Ed Driscoll

"From Paris With Love"

Shooting in Paris, John Travolta’s latest movie has a pyrotechnic run-in with the Angry Paris Street:

Local officials said, however, that they believed that four days of filming with the Hollywood actor, due to start yesterday, had been “abandoned” for good.

The movie’s producer, Luc Besson, had chosen to shoot a few sequences of a spy movie, “From Paris with Love” in Les Bosquets as a gesture of solidarity with local people. Nearly 100 people had been given jobs as extras and security guards.

Ten specially equipped cars, assembled for stunt sequences in the movie, were burned by persons unknown late on Sunday night. Local people insisted yesterday that the attack must be the work of “jealous” members of youth gangs from another district. Police said that they were investigating reports of an attempt to demand “protection money” from the production company.

Most people in the Les Bosquets estate at Montfermeil, 10 miles north east of Paris, had welcomed the filming. Moussba Harb, 43, hired as an extra, said that a “childhood dream, a gift from the heavens, has gone up in smoke.”

However, tempers have been running high in recent days. M. Besson’s production company, Europacorps, had promised to pay 95 local people Euros 100 a day to work as extras, cooks or security guards.

Some local youths complained that, given the Euros 38m budget for the film, this was a paltry amount. The payments were increased to €200 a day.

As Orrin Judd writes, “Maclean’s better not run this one”, but Tim Blair has some advice for the harried (hey, what did they expect?) filmmakers:

Says a singed production spokesman:

“There’s no now possibility of Mr Travolta or any of the other stars of the film operating in such a dangerous area.

“The scenes we were meant to do here will now be shot elsewhere.”

Try Baghdad. It’s safer.

Heh, indeed.TM