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On Location: Captain America will be filmed in...London

Captain Few comic book characters are as homespun as Captain America, who uses his superhuman powers to fight the Nazis during World War II while draped in the colors of Old Glory.

Yet even Captain America's overtly patriotic credentials weren't enough to keep a film about his exploits from being shot overseas.

The upcoming movie from Marvel Studios was originally to be filmed in Los Angeles. Instead, "Captain America: The First Avenger," starring Chris Evans, Samuel Jackson and Hugo Weaving, will shoot this July in London, where the story is partially set.

That decision was a blow to L.A.'s below-the-line community, which had been banking on the project to employ hundreds of crew members at a time when relatively few big-budget features are shot locally, thanks to rising competition from other states and countries.

When Marvel, which is based at Raleigh Studios in Manhattan Beach, launched its studio in 2007, executives said they planned to film their first four projects in Los Angeles. The studio has largely delivered on that pledge. The hit film "Iron Man" and its sequel "Iron Man 2," currently in theaters, were shot in state, featuring locations including the Alabama Hills in the Eastern Sierra, Edwards Air Force Base and the Sepulveda Dam.

Marvel's next release, "Thor," also was filmed mostly locally, including at the Getty Center in Brentwood, but also included scenes in New Mexico, which offers a popular film rebate.

But the studio, which was acquired by Walt Disney Co. last year, concluded that London was the best location for "Captain America," largely because the story is set in Europe and will feature a number of scenes in London such as Piccadilly Circus, and also because of favorable tax incentives.

Though Marvel could have done the stage work in L.A. and shot exteriors in London, it wasn't economically feasible to split the production between two locations, given the heavy filming required in Europe, said Marvel Studios co-President Louis D'Esposito, who oversees physical production.

D'Esposito, who was recently recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for his efforts to keep production in Hollywood, said he had strongly considered L.A.

"I actually had location scouts here to see what could be done,'' he said. "But it would have required so much visual-effects work and set construction, it didn't make sense."

D'Esposito acknowledged that Britain's film incentive, which offers a 20% to 25% payable tax credit on qualified expenditures, was another factor. Marvel could not apply for a tax credit from California's program because the film's budget, in the $140-million range, would make it ineligible, said D'Esposito, who personally lobbied California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to enact a film tax program, which took effect last year. California's program excludes films costing more than $75 million.

"This is one reason many advocate that our state's incentive program be revised," said Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A. Inc., which handles film permits for the L.A. area.

Either way, D'Esposito said, Marvel is not retreating from its long-term strategy of shooting most of its movies in state."These are tough financial times right now that could pressure us to look at other locations,'' he added. "But we have every intention of shooting the majority of films here."

-Richard Verrier

Comments () | Archives (56)

Well if you're going to make a movie featuring a socialist character you film it in a socialist nation. It's a no brainer.

Why not, we export all our jobs and import everyone else’s people. Maybe London is the only place where the people resemble Americans from the 40’s.

Wouldn't it make sense to film in London since Capt. America was a WW2 hero in Europe????

"...and also because of favorable tax incentives."
Hollywood is joining the ranks of the Tea Party movement!

Why does it seem so odd that a movie based around WWII be filmed in Europe? Many of America's TV shows are filmed in Canada.

Considering the movie is mostly set in WWII and that England has primarily stood in for many WWII locations in movies and television over the years, this makes sense. Where in LA could they possibly shoot the French or German countryside???

So, add filmmakers to the list of businesses that have been hounded out of California.

So you all know what all the reasosnd for and still lead with the "overly patriotic credentials weren't enough" garbage.

The LA Times really is a rag.

Well, this should come as good news to Los Angeles. I mean, after Arizona shuts off LA's electricity and water (as a boycott to LA's proposed boycott) you all won't have to worry about some meaningless movie production sucking up any electricity or water rations.

Glad to see Marvel is boycotting LA due to Arizona immigration law!

Great News. Glad to see Marvel is joining the Arizona ani-boycott against the city of LA.

Makes perfect sense to me. Most of the story will take place in Europe anyways so why waste the money on effects when you can just film it there?

With all due respect to Mr. Robert White, the review called "Captain America" "OVERTLY Patriotic"; not "OVERLY Patriotic" One letter makes a BIG difference!
To 'Warren Z'
While I am a proud "Small 'L' Libertarian" I am having a LOT of trouble wrapping my head around the concept of "Captain America" being considered a SOCIALIST Character.

Hollywood is going to turn the icon that is Captain America into Captain Apologist.

Hollywood hates America. What do they care?

Did Obama give his approval for a white actor to play the role of a white character? Will either the actor or the character be allowed back into the country? Didn't black super heroes fight Nazis during WWII? How about, short, fat, "unmarried", female super heroes?

I think it's appropriate to film Captain America ANYWHERE but L.A., because they decided to side with illegal aliens and boycott Arizona, so why not boycott them, I hope Arizona shuts off their power too. Seems like all these far left socialist democrat city officials, feel the need to make a political statement against American citizens, so they should shut up and suck up the repercussions, BOYCOTT EVERYONE THAT BOYCOTTS ARIZONA, YEAH BABY!!!

Maybe the producers are expressing solidarity with Arizona?

Maybe Captain America was from Arizona. Join the movement. Boycott L.A.

Hard to film the white cliffs of Dover while sitting on the beach at Malibu.... Besides, California is pricing itself out of the film business and television production business slowly but surely. So many shows are being made in Canada now as are many made for TV movies. Filming a character like Captain America in England makes sense anyway as the WWII comic hero did most of his "work" in Europe. It is interesting to note that tax credits, a typically Republican/Conservative device to stimulate economic activity, may have figured into choice of production location.... That must just gall the lily-livered liberals who run the show in California as well as most of the Hollyweird establishment who see the folks who are making this flick, willing to take the tax credits from Britain to offset production costs, but then slam the political philosophy that provides for those tax credits... Truly hypocritical indeed....

What a non-story. The story takes place in Europe. Why not shoot it there?

Warren Z: Captain America is a Socialist? You’re either a fool or your dishonest. Either way you’re wrong.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! So, now poor LA is complaining that they are losing their jobs to the Brits. Finally the left wing propaganda movie makers are falling victim to what they sew. Why pay union wages for a job that can be done by a non -union member anywhere else. The unions chased all of our manufacturing overseas, and now the movie industry may be starting as well. Bollywood anyone? Hey, it's just another example of a situation the left coast creates, then complains about the fruits of their labors.

Well, Capt. America did battle the Ratzis in WWII so maybe it's not that far fetched.

Ha Ha Ha Ha! The left coast is complaining about now losing a movie and the jobs to the Brits. California, really, you don't enforce immigration laws, you over promise public services to a people that think they are entitled, you tax all other businesses to death, and you let the unions chase out competitive wages for small business. The left wing propaganda machine you call Hollywood finally gets a taste of what they preach to the rest of the country. Obama just said," We don't define our country by it's borders"....You should be glad some poor chap in London can take his mate out for some fish and chips. We are after all " one world". Ha Ha Ha

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