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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail

June 3, 2008

Union, Movie Makers at Odds Over 'Perfect Storm'

A stormy situation between a labor union and movie makers has local officials scrambling to make sure the movie, "The Perfect Storm," is filmed in Gloucester.

Teamsters Union officials are asking for more money than usual to work on the movie's set, and Hollywood producers are balking.

As a result, Warner Brothers is considering Gloucester-like settings in the state of Washington or Nova Scotia to film the movie, said state Sen. Bruce Tarr.

But the Gloucester Republican and others say that would be a travesty. The movie is based on Sebastian Junger's bestselling book about men aboard the Gloucester boat Andrea Gail, who lost their lives during the no-name storm of October 1991.

Tarr said the story "speaks to the soul of the city."

There is also money to be made.

Tarr said he has heard the movie carries a price tag of about $100 million. Nicholas Cage has been mentioned for a possible lead role, and the director would be Wolfgang Peterson, known for his 1981 movie, "Das Boot," about a German submarine.

If the movie were filmed on Cape Ann, it would undoubtedly benefit the local economy, if only indirectly.

But the Teamsters are standing in the way. The asking price of their proposed contract is about 70 percent more than it was for the last Warner Brother's film shot in the region, which was "Message in a Bottle," according to several reports.

George Cashman, the president of Teamsters Local 25, has said the union made its high offer because it has been working under the same contract, without a pay raise, for nearly a decade.

But movie producers say it is too much. And Tarr said negotiations have reached a breaking point.

"It's really close to the edge, and I think people have taken for granted that we're going to get the film," he said. "I feel it would be totally catastrophic for 'The Perfect Storm,' not to be filmed in Gloucester."

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The Perfect Storm: The Story of the Andrea Gail