that the future is not daunting," cinematographer Steve Closens — who shot Episodes 2, 5, 9, and 10 — told Slash Film. "Even though we're in this kind of post-apocalyptic, post-pandemic world, he wanted nature to feel, um, that it's friendly. It's not to be feared. It's not like some of these other post-pandemic or post-apocalyptic shows where nature is all burnt out and kind of scary."
Steve Closens also spoke about the difficulties the cast and crew faced while filming during Canada's brisk winter months.
"For the scenes where we needed a lot of snow and a lot of deep snow, we were able to get that not too far north of Toronto, and it really was in the peak of winter," he explained. "So, it was cold and the location that we had was difficult to get into, and it was a real test of the crew at the time, man."
Steve continued, obviously proud of the work they accomplished: "It was like, if we can get past this little block of time that we're shooting up here, then we can do anything, because the snow is super deep, and it was cold, and it was really challenging for the crew. But the location that we actually got, this beautiful cottage in the middle of nowhere, was really worth the battle because it was beautiful."
The cinematographer further relayed that filming a series about a pandemic during an actual pandemic brought out a lot of raw emotions in the cast and crew — ones that created a beautiful, intimate working environment. We're sure that intimacy will only enhance the natural beauty showcased in Station Eleven.
The first three episodes of Station Eleven are currently streaming on HBO Max. Subsequent episodes will release in pairs at 3 a.m. EST on Thursdays on HBO Max.