so, we had Mickey Rourke and the money,
and then on the day were to start preproduction I get a call: No Mickey Rourke.
Well, that was that."
The man is standing in the window at Leilas Muffin
Shop, a converted shoe store somewhere on the back streets of Hoboken NJ. He is sharply
dressed and well-groomed, and though his voice is soaked with a Jersey accent he is
clearly educated and smart. Hes talking to Eddy in a way that evinces a certain
authority, and Eddy treats him with respect.
They are negotiating, it seems, and the man is letting Eddy know that he knows what
Eddys job is, which means that he is sympathetic with Eddys problems, but has
problems of his own. This is clearly a man who wants to be a movie producer. But he also
has something to say about Cherry.
His name, it turns out, is Lieutenant Tony Falco, and he is the officer from the
Hoboken Police Department who works with film productions that shoot in town. Cherry
has three locations in Hoboken, so by default the Lieutenant is an important part of the
making of the movie.
This is not the first time these men have met. They've worked together in the past, and
the Cherry location team has been conferring with him for months. Which
doesn't mean this meeting is easy.
The issues are many: Eddy suggests the production will park its trucks, unload the
gear, then park elsewhere, to make the parking situation for those in the neighborhood
easier, but Falco says its better to leave the trucks on the street. That way, when
the production does need the spots the police wont have to tow the locals
What parking spots does the production need? Joe and Phil review all the various shots
at the location. Although the story takes place in modern times the movie needs to control
the cars immediately outside the muffin shop windows, otherwise someone with a red car
might take their car away between takes, spoiling the continuity.
Phil says: "During the day its red cars. At night, its white cars. We
are looking out the window here and I just dont want to see any white cars parked
down there. It isn't that they don't look nice. It's just that theyre impossible to
Which means tying up a few more parking spots during the night shoots.
There are other spots that have to be clear so the crane can move freely. That means
one night and one day on the side street. On another night that means clearing the main
And the stop sign! Shortly after the Lieutenant and his assistant drive off Phil says:
"This stop sign has to go. Its in the way." It is on the street corner
right in front of the muffin shop.
"I don't think it looks bad," someone says, but Phil isn't looking at the
sign. It's the way its pole will block his dolly and crane moves that is the problem.
Dealing with traffic isn't an issue either. All agree that a portable stop sign will be
used to stop traffic.
But the location manager, Joe, looks concerned: "In New York, he says, wed
just cut the sign off at the bottom and then when we were done wed bolt the top and
the bottom together. Good as new, though an inch shorter. That would work here, but it may
not be allowed. This is Hoboken. I'll have to ask."
The difference is the size of the city, the number of productions shot here and the
sophistication of the citys apparatus for dealing with filmmakers. The New York City
Mayors Office for Film and Television was set up in the 1970s to help filmmakers
working in the city. It was presumed then that the more films shooting in the city, the
better for the city. More jobs, more taxes, more everything. And that has proven true,
seemingly everyone agrees.
Since then the Mayors Office has grown, and the number of productions shooting in
NY has skyrocketed. There are now firmly entrenched procedures for dealing with almost
every production situation, from closing down streets to cutting off stop signs to
arranging for parking permits. Which doesnt always mean that everything works
smoothly, but usually ensures a maximum of communication between all the different
departments that happen to be involved.
In Hoboken the Film Commission office is one man, who works with the Police Liaison,
sort of, to encourage films to shoot in this one mile square city on the west bank of the
Hudson River. Many films, especially low budget films, have been shot in Hoboken, which
has a rich architectural feeling and is the home to a broad swath of the metropolitan
areas bohemian-types. The city is also, generally, receptive to the films and does
all it can to make productions feel comfortable, for all the same reasons New York City
But, as Joe Sevey pointed out, they just arent as coordinated about it, at least
not yet: "A film I was working on, we had permission to park the trucks up and down
the block. Which was fine, and the cops left them alone. But then the street cleaners came
one day and saw the trucks blocking the street and they started writing tickets,
and even though we told them we had permits they said, Hey, we dont know
that. Its no big deal, we didn't have to pay, but that wouldnt happen in