Movies starring Vanessa Hudgens, Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner have begun filming in Los Angeles, adding some celebrity sizzle to brisk feature film activity this quarter.
Sony's Columbia Pictures has started production on "The Kitchen Sink," a movie starring Hudgens ("Sucker Punch" and "High School Musical") about teens who face an army of aliens with help from a group of vampires and zombies.
The 37-day shoot already has included several nights at Van Nuys High School, a warehouse in the city of Bell, Temple City's City Hall building and an old armory in Santa Clarita that was converted into a "zombie town," location manager Wes Hagan said Tuesday.
This week the crew is filming on the back lot of Universal Studios.
"We're all over L.A.," Hagan said. "It's a smaller budget film, but it's a Columbia Pictures production and most of it is on location."
"The Kitchen Sink" is among the few projects to receive a 20% film tax credit from California, which allocates credits through a lottery. The movie's producers were approved for a $4.5-million credit, according to the California Film Commission.
Walt Disney Pictures also has begun filming an adaptation of the popular children's book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." The movie, starring Carell and Garner, is filming this week at Hale Charter Academy in Woodland Hills, according to a film permit.
Producers have several pending permit applications to film in Altadena and various locations throughout the San Fernando Valley through the end of the month, according to FilmL.A. Inc, which handles film permits for the city and the county. Jim Henson Co. and 21 Laps Entertainment also are producing.
L.A. may not be getting many big-budget movies these days because of out-of-state competition, but it can still count on the stars to show up behind the camera.
Other movies in production this quarter have included "Inherent Vice," a Warner Bros. project adapted from the Thomas Pynchon novel, from "Boogie Nights" and "The Master" director Paul Thomas Anderson; and an untitled cyber thriller from Michael Mann, director of "Miami Vice," "Heat" and "The Last of the Mohicans."
Last month, "Iron Man" director Jon Favreau launched an indie movie called "Chef," starring Scarlett Johansson and Robert Downey Jr.
Production days for location filming in the L.A. area jumped 50% last week and are up 12% so far in the third quarter compared with the same period a year ago.
Commercial activity rose 5% last week and is up 10% this quarter.
The television sector, however, saw a 13% drop in production days last week, and is down 18% in the quarter from a year ago, according to a Los Angeles Times review of permit data supplied by FilmL.A..
The permits are for productions that shoot on streets and non-certified soundstages in the city and county.