Playa Vista foes push ‘Lost World’ boycott

Environmentalists opposed to DreamWorks’ Playa Vista project have called for a boycott of the Steven Spielberg-directed “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and its product tie-ins.

DreamWorks officials said they don’t think the boycott will have any impact, and continue to assert that the environmental groups are capitalizing on the publicity that can be generated because of the notoriety of DreamWorks principals Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

The boycott is the latest move from environmentalists who have protested the project. The state Court of Appeal issued a ruling last week that the city complied with environmental laws in giving DreamWorks and developer Maguire Thomas the go-ahead to build a studio on a portion of the site.

Reps from the groups — including the Surfrider Foundation’s South Bay Chapter — announced the boycott at a news conference at the La Brea Tar Pits. They “are asking people to send this message to Spielberg” by not seeing the picture. They also ask kids who receive action figures or other merchandise to send the products to Spielberg “along with a rejection note stating their preference of living creatures, rather than special-effects creatures.”

“While we may not convince everyone to stay away from the movie, we intend to educate consumers about how their spending choices can support environmental destruction,” said Marcia Hanscom of the Wetlands Action Network.

Ironically, “The Lost World” contains a strong environmental theme about humans and their potential to impact a species. The movie does not come from DreamWorks, but from Universal and Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment.

Defended project

The developer of Playa Vista, Maguire Partners, has long defended its project by pointing to a $10 million project to restore salt marshland. They reached a settlement in 1990 with environmental org Friends of Ballona Wetlands in which they would scale back their original development plans and pay to restore the marsh.

DreamWorks spokesman Andy Spahn said the environmental groups behind the boycott “continue to mislead people.”

The studio is being built on the former site of a Hughes Aircraft Co. helicopter plant. Opponents contend it is being built on areas that are delineated as wetlands on Army Corps of Engineers maps. But developers and DreamWorks say that the studio is being built in an industrial area, much of it paved over.

The studio will be a key part of the Playa Vista development, which includes homes and commercial space that will be built on 1,087 acres.

DreamWorks originally had been partners in the entire project along with Maguire Thomas and the Rouse Co. But those plans now are up in the air as Maguire tries to line up additional investors to get the project moving. Maguire also faces a foreclosure next month from lenders on the development.

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