SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO
With its crumbling buildings, thick vegetation and scurrying lizards, the blighted lot near Old San Juan would make a great set for a horror film. Instead, developers are hoping it will tell another kind of story: one about how a struggling island became a moviemaking powerhouse.
If all goes well, by 2022 this forlorn 14-acre lot will be home to a buzzing movie production facility with three or four sound stages, a backlot with facades of Miami and New York, and warehouses full of gaffers, electricians and set designers.
Puerto Rico is already attracting big budget productions like Johnny Depp’s “The Rum Diary,” “Bad Boys II” and “Fast Five” — part of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise — but it doesn’t have the sound stages and post-production facilities to make the island a one-stop shop.
“It really is an amazing island, it has everything a film company could want,” said Keith St. Clair, the man behind the $70 million Puerto Rico Film District project. “You have beaches, you have rainforests, you have cities, you have culture, you have Old [San Juan], you have great food — everything on this island is perfect for the creation of movies, and the studio will be icing on that cake.”