Archive for Saturday, January 13, 2007

Feature film set in Lawrence won’t be shot here … again

Kansas bypassed because state doesn’t offer tax incentives

January 13, 2007


A fictional Kansas University doctoral student takes the lead in the soon-to-be-shooting movie "The City of Your Final Destination," which boasts a cast featuring Anthony Hopkins and Laura Linney.

At no point will that final destination include the city of Lawrence, however.

Once again, production of a feature film that's set in Lawrence has bypassed the city in favor of another location to use as its double. In this case, Boulder, Colo., will serve as Lawrence's geographic impostor.

"(Merchant Ivory Productions) did ask for university stills, and we gave that to them. And that was it," said Peter S. Jasso, director of the Kansas Film Commission. "There wasn't even any discussion of 'What can you offer us?' When that happens I immediately assume they're contacting us for research purposes, as opposed to a serious inquiry. When you get a film like 'The Ice Harvest' or some of the Truman Capote films, they'll contact you looking for a location. But what they're really looking for are pictures to match it."

Jasso said the reason Kansas is often bypassed by larger productions is purely financial.

"All things being equal, they would shoot where the film takes place. But there are at least 36 states that have tax incentives and we do not," he said. Colorado charges no sales or use tax on film company services.

The end result won't necessarily mean characters in the film will be standing on Jayhawk Boulevard shadowed by mountains in the background.

"I know they were looking for pretty tight shots, like an Indian restaurant," Jasso recalled. "In that scenario - and to the rest of America - any college would probably do."

"The City of Your Final Destination" is based on the novel by Peter Cameron about an Iranian KU student who heads to South America to pen a biography of author Jules Gund.

The movie is directed by James Ivory and written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the tag team responsible for 1990s "Mr. & Mrs. Bridge," which was shot in Kansas City.

"The last time we had a major movie set here in Lawrence, 'About Schmidt,' it was filmed in Nebraska," said KU spokesman Todd Cohen.

Cohen said he is often contacted by Hollywood studios looking for KU materials or paraphernalia. In fact, there is a big-budget comedy looming on the horizon to which he recently contributed goods.

"It's a movie with Jessica Simpson called 'Blonde Ambition,' where her character is supposed to be a KU honor student. Then she goes to the 'big city' and purifies it in some way."

"Blonde Ambition" is being shot in Louisiana.

Cohen said his department keeps a list of all the KU references exhibited in movies. But when Hollywood takes charge, these are often more of a curse than a blessing.

"Remember 'The Secret of My Success' with Michael J. Fox?" Cohen asked. "He played a KU graduate and a Jayhawks fan who kept wearing a K-State shirt."


LongGoneFromLarryville 11 years, 3 months ago

Girl brings small-town values to the big city... starring... Jessica Simpson! Sounds like something we'll all be real proud to be associated with.

sourpuss 11 years, 3 months ago

Why can't Lawrence get any of these movies to film here? Movies are instant money! You want them around, even if it is inconvenient for a few days. After all, the actors and crew need food, power, entertainment... all of that money goes in the pockets of local businesses. Lawrence needs to reassess why they are not attractive to film companies. Clearly Lawrence's IMAGE is, if we get used in two recent films... now to make the reality attractive as well.

MadAnthony 11 years, 3 months ago

hAR hAR. those holllywood types just wannta smoke a cig over dinner and a beer. My bet is that is why they bypass your smug little town!

not_dolph 11 years, 3 months ago

Not to mention that there is more in the mix than just tax incentives. We need a total revamp of the film commission, the commissioners, and the past way the office has conducted business. Mr. Jasso is about as an effective film commission director as Hemenway is a Chancellor.

There are has been's and wanna-be's on the film commission that need to let go of their desire to hob-nob with stars...and bring in someone who understands the industry and what it takes to bring movie projects to Kansas.

Rhoen 11 years, 3 months ago

On the one hand, it seems that Lawrence has become type-cast as the place where you see what happens in nuclear winter.

On the other hand, Jessica Simpson as a KU honor student ... My first thought was, "That WOULD be a comedy," and my second thought was, "Maybe not so much ..."

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 3 months ago

This is about fiscal/political leadership. Kansas taxes everyone and everything. We are so tax dependent that we cannot MOVE. The money "lost" by capitulating on the tax issue is EASILY made up in increased tourism. That's why 2/3 of states don't tax them.

By the way, cool: The Patriot never sold itself as an historical account of anything. It was fiction, therefore the fictional characters kinda make sense.

moveforward 11 years, 3 months ago

Oh come on. Be realistic. If you have your choice of cities all over the world, do you want to drag your crew and starts to an area with few hotel rooms, little infrastructure for the film industry and not much to do? It is no different that why Lawrence/KS is not the convention capitol of the US. We are not - nor will we ever likely be - a mojor tourist or travel destination.

Lawrence is a wonderful town, but given the choic and having never visited, most are going to pick Boulder, Marin County, Madison or Vancouver over Lawrence every time.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 3 months ago

So, Move: You are saying that Lincoln NE is a "destination" over Lawrence? That's where the last KU-themed movie was shot.

Ragingbear 11 years, 3 months ago

People are still worried about the radiation left here from filiming "The Day After". Which was filmed in Lawrence, at least partially.

T_F 11 years, 3 months ago

On Leno celebrities are always complaining about the accomodations they have. They will film where it is cheapest, not where there are the best hotels, etc.

Ireland doesn't have taxes for artists. I think that is a great idea.

braden_quinn 11 years, 3 months ago

Every time we get passed up as a location I grow a little more irritated. I wish there was a way to do something about it. Why can't we petition to solve (or being working toward solving) these problems.

Not long ago was it that LJworld was running an article trying to get a film festival organized here in Lawrence.

Things as they are continue to blow opportunities and detract from Lawrence. Things need to change.

budwhysir 11 years, 3 months ago

How can you have a film about lawrence, featuring lawrence and not film it in lawrence

not_dolph 11 years, 3 months ago

Posted by budwhysir (anonymous) on January 13, 2007 at 6:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

How can you have a film about lawrence, featuring lawrence and not film it in lawrence

How can you have a film about Korea, shot in California...MAS*H

How can you have a film about Dodge City, shot in California...Gunsmoke

How can you have a film about Walnut Grove, IL...when the real location is in Kansas...Little House on the Prairie...?

not_dolph 11 years, 3 months ago

Details, details, but thanks for the clarification... I wasn't as big of a Little House fan as MASH or Gunsmoke...

Shelby 11 years, 2 months ago

"...about an Iranian KU student who heads to South America to pen a biography of author Jules Gund."

does Lawrence really care about being associated with a film as potentially mind-numbingly boring as this?

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