Dream Scenario: Exploring All Locations Where the Dark Comedy Was Filmed

‘Dream Scenario’ by director Kristoffer Borgli is a darkly comedic tale about an ordinary professor who begins to appear in people’s dreams. Paul Matthews (Nicolas Cage) is an awkward and emasculated professor who teaches biology at Osler University. Without his knowledge, he begins to appear in people’s dreams as an apathetic bystander, making for some hilarious scenarios. Once he realizes the scale at which this phenomenon is taking place, his social media profile is linked to an article about it.

Paul finds himself at the center of unprecedented attention, reveling in the fame that had alluded him his whole life. However, he is frustrated by his unremarkable and passive existence in these dreams, wanting to have more of an impact. An emotionally tumultuous incident causes his dream versions to become aggressive and violent, and his notoriety turns on him, destabilizing his life. Witnessing the surreal visions and nightmares starkly contrasted by a mundane backdrop, you might wonder where filming of the Nicolas Cage starrer took place.

Dream Scenario Shooting Sites

‘Dream Scenario’ was filmed entirely within the province of Ontario, with shooting sites in Toronto, Burlington, and a few scenes in Mississauga. Upholding his reputation for filming on location, Borgli used actual sites to create the movie’s dreams, with the exception of an elevator sequence that had to be constructed. Principal photography began in October 2022 and lasted 29 days before being wrapped in November of the same year, using ‘Osler Diary’ as a cover name for the film. Let us take you through the specific locations involved in filming the intriguing tale.

Toronto, Ontario

Situated on Lake Ontario’s northwestern shore, Toronto is the primary filming destination for ‘Dream Scenario.’ Shooting in the area included taping scenes set in the city, a theater, and Paul’s University. York University on 4700 Keele Street actually doubled up as the University Paul teaches at in the film. The third-largest university in the nation, its breathtaking expanse was used by the film to create Osler University, where much of Paul’s interaction with the students dreaming of him takes place.

The Elgin Theatre at 189 Yonge Street is one of the last surviving Edwardian-stacked theaters in the world. It features in a few initial scenes in the movie with a woman approaching Paul regarding his appearance in her dreams. While filming in Toronto, Nicolas Cage ran into director Sofia Coppola, who was filming ‘Priscilla’ at the same location, while her father, Francis Ford Coppola, was in Atlanta shooting ‘Megalopolis’ at that time. Pleasantly surprised by the coincidence, Cage considered it a sign of good luck.

Burlington, Ontario

The lakeside city of Burlington became the backdrop for much of the comedy’s suburban neighborhood and restaurant scenes. Both interior and exterior shooting was carried out of private homes to create striking dream sequences in their mundane environments. The Russell Williams restaurant on 20 Plains Road was utilized in the film as a dining establishment facilitating conversations between the characters. The family restaurant in Aldershot and its stately ambiance can also be seen in the movie ‘Blackberry.’

The film crew then moved to suburban houses on North Shore Boulevard, near Boothman Avenue, to lens interior shots of Paul’s and of other characters’ homes where some of the dreams take place. 10 out of 29 days of filming took place in the home chosen for Paul and his family. A nearby residential unit with a swimming pool played the part of Richard’s house and also became the backdrop for Paul’s daughter’s dream, which sees her floating in the air. This dream scene was initially planned to be carried out in Paul’s backyard, but with a crane unable to fit at the site, it was shifted to Richard’s backyard with the swimming pool and gave an even more surreal feel because of it.

Borgli is known to prefer filming on location, and ‘Dream Scenario’ is no exception. While shooting in suburban houses, one can see the world outside through their windows. The creative artist prefers natural light and authentic settings created by using real locations, which he finds lacking in a studio setup. The earthquake dream sequence filmed on location was a monumental undertaking, with 300 extras running amock and falling in a panic while explosions took place around them. The scene was limited to just two takes from two different camera angles due to the cost and difficulty involved in resetting it for reshoots.

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