Second in a series
Some location managers still struggle to film downtown in front of developer Tom Gilmore‘s properties. But there’s a long history in Los Angeles of filmmakers being hit on for cash to secure film locations. And while Mayor Eric Garcetti is film friendly now, he was once caught putting the squeeze on a major studio to film a movie in his district.
As mayor, Garcetti created the position of Film Czar to cut red tape and re-invigorate local production, and he has lobbied Sacramento tirelessly to pass new state film incentives. But 12 years ago, as a member of the City Council, his requests for money contributed to a payoff culture that his own current deputy Film Czar Rajiv Dalal says has made Los Angeles “the extortion capital of the world for the film industry.”
In 2002, producers sought to close two blocks of Hollywood Boulevard for two days to film a scene for Sony’s Hollywood Homicide, which starred Harrison Ford and Josh Harnett. Garcetti, who represented the Hollywood area, told the studio he might not support the road closure unless they paid $10,000 to $25,000 for a study of traffic problems caused by filming in the area. He asked the studio to pay for the study, according to a Sony spokeswoman at the time. When asked by the media, however, then-Councilman Garcetti said he was going to get other studios to help cover the cost of the study; otherwise, he was going to withdraw all support from allowing crews to film on the famous boulevard.