Shediac — It appears the Alward government’s decision to scrap the New Brunswick Film Tax Credit in 2011 has a new detractor.
Actor Lorenzo Lamas announced he is cancelling the production of Snake Eater IV — which was slated to begin shooting in the Shediac area this summer — claiming the absence of the tax credit is pushing his already tiny production budget over the edge.
“When I recently found out they cancelled the program a few years ago it made our operating costs unsustainable. Even for a low-budget action movie,” said the actor.
The first of the Snake Eater movies starring Lamas was filmed in the Shediac area in 1989 and the trilogy eventually achieved B-level cult status despite being a box office flop. Lamas rose to stardom in the 1980s playing a major role in the hit TV series Falcon Crest, a drama/soap opera set in California’s wine country.
“It was like Dallas… with grapes. And no J.R. Ewing,” mused Lamas.
The former Napa Valley heartthrob starred in the role of lazy playboy Lance Cumson for nine seasons and received a Golden Globe nomination for his work. However, his appearances in the Snake Eater trilogy marked a sharp decline in his career, which has since been relegated to low-budget action movies and the occasional reality TV appearance.
“I think reviving the Snake Eater series could mark a real turnaround in my career, and what better place to do it than where it all started in New Brunswick,” Lamas enthusiastically chimed.
Lamas revealed he has many fond memories of the summer he spent filming the movie in Shediac including Gould’s Fried Clams, Ten Penny beer and doing up-and-downs in Cocagne in a rented Dodge Shadow trying to impress local girls at the takeout with his celebrity status. Lamas is hoping to turn those warm memories into cinematic gold once again.
Lamas also cherished the interaction with locals who volunteered on the set.
“There was this one kid who told me he made ninja movies with his friends at home and had aspirations to be a filmmaker. I told him martial arts were a good place to start. I wonder what happened to that kid? I hope he made it the film industry.”
Despite this setback, Lamas is not giving up hope. He intends to adapt the script to a more post-industrial setting and is targeting several mid-size U.S. cities that are even more economically destitute than New Brunswick.
“Were considering cities that have a real broken down, post-apocalyptic feel to them where production costs would be really low. Right now, were looking at Flint, Michigan, Camden, New Jersey, East St. Louis, Missouri, and Gary, Indiana.”