Staged Old Town shooting involving hip-hop star 50 Cent nixed
City Hall rejected a filmmaker’s request to use a stretch of road steps from Main Street as the backdrop for a staged shooting to be included in a movie starring a famous hip-hop artist, officials said, acknowledging that they were leery of allowing the make believe violence as the street bustles with people in Park City for the Sundance Film Festival.
Max Paap who manages special events for City Hall, said the filmmaker wanted to use a small section of 5th Street on Thursday as the setting for what he describes as a "graphic gun scene." It would have involved a shotgun and blanks, Paap said.
Paap said he was told the hip-hop artist 50 Cent, whose given name is Curtis Jackson, would have been an actor in the scene. He is in Park City with a Sundance film he stars in named "Twelve."
Paap said he met with the director making the film with the shooting just before the start of Sundance. They scouted locations on Main Street and the filmmaker submitted an application to City Hall to shoot the scene on 5th Street, Paap said. The application was not immediately available to The Park Record.
Paap said the filmmaker wanted to set the scene between Main Street and Swede Alley, the stretch of 5th Street on the north side of the Main Street post office. It would have been shot at close to dusk, Paap said. The filmmaker is shooting other scenes indoors in Park City during the festival, Paap said.
Police Chief Wade Carpenter said filming a shooting scene outdoors during Sundance could have startled the crowds of people who have been on Main Street throughout the festival. He said allowing the filmmaker to shoot the scene "wasn’t even a consideration."
"It would cause concern, and that’s one thing we wanted to prevent," Carpenter said.
The police chief said there are numerous police officers who are moonlighting as security guards in Park City during Sundance and he worried about them responding to the filming as if it was an actual shooting. He said the logistics of the filming also would have been difficult during the festival.
The film is reportedly entitled "Vengeance" and also stars Danny Trejo. A release from a public-relations firm indicated the scene’s setting was shifted to the Blue Iguana restaurant in Old Town.
The head of the Utah Film Commission, a state agency that promotes Utah as a setting for movies, said he had spoken to the filmmaker beforehand as locations were under consideration. Marshall Moore, the director of the state film commission, said he "totally supports" City Hall’s decision to reject the request.
"It just didn’t make a lot of sense at the time to do it," Moore said.
There are numerous camera crews on Main Street during the film festival, with many of them appearing to be shooting footage for television-news shows or Web sites.
Paap said it is rare for someone to ask to shoot a scene for a film while Sundance is happening. Once, though, the makers of the HBO series "Entourage" filmed a scene during the festival.
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