Jul 29, 2014
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How Ca' d'Zan Became A Star In Movie 'Parker'

"Parker" had some of its scenes shot at the Ca' d'Zan at the Ringling Museum, and it almost didn't happen.

How Ca' d'Zan Became A Star In Movie 'Parker'

Parker may not have happened in Sarasota if it wasn't for a native of the city.

The action movie starring Jennifer Lopez and Jason Statham opens this weekend nationwide and though predominately set in Palm Beach, the Ca' D'Zan mansion at the Ringling Museum was used for various scenes in the movie.

(Find Parker show times in Sarasota)

Sarasota native Pam Alessandrelli, who is a production office coordinator/production manager and continues to work on USA Network's Burn Notice, had to find a mansion for the movie in a pinch, sheshared during a Sarasota County Film and Entertainment Office event in 2012. She knew the Ca' d'Zan was perfect, so she called Jeanne Corcoran, director of the Film and Entertainment Office, to see if the location was available.

"They came in at the drop of a hat. Pam suggested us, we worked with them. They drove across the state, we set them up with meeting the Ca' d'Zan people," Corocoran said at the event. "They ended up turning this around in like 72 hours and show up with a crew of 130 people. They hired 250 extras, and they paid every extra $300 to work on the project."

Alessandrelli was told that the production wanted to shoot at the Mar-a-Largo Club in Palm Beach, but the crew had an issue with the location and wanted to switch to the Vizcaya, so they scouted that location, but the folks there didn't show at either location to talk to the location manager.

"I'm looking at these long faces, and I feel so bad, I was all perky and I was like, 'Um, have you ever a site called Sarasota, Florida?'" she asked. The location manager said no.

"I said, 'Well, we got this great place the Ringling Museum. The Ca' d'Zan is really big, there's lots of room,'" she said. "The Vizcaya is very small, and so is Mar-a-Largo. You can't get a lot of equipment trucks in there."

They whipped out their laptop, searched for photos and information for the Ringling family mansion as Alessandrelli made that call to Corocoran that the location crew wanted to immediately come to the mansion.

"It just escalated and rolled from that, and the next thing I knew I was in the car driving over, there was busloads of crew, and they were flying in and there were 200 people," Alessandrelli said. "...They were happy. It was worth it."

The movie crew also booked 130 hotel rooms from three to five nights, Corocoran added.

"They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars," she said, and executive producer  Stratton Leopold was thrilled with the  Sarasota County's cash incentive for the movie production for using local workers and shooting here.

"He was so happy to get $25,000 back, he was about ready to do a hand stands," she joked. "He went on the nightly news and thanked us for having an incentive program, and most of all thanked us for being so fast, so willing and so eager and so on it. Nobody else did what Pam did or what the Ringling people did or what we did and jumped all over and made it happen immediately."

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