ST. THOMAS – Has anyone seen Aquaman?
Hollywood superstar Jason Momoa appears to be keeping a low profile as filming begins in the St. Thomas area on the set of the second season of the big-budget Apple TV series See.
Shooting began days ago on the futuristic series – starring Momoa, and in which humans have lost the ability to see – on the grounds of the former psychiatric hospital on Sunset Drive.
Momoa, who starred in comic-book inspired Aquaman, also starred as Khal Drogo in the first and second seasons of the blockbuster series Game of Thrones.
“I have not seen Jason Momoa at all,” said Sue Brown, a server at the nearby Sunset Cafe where the show’s set builders have been eating frequently.
The actors, she said, are being fed by an onsite caterer.
While more than 2,000 people answered a casting call in St. Thomas last month for extras for the TV series, the star and the filming has been more below the radar.
The cast has kept a low profile, said Alan Smith, Elgin County’s general manager of economic development.
Thursday, a Free Press photographer was prevented from shooting any photographs on hospital property.
“So far they have been quite hidden. I think that’s probably on purpose, of course,” Smith said. “I think they like their privacy, so we haven’t seen any sightings yet.”
While Momoa hasn’t been seen much in Southwestern Ontario, he has been spotted recently dining in the Toronto area.
Just where Momoa will stay in the area also is under wraps. But longtime former St. Thomas mayor Steve Peters, now a city councillor, said he knows a great spot for the actor to wind down while off-set in the area.
“If he was smart – in my mind – he would find a place in Port Stanley,” said Peters. “There are a lot of cottages sitting vacant in the winter. It’s close. From the psych hospital, it’s four miles.”
Locals in the Lake Erie village say he hasn’t turned up there yet, however.
“We have not seen hide nor hair of him in Port (Stanley),” said Ann Stevens owner of The Little Beach Shop, who added she too has heard he’s filming in Toronto.
Smith said the filming of See is the largest production ever to come to Elgin County. Past productions shot in the area include a Nike commercial and various smaller projects.
“I think this area has the potential to really embrace the film industry in this part of Ontario. That is something we will look more into,” Smith said. “Definitely, Elgin County is an attractive place for filming. We may explore to see what we can do with that notoriety.”
Local hotels and restaurants are benefiting from increased activity.
“This is great for our local economy,” Smith said. “However, we have to build on that. The idea is, how do you sustain that level of activity with other productions when they are here? It is great, of course, and then they go away.”
At the Sunset Cafe, wait staff have enjoyed the benefits.
“The guys that come in are so mannerly,” Brown said. “They have been amazing; they’re friendly.”
The premise of See, entering its second season, is that in a post-apocalyptic future, no one in humankind has vision, except for the twins Momoa is raising. Shooting in St. Thomas is expected to run about six months.