One of the few U.S. movies to lense in Lebanon almost became the last when the Lebanese army last week mistook the gun-toting cast of action thriller “Blackline: The Beirut Project” for real-life terrorists.
The hairy situation was resolved in the nick of time just as the real-life soldiers were getting to ready to lock and load.
“The army patrol wasn’t aware we were shooting a film and all they saw was these actors dressed as bad guys firing off blanks ,” says producer Nabil Issa. “They mistook us for some crazy-ass group and surrounded the building we were filming in. All the actors dropped their weapons. It was a close call.”
Pic — which stars Max Ryan as a private operative sent to rescue a hostage in Lebanon — wrapped its Beirut shoot safely at the beginning of March and is now lensing in Los Angeles.
Lebanon has been racked with political strife for months. The “Blackline” shoot coincided with a rise in tensions following the Feb. 13 assassination of Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyah in Damascus.
“In America all people know about Beirut are bombs and the perception of it as a war zone,” says helmer and co-producer Christian Johnston, who previously traveled to Afghanistan to shoot Osama Bin Laden thriller “The September Tapes” in 2004. “There’s a lot more to Beirut and Lebanon than that. I don’t think an American film has shot here for 30 years so I hope this film can be like a postcard to the rest of the world.”