Brad Pitt zombie flick snubs Philly

Actor Brad Pitt attends a press conference for The Tree of Life , at the 64th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)
Actor Brad Pitt attends a press conference for The Tree of Life , at the 64th international film festival, in Cannes, southern France, Monday, May 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau) (AP)
Posted: June 15, 2011

Don't expect staggering, flesh-eating, virus-revived corpses to add millions to Philadelphia's economy this summer.

Blame uncertainties about state tax credits for filmmakers, says the head of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

World War Z, about the aftermath of a zombie armageddon, may be set in Philadelphia, but star Brad Pitt will be shooting his action scenes this August in Glasgow, Scotland.

This week, crews reportedly began preliminary work there, prepping for fake storefronts, planning for importing U.S. cars. They'll need Pennsylvania license plates as well.

Imagine moviegoers seeing what looks like City Hall, except it's really Glasgow City Chambers at George Square, which - ouch! - was named for King George III, the very despot Philadelphia led the Revolution against.

That's the area that looks most like Philly, according to the Scottish Daily Record.

Philadelphia expected to land the major project, which planned to spend $40 million here, according to Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the film office.

Some scouting and other advance work had begun.

"This is huge. This is a killer. I was devastated about this. We lost jobs that people were counting on," Pinkenson said.

Basically, the producers, skittish about Pennsylvania's tax credits, began scouting other locations earlier this year.

In February, media questions about the Corbett adminstration's support for the credits put a cloud over the program, as money was running out for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30, Pinkenson said.

Gov. Corbett in March kept an allotment of $60 million in the 2011-12 budget, but until it passes, filmmakers will continue to shy away, she said.

She learned of the loss of World War Z in late March, she said.

Another disappointment was the loss of Bourne Legacy, the next in the blockbuster spy series, though without original star Matt Damon. Comcast-owned Universal switched it to New York after suspending plans for shooting Ron Howard's Dark Tower project in the Big Apple.

"As soon as we have a budget, I'm sure there will be a lot of applications coming in," Pinkenson said.

World War Z is based on the novel of the same name by New York City-born Max Brooks, once a writer for Saturday Night Live. Subtitled An Oral History Of The Zombie War, it's a sequel to his Zombie Survival Guide.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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