Thursday, June 21, 2018
Movies

'Spring Breakers' starring James Franco expected to film in bay area

The third high-profile movie since Dolphin Tale re-energized Tampa Bay's film industry is expected to shoot locally later this month. This one reportedly brings the hippest star yet: Academy Award nominee and Renaissance dude James Franco.

Franco, 33, will star in Spring Breakers, alongside former Disney Channel starlets Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, and Heather Morris of Glee. Don't expect Spring Breakers to be as family-friendly as those acting credits suggest.

Spring Breakers is written and directed by Harmony Korine, who made his mark at age 19 with the screenplay for Kids, a 1995 release that earned an NC-17 rating for its frankness about teenage sexuality and AIDS. Korine later directed the divisive art house oddities Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy, and most recently 2009's Trash Humpers, about a group of sociopathic senior citizens.

According to industry trade reports, Spring Breakers is the story of college students who rob a restaurant to finance their Florida vacation. They land in jail but are bailed out by a rapping drug and weapons dealer (Franco), who in return wants them to murder his rival.

Associate producer Jonathan Fong would only confirm Monday that Spring Breakers will be filmed in Florida, awaiting permission from Muse Productions to release further information.

"That's all I have license to say," Fong said from Los Angeles by telephone. "We actually want to say as little as possible, because of the high-profile talent involved."

However, production offices for Spring Breakers recently opened in downtown St. Petersburg, and about 40 homeowners in the Pinellas Point and Driftwood areas received letters detailing what producers seek for location shoots, including a house with an uncaged swimming pool.

Principal photography is expected to commence later this month in St. Pete Beach, continuing through March. Spring Breakers is slated to reach theaters in 2013.

Dolphin Tale was the first feature lured to Tampa Bay by an expanded incentive program offering tax breaks to productions filming in Florida. Inspired by the true-life story of Winter the tailless dolphin, it collected nearly $95 million at box offices worldwide, and pumped nearly half of its reported $37 million budget into Florida coffers.

Last October, Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh filmed portions of his strip club comedy Magic Mike, starring Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, in Pinellas County and Ybor City. In December, principal photography wrapped in Clearwater on Laurie Collyer's poverty drama Sunlight Jr., starring Matt Dillon and Naomi Watts. Both films are slated for release in 2012.

Franco has a reputation as one of Hollywood's busiest actors, with four movies currently in post-production including Oz: The Great and Powerful, a prequel to The Wizard of Oz.

He also recently filmed scenes as Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner for Lovelace, a biopic of Deep Throat porn star Linda Lovelace. Franco is set to direct and star in the backwoods drama Child of God later this year.

Last year, Franco was nominated for a best actor Oscar for the true-life adventure 127 Hours, and drew criticism for his work hosting the Academy Awards alongside Anne Hathaway.

Meanwhile, Franco indulges in a variety of quirky artistic endeavors including writing short stories — the compilation Palo Alto: Stories by Franco was published in 2010 — and creating multimedia projects such as a dramatic retrospective of the 1970s sitcom Three's Company. His documentary Saturday Night, chronicling the preparation of a Saturday Night Live episode, played at 2010's Sarasota Film Festival. Franco also did a 52-episode arc on the soap opera General Hospital, that he described as "performance art."

Gomez, 19, starred in the Disney Channel's Wizards of Waverly Place and Hannah Montana but may be best known for dating pop sensation Justin Bieber. Hudgens, 23, earned fame in Disney's High School Musical franchise, and currently stars with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. Morris, 25, will get her biggest movie role since her ditzy role as Brittany Pierce on Glee made her a star.

Staff writer Katherine Snow Smith contributed to this report. Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

 
Comments
Three movies are in the works about Hulk Hogan and Gawker. Will they remember who’s the victim?

Three movies are in the works about Hulk Hogan and Gawker. Will they remember who’s the victim?

Sonny BunchAccording to Vulture, there are three separate movies in the works about the downfall of the New York-based gossip blog Gawker.One is based on the book Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue; it will be a...
Published: 06/21/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

OPENING FRIDAY:JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOMDinosaurs: Keep them alive or kill them off? It’s a question that haunts the human characters in between fireball-dodging cardio workouts in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the spectacularly ho-hum new ent...
Published: 06/20/18
‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

It’s been 14 years since the premiere of Brad Bird’s beloved animated superhero film The Incredibles, one of the mega-hit Pixar films that cemented its reputation for film humor and heart that would satisfy both parents and children. With cool mid-ce...
Published: 06/13/18
Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Neighborly block party comes to downtown Tampa.
Published: 06/12/18
 ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

If beloved children’s television show host Mr. Rogers were once a representation of all things milquetoast, in the summer of 2018, his message of love and tolerance is not only saintly, it’s radical. In the deftly crafted documentary Won’t You Be My ...
Published: 06/12/18
Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Most every successful heist movie, just like a heist itself, functions by obeying a well-defined formula.First comes the setup and backstory (typically involving the righting of a wrong, to lend the subsequent lawbreaking a veneer of moral justificat...
Updated one month ago
TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

The last surviving munchkin in The Wizard of Oz has died.Jerry Maren, 98, died last week at a nursing home in San Diego, according to TMZ.The cause of death for the last surviving member of the famous Lollipop Guild, made famous in the 1939 classic, ...
Updated one month ago
‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

BLIND SIDE: Summer Classic Movie SeriesAll summer long, Tampa Theatre is showing classic Hollywood movies. Sunday features not only a screening of 2009’s The Blind Side, but also actor Quinton Aaron, who played Big Mike in the film, for a Q&A. Based ...
Updated one month ago
In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy noted in a sentence so right, by the time you started arguing with it Anna Karenina was off and suffering.If Tolstoy got a look at Hereditary, he might’ve added: ...
Updated one month ago
Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Hotel Artemis is a shining example of how it isn’t the amount of money spent to make a movie, but how the budget is being spent. Director/writer Drew Pearce has managed to take the money that would be the cape-pressing budget for most superhero movie...
Updated one month ago