Monday, June 27, 2011

'Lone Ranger' now looking to Utah shoot


UPDATE: These decisions are still forming apparently, with a lot of studio work in New Mexico looking likely (along with the Utah shoot?) and some train shots in Texas.

Despite early casting reports that Disney's Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp as Tonto would land in Texas and New Mexico, extremely reliable sources in the know say it will go to Utah. And it's a decision based entirely on the incentives that state will offer. Texas just plain doesn't offer enough.

Jerry Bruckheimer
tweeted this past week that he was heavy into preproduction meetings on the project, and apparently this location decision was the result.

Of course, this means the film's Texas may better approximate the television series that ran from 1949-56 and filmed in Kanab, Utah, and California, thus keeping the myth of that particular Lone Star State alive.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

TNT to decide on 'Dallas' pickup this month

That's the word from Patrick Duffy, who says the Dallas series would start shooting in October if picked up. He doesn't say whether the series, like the pilot, would lens in Dallas.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

'Lone Ranger' another Texas-New Mexico project?


I've got confirmation of scouts both in Texas and New Mexico for Disney's Lone Ranger starring Johnny Depp as Tonto. This casting call actually says both states are in the mix.

Are we looking at a repeat of True Grit, which split filming between the two states with a slight edge to Texas to qualify for Lone Star State filming incentives? Looks that way. The casting call also indicates an October start to filming. Armie Hammer of The Social Network will portray the Masked Man.

For more on the project and recent scouts, read here.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Johnny Depp plays Tonto; world ends

The Mayan calendar ends on Dec. 21, 2012. That's also the date Disney has schedule the release of Lone Ranger, the film starring Johnny Depp as Tonto (the story is about him, not the masked man this go around). Oh, and as I told you before, they're scouting Texas locations...


UPDATE: Our source Carla confirms filmmakers recently scouted White Sands, New Mexico, as well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Texas film incentives survive; 'Lone Ranger' lurks


My column from today's Dallas Morning News.

SHOT IN TEXAS: Legislature approves $30 million in film incentives

By JOE O’CONNELL Special Contributor

Published 09 June 2011 04:48 PM

The Texas film-incentives program appears to have survived the
legislative session, but with a lot less cash to throw at potential
projects like Johnny Depp’s Lone Ranger.

The incentive program, which is aimed at attracting film, television
commercial and video-game projects to the state, will have $30 million
to spend in the next two years. That’s exactly half of what the
Legislature approved two years ago. Another $2 million will fund program
administration and a state film archives program.

“It’s a big victory and something that we’ll have to build back up on in
the future,” said Don Stokes, president of industry lobbying group the
Texas Motion Picture Alliance. “At least it keeps the program alive at
this point.”

Most film-industry leaders are keeping their lips tight about the
allocation, perhaps concerned about unlikely changes to it during the
Legislature’s special session. But it could have been worse: An original
plan had two-year funding at $10 million and at one point the Senate
considering cutting all film-incentive funding.

The funding uncertainty kept at least one unnamed network television
series pilot from filming in Texas, Stokes said. North Texas did land
two pilots — Dallas-set Good Christian Belles , which will shoot as an
ABC series primarily in Los Angeles, and TNT’s version of Dallas, which
the network has yet to pick up as a full series.

The incentives program has been less successful competing for feature
films with other more incentive-rich states such as Louisiana and New
Mexico. The next big-name film in Texas may be a remake of The Lone
Ranger , with emphasis on the character Tonto to be portrayed by Johnny
Depp. The Disney film is expected to have a fall shoot and has been
scouting locations in West Texas, Austin and the small town of Granger
where much of True Grit was shot in 2010, Gary Bond of the Austin Film
Office confirmed.

The alliance group estimates the incentive program has generated more
than $600 million in new in-state spending and 56,000 jobs since it was
first funded in 2007.

“These incentives will keep our crew and talent working in Texas and
economically impacting our entire state,” said Waxahachie-based talent
agent Linda McAlister. “Talent live and work all over Texas, not just in
the metropolitan areas. The money is filtered throughout the communities
through production as well as individual spending.”

The Legislature clearly wants to see bottom-line results. The Texas Film
Commission has until November 2012 to come up with a 10-year plan for
the film industry to “grow beyond its traditional funding.” That
includes asking cities to get involved financially and asking colleges
and universities to bolster crew training.

“Our goal is to leverage the assets we have in the state — our talented
crews, infrastructure and location variety,” Stokes said. “We can do it
all in Texas.”

Last year the incentive program was instrumental in attracting a lot of
television series to the state — The Good Guys, Chase and Lone Star in
North Texas and My Generation and Friday Night Lights in Austin, but all
of those shows have since closed shop.

To keep either television or films from gobbling up much of the
incentives allocation, the legislation requires no more than 40 percent
of funds go to either TV, film, video games or commercials and
industrial films.

“We want to make sure all segments of the industry have a chance to grow
and prosper under the program,” Stokes said.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Texas motel breakfast

Our air conditioner conked out last night so we fled to a nearby motel. As far as I know, the Texas-shaped waffle is only available at Texas motels. It's a make-it-yourself thing.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Yes, your day could be worse

Spotted on Burnet Road in Austin, Texas at 5 p.m. today.