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Hollywood's coming to town!

June 02, 2010 - Hollywood, the movie capital of the world, will visit the "gravel capital of the world" this summer to shoot part of a film starring actor Hugh Jackman.

"Real Steel," an $80 million science fiction/action-adventure film directed by Shawn Levy and produced by Steven Spielberg and Stacey Snider, will begin production here in late July or early August at the American Aggregates processing plant west of M-24 between Dunlap and Hummer Lake roads in Oxford Township.

"As you know, the movie industry here in Michigan is taking off because of the substantial tax credits," said a corporate manager, who did not wish to be identified, from the Detroit-based Edward C. Levy Co., which owns American Aggregates.

"Real Steel" will be filmed primarily in Michigan at locations in Metro Detroit and around the state. Production is expected to begin later this month.

In the film, targeted for release in November 2011, Jackman plays an ex-fighter who's forced to pursue a new career path when human boxing is outlawed for being too violent.

Robots are the new gladiators in the ring, so Jackman tries to reinvent himself as the promoter and trainer of a discarded robot that always seems to win. Along the way, Jackman discovers he has a young son and the two bond over the robot battles.

Apparently, a location scout decided the American Aggregates property was an ideal place to film part of this movie.

"In this case, they came knocking on our door," said the Levy executive. "They wanted to use our site to create kind of a remote area (for a) robot parts place, like a junkyard."

"We have a processing plant in there and I guess it suited their vision of what they could make a scrap yard look like," he said. "It's an active plant, but because of the economy, we're shut down at that location for this year."

The Levy executive indicated the Oxford portion of the filming won't be very long.

"I think their entire process is expected to be about a month of set creation and then I think the filming is less than a week's worth of work," he said.

Possible benefits of having a big budget film shot here include work for those involved in the construction trades and catering business. "They're set up here so they have to use local resources for just about everything they do," said the Levy executive.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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