Richmond actress stars in new CBC and Netflix series

Vancouver finally gets to represent itself and not Seattle and Los Angeles at the shows, according to Tong.

Creating a fake ID wasn’t on the resume of a Richmond actress — at least, not until she landed a lead role on CBC’s Gem and Netflix’s newest TV series.

Leo-nominated actress Jennifer Tong plays the role of Rebecca on the show “Fakes,” which follows two best friends who accidentally build one of the largest fake ID empires in North America.

The McMath alumna stars alongside Emilija Baranac and Richard Harmon in the 10-episode comedy series, which premieres September 1 on CBC Gem for Canadian viewers and September 2 on Netflix for other countries.

Tong had been shopping at a store on Granville Street in Vancouver when she received a call from her agent informing her that she had landed the role.

“I went out and screamed and cried about Granville,” he explained.

“It’s every actress’s dream come true, especially for a role in a story like this,” she says.

Tong describes her character Rebecca as a driven, passionate and adventurous 17-year-old who also has the “fatal flaws” of hurting others.

“I identify with Rebecca in so many ways because I have that drive and drive inside of me that she has. Rebecca is a loyal friend to Zoe (Baranac’s character) and… you get to see her grow up and be vulnerable throughout the season,” she adds.

Tong told the Richmond News that there was an undeniable amount of pressure filming as the title character of Rebecca, but experience from previous film and stage roles prepared her well.

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“I felt ready for that, and I think ‘China Doll’ prepared me for that too,” she says.

“I am very grateful and had a lot of fun in a collaborative experience while meeting the writers, show directors and other actors.”

And while her character makes a living producing fake IDs, Tong said she never had a fake ID, “not to mention I didn’t drink when I was underage,” she added.

Friendship, vulnerability and relationships are challenged on the comedy show, says Tong.

“I think one of the biggest underlying messages is to look at that friendship between a friend that you grew up with and how much shit you can throw at it before it ultimately breaks or succeeds and survives.”

Vancouver introduced himself

An important part of the shoot, for Tong, was the fact that it shows Vancouver itself.

Iconic views of Vancouver’s seawall, Ambleside Beach, and the Lions Gate Bridge can be seen throughout the television series. Too often, these scenes must be “hidden” to create the impression that the action is happening in Seattle or Los Angeles, Tong said.

About 70 percent of the film was shot in the outskirts of Greater Vancouver, such as Abbotsford and Langley, according to Tong.

“To be able to showcase Vancouver as Vancouver…is a proud moment for all of us. It’s magical,” she says.

“I really hope that people in Vancouver watch this show and are proud of how their city looks on Fakes.”

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