MR. LONG BEACH: Long Beach’s gets Billing as Scene Setter

Q. What is the house-like structure being built in the middle of El Dorado Park between Spring Street and Wardlow Road north of the archery range? 

A. The wood-frame house being built in Area II of El Dorado Park is for an upcoming feature film. According to Tasha Day at the Long Beach Office of Special Events and Filming, the permit says the movie is titled “Blocked In,” although that may change. It’s being made by Red Door Productions.

I called the phone number on the filming permit and spoke with Carrie Cantori at the production company – she couldn’t tell me much.

Cantori was very nice and said she wished she could tell me about the film, but had signed a nondisclosure agreement. Not only could she not disclose the plot or the actors involved, She couldn’t even tell me where the film takes place. I’m assuming the story line doesn’t call for the subjects to live in a regional park in Long Beach.

El Dorado Park is no stranger to Hollywood, although mostly for the small screen. Television shows that have been filmed in the park include “CSI: Miami,” “Dexter,” “MTV Parental Control,” “Castle,” “Bones,” “True Blood,” ‘90210,” “Family Tree” and “Rizzoli & Isles,” as well as commercials for Snickers, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, Verizon, Bud Light, Carl’s Jr., Church’s Chicken, Ford, Subway, Chevy, Subaru, VW, Trident, Walgreens, Coca-Cola, Samsung and Mini Cooper. And one Rihanna music video.

When most Long Beachers think of Hollywood coming to town, it’s usually downtown and Virginia Country Club that get all the credit.

Downtown’s art-deco buildings often stand in for Miami. Movies such as “Blow,” “Bad Santa” and “Jerry Maguire” prove how Floridian we can be.

The films “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “American Pie” and “Weird Science” prove that Virgina Country Club’s variety of architecture allows it be Anytown, USA.

And our “Battlestar Galactica”-esque City Hall has, well, been in the 1978 “Battlestar Galactica” movie and in 2009’s “Star Trek” reboot.

Most Long Beachers already know all that, but what about the East Side?

The HBO series “Dexter” filmed all over East Long Beach. His childhood home sits on San Anseline Avenue behind the Target off Bellflower Boulevard, and one of his romps through the Everglades was actually El Dorado Park. The Colorado Lagoon area also served as the park where they found the body of Miguel Prado, an assistant district attorney turned killer played by actor Jimmy Smits. on the show.

In Martin Scorsese’s “Aviator” movie, Howard Hughes comes ashore to meet Katharine√ Hepburn at 72nd Place on the peninsula.

Two Jack Nicholson films had scenes in the area, too. The first, sans-Nicholson, was in “Anger Management” at Bayshore Walk and 64th Place. Adam Sandler’s character ends up at Heather Graham’s house where she goes crazy and takes off her clothes, revealing a Red Sox bra. The second scene, in “As Good as it Gets,” Nicholson takes Helen Hunt to a Baltimore restaurant and stops their budding romance before it gets started. They were dining at what is now Khoury’s Restaurant in Alamitos Bay Landing.

When Matt Stone and Trey Parker brought “BASEketball” to town they spent a lot of time at The 49er Tavern on Pacific Coast Highway near Cal State Long Beach. Some employees even made it in the film.

Emily Scott of the Long Beach Office of Special Events and Filming Special Events and Filming Bureau told me the city issues 400 to 500 filming permits each year – that’s about 800 production days. The only thing that stops filming in Long Beach is the annual Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Long Beach Grand Prix – there is a moratorium on filming April 1-16.