The traveling zoo of 20th Century Fox’s “Doctor Dolittle” is back in Los Angeles after a few adventuresome weeks in San Francisco. The Eddie Murphy starrer finished its Northern California lensing last week and is scheduled to wrap later this month.
A couple of elephants, two tigers, a black panther, an orangutan, horses and dogs were among the nonhuman actors that created quite an atmosphere at Aquatic Park in Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Quarters were cramped but manageable at the production’s three-acre parcel, complete with tents and a pachyderm exercise area. Murphy’s co-stars also made it to Fisherman Wharf, Pacific Heights and the Lower Haight.
“This was the height of tourist season. It was unbelievable that the let us do what we did,” said Ellen Winchell, “Dolittle’s” Northern California location manager, referring to San Francisco’s cooperation. “Throngs of tourists thought it was a real circus.”
Apparently, the biggest glitch occurred outside the Ferry Building from the tonnage of animal droppings. Crew members unknowingly left the stuff on top of a closed Dumpster for hours during record heat nearing triple digits, causing office dwellers above to stagger from the stench.
Hazards aside, “Dolittle” production observers say Murphy was particularly warm and relaxed, thanks to the light-hearted theme of the pic.
nThe Utah Film Commission has reported record lensing of $132 million for its fiscal year ended June 30. About 40% of the revenue is from TV, nearly 30% from feature films, 20% from in-state production and 12% derives from the Sundance Film Festival, according to officials. Leigh von der Esch, Utah Film Commission’s exec director, says the jump in production can be credited to more than the state’s topography.
“There’s no question that our diversity of locations is a factor,” she said. “But growing metropolitan areas and the Winter Olympics in 2002” has contributed as well, von der Esch added.
Separately, Utah’s commission and Writers at Work announced a screenwriting festival and an all-day workshop on July 18-19 in Park City. The events will coincide with the 13th Writers at Work Conference. Seminar panelist include Emmy Award nominee Joyce Eliason and Richard Friedenberg, who received an Oscar nom for “A River Runs Through It.”
nThe newly organized Ventura County Film Commission will be holding a fundraiser on July 12 at the Derby Club at Seaside Park in Ventura at 7 p.m. Cost is $40 per person or $75 per couple. All proceeds of “Guys and Dolls Present a Night at the Track” will go to provide working capital for the commission.