Plans to do some Malibu location filming for Universal’s “seaQuest DSV” nearly ran aground Thursday after one of the beachside residents cried foul over the prospect of late-night gunfire and pyrotechnics.
In this instance, though, that resident turned out to be Walt Disney Studios president Richard Frank.
“I’m the only house near (where they wanted to film) so I called (Los Angeles County) and asked if they could do it another time, not on the weekend,” Frank said. “This has got nothing to do with Universal. I’m handling it strictly as a citizen.”
Frank spoke to officials at U TV’s partner on the show, Amblin Entertainment, and was able to reach an amicable agreement about production hours. Yet the fact that Frank, a top industry executive, took a stance against the filming has again raised the sticky issue about how Los Angeles county and city officials can convince exhausted residents to allow local filming when even industry people are fighting it.
“The fact is that Disney and the industry have come to us in the past asking us to help resolve these kinds of concerns with community groups,” said Stephanie Hershey Liner, the L.A. County film liaison. “Everybody was up in arms about the filming problem in Hermosa Beach, and we’re trying to combat that.”
Last year, a Hermosa Beach resident was successful in stopping a film shoot at a beachside house by Aaron Spelling’s company on “Beverly Hills, 91210.”
Frank’s stance is not unusual, city, county and film officials say. They have run into opposition from film industry execs on a number of occasions when it came down to filming in their own neighborhood.
“As an industry, we’re trying to deal with homeowners as professionally as possible,” noted one Universal executive. “We’ve adopted the code of conduct, and we are acting responsibly when we go out in these neighborhoods. But we can’t be responsible, then be treated this way, and still be expected to keep filming locally.”