Palm Beach Peccadillos

It’s no secret by now that Taylor Hackford has directed the forthcoming Parker, based on Richard Stark’s Flashfire, with Jason Statham in the starring role. Among Parker fans, pretty much everything is already known about the casting, making and eventual distribution of this movie. What amuses me is how Palm Beach, Florida, played its part in both the book and the real-life travails of filmmaking.


From the Palm Beach Daily News, this from staff writer William Kelly last August:


“A production company’s plans to shoot part of a movie in Palm Beach are in limbo after the Town Council approved only part of its application.
Council members appeared generally sympathetic to producer Stratton Leopold’s request to bring the movie set to Palm Beach, but said they are bound to uphold ordinances barring commercial films from being shot in the town’s residential areas.
Councilman William Diamond questioned whether the town wants to allow shooting of a movie ‘on how to achieve a successful jewelry robbery.’ But Randolph then advised the council against considering the content of the movie. ‘That’s a constitutional issue,’ he said.”


DEW still causing trouble, it seems. But could there possibly be a very Palm Beach-esque solution to the dilemma?


“Ann Metzger said she’s been in contact with residents who would be invited to participate in the movie’s Mar-a-Lago party scene. That would include Coniglio and the council members, she said.
The Metzgers were offering to organize a “party within the party” charity event, with donations going to the town’s Centennial Legacy Projects, including he Living History video project, and restoration of Memorial Fountain.”


Of course! A fundraiser is precisely what brought the jewels out of moth balls and into the open in Flashfire in the first place. What symmetry!

Alas, the allegiance to philanthropy was eventually outweighed by the sanctity of appearances. Tim Pallesen followed up on the story in the PBDN in October:


“A proposal to allow movie making in hotels and private clubs was rejected Tuesday by the Planning and Zoning Commission.
The Town Council had asked the advisory panel to propose non-controversial exceptions to the town law that bans all commercial 
filmmaking in residential districts. But only commission member Lewis Crampton was willing to allow 
movie making in hotels and clubs.
‘We would never sell our souls to crass commercialization,’ Crampton said. ‘But the permit fees for this could be helpful to the town in balancing its budget.'”


Honestly, I don’t begrudge any community its right to keep annoying film crews away, but I don’t think I could ever be the guy that decries “crass commercialization” while standing in a sterile neighborhood of overpriced mcmansions. What I do think is that DEW would have been mildly amused and that Parker would have nothing to say about any of it. As usual.