Magic City

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Drama/Crime/Mystery, USA, 2012, 50 min.

Tagline Miami Beach, 1959. The beautiful life is about to get ugly.

Synopsis Magic City, a series set in a fictional Miami Beach hotel in the late 1950s -- when the Rat Pack played and Fidel Castro took power in Cuba -- got the green light this week for 10 episodes from Starz Entertainment.Casting is set to start soon, and production will begin in 2011, though it's still unclear how much, if any, of the series will be filmed in Miami. The show is set to air on the Starz cable channel in 2012.Writer and producer Mitch Glazer is intimately familiar with the subject matter: Growing up in Miami Beach in the 1950s and 60s, he accompanied his engineer father to work at the area's most glamorous hotels, including the Fontainebleau, Eden Roc, Deauville and Carillon.Glazer, a 1970 Miami Beach High grad and one-time Deauville cabana boy, said he remains obsessed with the era.``So much that ended up shaping America -- politics, pop culture, everything from civil rights to geopolitical situations -- came through the lobby of those hotels,'' he said.Glazer said the show's hotel is inspired by the architecture of Morris Lapidus, who fashioned the Eden Roc and Fontainebleau. He said he would love to shoot the entire series in Miami, but Starz said it is in talks with several locations, including some outside the state.``It's a love letter to the city and that would be the dream, to do it down there,'' said Glazer, who wrote several films, including Scrooged and Great Expectations.Producers have applied for and received confirmation that they would get state incentive money to shoot the series in Florida, according to Miami-Dade film offices. Tallahassee recently increased production subsidies from about $11 million a year to about $50 million a year to draw more business to the state.Local film officials hope this week's announcement from Starz -- which has ventured into original programming over the past few years -- signals a boom for scripted television series in Miami.News of the Magic City order follows word just weeks ago that ABC wants to revive the Charlie's Angels series, with a pilot to be filmed in Miami next year.With USA's drama Burn Notice shooting its fifth season next spring in Miami-Dade and A&E crime series The Glades expected to shoot its second season in Dade and Broward next year, the area is eager for more television close-ups.Jeff Peel, head of the Miami-Dade office of film and entertainment, said having even two scripted series shooting in the region was a big deal.``If we have four, man, this town is going to be hopping,'' he said.Burn Notice, for example, spends about $2 million an episode -- and Peel said a period drama like Magic City would likely pump more into the economy.``Assuming that all of this stuff actually shows up here, we're going to be bursting at the seams,'' Peel said.If Magic City shoots in some other city, it wouldn't be a first for a Miami-themed show: CSI: Miami and Dexter both are filmed in Los Angeles.But Graham Winick, head of the Miami Beach film office, said negotiations about the show have been positive for South Florida. He said the success of hits like Burn Notice and reality shows filmed in Miami show the popularity of the destination.``It speaks volumes to where Miami is as a brand in television and what viewers want to see, which is Miami,'' Winick said. ``That's wonderful for us, it'll help us as we move out of the economic state we're in.''The beach was enjoying headier times during the era when the show is set, said local historian Paul George.``It's one of the heydays of the beach, with the Fontainebleau and the Eden Roc,'' George said. ``It was just on the world's map at that time.''But as Frank Sinatra crooned and the wealthy gathered at the region's finest hotels, a darker side of Miami Beach existed under the glossy surface. The show will touch on drugs, strippers, gangsters, racial tension and global unrest as seen through the prism of the Miramar Hotel and its boss, Ike Evans.``My fantasy is of it being like Rick's Café in Casablanca, where all roads lead to and through the Miramar,'' Glazer said.

Directed by Edward Bianchi, Simon Cellan Jones, David Petrarca, Carl Franklin, Nick Gomez, Clark Johnson, Terrence O'Hara  

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