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The Hollywood-Detroit Connection Renewed

Detroit used to be a major site for motion picture production.

by on Sep.23, 2009

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Hollywood has come to Detroit again.

World War III is taking place in my backyard. The sound of machine gun fire pierces the air, backed by the diesel growl of Humvees and Oshkoshes.

Hollywood has come to Detroit again.

Last year, it was Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino, a story originally set in Minneapolis about Southeastern Asian immigrant street gangs and a crusty vet. My contribution was that I had sold a bunch of books on Detroit and Michigan history to a nearby used book store, which the prop manager for the movie crew snatched up to fill the Clint character’s bookshelves for authenticity.

This week, it is a remake of Red Dawn, the 1984 teen thriller about kids fighting Cuban invaders in the mountain wilds of Colorado. As to how this story line was morphed to a middle-class suburb of Detroit, we will just to wait and see the finished product. Anyway, the local cops have blocked the streets and sidewalks around my neighborhood to prevent the curious from appearing in the background of costly scenes, sort of like the contrails in the sky we used to notice in horse operas, otherwise known as Westerns.

Best Show in Town!

Best Show in Town!

The arrival of Hollywood in Detroit results from the state of Michigan giving movie production companies huge tax breaks making it economically feasible to produce major films here for the silver screen. At a minimum, a few crumbs fall off the table for the local populace. The movie company seems to be doing everything right. A police sergeant told me it was gravy for the cops on overtime with the city police budget not being scavenged to help the movie folks.

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