D’Works plays in Playa

Zemeckis' 'Beneath' to shoot in 'Spruce Goose' hangar

DreamWorks may have rejected the idea of building its own studio at Playa Vista, but the hangars built there by Howard Hughes will do nicely for some occasional shooting, thank you.

Despite DreamWorks’ pullout of the project north of Los Angeles Intl. Airport in July — a move that followed months of often contentious negotiations with the developers and their Wall Street bosses — Steven Spielberg and his colleagues have not hesitated to rent the former “Spruce Goose” hangar to film a DreamWorks movie.

For the last few weeks, set-builders have been hard at work putting up an enormous bridge for Robert Zemeckis’ “What Lies Beneath,” starring Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer, in the south bay of the Goose hangar, which DreamWorks has rented until the end of the year.

The bridge even received a visit on Oct. 29 from China’s Minister of Construction, Yu Zhengsheng, who was touring Los Angeles and “got the biggest kick out of seeing this giant wooden bridge inside a building, and how it looked like iron,” said David Herbst, a spokesman for Playa Vista. “I guess he builds a lot of bridges in China.”

Elsewhere on the former Hughes Aircraft plant, Disney has just vacated a warehouse near the Goose building where, for almost six months, the studio was building sets for “Gone in 60 Seconds,” a heist pic set to star Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie.

And in Hangar 45, director John Dahl is shooting “Squelch,” with Steve Zahn and Leelee Sobieski, for New Regency Prods. and 20th Century Fox.

Earlier this year, at about the time DreamWorks decided not to build its so-called campus there, Arnold Schwarzenegger was using Hangar 45 to shoot Universal’s “End of Days” in a specially constructed labyrinth of tunnels.

“Bridges are never burned at Playa Vista,” Herbst said, referring to the contretemps with DreamWorks. “They phoned home and we were glad to answer.”