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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)

What a strange article. It's no different from Bond shooting in Prague instead of London, or V For Vendetta in Germany instead of London, or a quintessentially British book like Lord Of The Rings being made in New Zealand. That's just the way the world works - the filmmakers have to save money wherever they can, and will always go to whichever city or country offers the best tax break. Get over it.

Maybe LA should boycott London. That'll teach 'em.

@Warren Z...."socialist character?" Captain America? Yoooouuuuu....really have no idea who or what Cap is, do you? Do you just enjoy politicising everything you kinda read briefly?

Warren Z - Captain America is not a socialist character. I started collecting Cap comics in 1972. The 1st issue I bought was #157. Still have it. Marvel comics tought me history, science, and improved my vocabulary. Captain America gave me a love for my country that no public school teacher could destroy, no matter how hard they tried.

Can I just say I hope its not going to be more of the same bashing of America or her military Hollywood crap like Avatar.......and so yeah! London?? WTF

of all the marvel library, why captain america, again?

face it...


although one could argue that he has maxed out on the potential of human physiology, from a one time steroid shot, that last forever.


there's a reason iron man and wolverine are big draws...shades of gray-a topic which the marvel library is stacked. so many winners, and they pick a proven loser.

film it in london.
if it makes 50 million... pesos, it will be lucky.

that anyone would try and blow life into this patriotic blowup doll would suggest some really weak attempt at moralization by the directors/producers...

instead of 'what would jesus do', we get, wwcad.
loved the comic, hate the movie idea.

captain america is a wonderful supporting actor, but it would rely on him holding his nose up against another marvel hero of lower moral rigor.

anyone know what happened to diamondback?

Come to Arizona and film! We have good safety laws, low taxes, and while unions are welcome here we won't bend over for them or force everyone to join. Also, despite the ignorant, racist fear-mongering of the Los Angeles mayor, we have a diverse population that is eager to work. Bundle that with a low cost of living and a movie industry that is nearly eighty years old and you have a great place to film.

With respect to Write Loudly, I submit that Avatar is not a bashing of America or her military. If anything, Avatar is a bashing of mercenaries and giant corporations that answer to no one. Our military, while in service, are bound by their oaths to uphold the US Constitution. Mercenaries like Blackwater - and those portrayed in Avarar - are bound by nothing except profit & loss spreadsheets.

Maybe they should film it in Arizona..

A global government is in the works, right? Captain America will soon be extremely relevant... or totally obsolete.

Yep, we outsource everything.......

Yay! Boycott LA!

1) Boycott LA (what goes around comes around)...BTW why doesn't LA put their money where their righteous mouths are and boycott Arizona power too?
2) England has much better ale (Bombadier, Tetley's, Spotted Chicken, London Pride)

Don't blame them a bit.

Let me get this straight. LA is losing out to other cities, states and countries because these other locations offer better tax incentives? This has to be a common occurrence for them. And I bet their reaction to this lost revenue is to increase taxes even more. Yet, if they were to lower their tax rate, or create better incentives, their revenue will actually go up. 20% of nothing is nothing. But 10% of something is better.
I better be careful. Too much logic may cause a meltdown.

... and no comment about the high costs and slack attitudes of the union labor required to shoot anything in La-La-land. After looking over the strange requirements to shoot their, it isn't any wonder only a small amount of physical filming activity actually happens in California.

Don't you just love a Hollywood that really loves America,----at Oscar time.At least they still have that crap show here in America yet every year. As you might expect,I don't watch.

Samuel L Jackson will make this movie, if they can keep his character in-line with how he is portrayed in the Ultimates. It will be interesting to see how the movie makers address an African American commando during WWII, but I bet they will play Fury's willingness to fight dirty against Cap as the Boy Scout to bring some drama to the movie. Marvel has historically been ahead of the curve in portraying minorities in comics and Cap, at least in recent years, has been very anti-racist anti-extremist. I hope they don't make him a racist just to create friction between him and Fury for dramatic effect in the movie.

Filming in London is a no-brainer, but it would also be cool to see a recreation of New York in the 1940s.

What about the black Captain America? ( http://marvel dot com/universe/Bradley,_Isaiah)

Thank You for the Intell, Now I know what not to see. or [rent]

Your either With U.S. or against U.S.

Lower costs yield higher profits! Stopping smoking that legal pot and wake up to reality.

I am so pumped for this movie. I am conservative, I am a republican. Personally, I think the movie should have been filmed in Europe since (gasp) guess what, THE STORYLINE TAKES PLACE IN EUROPE! People, please quit turning everyday news into politics. Do you ever wonder why people are so sick of politicians and the parties, it is because drones like all of you posting political junk all over the internet, on every blog, in every comment board. Just chill out.

Um, Captain America does not have any super-powers. You got that wrong.

SO!!!! Tax breaks for the movie industry is good, but tax breaks for the oil industry is bad. ???????

In the original comic capt America was based in an Army base in England during the war against the Nazis, being that the red skull villian is in this movie ( red skull being Hitlers enforcer) it makes sense...this is really no big deal

California's business climate is so toxic. Time to dump these "progressive" politicians.

Good for them! Don't give any more work than you have to to L.A. That place deserves to be boycotted by the entire country.

But on the serious side, the story will likely take place more in Europe and England, so it makes more sense for it to be filmed over there than to try and create a faux lot over here.

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