Will Smith film shoot annoys Hollywood neighbors

Thu May 1, 2008 3:24am EDT
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By Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The entire world loves Will Smith, but not Dresden Graham, a 65-year-old retiree who is waging a war against Smith's latest film, the drama "Seven Pounds," which is shooting in her Hollywood neighborhood.

The production is based just three houses up from Graham's home, where she has lived in since the mid-'80s. Trucks line the street, crews are busy setting up and striking down, generators hum, and security and police officers patrol the area.

Graham, who has signs in her yard and on her house that read "Will Smith, Go Film at Your Mansions" and "Put Potty Toilets on Your Neighbor's House," has a litany of complaints. She doesn't like the fume-spewing trucks parked running in front of her house, where the production has placed portable toilets. She's not that keen on the planned night shoot that will go to 3 a.m., either, because it calls for bright lights, rain machines and Great Danes.

"We had no choice," she says. "The neighborhood had no choice."

But her biggest complaint is with FilmL.A., the nonprofit organization that acts as a liaison for the city, its residences and film companies.

Graham points out, accurately, that FilmL.A. gets its funding through permits -- the more it issues, the more revenue it generates. And "Pounds" is the fifth production in six weeks to occupy a two-block area around her home.

FilmLA says the house where "Pounds" is filming has been used on only four shoots in the past year. It doesn't share Graham's view that the area has hosted too many productions.

Residents are grumbling, though, even though many work in the entertainment industry and were reluctant to speak out against a big star like Smith and a bigger studio like Columbia. They complain about noise and the loss of parking spaces, which force certain apartment residents to park at a nearby church and take a shuttle bus to their building.   Continued...

<p>Will Smith flashes a victory sign as he arrives on the red carpet to the premiere of the film 'I Am Legend' in Berlin, January 7, 2008. REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz</p>