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Major feature film, 'Hunter Killer,' to film almost entirely in Whittier in 2015

Diana D

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ANCHORAGE- A major film will begin shooting in Whittier early next year, city officials and producers announced today.

The film will be directed by "Casino Royale" director Martin Campbell, executive producers said in Whittier. Hollywood trade publications have reported Gerard Butler ("300") is attached to star.

The movie, "Hunter Killer," has been in the works for at least five years with the project once pre-approved for an Alaska film subsidy in 2012. Producers for the film said the project is now a reality, with about 90 percent filming to take place in the Alaska town of 229 people.

The thriller is based on the George Wallace novel "Firing Point," about a U.S. nuclear submarine that faces a Russian sub. The producers said they chose Whittier because the town resembles a Russian naval base.

Three months of pre-production will begin in January, followed by three months of filming, producers said. The effort will include building submarine sets.

Hollywood trade publications, including Variety, have reported since 2011 that Butler is attached to star. Asked to confirm he will appear in the film, executive producers Jamie Marshall and Scott Lumpkin said they could not say.

The Anchorage Daily News reported in 2012 that the project would cost $50 million to $100 million, according to a producer. It was not immediately clear if that spending plan has changed since the project was initially planned for Alaska.

If the budget remains above $50 million, "Hunter Killer" would be the most expensive modern movie to film in Alaska, eclipsing "Everybody Loves Whales" and "Frozen Ground."

After a slew of subsidized reality shows, the announcement makes the first time a high-profile feature has been planned for Alaska under the subsidy program since the Nicolas Cage thriller "Frozen Ground."

Anchorage-based production company Sprocketheads will be involved in the project, said Kelly Bender of the Whittier Chamber of Commerce.

Edited by Diana D
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The feature film “Hunter Killer” is set to begin production in the tiny South-central community of Whittier, Alaska in January. The film has been in the works for at least five years, with the project once pre-approved for an Alaska film subsidy in 2012. Producers for the film said the project is now a reality, with about 90 percent filming to take place in the Alaska town of 229 people.

At a recent packed town hall meeting in the Whittier Public Works Building, executive producers Jamie Marshall and Scott Lumpkin pledged to hire as many local people as possible as extras or to provide services.

“This is work! It’s a ghost town in the winter”, said Gregg Ginn, a 54-year-old longshoreman. Ginn said he has lived in Whittier for 16 years and “this is the most exciting thing we’ve ever had.”

Before the filming starts, Carolyn K. Robinson, owner and executive producer of the Anchorage-based production company ‘Sprocketheads’ said “there’s a lot of work to do. Somewhere in Whittier, a submarine has to be built. They’ll have to figure out a way to house and feed crew members.”

For 12 weeks after arriving in January, the crew will be in pre-production mode, including making casting calls, executive producer Lumpkin said. Whittier residents will be given top priority, he said, before producers turn to Girdwood, Anchorage and places farther away. Radio and social media will be used to advertise the casting opportunities.

Producers said they settled on Whittier in part for its wintertime resemblance to a Russian naval base. The port community, accessible by car or train through a narrow tunnel, is an access point to scenic Prince William Sound for fishing and tour boats. The majority of its permanent residents live in a single high-rise building.

“Hunter Killer” appears on track to be the largest production in Alaska history. Producers would not disclose the budget but said it far exceeds that of the Nicolas Cage thriller “The Frozen Ground” and the Drew Barrymore movie about whales trapped in sea ice near Barrow, “Big Miracle”. In interviews, producers on those films estimated budgets at the mid-$30 million range for “Big Miracle” and mid-$20 million range for “The Frozen Ground”.

The film is based on the novel “Firing Point” by George Wallace and Don Keith, about an American nuclear submarine captain who becomes entwined in a coup in the Russian military. It will be directed by Martin Campbell, whose other credits include the James Bond movie “Casino Royale” and “Green Lantern”. Actor Gerard Butler (’300′) has been linked to the film in online trade publications, and his name was being circulated by residents.

“Hunter Killer” is expected to be released in 2016.

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Boy, that's going to be fast. 3 Months of pre-production, 3 months of filming, and still a 2016 release.

Fast work.

Gerry sure is staying busy. Busy dating Morgan also.

Hope he has a Happy and Healthy 2015 and forever.

Love him absolutely,


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