From Kyle Hopkins --
The film will cost $50 million to $100 million, with pre-production in April and filming sometime in the fall, said Jeff Waxman, an independent, New York-based producer.
An application for the movie has been filed with the Alaska Film Office to pre-qualify for the state film incentive, according to the state.
While plans could change, Waxman said he wants to film in Alaska and that the production would dwarf the size of the previous major motion pictures filmed in the state.
“’Big Miracle’ went up there and ‘Frozen Ground,’ but this would be a bigger movie,” he said. “And if we can pull it off, which I think we can, people would want to come back.”
The production would include about 300 jobs for crew members, Waxman said. He expected about half of those jobs would go to Alaskans.
“The movie I’m talking about, I have 100 speaking roles. So any local actors, I’m going to grab up, and then we bring people in,” he said.
The producer, and state officials, declined to talk about the script. Unlike “Big Miracle” and “Frozen Ground,” it would not be based on a true story, Waxman said.
The producer would not reveal the movie’s title, the director or other basic details about the film. The state’s generous tax incentive program was crucial to the project, he said.
“When we go to do a movie, the first thing we look to is, 'Where can we get the best tax credit?'” Waxman said. “What Alaska is doing is very smart. And the idea is to build an industry.”
Waxman toured Alaska on a scouting trip two or three weeks ago, he said.
“We went up to the town of Whittier. They rolled out the red carpet for us,” Waxman said.
The producer recently filmed “Immortals” and “Mirror Mirror" with Julia Roberts in Quebec, he said, a region with film incentives similar to Alaska.
“Big Miracle,” the Drew Barrymore whale-rescue movie that opened today is receiving a $9.6 million tax incentive from the state. A proposal to extend the incentive program is pending before the state Legislature.
While Waxman said he believed his movie had already pre-qualified for the state film incentive program, that does not appear to be the case.
“We have looked at a pre-qualification application for the project that I believe you’re talking about and have asked for additional information,” said Wanetta Ayers, director for the Alaska Division of Economic Development.
At a Sunday screening of "Big Miracle" in Anchorage, Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage, described a "huge" upcoming production. The new movie was a $100 million project that would include about $55 million in Alaska spending.
“They will kill me if I say anything,” Ellis said in a short interview. “There is a buzz of excitement among people that have been sworn to secrecy.”
How serious is the producer -– whose credits also include "Before the Devil Knows Your Dead" and "Law-Abiding Citizen" -- about filming in Alaska?
“I know that they have filed a pre-qualification application. And they have done several site inspections and they have made other moves that indicate a high degree of seriousness,” Ayers said.
As with any major production, she said, plans could change at any moment. Decisions on where and when to shoot are influenced by a slew of factors beyond film incentives, she said, such as availability of key cast members.
“All indications are, given their level of interest, and the things that they have done, that they see those stars aligning for them in Alaska,” she said.