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A&E crime show 'Sugarloaf' to film pilot in Zephyrhills

ZEPHYRHILLS — Once again, Hollywood has its eyes on Pasco County.

Next week, Fox Television Studios is filming a pilot for the A&E cable network drama Sugarloaf at Central Avenue and Crystal Springs Road, south of Zephyrhills.

The show is reportedly about a sly Chicago cop who gets the ax after his former captain, who wrongfully believes the cop had an affair with his wife, shoots him, according to hollywoodreporter.com. The cop moves to small-town Florida and joins the "state police," (which doesn't exist outside of Hollywood).

Pasco commissioners on Tuesday agreed to temporarily shut down the intersection and reroute traffic from 5 p.m. Dec. 11 to 3 a.m. the next morning as the film company requested. Cindy Jolly, Pasco's development review manager, said the company is shooting a chase scene.

"Is this the one where Tom Cruise is going to be on site with Renee Zellweger?" Commissioner Michael Cox joked Tuesday night.

Not quite.

Sugarloaf stars Australian TV actor Matt Passmore, according to imdb.com, and Kiele Sanchez, who played Nikki Fernandez in Lost.

It's unclear if the pilot will turn into a series at this point.

"It's really interesting. It's really edgy. We're hoping A&E will love it," said Leslie Oren, a representative from Fox Television Studios, the production company also behind Burn Notice, White Collar and The Wanda Sykes Show.

No one had information Wednesday as to why the area was chosen for the shot.

"I'm guessing someone really liked the town and the way it looked, and it fit with the script," said Barry Rosenberg, publicity director at A&E.

Whatever it was they liked, it wasn't enough to keep them in town. According to paperwork the production company provided to the county, the crew is staying at the Don CeSar Beach Resort and Spa in St. Pete Beach.

East Pasco County has had other brushes with fame in the past.

In 2003, Dade City was very close to hosting the Simple Life's stars, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. Producers scouted 25 small towns across the Southeast looking for a rural town and a farm family willing to house the two women and put them to work. There was not an outpouring of interest from local families looking to take part.

The show moved north to Hernando County, where Hilton famously tumbled off a horse at J.O. "Jimmy" Batten's Bull-It ranch, east of Brooksville.

A decade earlier, Edward Scissorhands was filmed in Dade City, Land O'Lakes and Wesley Chapel.

Times reporter Jodie Tillman contributed to this report. Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

A&E crime show 'Sugarloaf' to film pilot in Zephyrhills 12/02/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 2, 2009 9:18pm]
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