THE BUBBLE As originally conceived, Michael Cimino’s The Desperate Hours would have been of particular interest to Dallas residents. The director of The Deer Hunter had fallen in love with a certain Highland Park residence and liked the looks of the area, so he planned to shoot four days of exteriors in the tony inurb last summer. But after Cimino’s people had waded through a maze of regulations, the homeowner changed his mind, and Cimino opted for Salt Lake City.

A Cimino spokeswoman insisted that the decision was really “aesthetic. [Cimino] said some very nice things about Dallas. But he felt Salt Lake City was better suited for the project.”

Too bad, because ED SPACEK, director of the Irving Film Commission, estimates that the deal would have injected $7 million to $8 million into the local economy. Not that Highland Park is unfamiliar with the color of money. But for purposes of comparison, consider HP’s ritzy California counterpart, Beverly Hills, It’s right next door to Hollywood, sure, but Beverly Hills takes nothing for granted. The city’s permit process takes about two hours to complete, and 48 hours are required if Beverly Hills cops (the real kind) are needed to provide security. By contrast, it can take up to 45 days’ notice to secure a permit for filming from Highland Park’s Director of Public Safety. Myriad reasons may be used to deny the request, among them failure “to provide written documentation of neighborhood awareness” and “traffic stoppage on any thoroughfare.”

It would be wrong to say that Highland Park is hostile or indifferent to the movie industry. But don’t hold your breath for Inside the Bubble productions like Highland Park Cop, stocks, bonds, and real estate, and Murder in the Polo Shop.


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