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Bills Movie Starring Kevin Costner Going to Cleveland

6:30 PM, Mar 6, 2013   |    comments
Photo Courtesy: US Presswire
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BUFFALO, NY - For the past year a film crew from Hollywood was planning to make a movie about the Buffalo Bills.

Lights, cameras and actors were all set to descend on Ralph Wilson Stadium. 

But not anymore.

The project has now fallen through with the film studio changing its plans. The movie entitled Draft Day, a fictional drama that was supposed to be about the Bills will now be shot in Cleveland be based on the Browns.  The reason comes down to money, according to the Buffalo Niagara Film Commission.

The movie was supposed to focus on the position of a Bills general manager, who would've been played by Kevin Costner. But instead, Lionsgate, the film studio that makes the decision where to shoot says it wants to go somewhere more affordable than Buffalo.

According to Tim Clark of the commission, total production costs to film in Buffalo are too expensive for the film company. Also, there aren't enough incentives. A credit film companies rely on is called a "film production tax credit." It stands at 30 percent statewide. A bill in the State Senate calls for the restructuring of the credit, so companies would get 45 percent off. So, film makers would get this credit anywhere west of Syracuse.

The bill hasn't been passed and according to State Senator Patrick Gallivan (R - 59th District), is part of the current budget negotiations in Albany.

"So that there's greater incentives to come up to upstate and we can attract these films, it would not cost taxpayers anymore money than it already costs," said Gallivan.

No announcement has been made by Lionsgate on how much it is saving by going to Cleveland.

"In the end, the city would've looked pretty good in this movie," said Clark, "It's disappointing sure, but there's always the next film and we've actually had some great successes here with film making and we hope to have many more."

According to Clark, it's unclear how much Costner's role would've resembled current Bills general manager Buddy Nix. It's also unclear if there would be any Ralph Wilson references.

What is clear is that much of the movie would've been filmed in and around the Ralph.

The producer of "Draft Day," Ivan Reitman was given a tour of the Ralph and the region. Clark says Reitman really wanted to come to Buffalo, but the company has final say. 

According to Clark, the Governor's office was involved with talks to keep the movie in Western New York and even tried to sway the film company with an incentives package made up of private dollars. 

According to Clark, it's been 30 years since a major movie production was shot here in its entirety. That's when Robert Redford starred in, "The Natural," a movie about an everyday baseball player becoming a legend.

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