Magazine article Variety

Exotic, but Still Part of the USA

Magazine article Variety

Exotic, but Still Part of the USA

Article excerpt

Filmmakers who've worked on tropical locations caution that crews tend to observe "island time," as if the overabundance of sun, surf, palm trees and umbrellatopped drinks has literally slowed their metabolism. Things happen when they happen, and those who try to push it will be met with indifference.

But when production designer Charisse Cardenas traveled to Puerto Rico last summer to make "Runner, Runner," starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck, she found the opposite to be true.

"Across the board, everyone just jumped in and did it," Cardenas says. "No matter what the request was, it just happened."

The crew base in Puerto Rico is bilingual, but it is only about four productions deep. However, producer Justin Kanew says that worked to their advantage on the low-budget comedy "Welcome to the Jungle, "starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, which shot there in early 2012.

"They're a pretty tight-knit group down there, so they take pride in what they do," Kanew observes. "I've made a couple of things where you're just one product on the conveyor belt, but in Puerto Rico it felt like everyone had ownership of the project and cared, and when you're trying to do a lot for a little, that's really important"

Puerto Rico has no soundstage "The government is aggressively pursuing a studio project," says Amy, adding that even with a lack of professional soundstages until now, numerous major productions have managed to do all their stage work in Puerto Rico's warehouses. …

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