Kathy Cooper-Ledesma and the Rev. Dave Stambaugh in the Hollywood United Methodist Church. The pastors encourage filming at the church because many of their members work in the entertainment industry. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times / September 25, 2013) Also By Richard Verrier September 25, 2013, 6:00 a.m. Location manager Brian O’Neill needed a location to film a wedding scene for the upcoming move “The Wedding Ringer,” and he knew just the place: Hollywood United Methodist Church at the corner of Franklin and North Highland avenues. With its Gothic Revival cathedral, stained-glass windows, breezy courtyards and lush gardens, the church would be an ideal setting for the Screen Gems movie, in which comedian Kevin Hart runs a wedding consulting business. But there was another reason to select the church for the upcoming wedding scene. PHOTOS: Hollywood Backlot moments “Not only does it work aesthetically,” O’Neill said, “But they [the church pastors] are extremely content friendly. They have their arms open to the film community. They know that’s what Hollywood was built on.” “The Wedding Ringer” is just the latest in a long line of movies and TV shows that have used Hollywood United Methodist Church as a filming location. Built in the 1930s, the church is one of Hollywood’s most visible landmarks. Billing itself as the “heart of Hollywood,” the church has played a recurring role in dozens of TV shows and movies, including the 1985 film “Back to the Future” and the HBO series “Big Love.” The Rev. Kathy Cooper-Ledesma, the senior pastor, has a pragmatic view about filming, which raises capital for the church to fund outreach programs for the homeless and disadvantaged. “It’s vital and not only supports our families, but it really enables us to do more mission and ministry work in the community and in other ways,” she said. PHOTOS: Celebrities by The Times The church charges from $2,000 to $20,000 a day to film crews, depending on the scope of the production.
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The onus is on Hollywood executives to find money for the immediate bottom line with little or no regard for the longterm consequences, perfect for Netflix’s opportunism. Strangely as production is curtailed, the studios have let Netflix demonstrate that content is still king The tendency to gorge on marathon screenings, which is something most viewers seem to appreciate, will undermine the very existence of the networks. Networks are merrily facilitating the destruction of their own business model by destroying the notion of staggered viewing over a season, where the best shows and event screenings bookend lesser work to sustain the audience numbers through billions of dollars of advertising, their bread and butter. If consumers can view shows as and when they wish, sports and news will be the only things that distinguish networks a and there the economics are disastrously askew. It is feasible the medium- to longterm sport, or second-tier sports, could opt solely for a direct sell-through model to viewers, either as individual sport or as a co-operative aggregation. Apart from cameras and editing stations, streaming dispenses with broadcasting infrastructure and legal commitments that come with the airwaves. If the digital economy has taught us anything it is that the transitions that were expected to take years can suddenly be accelerated by momentum. Broadcast TV and scheduling as we know it is heading for extinction. Rather than straight-to-DVD, straight-to-Netflix will become commonplace and quickly gather prestige as most films will find it more sensible to have a Netflix premiere and audience rather than all the distribution hurdles. Why struggle for an audience for your movie via the precarious Hollywood channels when Netflix has a captive audience of subscribers waiting for you? Netflix’s guaranteed audience through subscription will sway talent as readily as HBO’s formula, though Netflix will have a greater impact because HBO is part of the established conglomerate ecosystem. Netflix could easily become the first run VOD umbrella. That may sound alarmist, but the studios are well on their way to being virtual businesses.
However, numerous stars lied over the years about their ages, using dates that made them either older or younger than they really were, depending on their needs at the time. In other casesas is true with Merle Oberon and Yul Brynner , among othersstars lied about the circumstances of their birth and ancestry. In Brynners case, a book written by his son after his death corrected several “facts” used by numerous news organizations, including The Times, in his obituary. Some commonly used dates also appeared wrong on closer inspection. One example can be found in the entry for Ben Alexander , who began as a child star but was best-known as Jack Webbs first partner on “Dragnet.” Alexanders date of death is often given as July 5, 1969 but the original obituary said that while he was discovered on that date, coroners officials determined hed been dead for at least a week. When additional information was reported by the family or biographers, The Times tried as much as possible to incorporate that information into the database. Almost certainly, more changes will be made going forward as additional information is uncovered or made known. How does Graumans Chinese Theatre differ? STAR MAN: Grauman’s theater is where the stars leave a lasting impression. Ground broke for the historic Chinese Theatre in January 1926, with silent screen legend Norma Talmadge turning the dirt with a shovel presented by actress Anna May Wong . The tradition of stars making impressions in the theaters forecourt dates back to April 30, 1927 when Sid Grauman asked his friends Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks to leave their hand prints and footprints in wet concrete at the new $2-million theater. Eight days later, the theater had its star-studded grand opening. Since then a select number of big starsabout 200 in allhave been asked to participate. The vast majority of stars who can be found at Graumans also have stars on the Walk of Fame. Among the notable exceptions without Walk of Fame stars: Warren Beatty, Jim Carrey, Sean Connery, Jeanne Crain, Michael Douglas, Clint Eastwood, Richard Gere, Mel Gibson, Danny Glover, Michael Keaton, Ali MacGraw, Hayley Mills, Marcello Mastroianni, Al Pacino, Steven Seagal, Peter Sellers, Jean Simmons, Denzel Washington and Oskar Werner.