Thursday, August 09, 2012

'Burn Notice' producers remind Marc Sarnoff that TV explosions are fake

Exactly 30 years ago this month - in August of 1982 - a Miami City Commissioner told the producers of the movie "Scarface" to rewrite the film's script. If they refused, he would ask his fellow commission members to ban the production from filming on Miami streets and city-owned property.


Miami Herald Staff Writer
August 21, 1982

If it was up to Miami City Commissioner Demetrio Perez Jr., Al Pacino would play a Castro spy rather than a Mariel refugee turned dope-smuggler in the remake of "Scarface."

Perez, concerned that the film will hurt the image of Cuban exiles, wants Pacino to play not just any Mariel refugee, but a Communist agent, infiltrated into the United States by the Fidel Castro government.

If producer Martin Bregman...doesn't go along, Perez said Friday that he may ask the City Commission to prohibit the filming of Scarface on city property and city streets.

Bregman called the proposal "preposterous."

"That's not what the picture is," the producer said from his New York City office Friday night. "If Perez wants to write a screenplay about an evil, Communist gangster, let him write it and submit it to me."

In the end, "Scarface" producers settled for filming a few scenes in South Florida before moving the rest of the production - and their money - to California.

But one current Miami commissioner apparently doesn't remember the "Scarface" debacle, or is choosing ignore what happens when government officials decide to get involved in re-writing screenplays.

Commissioner Marc Sarnoff wants to tear down the Coconut Grove Convention Center, where the TV show "Burn Notice" has been filmed for 6 years.

"Burn Notice" producers want to stay put.

According to the Miami Herald, Sarnoff made this offer to the show's producers:
The show can stay at the convention center through October 2013 rent free — but only if it demolishes the building at the end of the season and carts away the trash. The demolition, which will cost around $500,000, would have otherwise eaten into the $1.8 million budgeted for the park, Sarnoff said.

Sarnoff said the proposal was “well received.” He envisions the explosion being written into the show.

“How cool would it be for them to blow up the convention center in the last episode?” he said.
[emphasis mine.]

Sarnoff's proposal was met with, what can best be described as polite bemusement, from a spokesperson for the show's parent company, Fox Television.

According to Miami Today, Fox studio spokesperson Leslie Oren said this: "While the special effects on "Burn Notice' are great, the production does not actually blow up buildings. [emphasis mine.] I am sure the City of Miami knows that we wouldn't, under any circumstances, blow up the Coconut Grove Convention Center."

The negotiations between the city and the show's producers continue.

In an August 2 press release, Sarnoff reiterated his desire for "Burn Notice " producers to foot the cost of demolishing the convention center:
City of Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff met with Burn Notice executive producer Terry Miller today and tentatively agreed to concessions that would extend the hit television show’s lease at the Coconut Grove EXPO Center for an additional year.

Pending approval from Burn Notice’s production company, TVM Productions Inc., the company will substantially cover the cost of the demolition of the EXPO Center once filming of the upcoming season is complete. The new lease agreement must also be approved by a simple majority of the City of Miami Commission.

“The concessions were well received, and they balanced our stated desire to keep Burn Notice filming in Miami while also advancing the plans to build the park that has long been promised to the citizens of Miami,”Commissioner Sarnoff said.
But Miami Today reports:
"Mr. Sarnoff did offer terms under which production could remain at Coconut Grove," Bob Lemchen, Fox senior vice president of production, said Friday. "These terms are under review, but at this juncture we are not even close to terms that [Fox subsidiary] TVM Productions can accept. Negotiations will continue, but the studio concurrently is exploring alternative production locations, including within Florida as well as outside the state."

Huffington Post: Why Is Miami Trying to Burn "Burn Notice?"

Miami Today: No "Burn Notice" deal yet

Miami New Times: The World according to Demetrio Perez

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