There’s intense competition for the revenue that film shoots bring in, and there are plenty of cities willing to look more generic to get a piece of LA’s booming tourism market.
It’s not easy being green, as a notable Hollywood star once sang. But not even Kermit the Frog was subjected to the indignity of a Los Angeles Times editorial demanding he change his shade.
The city’s principal newspaper – still regarded by some, if not all, as the arbiter of everything LA – on Monday demanded that municipal authorities bow to the demands of the film industry to repaint a particularly gaudy bike lane.
Producers complain that the bright green, six-foot wide lane, which runs for 1.4 miles through downtown’s historic core, ruins the area’s utility as an Anytown, USA, location. Removing it digitally in post-production is costly. Worse, camera lights reflect the green onto everything else, including actors’ faces.
Teamsters Local 399, a union representing location scouts, and other industry groups have urged authorities to use a different colour now that the original paint is fading and needs a touch-up.
“A green bike lane is not the industry’s biggest problem. But it is a problem the city can probably fix. And it’s worth fixing,” the LA Times argued. “There may not be 50 shades of green that will work for both bicyclists and moviemakers. But surely there is one.”
Jose Huizar, a city council member who has championed the green lane, has introduced a motion to repaint it using the same neon green. However he also said the city should consult Film LA, which coordinates permits for location shoots, about film-friendly alternative shades of green for future painted bike paths.
The green lane, designed for maximum visibility, was painted in 2011 as part of mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s promotion of bicycle lanes and safety. While cycling on Venice boulevard in 2010 he fell and broke his elbow when a taxi pulled in front of him.
Film industry representatives grumbled that the green added another headache to filming in the city, which has seen productions migrate to cheaper locations.
“That bright green strip doesn’t exist in any other city,” Lori Balton, a location scout who worked on The Dark Knight Rises, told the LA Times. “And if you’re shooting a period piece down there, which we frequently do, it removes you from the story and disturbs the willing suspension of disbelief.”
In a sign of the intense competition for film shoot revenue last year the town of Fillmore, an agricultural community with quaint storefronts near LA, cut down palm trees to create a more generic look.
Photo credit: A brewery tour takes visitors on a bike ride down the Spring Street bike lane in Los Angeles. Umberto Brayj / Flickr