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High River diner, residents thrilled to see a bit of themselves in 'The Last of Us'

Those familiar with Evelyn's Memory Lane Diner in High River, Alta., may do a double take when watching HBO's highly anticipated The Last of Us, which premiered on Sunday.

"It was surreal. Just like, 'OK, that's where I work,'" said David Poudrier, owner and operator of the diner.

The Last of Us, based on a popular 2013 post-apocalyptic video game bearing the same name, follows a hardened survivor hired to smuggle a 14-year-old girl out of a U.S. city turned into a quarantine zone.

About halfway through the first episode, the main character can be seen running through the diner, carrying his daughter to escape a zombie.

The scene was only about 10 seconds, but Poudrier hopes the impact will last much longer.

"It's just one more special thing about High River and this little diner," he told CTV News.

"Some people may even show up and say, 'Hey, I saw this place in the show.'"

The TV appearance has also been popular with customers.

"It is kind of cool to be in here and I'll be making sure to pick out the booth that we're in when we are watching it," Jesse Hammer said.

Nic Coss, another customer, added, "We love this little diner. I can't even describe the feeling of seeing something familiar on TV."

Sullivan Road in High River also got its Hollywood close-up in the series.

The cul-de-sac was used for both exteriors and interiors of the main character's house.

Steve Judge lives on the street and says his house was used for exteriors of a supporting character's home.

"I've never been involved in anything like that in my life," he said.

"They were just wonderful people and yeah, I mean, it was a bit inconvenient, but they more than compensated for that – put me in a hotel and everything."

The filming happened all over Alberta, including Calgary, Edmonton, Canmore, Fort Macleod and Waterton, and is being dubbed the largest TV production in Canadian history.

"We really got to showcase Alberta and I think the show really showed that we can tell a story regardless of where it is or what it's supposed to be about. We have the ability here to do that," said Paul Healy, set decorator for The Last of Us.

"I think, ultimately, it's more exciting if people don't recognize that we're in Alberta because that's not where our story takes place."

Healy says Alberta's various landscapes make the province a top destination for Hollywood projects.

Poudrier agrees and says he hopes more big-budget productions will film in High River.

"It's great for the community, it's great for business (and) it's great for our province," he said.

The Last of Us is available to stream on Crave. New episodes come out each Sunday at 7 p.m. MT. Top Stories

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