Philly goes Hollywood

Category: Law Abiding Citizen News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: February 19, 2009 | Publication: South Philly Review | Author: Amanda Snyder
Publication/Article Link:South Philly Review

‘Law Abiding Citizen,’ starring Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, had a day shoot at a local bridge Tuesday.

Assistant district attorney Nick Rice arrives on the South Philly scene where a missing cop may be buried. The west side of the George C. Platt Memorial Bridge provided the backdrop for Tuesday’s day shoot of the psychological thriller “Law Abiding Citizen.” With temperatures in the 30s, the cast and crew gathered in a small, nearby field for the helicopter scene.

On set were Foxx (“Ray” and “Dreamgirls”) who plays Rice; Colm Meaney, portraying Detective Dunnigan; and Richard Portnow as defense attorney Bill Reynolds in addition to extras, film publicist Carol Green said. Gerard Butler (“300” and “P.S. I Love You”) also stars as Clyde Shelton, but was not in the South Philly scene.

The project is in the midst of shooting all of its scenes around the Philadelphia area over the course of about 50 days. Future shots will be at a farmhouse shed near the Navy Shipyard in South Philly and a warehouse stage in Southwest Philly, Green said.

While this is co-producer Jeff Waxman’s first time working in the City of Brotherly Love — the Mets fan was in the area last year for the last three innings of the World Series — he is happy about returning to town since it was chosen as the film’s setting.

“We scouted Massachusetts, Georgia, New York and Michigan and luckily we chose here because I get to go home on the weekends and I love it here,” he said.

The story takes place in Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is almost going to be a character in the film,” Green said, adding director F. Gary Gray, who also directed “The Italian Job” that was partly filmed in the city, “loves shooting in Philadelphia.”
Philadelphia has a lot to offer the movie business, said Stephanie Paul, a Butler fan who plans on seeing the movie upon its 2010 release.

“Yes, because it’s based in Philly,” said the resident of 15th and Ritner streets. “I’ll go see anything that’s based in Philly.”

Adon Rosario enjoys seeing movies filmed in Philadelphia like “National Treasure” as he grew up here and recognized the locations where filming took place.

“Usually movies filmed in Philadelphia, I’m more likely to see,” the resident of Eighth and Morris streets said adding, “Foxx, he’s a funny dude. I like to go see his movies in general.”

After a home evasion leaves Shelton’s wife and children dead, 10 years later their killer is set free in a plea bargain arranged by Rice. After he is imprisoned for killing the murderer, Shelton threatens going on a killing spree across the city unless he is released

“When justice doesn’t go as he sees it years after, he goes after [Rice],” Green said. “[Shelton] really wants to take down the whole city.”

Picking a location for each movie scene is a complicated, intricate process, Sharon Pinkerson, executive director at the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, said. After reading the script, the office worked with the director and a location scout sorting through a digital database with more than 10,000 photos to find somewhere suitable for each setting. They then chose a place that fits the story and is practical, she said.

“We don’t want to pick a place that we know is difficult to shoot in,” she said.

Tuesday’s scene, which Pinkerson could not share details, was shot under the Platt Bridge, which sits on the Navy Yard property.

“It’s got this great look, so it’s going to look great on camera as well as contribute to the story,” she said.

Not wanting to disclose too much either, Green added that the South Philly scene pieces the film together.

“I don’t want to reveal what’s going on in that scene because it’s just part of the plot,” she said. “We want you to see it on screen when it all makes sense.”

The shooting began at City Hall in late January before moving to 11th and Somerset streets in North Philadelphia and Delaware County’s George W. Hill Correctional Facility earlier this month. Yesterday, the cast and crew relocated to Holmesburg Prison in Northeast Philadelphia. Filming is expected to wrap up sometime in March, Green said.

Janice Farrow, of Second and Jackson streets, had heard that Foxx is in town and is excited that the movie is filming locally.

“It’s more money for the city plus it’s good to see your place on screen,” she said.

Many films have been shot in the area recently including “Rocky Balboa” in ’06, “The Happening” in ’07 and “Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen” in ’08 due to tax incentives, which are a factor for this film too, both Waxman and Green agreed.

The Film Production Tax Credit Program, a Pennsylvania Congress passed act established in the summer of ’07, grants a 25 percent transferable tax credit toward qualified state expenses for “feature films, TV shows and series, and commercials intended for a national audience” when at least 60 percent of the budget is used in Pennsylvania, but cannot to exceed $75 million a year, according to the Film Office.

Aside from landing Mayor Michael Nutter a non-speaking role, the city will also reap benefits from the film’s release.

“It will bring in $50 million - probably much more into the city and the region and the state and there’s hundreds and hundreds hired to work on this movie,” Pinkerson said adding that about 200 people are employed each day during filming — 60 percent or more whom are hired locally.

While Mario DiPrimio is not a movie person, he agrees that the jobs and money flowing into the city is fantastic.

“I think it’s good for everyone,” said the resident of 30th Street and Snyder Avenue. “It builds up the economy someway. Every little bit helps.”

Not only does the money boost the city, but the publicity is equally wonderful for the city, Pinkerson said.

“Everyone will get to see the city on the big screen,” she said. “You couldn’t buy that kind of marketing.”