He’s set on Boston

By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Boston Globe | NAMES
October 28, 2009

Boston is being a most hospitable host to Hollywood, says Todd Garner, a producer of “Knight & Day’’ and “The Zookeeper.’’ And Garner, who’s been here since May working on the two movies, insists it’s not just tax incentives that attract Tinseltown.

He said the diversity of the Bay State’s geography and architecture afford filmmakers options they wouldn’t have elsewhere. “Boston’s a big city, but within 30 miles, you can shoot urban, suburban, fields, whatever,’’ said Garner, who also produced “Paul Blart: Mall Cop.’’ “For ‘Mall Cop,’ it was eerie how perfectly the Burlington Mall was laid out for us, including the Rainforest Cafe. It had everything we needed.’’

While some pols, including gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill, have questioned the wisdom of giving fat rebates to filmmakers, Garner said big-budget movies are undoubtedly good for the local economy. “A lot of people come in and there’s work on a lot of different levels, from hotels and restaurants to dry cleaners to nanny services,’’ he said. Garner told us “The Zookeeper,’’ starring Kevin James and Rosario Dawson, wraps tomorrow while “Knight & Day,’’ featuring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, is all done Nov. 11.

“I’ve had an amazing time here,’’ he said. “I have a great apartment on Marlborough Street, I love Sonsie and Newbury Street, and we have so much fun at the park. . . . Boston will always be a viable choice for making movies if that’s what the city wants.’’

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