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Utah Travel Headlines

Friday, April 30, 2010

2 Major Hollywood Films Are Being Shot in Utah

Utah's other-worldly desertscape has often stood in for alien landscape, and that will be the case again with the filming of John Carter of Mars, based on the Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure novels. It will be shot in the Monument Valley area and will be the largest movie production to date in Utah.

The Salt Lake Tribune tells the story in this article, with this headline: Hollywood returns to Utah – again. Below are excerpts.

When Disney's location manager was scouting in the Four Corners area, he took some photos of Utah. "They kept saying, 'Is this New Mexico?' He'd say, 'No, it's Utah,'" Moore said. "All the locations they really loved were all coming from Utah."

Disney was also impressed that Lockheed Martin, the maker of the Phoenix Mars Lander, shot an in-house video in the Mars-like landscape near Hanksville, Utah. "Once they set foot in Utah, all of a sudden it became evident that Utah was the place," Moore said.

"John Carter of Mars" isn't the only major film production in Utah this month. "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle is making "127 Hours," which tells the story of rock climber Aron Ralston and his struggle when his arm was pinned by a boulder for five days. The movie, which stars James Franco ("Spider-Man," "Pineapple Express") as Ralston, is filming in southern Utah and in a Salt Lake City warehouse -- where set designers have built a reproduction of the slot canyon where Ralston was trapped.

Boyle's movie wasn't a lock for Utah, Moore said, even though Ralston's ordeal happened here and Boyle made his first American movie, "A Life Less Ordinary," here. Producers were considering Arizona and New Mexico, but Utah's 20 percent incentive was enough to lure the film here. ("127 Hours" is projected to get $2.8 million in tax credits, after putting nearly $14 million into Utah's economy, hiring 151 people for 40 days.)

Other states offer bigger incentives than Utah's 20 percent. Michigan now tops the charts with a 40 percent tax credit, and other states offer up to 30 percent.

Moore makes the pitch that Utah has what those other states don't: two equipment-rental houses, 800 crew members, varied locations an hour's drive from the airport, and all a 90-minute flight from Hollywood.

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