Hollywood Meetings Show Promise for Major Productions Filming in the District

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mayor Gray and the DC Film Office Have Successful Meetings in LA with Major Studio Execs

Yesterday Mayor Vincent C. Gray and DC Office of Motion Picture and Television Development Director Crystal Palmer held successful meetings with executives of major studios and networks in Los Angeles to discuss how to attract more Hollywood business to the District. At-Large Councilman and new chairman of the Small and Local Business Committee Vincent Orange accompanied Mayor Gray on the visit.

During his trip to Los Angeles to participate in the Summer Leadership Meeting for the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Gray gave a keynote address at a luncheon hosted by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and met with senior executives at Netflix (House of Cards), HBO (Veep), and CBS (NCIS).

Approximately 20 executives from Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros., Sony, Walt Disney Studios, 20th Century Fox, BET, NBC and CBS-TV attended the private MPAA luncheon where Mayor Gray discussed the benefits of filming in the District and highlighted the quality of service, ease and affordability the city offers. Mayor Gray also encouraged the attendees to capture Washington, DC beyond the monuments stating “there are hidden treasures in all wards of the District just waiting to be discovered.”

“Overall, these meetings were incredibly productive and making this trip to Los Angeles showed these studio and network executives how committed we are to bringing their projects to the District,” stated Mayor Gray.

As a result of the visit, progress was made on several upcoming and potential projects for the District, which include:

  • House of Cards (Netflix) is a new political thriller series starring Kevin Spacey, based on the book and British miniseries of the same name. The Social Network director David Fincher has signed on to executive produce the series along with Eric Roth, Josh Donen and Kevin Spacey’s Trigger Street Productions partner Dana Brunetti. The pilot, along with 13 episodes, will be filmed in 2012.
  • Veep (HBO) stars actor Julia Louis-Dreyfus as former Senator Selina Meyer, who becomes Vice President, only to discover the job is nothing like she expected, but everything she was warned about. Veep filmed some of the pilot in the District in late March and after discussions in Los Angeles, HBO is strongly considering filming a number of days in the District.
  • NCIS (CBS) is a long running action drama starring Mark Harmon that revolves around a fictional team of special agents from the NCIS (or Naval Criminal Investigative Service), which conducts criminal investigations involving the US Navy and Marine Corps. Charles Johnson, Executive Producer of NCIS, is interested in filming in the District three to four times a year should the District create an incentive program that is attractive to the producers of episodic television series.
  • Bourne Identity 4: The Bourne Legacy (Universal) will be the fourth installment of the adventures of rogue CIA agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and the Bourne Identity franchise. The film is expected to shoot in Washington, DC in the fall/winter of 2011.
  • Argo: Escape from Tehran (Warner Brothers) is the true story of how the CIA, with help from Hollywood, used a fake movie project to smuggle hostages out of Tehran during the 1979 hostage crisis. Ben Affleck is set to direct and star. Though the story is based primarily in the Middle East, Argo plans to film in the District sometime in the fall/winter of 2011.
  • Jeopardy! Quiz Show (SONY Pictures/CBS) announced the District is in the running to host the popular game show that features trivia in history, literature, the arts, and more. Jeopardy!, the Mayor’s favorite television show, has filmed in the city twice before at DAR Constitution Hall.

Mayor Gray is the first mayor of the District of Columbia to speak directly to Hollywood studio and production company executives to attract film and television production to the District. Mayor Gray and the DC Office of Motion Picture and Television Development are now reviewing the current incentive program and exploring opportunities to focus incentives on luring episodic television projects to the city.