Blog: Cleveland becomes 'Hollywood' starting Wednesday

9:05 PM, May 5, 2013   |    comments
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Cleveland will be playing the role of Cleveland when "Draft Day" begins filming in earnest on Wednesday.

That's when "Draft Day," the new film directed by Ivan Reitman, starts shooting in and around Greater Cleveland. And a week from Monday, look for cameras to finally start rolling on Marvel Studios' "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

"In and around Cleveland" means filming in Shaker Heights and Bera -- logically, because Berea is where the Cleveland Browns headquarters is -- and other sites yet to be named. Expect some filming at FirstEnergy Stadium as well, according to the Browns.

Filming for both movies will go through the end of June so be prepared.

There won't be any road closures for "Draft Day" but "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" is another matter, as in that movie, Cleveland is a "stand-in" for Washington, D.C. and will shut down a section of the West Shoreway near Edgewater Park from May 29 through June 14.

That end date is appropriate is because June 14 is a national holiday  -- Flag Day. But I digress.

Just so you know, on the day of the NFL Draft, Cleveland Browns general manager Sonny Weaver -- played by Kevin Costner -- has the opportunity to save football in Cleveland when he trades for the number one pick. (Sounds like a winner to me).

He must quickly decide what he's willing to sacrifice in pursuit of perfection as the lines between his personal and professional life become blurred on a life-changing day for a few hundred young men with dreams of playing in the NFL.

In addition to Costner, the movie also stars Jennifer Garner, Ellen Burstyn and Denis Leary. The film will also feature NFL players Demario Davis, James Brewer, Ramses Barden, Zoltan Mesko and Stephen Hill. NFL and ESPN on-air talent Jon Gruden, Mike Mayock, Deion Sanders, Rich Eisen, Mel Kiperand and Chris Berman will also pop up in the "Draft Day."

There already was filming on the actual draft day April 25 at the Tilted Kilt restaurant in downtown Cleveland and Costner was filmed in New York City on that day as well.

 "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers/Captain America, and also features Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Redford.

Robert Redford? For me, someone just said the magic word. Nothing against Captain America, but I'm an Iron Man/Robert Downer Jr.  kind of a gal on the big screen and a Batman kind of a gal in real life.

In this Captain America, Rogers battles Bucky Barnes, who has been brainwashed and is now a Russian assassin called the Winter Soldier.

Filming here isn't just because it's being directed by Cleveland natives Joe and Anthony Russo. Both graduated from Benedictine High School -- Joe in '88 and Anthony is '89 -- and both went to Case Western Reserve University. 

You see, Ohio beat out other locations thanks to the Ohio Motion Picture Tax Credit.

It reimburses productions for 25 percent of what they spend in the state and 35 percent of wages paid to Ohio residents. See, it really pays to use local talent when filming here.

Sounds like a really good deal all around. And we're talking millions of dollars, about $5 million for "Draft Day" and just over $9 million for "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."

"Draft Day" was originally supposed to be about the Buffalo Bills but Ohio had a better tax break so the Cleveland Browns became the team, stepping up to the plate, so to speak, in a mixed-sports metaphor way.

So get ready for Greater Cleveland to be a star again and let's hope there's a long string of great weather for filming. After all, it's Cleveland -- the Best Location in the Nation.  

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