Hollywood Goes Hollywood

Filmmakers like the city's wide beaches, small downtown, and "Anywhere, U.S.A." character

Hollywood's beach is also a favorite because wide stretches of sand adjoin a boardwalk, which is in turn flanked by storefronts. That's a configuration not found elsewhere in Broward County. About 60 percent of location shoots are done on the beach, Pellarin says. In fact, Pellarin's assistant interrupts at one point to inform him that the Miami-based entertainment news show Deco Drive wants to broadcast live from the beach during its 7 p.m. show on WSVN-TV.

"The city manager, mayor, and city commissioners are very supportive of the industry," Pellarin says. "They want more to come here. We want to make easy, one-stop shopping for production companies. But we also have to face the reality that we have to function, people have to live, and we don't want to disrupt them. So I think it's finding that balance."

The city gets no direct revenue from film shoots. But, Pellarin points out, cash flows in through the hotel rooms that production companies rent, the restaurants they frequent, the supplies they buy, and the residents they employ.

Dennis Pellarin: lights, camera, action!
Colby Katz
Dennis Pellarin: lights, camera, action!

Brenda Chalifour, a lawyer with Save Our Shoreline and a frequent critic of the commission's support for big development in the city, considers location shooting a good idea, provided the city gets enough in return for the inconvenience. "I'm presuming they're using our backdrop because we have such a fabulous slice of paradise," she says. "To the extent that the city recognizes that and stops ruining it with all these high-rise developments and the like, then it all makes sense." But, she contends, the city's ambitious development plans, in contrast, threaten the very character that attracts moviemakers. "That doesn't seem to make much strategic sense," she says.

As to the inconvenience, good production companies know how to strike a balance, Pellarin contends. For example, when Denzel Washington was in town a few days last fall filming Out of Time in the beach area, neighbors were invited to the catered meals and had the chance to get photos taken of themselves with the actors, he says.

The makers of The Hours chose Hollywood as a setting for some of its exterior shots because certain streets and homes have the look of 1950s California. For one shoot, the city had to close off a portion of Hollywood Boulevard near the Intracoastal bridge and reroute traffic through a normally sedate side street all day on a Sunday. The production company informed all residents about what was planned. Because residents on the boulevard couldn't use their driveways during the shoot, the company offered valet or shuttle service to get to their cars.

"We had maybe two people call and complain," Pellarin says. "One was that he couldn't get to the beach fast enough."

The East Coast's Hollywood is currently basking in the warm glow of The Hours and its Oscar nominations for best picture and director. From behind his desk, Pellarin opens the February edition of the Hollywood Reporter, a glossy trade magazine. He shows off a small ad he placed congratulating the makers of The Hours. The three photos in the ad, however, flaunt the city's variety: a vintage house from "old" Hollywood, the beach, and the modern architecture of the Diplomat Hotel.

"Film has an economic impact on any city, especially when the big companies come," Pellarin says. "When Three Blind Mice filmed here, the crew leased an office for three months. That was 20, 25 people eating every day, hanging out at the beach, buying supplies. We'd like more production companies to set up in Hollywood."

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