Post Classifieds

Hollywood is Coming to the Valley

By Jessica True
On October 27, 2009

Vince Stark said that he is the project manager for a proposed Hollywood studio in Arizona even though state tax incentives are not available for filmmakers.

It is just a one-hour flight from Los Angeles, making it convenient for employees of Gateway Studios, which will be located at the corner of Germann and Hawes in Mesa.

Although the design appears to be 16th century Roman-style archways, the technology is equipped for today's engineering needs. The website,, also boasts of green building structure with renewable energy and even rainwater attenuation systems, which is something that is very popular in California.

Anna Thorlaksdottir who is on the staff of Scottsdale Community College film department said that there have been several movies filmed in the East Valley already.

Films shot in Arizona include the 1957 film "Gunfight at the OK Corral," "Tombstone," "Raising Arizona" starring Nicholas Cage and Holly Hunter, "Wild Wild West" with Will Smith, "U Turn" with Sean Penn, "Transformers" starring Megan Fox, "Taxi" with Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifa, the 1998 version of "Psycho," the 2001 "Planet of the Apes" remake, "The Mummie" with Brenden Frasier, "Days of Thunder" with Tom Cruise, "Traffic" starring Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, Renee Zellweger's "Nurse Betty," "The Kingdom" with Jamie Fox, and "The Savages."

Thorlaksdottir had not heard about the new studio, but said, "It's a great idea. I wish them the best of luck."

She says that it will bring an incredible amount of business into the East Valley and does not think it a difficult endeavor.

Ryan Bushman, equipment manager for the SCC Film Program, isn't sure the move for Gateway Studios is without risk, however. He went to a legislature hearing about the Sunset Clause, offered to filmmakers in the past. Arizona voters chose not to renew the tax incentive, which means that there is no reason for a filmmaker to want to come to Arizona. Bushman said that New Mexico offers filmmakers a 25 percent rebate on their taxes for shooting in their state; therefore it would be more likely for a blockbuster to be filmed there. Bushman said that Arizona is one of four states that will not offer filmmakers a tax incentive.

 "The Savages," directed by Tamara Jenkins, was filmed in Sun City in order to cash in on the aged cheerleaders and mature living communities where the script set the stage for a man dying of dementia.

"The Kingdom," directed by Peter Berg, starring Jamie Fox, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman, was supposed to be set in Saudi Arabia hence the need for a desert backdrop.

Phoenix was also used to replicate Los Angeles for the shooting of the film "S.I.S."
Gila County, was host to the film "Jake's Corner."    

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