Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Clooney film 'Ides of March' works its magic in Detroit's Capitol Park

Not long ago, crews filming 'Transformers 3' set up shop in Capitol Park in downtown Detroit. The brief resurrection of the Farwell Building was something to see.

Before that, the remake of 'Red Dawn' filmed just down the street, while Faye Dunaway's 'Master Class' was a few blocks away in Grand Circus Park.

So when George Clooney and crew were in town last week filming scenes for 'Ides of March' in Capitol Park, it seemed fair to wonder whether another filming season in downtown Detroit was just getting underway, or if Clooney's production would mark the end of a short-lived era.

Politicians, movie industry contractors, and just about everybody in the state continue to debate whether Michigan's generous tax incentives are in fact overly generous, or rather a clever way to entice Hollywood to spend money in Michigan. Does spending millions to bring in production crews have enough payoff? Or are do we just like star-gazing?

It's a fun discussion, and if I had a vote, I'd likely fall somewhere in the middle, hopeful that a sensible but enticing package of incentives can be created to continue attracting movie-makers without giving away the bank. Provided the price tag isn't too high, there's no doubt a benefit to being the host site of so many film crews.

If nothing else, it's keeping things interesting in Capitol Park.