By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Jon Favreau organized a meeting with Arnold Schwarzenegger to talk about the problem of runaway production. During the July 19 lunch at Caffe Roma in Beverly Hills, the California Governator pledged to reach across the aisle and push for tax-break legislation, starting this week in Sacramento.
Will it happen? Who knows, considering that Schwarzenegger up to now has been more talk than action? He most recently railed against runaway production at a news conference on May 9 — but that was scheduled only after he received heat during another podium moment (for fire prevention), from reporters asking about Ugly Betty leaving Los Angeles for New York to take advantage of an Albany-passed package of tax rebates.
Saturday’s meeting was pushed by Favreau, whose motivation is personal. The family man has a clause in his contracts saying his shoots must stick close to home. Favreau deserves kudos for wanting to leverage his newfound clout as Iron Man’s director for the greater good of the Hollywood community, which needs jobs.
Marvel, of course, only cares about the bottom line. I’ve learned that Marvel Studios intends to keep $600 million in productions in the Los Angeles area if the state makes it worth its while — Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and Avengers. “They’re willing to make a commitment to keep all four productions here in town,” Favreau told me.
Unlike about 40 other states, California does not offer a tax-credit program to lure filmmakers. But during lunch, Schwarzenegger explained that the problem isn’t him: It’s the state Legislature looking at a $15 billion-plus budget shortfall.
Still, as a former actor and producer, Schwarzenegger bears the brunt of the blame. He should have done something about runaway production his first year in office, but he squandered that political capital by calling the Democratic legislature a bunch of girlie men. Now he’s a fifth-year governor with little clout and less money. It’s high time for Schwarzenegger to put the money where his mouth is and get this done for Hollywood. And no one’s better suited for ass-kickin’ than Iron Man if Ah-nold doesn’t.
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