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NY Film, TV Production Off, Post-Production Up

With so much carnage from the World Trade Center bombings, the loss of film production in New York City has been scarcely noticed except by those who make their living in that business. It is unlikely that filming on the city's streets will bounce back to its previous level anytime soon: Commissioner Pat Scott of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcast suspended all filming permits after the attacks, and moved her staffers to the armory on Lexington Ave., where they have been helping residents looking for their missing loved ones.

According to Julianne Cho of that office, the approval process has only recently resumed, albeit with vastly different limits. For now, permits will be issued for boroughs other than Manhattan, and only for projects that do not require police assistance. Manhattan permits are suspended without further notice, but the office "is accepting draft location reports for future projects," Cho told Back Stage.

Film producers' headaches aren't exclusively centered around future projects: many films awaiting release will be altered in the wake of the tragic terrorist attack, while others may ultimately be shelved completely. Columbia, DreamWorks, Paramount, Sony, and Warner Bros. are among the studios that suddenly find it necessary to reevaluate their properties.

Columbia's "Spider Man" will get a new trailer to replace a current one showing the radioactive crimefighter snaring criminals in a web between the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The endings to DreamWorks' "The Time Machine" and Sony's "Men in Black 2" (co-produced with Amblin Entertainment) will be changed: "Time Machine" will be reedited to remove a scene where rubble from the moon pummeled New York City, and "Men in Black 2" will eliminate the World Trade Center locale from its dénouement. Similarly, Paramount will have the twin towers digitally removed from its comedy "Zoolander."

Warner Bros. is facing the worst collateral damage, ironically over its forthcoming "Collateral Damage." The Arnold Schwarzenegger action picture was to have been released Oct. 5, but has now been postponed indefinitely. The studio has withdrawn all advertising for the film, which has a storyline involving a terrorist attack.

Nor is television immune: "Law & Order" producer Dick Wolf had planned to combine the casts of all three "L & O" weekly dramas in a story about a biological attack on New York by terrorists. Wolf, Studios USA, and NBC have stopped work on the project, which had the working title of "Terror."

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