By Ethan Alter
Updated August 03, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Once an overlooked cousin to production hotbeds Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal earned major face time in the recent Frank Oz-directed heist flick, The Score. Since then, the metropolis has played host to the upcoming Katie Holmes-Benjamin Bratt thriller Abandon and the latest Jack Ryan adventure The Sum of All Fears, starring Ben Affleck. WHY HERE? Dedicated crews and excellent production facilities top the list of reasons for braving the cold winters. Better still, the city functions as a convincing stand-in for other locales; in Fears it doubles for both Baltimore and Vienna. Gary Foster, producer of The Score, plans to replicate NYC’s Hell’s Kitchen in its streets for his next project, the superhero saga Daredevil. REALITY CHECK How do you spell Hell’s Kitchen in French? Quebec law requires that most outdoor signs and advertisements be in French — with any English appearing in smaller type.