A ‘Gran’ bailout plan in Michigan

Production of Eastwood drama creating jobs

These are troubled times for Motown and the state of Michigan.

Unemployment is at a record high and the entire auto industry — Detroit’s largest job supplier — is lining up for a government bailout.

But Clint Eastwood‘s “Gran Torino,” about a retired autoworker and his titular car, which isn’t even in production anymore, has already provided another kind of bailout, one that is directly boosting locals in need of employment. Ironically, given the significance the Detroit setting plays in the film, the original story didn’t even include Michigan in it. But a hefty state incentive bill passed last spring provided all the lure Eastwood and the production needed to make the switch.

Up to 40% of a pic’s budget is rebated by the state, and an additional 2% can be added if the film shoots in one of 103 designated communities.

The incentive is pricey, but the state’s local vendors, hotels and restaurants and residents have already been reaping the windfall with the jobs and business created from the pic’s filming in the state. In the past year alone more than 2,000 local production jobs were created by various productions lured to the state.Detroit News film critic Tom Long even noted back in October that the city was no longer being scouted as a “blight-ridden wasteland.”

“We see it as a local movie, and not because of the film’s subject matter but more of the way it makes Detroit look,” says Jeff Spilman, managing partner of S3EG, a Detroit-based company that provides services and gear for visiting productions and was front and center when Warners and Eastwood came to town to make their movie.

With films like Drew Barrymore‘s “Whip It!” and the sequel to “Transformers” still to come, Detroit hopes Eastwood and his iconic car have started a relationship that won’t be driving off anytime soon.

More News

  • Jim PackerPRESS PLAY: Variety Home Entertainment

    FilMart: Jim Packer Says Liongate Ready to Support Starz Global Rollout

    A keynote speaker at Hong Kong’s FilMart this week, Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s president of worldwide TV and digital distribution, shares plans to support Starz’ international expansion. And he recounts his experience of watching Netflix change up through the gears. Back in 2012, when Lionsgate was still casting “Orange is the New Black,” Jim Packer, Lionsgate’s [...]

  • Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans,

    Hong Kong's TVB Boosts OTT Plans, Sets 'Court Lady'

    Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts is set to boost its OTT platforms locally and abroad with new packages and initiatives targeting the Southeast Asian market. The city’s biggest broadcaster has also renewed its partnership with China’s Huanyu Entertainment following the wild success the two enjoyed last year with palace drama “Story of Yanxi Palace.” The new [...]

  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

    Stephen Colbert Cancels 'Late Show' New Zealand Trip After Mosque Shootings

    “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” had been scheduled to make a surprise trip to New Zealand this week — but those plans have been put on hold in light of last Friday’s terrorist attack that left 50 people dead. On Monday’s show, Colbert revealed the now-shelved trip, which had been kept under wraps but [...]

  • Unity's Latest Demo is Visually Stunning

    Unity's Latest Demo is Visually Stunning 'The Heretic' (Watch)

    Unity’s annual Game Developer Conference keynote wrapped up Monday evening with an amazing visual treat: the latest creation from the company’s demo team. The new creation, designed to show off all of the bells and whistles of the ever-evolving Unity game engine, is a short film called “The Heretic.” The real-time cinematic runs at 30 [...]

  • Fox Searchlight logo

    Film News Roundup: Fox Searchlight Launches Searchlight Shorts

    In today’s film news roundup, Fox Searchlight starts a shorts channel, Uma Thurman signs with ICM and Miramax signs animation exec Michael Lachance. SEARCHLIGHT SHORTS Fox Searchlight Pictures’ chairmen Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula have announced the launch of “Searchlight Shorts” as a collection of short films. The shorts are available on Fox Searchlight’s YouTube [...]

  • Devin Nunes

    Devin Nunes Files $250 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against Twitter

    U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes filed a $250 million defamation lawsuit against Twitter on Monday, alleging that he has been the victim of hundreds of hate-filled tweets. The suit also takes aim at Liz Mair, a Republican communications consultant who has attacked Nunes on Twitter, and the anonymous accounts “Devin Nunes’ Mom” and “Devin Nunes’ Cow.” [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content