Jennifer Lopez is getting a lot of northern exposure these days. The movie star, pop diva and clothing and perfume super-flack is currently filming An Unfinished Life, with Robert Redford, in Kamloops, B.C., and Vancouver. Next month, J. Lo will head to Winnipeg to begin shooting Shall We Dance, a Miramax Films romantic comedy starring Richard Gere as a married man with a roving eye and Lopez as his curvaceous object of desire. Rumours abound that the location, originally slated for Toronto, was changed due to the recent SARS scare. But the film’s producers insist Winnipeg got the nod because of its abundant Chicago-style historic architecture (the movie is set in Chicago). Whatever the reason, Winnipeggers are looking forward to Jenny walking their
block. “This is huge,” enthuses Kenny Boyce, the city’s manager of film and cultural affairs. “We’re very, very excited.”
Small wonder. While Winnipeg’s fledgling film industry grew more than four-fold in the last five years, accounting for $85 million in revenues in 2002, that’s pocket change compared to the $1.2 billion in film revenue generated that same year in Toronto or Vancouver’s over $1 billion booty. Shall We Dance, with a budget estimated between $55 and $70 million, is by far the largest film production in Winnipeg’s history. The closest competitor: Framed, a $12 million made-for-TV movie starring Rob Lowe and Sam Neill, shot in 2001. According to Boyce, Shall We Dance will pump “millions” into the local economy, benefiting everyone from hoteliers to carpenters. Not to mention the city’s image as J. Lo sightings get beamed around the world. BRIAN BERGMAN
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