'Darla' sent us this great article from the Tampa Tribune that talks about filming for The Punisher that is about to take place on the unfinished Brandon Parkway. The article includes scene spoilers, so read it at your own risk!
The producers of the film, The Punisher, will be using the unfinished roadway to film a "fiery car chase scene" for the movie based on a Marvel Comics hero.
Last week, the Hillsborough County Expressway Authority gave the film's location scout the go-ahead to use the road at the end of September or early October for filming.
According to authority spokeswoman PerryDawn Brown, the filmmakers originally wanted to use a section of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway for the movie, currently being filmed in Tampa Bay.
"But they would have closed the expressway for two days in order to do so," Brown said. "With the monetary repercussions, we decided it wasn't in our best interests so we offered an alternative, the Brandon Parkway. There'd be no costs and no chance of endangering anyone since it's not open yet.
The parkway, currently under construction, extends from the end of the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway east, running south of Westfield ShoppingTown Brandon, across Lakewood Drive, between Oakfield Drive and Lumsden Road.
Jennifer Radziwowski of Miami, the film's assistant location manager, and Casey Newcomb of Lithia, the film's security adviser, told the members of the authority that the parkway would be an ideal location.
Radziwowski, who worked on the chase sequences in the film "2 Fast 2 Furious," said the fact that the road is currently closed to the public is a plus in filming there.
"We want to take the opportunity to take a very dynamic section of the film, which is the chase and the crash sequence, and film it her," she told authority members, adding that filming will take two days. "We'll coordinate our film efforts so it doesn't interfere with any of your construction timelines."
Radziwowski expects the scene to be memorable.
"What happens is the cars will race. The starting point starts as far back as Lumsden Road and they'll go down the roadway as it crosses into where the road now terminates to a very steep, grassy slope," she said. "We hope, with the velocity, it will give you a very dynamic scene with the car flipping over and what-not. It's actually an ideal situation for us because right now it just ends in this big open field and creates a very safe environment for us to do this.
Newcomb said the film crew will coordinate with the construction contractors and the sheriff's office to make sure there are no drivers on any of the cross streets.
"We've had a number of street closures in downtown Tampa without any significant incidents so far," he said. "So I think this is a good partnership for us all."
Authority Executive Director Pat McCue liked the idea of using what will become Brandon's gateway as a background for a movie starring John Travolta.
"This is a perfect opportunity because the parkway will be completely finished, or very close to that, near the end of September. I think it's a great value for us for our new road to be a movie star right before it opens." The official opening, he said, is planned for the end of October.
Department of Transportation Secretary Ken Hartmann also gave his approval for the filming, adding that he hopes this will be the first and last time there's a fiery crash on the parkway.
Directed by Jonathan Hensleigh, The Punisher is due to be released next summer. It's the story of G-Man Frank Castle, played by Thomas Jane, who takes it upon himself to rid America of crime after his family is killed. Jane, married to actress Patricia Arquette, has played in such movie as "Dreamcatcher", "Magnolia", "Boogie Nights" and "Deep Blue Sea".
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