wood magic turns downtown Miami into Sunset Strip for filming of ‘Rock of Ages’

July 19 [Tue], 2011, 22:18
Hollywood arrived in Downtown Miami in dramatic fashion last week complete with a bare-chested Tom Cruise on a motorcycle in leather pants and a studded leather jacket.supportive bras

Cruise pulls up on North Miami Avenue—decked out like Los Angeles’ Sunset Strip of the late 1980s—as Rock of Ages co-star Catherine Zeta-Jones’ conservative activists rail against Russell Brand and the rockers fighting for their rights to sing the music they love.Demi cup bra

“We’re just trying to express ourselves!” Brand proclaims on a bullhorn outside The Bourbon Room nightclub before the rockers belt out Starship’s We Built This City, as Zeta-Jones and the conservatives reciprocate with Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take It.

The intersection of North Miami Avenue and 14th Street has been reborn as Sunset Strip for Director Adam Shankman’s big screen adaptation of the Tony Award winning Broadway musical.

The rundown buildings that house restaurant supply companies now sport brightly colored, neon lit storefronts and famous names of nightclubs, restaurants and shops including Tower Records, The Roxy, Sunset Grill, Gazzarri’s and Rainbow Bar & Grill.

“The street is a character in the film,” producer Garrett Grant said as he showed off some of the key landmarks. “It’s a vital part.”

The ability to recreate Sunset Strip was a key part of the decision to film the movie in South Florida — along with the availability of state tax incentive dollars. Grant said the search for the perfect location started well over a year ago and took them around the world from Sydney, Australia to Louisiana and North Carolina, just to name a few. Ultimately, they settled on the stretch of North Miami Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets.

“Nowhere did we find anything that existed like this,” Grant said. “This really offered the infrastructure and the bones to become Sunset Strip at an attainable budget level. We don’t have the ability to build something from scratch. This was an opportunity to really only add paint and signage.”

The area appeared to gentrify overnight into a new retail and nightclub hotspot. Drivers found themselves doing a double take and wondering if they made a wrong turn. Many stop to take pictures. Others think they have found a new place to shop.

“I’ve had people walk in and say, ‘Do you sell records?’ ” said Albert Puebla, manager of ABC Restaurant Supplies & Equipment, now playing the role of Tower Records. “Some of our customers call because they’ve gotten lost and can’t find us. Everyone loves the new colors. It’s a little Ronald McDonald looking, but the red stands out.”

But this is Hollywood. While the outside looks have changed, behind the fa?ade the buildings remain the same. Many are completely empty. Inside others you’ll find businesses like ABC Restaurant trying to maintain operations in the midst of a movie set.

When cast members walk into the faux Tower Records, the shot will end at the record bin just inside the door. The store’s interior is being shot at a vacant retail location in North Miami. Same goes for The Bourbon Room, whose interior scenes were already shot at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. Inside of the Venus Club, an upscale gentleman’s club, will be filmed at the old Playboy Club in the Castle Condominium on Miami Beach.
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