Well, it isn't Magic Mike or even Forever Mine, but St. Pete Beach is once again hosting a movie production.
This time it's Random Tropical Paradise, a bawdy comedy directed by Sanjeev Sirpal, whose movie Screw Cupid played in 2008 at the Sunscreen Film Festival. I'm informed - if not reminded - by a news release blurb that I saw Sirpal's movie that year, calling it "crisply written and full of wit."
Random Tropical Paradise began filming Dec. 1 on St. Pete Beach, with much of the action occurring at Tradewinds Island Grand Resort on Gulf Blvd. Principal photography is expected to continue through Dec. 22.
The production's closest member to celebrity is Joe Pantoliano aka 'Joey Pants,' who won an Emmy on The Sopranos and has played some of our favorite scuzzballs in films like Risky Business, Memento and Bound. The cast includes Bryan Greenberg (HBO’s Unscripted), Brooks Wheelan, who lasted one season on Saturday Night Live, ex-Daily Show correspondent Beth Littleford,, and "Vine superstar" Brittany Furlan, learning real cinema runs longer than six seconds.
Random Tropical Paradise is, according to the news release, "a modern take on the screwball comedies of old," with Greenberg as a jilted groom and Wheelan as his best man. Together they take the honeymoon, getting involved with cocaine dealers, sexy women and a Mafia don (Pantoliano, of course).
St. Petersburg-Clearwater film and video commissioner Tony Armer said Wednesday that a $50,000 incentive was offered to attract the production to St. Pete Beach, at a time when Florida's incentives fund is depleted and projects are dodging Florida.
"That (money) comes right out of my budget," Armer said by telephone. "It's part of the local film incentives marketing grant that has existed since 2007."
Incentives lure productions, creating temporary jobs for local industry workers. Earlier this year Pinellas County hosted brief shoots for The Infiltrator starring Bryan Cranston, and Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, directed by Tim Burton.
Random Tropical Paradise is using largely local crew members, some actors with small speaking parts and some extras. All of those positions have been filled.
"It may not be a Tim Burton movie or a Bryan Cranston movie," Armer said, "but we're getting them here for (nearly) a month rather than just one week."
No release date for Random Tropical Paradise was announced.