Saturday, July 30, 2005

Maybe Hollywood plans on relocating to southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina

And, now, combining topics in previous posts -- the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and movie-making locally -- I found this little jem: Tom Cruise to film Mission: Impossible (3) on the CBBT!
Bay Bridge-Tunnel eyed for movie shoot
Crossing could be used in filming Cruise's 'Mission: Impossible 3'

By Ceri Larson Danes

Actor Tom Cruise may be cruising locally.

Within a week, deal makers are anticipating an agreement could be struck between Paramount Pictures and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel allowing the studio to shoot scenes featuring Cruise reprising his role as Special Agent Ethan Hunt in the big-budget "Mission: Impossible 3."

An official with the bridge-tunnel said the studio wants to spend several days shooting "action sequences" on the span.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to envision an action-packed, high-voltage chase scene playing out on the bridge-tunnel, ratcheting up the suspense of a box-office biggie.

The facility itself is a star-quality superstructure that is intrinsically dramatic in form and function. And with the backdrop of the bay and the Atlantic Ocean, a one-of-a-kind scene emerges that even Hollywood couldn't reproduce on a back lot.

M:I-3, the super sequel, is scheduled to begin filming in Italy on July 18 and will continue on location around the world.

Jeff Holland, the newly appointed executive director of the bridge-tunnel, said last week that if an agreement is signed with Paramount, shooting is expected here for "probably less than a week," sometime in September or October.

"It is our understanding that Paramount Pictures is working with other Hampton Roads locations for filming other portions," he said. Local news reports have cited the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach are also in negotiations with the studio.

Holland expects to have a contract for the bridge-tunnel district commission to vote on at its July 12 meeting.

"A contract has not been finalized and there is the potential that this would not come to fruition," Holland said on Friday.

He said Paramount had expressed interest in filming "certain action sequences on the facility," and added none would be invasive or "impair the integrity" of the structure.

The bridge-tunnel would not close as a result of the filming, he said. Despite large crews associated with location shoots of major motion pictures, "complete closure of the facility is not being contemplated," he said.

"There would be no inconvenience to the traveling public," he said, adding that keeping traffic moving is "our No. 1 priority."

Holland also said that there would be "no substantial financial amount that would benefit the district."

"We are simply trying to be a good neighbor to the Virginia Film Office, the Commonwealth and the Eastern Shore," he said.

There would be no impact on Fisherman's Island at the northern end of the bridge, Holland said, so don't expect to see a Triumph Speed Triple -- Cruise's ride in M:I-2's chase scene finale -- sailing off the span, at least not onto the scenic ocean beaches of the federally-owned wildlife refuge.

Holland would not confirm the name of the film or any stars involved, saying instead that it is Paramount's policy "not to identify the actor or picture itself," and as a contractual party to the agreement, the bridge-tunnel district is bound by that policy.

The Virginia Film Office has been quoted in news reports confirming the film in question is M:I-3. It is widely known that Tom Cruise is not only recapturing the starring role, but he is also a producer on the project.

Laurence Fishburne, who plays Morpheus in "The Matrix," has signed on to play Ethan Hunt's mentor in the third of the missions.

The cast also includes Ving Rhames (the only other holdover), Kenneth Branagh, Carrie-Anne Moss and Scarlett Johansson. Details of the story line have not been publicized.

The film has been in pre-production for two years, and was in jeopardy of being canceled last month when Cruise's public behavior started to raise questions that extreme publicity stunts were timed in conjunction with the opening of Steven Spielberg's alien thriller remake, "War of the Worlds," released June 29.
I'm thinking if there's any jumping off the bridge, it will not result in some face-down in the water and then drifting to the bottom.

I'm wondering if the CBBT sequence will be like the Chunnel Crossing sequence in M:I-2? We shall see, shall we not?

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