DEL MAR — Lights, camera, action may soon be heard on the beach in Del Mar. Council members authorized the city manager at the Feb. 8 meeting to move forward with a request from Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures to use about 300 yards of the beach in late April to film scenes for “THOR,” an action adventure film based on the comic book hero.
Allowing the production would be a good financial move for the city since the agreement can require the film crew of about 100 people to use city lodging. That will boost revenue from the transient occupancy tax as well as other taxes from restaurant and retail sales.
The city will also require that all staff time, including legal fees, be reimbursed and a cash contribution be made toward a city project, such as the 17th Street beach safety center.
The production company would like to use a portion of either the north end of the beach or 15th Street to the south. The scene will feature six horses and riders running on the sand with an all-terrain vehicle driving alongside with a camera mount.
The shoot, scheduled to begin April 29, is expected to take 12 to 14 hours a day for five days. The public will not be allowed on the portion of the beach being used during that time. Council members suggested the production company set up a viewing area so residents can watch the filming.
According to the staff report, most truck and crew parking will be staged at the fairgrounds, but some essential working trucks as well as horse trailers, four to five large equipment trucks and a catering vehicle would need to park close to the location.
An initial request from Marvel Studios/Paramount Pictures was denied by the city because details on the amount of beach needed were limited. City officials decided to reconsider after meeting with the San Diego Film Commission.
Del Mar has an ordinance in place outlining the requirements for a film permit. But because it was crafted for small projects, the requirements and fees are minimal. The city manager will negotiate the details of the permit and present the results to City Council for consideration and adoption.
The film, due in theaters next year, stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins and Renee Russo. Pat Vergne, director of community services, said his role in the film is “in discussion.”
“That’s part of the negotiations,” he joked. “Renee Russo hasn’t returned my calls.”