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March 17, 1988 - Image 65

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-03-17

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on Campus
Some schools don't
want to make the scene
Baton Rouge was abuzz when a major
motion picture, "Everybody's All-
American," began filming last fall at
Tiger Stadium on the Louisiana State Uni-
versity campus. Directed by Taylor Hack-
ford ("An Officer and a Gentleman,"
"Against All Odds"), the story of a troubled
ex-quarterback stars Jessica Lange, Den-
nis Quaid and Timothy Hutton. Most im-
portant to Louisiana, though, the $22 mil-
lion film pumped cash into the beleaguered
economy; LSU got a location fee of $50,000.
For the stadium scenes alone, extras-
many of them students-were hired for
tens of thousands of hours. No wonder,
then, that Louisiana's Lt. Gov. Robert
Freeman hailed the production as "a tre-
mendous shot in the arm for Baton Rouge
and all of Louisiana."
But not every college views moviemak-
ing as an unmixed blessing. Despite all the
glamour and money, several passed on
"Everybody's All-American" before LSU.
Their reluctance stemmed from the film's
serious depiction of racial discrimination
that existed in the '50s and '60s. The Uni-
versity of North Carolina, which was the
setting for the book on which the film
is based, turned the production down
flat-as did the University of Georgia. Be-
fore LSU got the nod, Ole Miss and Ala-
bama were willing but nervous.
"Everybody is real careful
about image these days," says
Steve Frankel, special assist-
ant to the president at Georgia.
"We've worked very hard to
overcome the effects of past,
Colleges are reluctant to al-
low campus shoots if the project
could reflect badly on them.
Georgetown, for example, re-
jected 1985's "St. Elmo's Fire"
because it depicted a group of
licentious students. The Cita-
del declined $200,000 at a time
when South Carolina state'
funding was short rather than
associate with "The Lords of
Discipline," a 1982 portrayal of
a brutal military academy. And
Spike Lee's new movie, "School Taking con

Cinematic snow: Shooting a game scene for Everybody's All-American' at L'

Daze," was booted off the Atlanta campus
of Morehouse-his alma mater-during
filming last year because Lee wouldn't al-
low officials to read the controversial script
about social frictions at a black college.
Even schools like USC and UCLA, where
filming is routine, bar some projects. "A
school has every right to decide whether a
picture is good for its image," says Mark
Indig, location manager for "Everybody's
All-American." "No one wants to be associ-
ated with an 'Animal House'." (It was
filmed at the University of Oregon.)
Few institutions actually cite image
concerns when they turn down films. Ted
Bonus of UNC says his school refuses mov-
ies because they are "disruptive to the aca-
demic program." Says Harvard's Marjorie
Hefron, "I can't tell you how it interferes

with academics, but it does." Some disrup-
tion is probably inevitable. Film crews em-
ploy hundreds of people. Traffic must be
stopped, sets dressed and struck, security
arranged. But careful planning minimizes
the fuss. As for the impact on academics,
even UNC's Bonus admits that most stu-
dents can handle the distraction. "But
would they? Probably not," he says.
Good deal? Marty Davidson, director of
"Heartbreak Hotel," has offered to hire
numerous interns, provide workshops for
film majors and hire faculty as advisers, in
addition to paying a $10,000 location fee.
These incentives have led Auburn and
Mississippi to negotiate for the $4.5 mil-
lion production-even though it will por-
tray a '50s delta belle coming to terms
with segregation. But Georgia declined
the deal. President Charles B.
Knapp cited concern that some
of the film "might perpetuate
old stereotypes."
Schools that reject major
films often find themselves at
odds with government officials
who are trying to lure produc-
ers to the state. So far, however,
no legislature has held up a
school's funds as punishment.
Film commissioners generally
agree that if a school won't co-
operate, another should be
found. "If the university is not
willing to commit the time and
the energy, it's just not going to
work," says Norm Bielowicz, di-
rector of Georgia's state film
office. "But when it works, it
DAVID LEE works well."

troversial aim: 'School Daze' director Spike I

APRIL 1988


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