Movie Execs Cancel Worcester Tragedy Movie

Little more than a month before production on "3000 Degrees" was skedded to start, Warner Bros. and Imagine Entertainment announced Tuesday that they were nixing the fire disaster pic.

HOLLYWOOD -- Little more than a month before production on "3000 Degrees" was skedded to start, Warner Bros. and Imagine Entertainment announced Tuesday that they were nixing the fire disaster pic that was to star Ed Harris, Woody Harrelson and Billy Crudup and helmed by Danny Boyle.

Film was to tell the story of the 1999 blaze at the Worcester Cold Storage warehouse that claimed the lives of six firefighters. Script, by Worcester, Mass., native Scott Silver, was based on Sean Flynn's Esquire article and Warner book about the fire.

Relatives of some of the victims and firefighter groups in Worcester opposed the making of the film. As a result, firefighter equipment and trucks and consultation services for accuracy would not have been available to the production.

Frank Raffa, prexy of the Worcester Fire Department Union Local 1009, hailed the announcement. "We're extremely pleased with the decision by Warner Bros. and Imagine to not pursue the making of the movie."

Raffa said four of the victims' families opposed the making of the film because they believed it would reopen the trauma of the disaster for the small children of the fallen firefighters.

"The families sat their children down and asked them and they said they didn't want to see this movie," Raffa said. He added the families feared a media blitz, especially in Massachusetts, upon the release of the pic and constant reminders of the disaster in TV trailers, movie posters and media coverage.

"If making this movie adversely affects just one kid, it wouldn't be worth it," he said.

Warners had said as recently as two weeks ago that it was planning to start lensing the pic May 10. Production had been moved to Toronto.

Raffa said he had learned of those plans six weeks ago when fire fighters in Toronto and surrounding cities reported receiving requests from the film production crew for assistance in the movie. "They were looking for extras and to lease some of the equipment," he said.

Working with the D.C.-based union International Association of Fire Fighters, "We called our brothers in Canada and asked that they not assist in the production."

In a statement released Tuesday, Warners and Imagine said, "The process of making a film of this size and scope is complex and demanding, and requires the support and participation of many groups, including various firefighting organizations and a number of individuals. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we no longer have such support. We have therefore decided not to move ahead with this project at this time."

The families opposed to the pic had been protesting the making of the pic since last year. Michelle Lucey, widow of firefighter Jeremiah Lucey, told the Worcester Telegram and Gazette last February, "It starts with that book. Then there is a movie and then a videotape, DVD and on it goes. It's like it is always in our face."

She added, "We also believe there is nothing good to come from this movie. We'd prefer that a documentary be made on how little equipment firefighters across the country have to fight fires."

 

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