Film crews set to work on `Corner'

June 12, 1999|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN STAFF

Film production in Baltimore lives.

Allaying fears that the end of "Homicide: Life On the Street" could also signal the end of film crews pumping money into the local economy, production is slated to begin here in mid-August for a television adaptation of David Simon and Ed Burns' book, "The Corner."

Filmmakers have opened a production office in Fells Point and are beginning to assemble a crew and cast for the HBO production.

"The decision has been made to go ahead with production in Baltimore," said Simon, who also wrote the book on which "Homicide" was based and will co-executive produce the HBO film with David Mills (who's worked on both "NYPD Blue" and "ER") and Robert Colesbury.

"I don't think there was any real question about filming here. When we started, we weren't sure if `Homicide' would be [renewed]; there were some mild concerns as to whether there would be enough crew to shoot both series here at once," Simon said.

Simon said he expects a 48-day shoot.

Simon and Mills will write the teleplay.

Local casting will be done by Pat Moran, who won an Emmy for her work on "Homicide," with Vince Peranio handling the art department and scouting locations. Tentative plans call for a six-hour mini-series to air in April 2000.

Although "The Corner" will be shot in Baltimore, Simon said he doubted the old Fells Point recreation pier, which doubled as the police station on "Homicide," would be used on the show. The location, he said, really wouldn't lend itself to "The Corner," which chronicles the city's open-air drug market.

"We're going to be looking at rowhouse exteriors and street shots," Simon said.

Ironically, part of the reason Baltimore was chosen may stem from the book's sometimes unflattering depiction of the city, Simon suggested.

"The book makes some harsh statements about the city," he said. "...If Baltimore has to take the hit of being the locale for this story about the drug war and the drug culture, then they ought to get the gift of being where the project is filmed."

Pub Date: 6/12/99

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