It may be the oddest request a TV show has made of a film commission. And it’s immortalized on the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission’s Web site.
The production people at the CBS drama Cane wanted to reproduce the soil tone of a sugar cane field in Belle Glades for a scene where a bad guy takes a dirt nap. So they asked the commission to load up a box with 20 pounds of muck and ship it to Los Angeles.
Such are the pitfalls when trying to recreate the look of the Sunshine State inside a California soundstage.
Indeed, though there are four high-profile TV series set in Florida, just one – USA Networks’ Burn Notice – is filmed entirely in the state.
Here’s a look at how they’re doing so far.
Here’s how they’re doing so far:
Excuse for filming in California: cost savings.
Does it work? CBS does a decent job of making Southern California towns such as Pasadena and Long Beach look like Miami. But although redhead David Caruso looks cool in those blue suits, any real-life Horatio Cane would sweat off half his weight dressing like that in Magic City.
Reason for filming in Florida: Just look at it.
Does it work? Cane director Sandy Bookstaver also films this show, with indulgent, lingering shots of beachfront hotels, local shopping centers, picturesque marinas and signature bridges. Even the daylight looks stronger in this series, which turns Miami into a cast regular with spectacular results.
Excuse for filming in California: Cost of insurance during hurricane season.
Does it work? Sticking to lower-class locales — cheap apartment complexes, street fairs, police department offices and such — producers mimic Miami well. But one look at the show’s pilot, shot entirely in Miami with deep blue skies, crystal-clear waters and signature neighborhoods, reveals what Showtime’s serial killer drama is missing.
Excuse for filming in California: costs.
Does it work? Set designers do their homework: Palm Beach film commission staffers still buzz about spending CBS’s money on their city’s version of Rodeo Drive, Worth Avenue. Best of all, the characters walk around in T-shirts and guayaberas, as if it were, you know, hot outside.