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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)

Could it be because La La Land taxes are so high and they need the tax revenue to support their sanctuary city and provide welfare to illegals?

Makes sense if you read why...

Seriously, who wants to spend their money in California anymore, look who it goes to

It makes sense to film it in Europe since that's where it occured. CA is bankrupt because of all the illegal aliens sucking up the state's resources!!! I understand perfectly why CA can't give the tax credit, because they desperately need the tax revenue!!! If the filmmakers say it isn't feasible to use multiple locations then I will side with them because I don't know beans about making films. I am jazzed about the film either way. My only question is: Wasn't the original Iron Man, Tony Stark, a black guy who was paralyzed and wheel-chair bound???

It is very possible that they wanted to make Captain America a bit more "PC compatible" to LA by ensuring that Cap was Latino, made comments like, "America? My President says the world is more important!" or "Borders? We don't need no steenking borders!".

Seriously, why film in a state that his basically destroying every industry via it's high taxation, when you could just as easily film in multiple states or countries which make it actually "profitable" (gasp! don't tell Obama).

Or perhaps the "Red Skull" can actually be a member of the Tea Party? Oh wait, the Red Skull was a national Socialist....oh my.

Hollywood is rightfully stereotyped as being populated by the Liberal Mindset.
They feign solidarity for "the little guy" and "the worker".
They are always willing to open the treasury to pay for their "Liberal Goodness".
They deride those who feel over taxed, or who point out gov't spending excessively on less than noble projects....like spending ANY money on illegal aliens!
But what do these false purveyors of goodness do when asked to reach in their own pockets, and support the local economy? Why they run to England!

The "Liberal" ,really is only liberal, and supportive of social programs, and local governments, when they can take money from the rest of us!
Ohh, but save their own wallets! Run away! Run!

Markl: "Captain America...a wonderful supporting character"?

Since Captain America's reintroduction into the Marvel Universe in 1964, he's been one of the main merchandising characters of the Marvel Universe. Until Wolverine came along, Cap was No. 3 right behind Spider-Man and the Hulk.

He's been in the public consciousness since his introduction in 1941. Your argument about an absence of superpowers doesn't hold much water, either, considering the success of the recent "Batman" revival.

And some of the most interesting stories in comics have been written in the pages of "Captain America." Steve Englehart's run on the book in the 1970's, Roger Stern's tenure on the book, and the recent stories by Ed Brubaker, would all make excellent films.

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