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County anticipating big things from 'Vice' filming


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County anticipating big things from 'Vice' filming

By Suzy Valentine

The movie version of "Miami Vice" is likely to be a hit for Miami-Dade County's economy.

Local entertainment officials are plotting to reap revenues in April, when the $100 million filming of "Miami Vice" is expected to begin.

"Miami entities will share in the spoils," said Jeff Peel, director of the Miami-Dade Mayor's Office of Film & Entertainment. "They'll make millions, though how many depends on how many days the crew spends here, whether locals are employed and get salaries or whether outsiders stay at the city's hotels."

Up to 200 people will be involved in the production, and Mr. Peel said his office is suggesting possible locations.

"We've been working on this for 18 months," he said. "We know the location manager and director well."

The script is written, and scouts have been in town looking at possible locations. "They've set up an office here, and every indication is that we will have a large production on our hands next year," Mr. Peel said.

It wasn't a given that Greater Miami, the location, as opposed to Miami, the brand name, would be used in the movie. TV shows such as "CSI: Miami" and "Nip/Tuck" purport to have local connections but are shot predominantly on the West Coast.

What can be faked on TV, however, is less easily recreated on film, Mr. Peel said. "The series was made here, and you can't duplicate the look of Miami on the large screen, as you can on TV," he said.

The series' executive producer, Michael Mann, is steering the film, which helped the county land the project. "Michael Mann knows Miami well. He knows a lot of crew and a lot of locals," said Mr. Peel. "He also shot 'Ali' here."

The county tries to offer good rates for filming, he said. "From a labor and location standpoint, we are competitive in the US," said Mr. Peel.

The "Miami Vice" TV show focused on South Florida. Mr. Peel said he hopes the movie will do the same.

"The intangible benefits are even more important than the dollars," he said. "They've signed up two of the most popular stars," Mr. Peel said. " If Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx remain on project, I've every expectation that we'll have a summer blockbuster."

Miami civic leaders seem less anxious now about being portrayed in a negative light.

"Our response is very different than it might have been 15 years ago," said Holly Wiedman, executive vice president of the Beacon Council, the county's economic development agency. "We're very much past being oversensitive about the way 'Miami Vice' portrayed the city. We want everyone to look at Miami as it is now."

Benefits from the filming will spread throughout area businesses, said one businesswoman.

"It will be good for hotels, pubs and clubs - particularly those wanting to capitalize on who's in town," said Catherine Guilfoyle, restaurant manager of the Playwright on South Beach.

"There will be a lot of speculation, particularly among women, who'll be hanging out trying to catch a glimpse of Colin Farrell," she said. "He'd enjoy it here. He's very down-to-earth, and he won't be bothered by stargazers."

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