‘Contagion’ to complete SF filming with Candlestick extravaganza 

A $60,000 film session inside Candlestick Park on Wednesday might save the planet from a perilous viral outbreak.

The producers of the movie “Contagion” — a star-studded action thriller about an international pandemic — are paying The City $60,000 to reserve the stadium that is home to the San Francisco 49ers. The rate was $10,000 a day, for Sunday through Friday, with filming scheduled to wrap up Wednesday.

The filmmakers needed a big open space to provide a refuge for their diseased cast at the end of their production. Celebrities such as Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow have finished their filming in Hong Kong, Chicago, Atlanta, London, Geneva and Morocco, and they are days away from yelling, “That’s a wrap.”

At the big finale Wednesday, a helicopter will land on the field among the tents, military vehicles and about 1,000 actors. “It’s like a large vaccination center,” said Jonathan Shedd, the local production manager for “Contagion,” who declined to reveal any juicier details.

This past weekend, Shedd said, the crew filmed scenes in other San Francisco neighborhoods, including a pharmacy and a North Beach home, with the intention of showing off their location in The City.

“The scenes play as San Francisco,” he said. “We’re not trying to cheat it for anywhere else.”

The Film Commission charged the producers a daily rate of $300 to roll production within city limits.

On Sunday, North Beach residents saw throngs of laundry and trash piled on Taylor Street between Filbert and Union streets — as if everyone who lived there had thrown their property out the window.

Film Commission Executive Director Susannah Greason Robbins was happy to note the producers of “Contagion” took advantage of the commission’s new vendor-discount program, which provided special offers on hotel accommodations for their staff.

Meanwhile, the HBO production “Hemingway & Gellhorn,” starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen, is set to start filming at the end of the month.

Robbins said the two productions are a glimpse of things to come.

“We have had inquiries with a couple other productions and I really do anticipate spring and summer will be really busy,” she said.

There appears to have been one a minor hiccup with the arrangements at Candlestick Park. The lease provided for a trial helicopter landing at a cost of $6,500.  But the landing was canceled, and now the producers have asked to be released from that obligation, according to a Recreation and Park Department employee.

kkelkar@sfexaminer.com


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Kamala Kelkar

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